While still a teen, Massy Arias struggled with depression—and quickly learned that fitness wasn’t just an antidote; it was a professional calling. Exercise made her strong, physically and mentally, and brought back happiness. You can feel the joy radiating from the Dominican-born über-trainer’s media channels, where she shares innovative workouts and righteous, bighearted straight talk in both Spanish and English. She also publicly powered through pregnancy and childbirth her way, revealing a dive back into darkness. Arias opens up about having a family and those difficult postpartum months.
“Indi is standing and saying words now and is so delicious. I guess all parents think their kid is special, but it is amazing to me that even when I go into her room in the morning and it is disgusting from a poop explosion, I’m okay with it. And Stefan is a great dad; he likes to wash her hair and be the one to put in the barrette. He’s proud of being a dad, and with being proud comes so much help.”
“I was gangster when I was pregnant. I was so inspired by this little person inside me that I became a health freak and did balance exercises until 39 weeks. Looking back, I realize I should have rested up more while I could. I gave birth naturally, pushed her out, and was home two hours later. But I was exhausted. What people say just didn’t register: ‘You are not going to sleep.’ ”
“The postpartum period was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, made worse because I was determined to breastfeed but my nipples were a bleeding mess. Those first weeks, I would forget to eat. I would forget to bathe. It was all Indi, Indi, Indi. If she napped, I couldn’t sleep because I’d have to check to make sure she was breathing. I had so much anxiety. ‘Am I doing this right? Why is she crying so much? Those frickin’ hiccups, when will they go away?’ I was crying every single day. I was losing it.
“I had struggled with depression and anxiety before, so I knew what was happening. But I couldn’t do what I knew I needed to do to get better: exercise. I did start again four weeks postpartum, but some followers wrote things like, ‘Oh Massy, you are supposed to be resting, not getting your body back.’ But I wasn’t worried about my body; I needed to feel better. Comments implying I wasn’t doing what was best for Indi messed with my head.”
“The best thing I did was to communicate how I was feeling to my mom and Stefan. If you bottle it up, you will be in trouble. Maybe the most important thing Stefan did was find me a mothers group. He said, ‘Hey, I’m a man, and as much as I want to, I can’t get it.’ He had to push me to go, but being with women going through the same thing was so good. It’s important to remember that he only knew I needed help because I told him. Latinas never talk about mental health. I’m determined to change that and to help other mothers speak up.”
“Slowly, I started feeling like I knew what was right for us. For instance, I decided to pump and take Indi to the gym so I could exercise. Now that I am a mom and have gone through childbirth, I am like, bring it on. Here’s my take on feminism: Maybe Stefan is the one who can pick up heavy furniture, but we women are the strong ones. I hope that my daughter looks back and says: ‘My mom is a badass. My mom was fearless. My mom went after everything she wanted in life.’ I feel like nothing can stop me now.”
“We’ve hung on to what worked for us those first few months, like our long walks. We take one every day with Indi and our ‘other daughter,’ our Boston terrier, Pepper. Stefan is my manager, so that’s when we talk about work. I have a plan to chop off my hair—no more straightening it! [And she did soon after this interview!] I want Indi to know that she’s beautiful in her natural way. I posted the idea on Insta and one lady said don’t, because my husband won’t like it. That made me laugh, because Stefan has seen me through when I was skinny, depressed, when I shaved one side of my head—and he has always loved who I am. He is a clean-cut guy, and I am like a wildflower.”