Here's the thing - I had no idea until I myself was a mother that one of the greatest gifts your babies give you is urinary incontinence. And apparently it is so prevalent that there are jokes, cartoons, and whole mom blogs about the topic! I was reading this health news article about a woman who had such a problem holding her bladder that her husband made her put a plastic cover over their couch. Can you imagine? If you're a mom, especially a mom with several kids like me, I'm sure you can.
You know where the bathroom is in every store you frequent. You race inside after errands to pee even though you just went before you left the store. Heaven forbid you laugh, cough, or move in any real way. You may even have spare underwear in your purse - and not for your potty training toddler.
And I guess I sort of accepted, like most moms, that this was life after pushing out a few babies. Things just weren't going to go back to normal.
But moms - it turns out that we do not have to stand for this! We do not have to survive through postpartum issues with urinary incontinence, vaginal pain, and all the other issues my mom friends have whispered about in the safe places our mom community creates.
And it isn't your OB that is going to help - or at least that was not the case for me. Several friends confided in me with their similar experience - things just weren't right. Didn't feel normal. There were issues. And because we're in the South and we don't talk about these matters, they weren't sure what to do. They asked their OB and were not given many answers. So they figured they needed to relax, they needed to do some Kegels, and they needed to adapt to the new normal as a mom.
I'm one of the lucky ones. I happened upon a recommendation on a Facebook group for a pelvic floor physical therapist.
Yes - your pelvis has a floor and there is a physical therapist that can help you with it.
Enter Amy Moses and Sundara Wellness.
Sundara Wellness is a relatively new center for women's health and wellness, located in Midtown in a beautiful historic home converted to an oasis of healing and wellness for women. Before even making it upstairs to my initial appointment, my stress level went from a 10 to a 7 just from the hassle-free parking, the zen music playing overhead, the calming scents, and the kind receptionist.
In my initial appointment, Amy, who has a doctorate degree in Physical Therapy, talked me through my history and symptoms before giving me an exam. I was talking to a friend about her experience with her initial evaluation, and she said she was surprised that Amy had to get "all up in her lady bits," so to be clear, a pelvic floor exam does include a vaginal exam, but it was much less intrusive than the OB office, and if you've had children, you're probably so used to opening up shop that you wouldn't even notice.
After the exam, Amy talked through her plan for treatment and had enough time to begin my physical therapy. One of the areas she is working on for me surprised me - apparently after having babies, your rib cage doesn't close back like it used to before your organs were lodged up in them and forced them to turn outward. So in older times, women would have therapy to turn their rib cage back inward to the correct angle, but that is not common in society now. With a few exercises and manipulations, my rib cage almost immediately showed improvement. I could breathe better, my core muscles engaged better, and I even looked a little less like my postpartum belly was actually another child (spoiler alert - it isn't).
As Amy and I were wrapping up my appointment, she was telling me how in Seattle (where she lived most recently before moving to Memphis), pelvic floor PT was so common that women would make their appointments before even giving birth, lining things up to be able to begin therapy and the healing process immediately. It was open, it was talked about, it was celebrated. She was surprised that here in the South, so many women did not even know it was a "thing" you do.
In talking with her, I could tell she truly has a passion for helping women heal and that her career is a calling. She feels so passionately that pelvic floor physical therapy should be available to more women.
So if you're hopping on the self care bandwagon in 2019, if you're looking for healing and wellness, or if you're just tired of peeing yourself a little every time someone tells a funny joke, I encourage you to consider checking out Sundara Wellness and visiting Amy Moses.
In addition to physical therapy, Sundara offers accupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition, pilates, and yoga. They also have an advance practice nurse that offers primary care services.
Visit Sundara Wellness: www.sundarawellness.com
1314 Peabody Avenue Memphis, TN 38104