How Postpartum Physical Therapy Can Help Heal Birth Stories
Postpartum physical therapy starts with an evaluation where I am not only asking about your physical condition but we also talk about your birth story. Your birth story gives me information about things your physical body has gone through but it also gives me an opportunity to hear about your emotional experience. Telling our birth stories is a powerful way to share the positives and also to process and express the parts of the experience that holds sadness, anger and grief. Sometimes I am the first person who has asked a mom how she feels about her birth experience. Every single birth story I have heard is unique and I love hearing all of them.
For my mommas who have a birth story that didn’t go as planned, postpartum physical therapy can be a very healing experience for the mind, body and soul. After a traumatic birth experience, it’s extremely common to feel as though your body failed you….that it didn’t do what it was designed to do….that you feel broken and helpless. Sometimes birth takes away any sense of control over your own body, especially when there are decisions being made by someone other than the birthing mother….and sometimes those decisions had to be made for the health of mom and baby.
In physical therapy we start from the beginning to reconnect you to the basic function of your body…..normalizing breathing patterns in order to improve muscle function and calm the nervous system. We reconnect your brain to your deep abdominal and pelvic muscles; the muscles that are responsible for holding your spine and pelvis together. It is common that after an experience that involved some possible emotional trauma, these muscles are not working efficiently, especially if there was physical trauma to these tissues during a vaginal or cesarean delivery. Over the weeks of physical therapy, moms start to feel their muscles respond, hugging them and holding them as they move around the day. Moms start to tell me that they don’t feel so vulnerable in their own skin anymore and have more confidence that their body can function the way it’s supposed to. In just a few short weeks these moms are standing taller and their initial despair has lifted and they literally have a glow that wasn’t there in the beginning.
Birth doesn’t always go as planned and while I can’t change those facts, I’ve seen the positive effects when we give these moms the care that all moms deserve…..supporting not only her mental health but also her physical health; changing her belief that her body “cannot” into the experience that her body “can”….that her body is connected, strong and capable.
Some things are out of our control but getting the care we need to heal from birth is within our control. Find yourself someone who will guide you to finding that connection. It is my honor to do this for my clients.