We sing the praises of professional athletes. They push themselves and their bodies to the limit, ultimately sacrificing their bodies for the sport. Sound familiar? Mothers, or anyone who gives birth, push their bodies to the limit and go through hormonal, psychological, and physical changes, all for the life of another. We don’t treat these moms as well as we do professional athletes, because we expect this of them. We expect them to give the ultimate sacrifices and to just be grateful that they could. The best example of this imbalance is when talking about an athletic injury vs. childbirth.
When an athlete suffers from an injury or needs surgery, they receive top-of-the-line care in order to get them back to playing and feeling their best as soon as possible. This includes physical therapy, education, and professional support. Mothers undergo severe physical trauma during childbirth and the education and support they receive is not nearly as extensive as it should be. Not to mention, they went through nine months of physical changes that impact their muscles and alignment. All of these things should be addressed by a physical therapist. Why is a postpartum mom any different? Even if there is a discrepancy in funds, the information should be the same. The frustrating truth is that moms are just not given all of the information for their postpartum care.
Postpartum is forever, and you do have options. Women and mothers tend to put up with a lot of common postpartum symptoms that are easily treatable. We place pressure on new moms to “bounce back” but don’t give them any of the right tools. All of the focus is on the mom’s physique to fit this unattainable cultural ideal rather than on their health and wellbeing. This is important to note because when you think about it that way, it seems ridiculous. Mothers should be empowered to receive adequate postpartum care and to not suffer in silence. And if you are one of those moms, know that your postpartum health and happiness is so much more important than your postpartum ‘bikini body.’
What ends up happening, is that mothers feel this pressure to “get their body back” and they try to exercise the wrong ways or too quickly, and this ends up harming them and slowing their recovery. The worst thing for that “mummy tummy” is to do abdominal exercises and that is the first thing most women think to do. This is only something that you would learn if you were working with a pelvic floor PT. Anyone who has been injured or undergone surgery would be prescribed to see a PT, moms should be no different! An athlete would never be told “just deal with” any post-operation complications, or “have a glass of wine” to ease pain during an activity. So why are moms given this advice from their healthcare providers? A professional athlete would also never be recommended to do any activities too early or ones that would exacerbate their condition. Unfortunately, the same is not always for new moms. It’s unfortunate that there is so much misinformation, but doing your own research is a must!
That is why we are here! Research Pelvic Floor physical therapists in your area and find the one that is the best fit for you and your needs. They will be a valuable member of your postpartum recovery team and you will want to consult with an expert if you are experiencing painful intercourse, incontinence, or any heaviness in your pelvic area. These symptoms will only worsen with time and with getting back into certain activities. You’re more important than a professional athlete, you are a mom! So, research, find your team, and know that you are worth it.