I am often asked, “why the pelvic floor?”
I have always had an interest in health and the complexities of the human body, and after leaving my job as a Counsellor in the Youth Criminal Justice System, I knew that I wanted to explore this interest further. Consequently, I obtained my certification as a Pilates Instructor. My first job as a Pilates Instructor was teaching a Mom and Baby class. I was working with moms with babies as young as 4 weeks and really had no training for this population. I did my absolute best and self-taught myself about the dos and don’ts when working with new moms. Through my research I stared to become very interested in women’s health and the amazing things a woman’s body can do. I studied what happens to the body during pregnancy, especially the tissues of the core and the pelvic floor and quickly realized that the prenatal and postpartum populations should be considered specialized populations when it comes to exercise. When we are talking about postpartum, we are taking about moms with babies 1 day old to moms with babies as old as 75+, once postpartum, always postpartum.
I thought back to the early weeks after having both of my babies and how I just joined Stroller-Fit and Mom and Baby Bootcamp at 6 weeks post c-section because my doctor gave me the all clear after looking at my external scar and asking about birth control. I was running, doing crunches and burpees in an effort to lose the baby weight, not even thinking about my Pelvic Floor. I was very lucky to have made it through these classes without any long term damages, that I know of, but know many women were not so lucky. I wanted to do better. I wanted to teach and empower women to make healthy educated decisions about movement and exercise while pregnant and after having a baby. I wanted talk about urinary incontinence, diastasis recti, prolapse and the pelvic floor.
It was during this time that I started to experience some pretty bad pelvic pain myself. I was pretty familiar with pelvic pain as I had suffered with endometriosis since I was a young teen. I am not even sure if I had heard of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy (I must have read it about it somewhere while researching), but I decided I would try to find one to help me with my own pelvic pain. I was surprised that in one quick google search I was able to find 3 Pelvic Floor Physios in Milton, where I was living at the time. I chose one and booked an appointment. My initial thought was, “how can there be at least 3 here in Milton and no one ever told me about them? I quickly learned by speaking with other moms, I was not the only one who knew nothing about Pelvic Floor Physio.
My visit with the PT was amazing. I learned so much about my own Pelvic Floor and the Core in general. This PT encouraged me to take my training as a Pilates Instructor and use that to continue down the road of Pelvic Health and Pre/Postnatal exercise. I knew this was the right path. I continued to see this PT for personal as well as educational sessions. She became my mentor and I learned so much. I took courses and did research and began teaching both Pre and Postnatal classes with a new sense of confidence. I also offered and continue to offer classes to those who were neither Pre or Postnatal, yes women who have never been pregnant and even men suffer from pelvic floor dysfunction (yep they have one). It was an adjustment and planning classes took a lot more work. I could no longer teach half of the exercises I learned in my Pilates Certification course and I had to get very creative in order to keep the classes safe and challenging. It is not that the participants in my class could not do traditional Pilates exercises ever again, it was that they needed to reconnect to, restore and retrain their bodies to be able to do these exercises safely.
So here I am 6 years as a Pilates Instructor continuing down the road of Functional Core and Pelvic Floor training. I love what I do. I love the women I meet. I love to see their AHA! moments when they re-connect to their Pelvic Floor Muscles or when someone tells me they no longer have to wear a pad during step class or their low back no longer hurts. This is why I do what I do. I am a woman and a mom. I understand what motherhood and life in general can do to our bodies. I love spreading the word about the importance of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy and Core re-training. I love talking about prolapse, urinary incontinence and pelvic pain and explaining these things do not have to go hand in hand with becoming a mom. I love helping women feel connected to and secure in their own bodies, so they can safely return to activities they love knowing they are beautifully strong, powerful and capable.