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Nurturing Maternal Health: A Journey of Self-Discovery and Healing

This month at Ivy, we're diving deep into a topic very close to my heart: maternal health! Before this year, I'll be honest - I didn't fully grasp the challenges that all the incredible Mamas out there face. Parenthood wasn't on my radar, and frankly, I wasn't ready for it. But life has a funny way of surprising us, doesn't it?


Let me share something personal with you: a year before my recent pregnancy, I found myself unexpectedly expecting. With a budding PT practice, a new gig at Ivy Integrative, and yoga teacher training on my plate, I was juggling a lot. I distinctly remember telling my coworker and naturopathic doctor, "I'm not ready for this, I don’t want it."


But as fate would have it, life had other plans. After coming to terms with and embracing the upcoming journey, a routine ultrasound shattered our world. Our little one didn't have a heartbeat. The pain, the loss, the guilt - it consumed me. I questioned everything I did during those 12 weeks, searching for answers, longing to make things right for my husband, who was even more eager and excited than I was. 


As we navigated through the grief and healing process, I began my training in the John Barnes method of Myofascial Release. Little did I know, this discovery would change everything. The fascia, as I learned, holds our deepest emotions and traumas. My body was a tangled mess of restrictions, reflecting the emotional turmoil within.


During my second 3 day course, when we were practicing intraoral techniques (inside the mouth), something remarkable happened. As my therapist worked on me, I suddenly recoiled into a fetal position, enveloped by darkness. It was as if my body was unlocking buried emotions, releasing them into the ether. The next day, I felt a surge of therapeutic pain in my lower abdomen - a sign that something profound was shifting within me.  Later that day when speaking with my husband, he referenced the miscarriage. The TMJ has major fascial connections with our pelvic floor, and this became VERY clear to me as I experienced “therapeutic pain.” This is a temporary pain or discomfort often felt after major fascial work is performed. It can be felt in an entirely different area than where the work was actually performed. I felt the same sensation in my lower abdomen that I did the night I took the medication to help me pass the miscarriage. 


woman with long hair on a swing

Hooked on this transformative work, I began my own journey of healing.The trauma I had undergone, my Type A, work harder, push harder, overexercising personality, the anxiety and disappointment I felt responsible for in my marriage, not being able to get pregnant again, the process tearing us apart, all of this was stored within my tissues. Each session I felt myself becoming a little freer, each physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I had been seeing a counselor at the time, but I found this process to be even more healing for me. And when the time was right, I found myself expecting again -  naturally.


Determined to nurture myself and my growing baby, I embraced self-care like never before. Myofascial release sessions became a lifeline, providing much-needed relief and alignment as my body underwent incredible changes. The transformation was undeniable, and soon, I welcomed a beautiful, healthy baby girl into the world.


Now, as a new Mom, self-care remains a non-negotiable. From yoga practice to sauna sessions, Bowen therapy to myofascial release, I prioritize my well-being so I can show up as the best version of myself for my little one and my clients.

To all the Mamas out there, whether you're just starting your journey or you're a seasoned vet, remember this: self-care is not selfish. It's essential. So don't forget to breathe, to nurture yourself, and to honor the incredible journey of motherhood. Below are just a few of my favorite ways to nurture your maternal health:


  1. During the week, I make it a priority to wake up before my baby's first morning feed so I can practice yoga. I teach yoga once a week, but practicing for yourself is a different experience. It's essential to enjoy and experience the practice firsthand because movement in the body is crucial for clearing out the sludge! The LYT Yoga method, which I practice and teach, involves various movements that help you feel clearer and more energized in your body, so you can be there for those who need you the most.

  2. I've also resumed my weekly sauna sessions. Immediately after giving birth, I was fortunate to have the best Doula who brought a sauna blanket to my home for quick sessions while the baby napped, just 10-20 minutes at a time. Now, I go weekly for 30 minutes to detoxify my body and support my milk production! I've even brought the baby with me, and she naps outside the room while I relax in the heat. For me, napping when the baby naps doesn't work, but lying in the sauna is just as good, if not better!

  3. Additionally, Bowen therapy has been incredibly relaxing and healing. Both myself and Dr. Birch practice this method, so we try to treat each other when possible. As a new mom not sleeping well, those 30 minutes on the table can truly feel like a full night’s sleep! It was also an emotional time for me initially postpartum.

  4. As I mentioned earlier, myofascial release continues to be my preferred method. I've resumed monthly sessions with a therapist to realign my body, emotions, and energy levels. My body is still healing from 9-10 months of pregnancy and labor, and my impatient self wants it all back at once. So, when new aches and pains arise from challenging my body more than it should, these monthly sessions usually clear them right up!

  5. Lastly, for all you C-section moms out there, your fascia has been through a lot. Scars, in general, tend to harbor a significant amount of fascial restriction, and I've found that C-section scars especially hold not just restrictions but also emotions and trauma. I've had clients with unexplained back, hip, or shoulder pain for years postpartum. After working on their C-section scars, their pain has drastically improved.





 

 


Disclaimer:

This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.

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