“My doctor said my back pain is normal and that all postpartum woman have pain. I was told it was no big deal, and that it’ll go away on its own. Only it hasn’t. And now it’s getting worse. I am so frustrated that I can’t exercise or even take care of my kids…”
“I desperately want to get back to exercise to get the baby weight off and regain my mental sanity but I’m afraid to exercise for fear of hurting myself.”
“I feel so tired day in and day out that I can barely hold an adult conversation.”
“My partner is interested in having sex again but I am nowhere near ready for that. I’m too tired. I hurt. And I have no desire. Even faking it feels impossible.”
As a pelvic health physical therapist, these are the things I hear week in and week out from postpartum women. Being pregnant and having a baby can be stressful. As a postpartum woman, your physical, mental, and emotional containers have been stretched to the limits. Your eating, exercise, and sleep habits have all changed. Even with a bundle of joy, there can be a progressive day-to-day overwhelm that occurs, perpetuating hormone imbalances and causing cycles of pain, fatigue, brain fog, and poor digestion.
Your concerns are being brushed under the table too often.
And in these modern times, you’re getting lots of messages from the media that you better get your body back and keep your act together. The social pressures placed on postpartum moms are stacking up…you gotta look super cute, return to work when your baby is barely 3-4 months old, put on a “I’m strong and can handle it” face, and push around your little baby buggy with spring in your step. But yet, behind closed doors, you’re having trouble losing weight and/or you’re anxious, fatigued, and in so much pain that you’re scared or unable to return to any form of exercise at all. Not to mention, you’re afraid of peeing (and sometimes pooping) your pants when you sneeze, cough, or laugh.
These are all common but not necessarily normal symptoms. And how many physicians have time to unpack this list? (very few)
Pain, fatigue, and other aforementioned symptoms are complex and interconnected. All too often, in western medicine, these symptoms are treated as separate entities and commonly treated with medications that end up with unintended consequences. (bummer)
With my training, I bring a couple more thoughts to the table – we need to reinvent how we think of postpartum pain, fatigue, and system repair & recovery. Postpartum pelvic pain, for example, can arise from digestive disruption, genitourinary infections (ie, bladder or yeast infections), muscular imbalances in the pelvic floor muscles, nutritional deficits, endocrine disruption, or emotional imbalances & mood instability. Pain is an indication that there is something out of balance, but it doesn’t necessarily tell us what. So through this lens, we think about pain as having these many contributors, and these various contributors need to be unpacked little by little.
Now that I am adding Integrative Women’s Health Coach to my bag of tricks, I support you in doing just that: helping you unpack your list of concerns, unlock your potential, and help you discern what your postpartum health means to you (versus what society and social media tell you to do). Hormone and system rebalancing is much easier than it sounds, usually only requiring simple, practical, and routine day-to-day behavioral changes. As a woman, you are naturally creative and resourceful. But it’s easy to get stuck along the way and not know where to turn for help. My job as an Integrative Women’s Health Coach is to take a stand for you and offer my skills, training, expertise, and any detailed clinical options that best support your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. You’ll receive appropriate referrals as needed in order to support various pillars of your health. I’m here to support you in your decisions for sustainable health improvements so you can raise your kiddo(s) with less pain, improved energy, and have more fun doing it. For more information on postpartum pliability, click here.