The pandemic has been hard on people, but I think it’s been even harder on women. The physical and emotional caregiving, teaching our kids at home, coupled with working inside and outside the house. It’s been a lot! The circumstances have got me thinking about the women I get to work with both as patients and as clinicians. They have amazing stories of strength, resilience, and perseverance in the face of emotional and physical struggles. I try to make sure each of them is able to recognize the unique gifts and talents they bring to the world.
Unfortunately, I also hear stories from women about how they are struggling with unexpected physical changes. Changes that occur after childbirth that no one told them could happen. Changes with a diagnosis of pelvic organ problems like endometriosis or interstitial cystitis. Changes with aging, menopause or cancer, or any number of diagnoses that we treat as a pelvic floor physical therapist.
It’s not just the physical changes, it’s our reaction and our loved one’s reactions to those changes that influence how we feel about those changes. I am glad that we know more than ever about how to treat problems with pelvic organs and pelvic floor. But what women also talk about, is the shame they feel about having these diagnoses and what it does to their concept of who they are. Who they are as a person, and as a woman.
Brene’ Brown states “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging. I am bad. I am a mess. The focus is on self, not on behavior, with the result that we feel alone.”
I hear women talk a lot about feeling alone in their search for healing! We feel like we are the only person that is dealing with changes after childbirth, or the pain of endometriosis, or prolapse or fill in the blank with your pelvic diagnosis. We are not alone, and I hear you!
I began my path of specializing in pelvic floor problems after the birth of my first child when I felt very broken and less of a woman. I wasn’t prepared for the changes that came with birthing a baby vaginally. I didn’t push effectively and tore my entire ligament support system on my right side. I remember distinctly feeling a golf ball of “something” in my right labia after his birth. As crazy as it sounds, when I asked my doctor what it was, I was never given a straight answer. Just that what I was experiencing was normal after childbirth. Normal? I was leaking urine, sitting on a golf ball, constipated and trying to take care of a crying, colicky baby. I would never wish my “normal” on anyone.
I only mention my own story to let you know why I understand. Why when I hear women’s stories about feeling like they are alone out there dealing with their concerns, it makes me sad because YOU ARE NOT ALONE! We will be your partner to help you heal. We are different because of how we work in an integrated way with other providers to create a team that meets your unique concerns. We are a no-shame clinic!
Pinnacle – It’s not just our name, it’s part of your mission. We will meet you wherever you are on your path to wellness and help you reach your personal pinnacle. Where do you want to go? Is there something that you want to do that you can’t right now? We are here to listen, to help you understand what’s going on, and to help you find a path forward.
Earnest Hemmingway said,” The world breaks everyone and afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places” Maybe that’s because actually, those places aren’t broken anymore but just different. We hope to meet you soon to hear your story!