A Day in the Life of a Midwife turned Pregnancy and Postpartum Athleticism Coach
“So, you do what?” Head tilts slightly to the right, brow furrows slightly. I continue.
“OK… I see.” But I don’t really believe her. She is being polite. I appreciate that.
This is on me, not her. I have to do a better job explaining what it is that I do and why. But there isn’t an easy 30 second elevator pitch for this newish, rare profession. Way to go Tanya, I replaced one career that most think of as extinct with one that hardly exists!
Every Sunday morning, I sit down at my computer to review the recent progress of my mama’s. I focus on the postpartum moms first because this is the bulk of my clientele. After all, we are only pregnant for 9 months but then we are postpartum forever. The first is 11 weeks postpartum, another 15 weeks, another 7 months, yet another about to celebrate a first birthday and so on. I know their medical histories, their birth stories, who is having pain and where, who is sleeping at night and who isn’t. Who is seeing the pelvic floor PT and when. I take all of this and more into consideration as I write each week’s workouts. Perhaps more importantly, as I consider the movement modifications they may need based on where they are at and how fast they are progressing towards their goals. My instinct is to slow them down, remind them that it will all come together in due time, when all the conditions are right. And then sometimes their sudden progress surprises me. It’s like when you are pregnant, and you wake up one morning looking significantly more pregnant than the day before or how your baby can grow a whole pound seemingly overnight. Sometimes one’s capacity or core strength, that wasn’t there last week suddenly reappears and I’m caught off guard by the strength and resilience of my mamas.
Some just want to move, to blow off some steam. Some are looking to get back to their favorite sport or give a new hobby with high physical demands a try for the first time. Some are slow, cautious and meticulous with their movement and we are working on feeling free, being dynamic and using momentum to propel them to the next level. Some are in a rush to “get back to their old selves” and so we talk about what this really means and what it looks like in reality when you are sleep deprived, breastfeeding half of each day and your estrogen levels are giving you a sneak peek of what perimenopause might look like.
Sometimes I have one baby in a carrier on my chest and one sleeping in their rocker hoping that the loud noises of the gym will keep working that mysterious gym magic because mama is working on a movement that might not be possible with a baby in her arms. (I’ll have to consider this potential scenario when programming for next week!) And sometimes, like today, we take a break 10 min into the warm-up because baby is hungry. So, we rest while mom and baby nurse and I say we can run over, its ok, take your time. And then I burp the baby while mom gets right back to her banded side steps and I get spit up on. Just a day in the life of a midwife turned P&PA coach.
Other days are spent in front of spreadsheets and making flyers and writing presentations about fitness in the perinatal period for healthcare professionals who are in need of the tools that will allow them to do better, be more supportive and aware of fact vs fiction. There is so much work still to be done so that folks understand the mission that I am on. So, here it is. Today’s version of the 30 second elevator pitch. What I am doing on the day to day, in a nutshell.
I give pregnant and postpartum people a safe space to exist in their physical bodies.
I remove barriers to movement! Movement (exercise, call it what you want) is second only to nutrition in our wellness journeys.
I provide education, resources and empowerment while moving and playing and sometimes while laughing or crying.
I help people make the right choices for themselves when it comes to protecting their core and pelvic floor (before, during and after pregnancy). This looks different for each individual. There is no recipe, or one size fits all approach.
I go to my client’s homes and talk to them about birth, teach their partners strategies to help them move through their labors, I come back to help with breastfeeding. I remind them to rest and rest some more until its really time to start moving again, to reconnect to their core’s and pelvic floors.
And then I ease them back in. At their own pace, in their own time. Prioritizing rest and sleep and bonding and forming families.
This is what I do. Just a day in the life of a midwife turned P&PA coach.