Staff Sgt. Monique R. Vargas, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 10th Division Sustainment Troops Battalion, 10th Mountain Division Sustainment, enjoys breakfast with her husband and daughter, March 8, 2023, during the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Pregnancy and Postpartum Spiritual Readiness Breakfast at Po Valley Chapel on Fort Drum, New York. The breakfast was hosted by the 10th MDSB’s P3T program leaders, but it was open to all Soldiers on Fort Drum. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Neysa Canfield, 10th MDSB Public Affairs Office)
Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Training program leaders show Soldiers ‘It takes a village’
Sgt. 1st Class Neysa Canfield
10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (March 8, 2023) – "It takes a village" is a saying that is often heard when it comes to raising children. The saying hits close to home for the Soldiers who participate in the Pregnancy and Postpartum Physical Training (P3T) program.
“Sometimes we think we can do everything alone," said Capt. Justine Bolten, lead P3T instructor for the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade. “But we are so much stronger when we have a village supporting and motivating us – it really does take a village.”
To help foster that support system for pregnant and postpartum Soldiers, Bolten teamed up with the brigade's unit ministry team and other P3T program leads in the division to host spiritual readiness breakfast events.
"The (breakfast) is for these Soldiers and their families to come and connect, because sometimes parenthood can be a little isolating, so this is a way to help connect Soldiers with other Soldiers who are going through the same journey," Bolten explained.
The breakfast not only provided Soldiers with a meal but also exposed them to the different resources on the installation that can help with any challenges they might face.
Aside from resources, Bolten said she wanted to provide an education piece for the Soldiers, such as techniques for an infant massage to help parents bond with their babies.
The education piece captured the interest of Spc. Destiny Gowin, a field artillery firefinder radar operator with 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI).
Gowin, who is currently six months postpartum, said that she enjoys these types of events because of the sense of community it provides.
"I think the stereotype of P3T is a bunch of pregnant females exercising, but it's so much more than that," Gowin said. "It's a community of women who are going through the exact same thing you are going through, and you can relate with one another and get motivation and advice from each other."
For Gowin, P3T extends past physical training time.
“As much as it is about PT, we build these bonds with each other outside of PT to where we feel comfortable enough to message each other in group chats about things others can't relate to,” Gowin explained.
According to Bolten, that positive and encouraging environment is precisely what the P3T program hopes to continue building.
"Regardless of rank or (military occupational specialty), we are all going through a similar journey, and we are all in different seasons of our life, and it's nice to have a community where we can learn and share that," Bolten said.
Gowin added that she hopes female Soldiers take advantage of the programs and resources available.
"Sometimes it's hard to feel good about yourself after going through a transition such as motherhood," Gowin said. "But I am so appreciative to have programs like P3T and those who lead it because they motivate us and make us feel good about the progress we make."