THAT, my friends, is my favorite client quote of the week…
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, women are intuitive and know their bodies…especially you postpartum moms who are in your early weeks/months and your primal instincts are at their prime.
A little backstory: the particular client who nailed this quote is a newly postpartum (<6 weeks), and she and I had been partnering together in the PT clinic in her prenatal months in order to prep her body for birth. Spoiler alter > she had a BEAUTIFULL baby (birth went well) and life was all good. Cloud 9, right?! She started slowly increasing her walking in order to get some fresh air, get moving, and she felt awesome. (perfect!) This client used her intuitive instincts to guide her body into the right rhythms in her early postpartum weeks. …Okay, you probably sense something coming… As it goes, life happened, and she started feeling some pretty significant sensations ‘down there’ and wondered WTF? (totally get it). Her intuitive instincts guided her into her OB’s office, in which case, a mild pelvic organ prolapse was diagnosed (see this post for review on that). No biggie. OB gently nudged her back into the hands of a pelvic floor PT in order to get some pelvic floor muscle rehab going. (I was super relieved to hear this, knowing many women are told ‘oh that, well you just had a baby, it’ll get better in time‘ and women then proceed to go for days/months NOT knowing that pelvic PT even exists)
This client and I quickly scheduled a session via telehealth, and she had excellent follow up questions about it all: what the heck went wrong?! I thought I was doing great!?!? My birth went well, I felt great, and I thought walking was what I was supposed to start with!?!?! Why did this happen?! Will it ever get better?! I felt like my symptoms were far more significant than a “mild” case, not to mention, I was assessed lying down and my symptoms occur when I’m walking and/or standing?!?! (questions, of which, were followed by confusion, some fear, and THEN an awesome discussion)
SO – fast forward to “Gravity holds a different story.” (it sure does)
Gravity is a significant force that is constantly acting on us. We don’t see it. Can’t feel it. Don’t even know it’s there…until a woman is postpartum and discovers a surprise in her parts ‘down there.’ And yes, this client is completely correct in questioning: “why do a pelvic or pelvic floor muscle assessment in lying down when symptoms related to pelvic organ prolapse typically occur in standing or with walking?” The short answer: lying down is easiest to get a baseline, but standing is also doable (and highly beneficial) for a more functional assessment of the pelvic floor muscles and their related fascial connections (this client can bet on a standing assessment in her next in-person visit with me – yay!).
Three more important points to highlight with this powerful quote and story:
- Never extinguish your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not. If you’re feeling inspired to do something (ex: gradually building your walking program), then by all means. You’re the boss of your own body and desires, and it’s okay to follow them.
- Unseen forces (ex: gravity!) play a significant role in life. It’s never your fault if tissues give way because of a force that is out of our control. In this case, we simply get to learn how to work with the force(s) as well as the healing & recovery process of the pelvic and abdominal muscles.
- Partnering with a pelvic floor PT and/or an integrative women’s health coach (*wink *wink) in order to ensure all body-systems are supported is super helpful (and necessary) for you postpartum moms. You don’t have to do it alone! And, you’re far more than just muscles, bones, and organs. You’re a complex being with thoughts, desires, motivations, histories, etc and you deserve to offer your input along the way.
On that last point, about pairing your intuition with the guidance of a trained health provider (in my case – a pelvic PT + integrative women’s health coach), it is priceless! For example, together as a team today, this client and I:
- Had a client-centered conversation about what her individualized postpartum healing and recovery needs were, both in her current phase of healing as well as the phases of healing moving forward.
- Calmed the fears and thought sandbags surrounding the thoughts of: ‘what did I do wrong’, ‘I don’t want this to be my forever state, ‘I want to get better but have no idea where to begin.’
- Created a gradual-build in her walking program specific to her desires, current circadian rhythms, and current pelvic floor tissue capabilities (lest we forget about allll of the other systems that need those daily walks too! >> cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine/hormones, lymphatic, etc).
And so, yes, gravity does hold a different story for us, doesn’t it? Life as a whole holds so much more than what meets the eye. Postpartum recovery, pelvic floor PT, and integrative postpartum lifestyle medicine also hold so much more than what meets the eye…
… And therein lies the fun and the collaboration!
This post is dedicated to all my amazing postpartum clients who not only inspire me daily, but continue teaching me.