Operators of CocoonCare, which opened in February, say it is the only fitness and wellness center in Chicago that is targeted to new and expectant moms.
Located in Chicago’s River West neighborhood, the center takes a holistic approach to maternal health and well-being, operators say, by offering a host of services, from prenatal exercise and nutrition to breastfeeding issues.
The center is operated by Kiran Advani and Alok Jhamnani, who are both certified by Healthy Moms Fitness. Advani answered some questions about the center and what women can expect there.
Q: Why did you start the business?
A: When I was pregnant with my daughter, I wanted to be able to take care of myself (fitness and nutrition), learn how to take care of my baby when she was born, and also meet other women at the same stage of life as I was. There is an absence in our community of consistent support for expecting women and new parents, especially if your friends are not in the same stage of life as you are, or if you recently moved to Chicago.
My husband encouraged me, and then later helped me create CocoonCare. I wanted a place where I and other pregnant women would not feel self-conscious when they worked out, could do more than the typical prenatal yoga, and could push themselves but safely (while being closely monitored). This is why we hired trainers who are specialized in pre- and post-natal physical fitness, and communicate with you, while creating an environment where women can communicate with each other. Plus, we wanted to make sure fitness was not boring. You can’t hit the same levels of performance that you were able to before you became pregnant. So we added belly dance and Dancing for Birth classes, too. The exercises our trainers perform make you strong for labor and you recover from it much more quickly. And once you have the baby, you can attend the great child and parent/grandparent/caregiver classes we offer.
But I wanted more than just physical fitness – I wanted reliable information. I would go running around Chicago to some seminar, that I double-checked was reputable, and then be dissatisfied with what was advised because the information was incomplete or not taught by someone as knowledgeable as they claimed. So we present informational seminars, where all our experts are in fact, experts, and we can vouch that they are trustworthy. All conflicting information on a topic is made available so that parents can make an informed decision.
One of our goals is to have women connect with each other. Seeing the same people in the same place creates a comfortable zone, and dispels the awkwardness of forming a friendship. We created a lounge specifically for our clients to sit, chat and connect.
Lastly, we added two critical luxury items for our clients: massages and hourly childcare.
Q: What makes CocoonCare unique?
A: CocoonCare is unique because it pulls everything together in one place for you. There is literally no other place in Chicago that brings it all together for parents. We are very service oriented and understand that it is not easy to run around the city, looking for parking and lugging a car seat on your arm. This is why we have the $5 valet option. You can learn, workout, bond with your little one, get a massage — do a myriad of things without feeling displaced and rushed all the time.
Q: How has it been received so far?
A: Very well. Women are excited to hear about us and enthusiastic about joining. Even experienced vendors and service providers in the industry are excited about us because nothing exists like CocoonCare and it is needed. They are wonderful and want to join forces to ensure that women have a great, supported pregnancy and post-partum.
Q: Do you see offering any new services in the future?
A: Always. One of my major fears about CocoonCare is becoming a place that is unrelenting in its schedules and programs – you know, you find something that works and stick with it. But that is not life. It is certainly not the way to be progressive and give your clients the best. Sign up for our newsletter and wait for it, stay tuned.