Author: Dr. Blair Green PT, DPT, OCS, PHC

March is Women’s History Month and I won’t dwell on the fact that there is only one month to celebrate women and the impact we have made in the world. At Catalyst Physical Therapy we have the privilege of working with amazing women every single day - something we do not take for granted! In honor of this month, I thought it would be great to touch on the concept of acceptance. This is something that I think a lot of women struggle with, especially when recovering from pregnancy and childbirth, and even into the perimenopause years.

Acceptance involves many things, from embracing a new body to adopting a new lifestyle. Throughout our lives we go through many stages, each met with its own set of challenges. Any type of injury or change to the physical body is a time to step back and reconnect. In the physical therapy world this typically centers on physical awareness: How is the body moving? How does it feel? Is there pain or weakness? What’s important to recognize, however, is that physical awareness is just one piece of a much larger picture. What we see time and time again are women whose lives are changed completely - not just because of their physical injury - from each stage of life. Becoming a mother (for the first time or any time) or going through midlife transitions, such as menopause, is not only a physical change, but also an emotional transformation. There is so much more involved in the recovery process than “do these exercises,” or “here’s how to do a Kegel.” Feeling comfortable in her own body is the necessary first step but this also must evolve to embracing a new level of physical and emotional capabilities.This requires self acceptance but also is often not possible without the support of others. This is where a patient-centered physical therapist can become a friend and ally.

Moving from “I can’t” to “I can” is rarely a linear process. It requires belief that the body is meant to change, and even though it may be physically different, her old friend is still there making sure she can get through whatever challenges life throws at her. Having support to see the process through is crucial. Taking baby steps, with small measures of success and a person right there to support you through the challenges and wins is imperative.

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