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

Emily* walked into my office looking exhausted, physically and mentally spent and like she had no more to give. She said she wanted help with her pelvic organ prolapse that she noticed after returning to exercise following her third pregnancy. We spoke about pressure management and I gave her some homework. She did everything I asked, and then some. She was determined to overcome this and get back to running. However, maternity leave was coming to an end and she was going to be back at work full time the next week. She didn’t know how she would manage her kids, her job and still have time to focus on healing her body. She went back to running, her primary form of stress relief and just dealt with the pelvic pressure. She thought of trying a pessary. I saw her for a follow up about a month later. I noticed physical changes that signaled low estrogen levels (she was no longer nursing), and she had clearly lost weight. Her prolapse symptoms remained unchanged. 

This prompted me to speak to her about sleep, nutrition, slowing down, breathing and so much more. In my opinion, she was both physically and emotionally depleted and not putting herself first. 

While this is one woman’s story, this is something that we see frequently at Catalyst Physical Therapy: moms who are broken down, depleted and in need of more than exercises to address her musculoskeletal impairments. Moms who are placing their self worth in the hands of their physical abilities; so much so that they reach a point of diminishing returns. Doing more, not getting rest, going to the point of exhaustion, not seeing results, doing more… repeat. What we’ve found is that we can focus on things like strength, mobility and coordination, but until she gives herself permission to put her health and well-being first, recovery will be slow and sometimes non-existent. We can talk about all the reasons this may happen but this is not a blog about adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance and RED-S. Rather, it’s a plea for you to stop the hustle and start taking care of yourself.


That mom hustle you are used to? It’s not serving anyone, but most importantly, it's not serving you. Your time is valuable. You are more than mom. And when you begin to see that, to really believe that, then the healing happens. Until then, it’s just exercises, and going through the motions, wondering when things will change and why it is not getting better. Society tells you to give to your kids, your family, your home, even your job. That you can do kegels and start working out and be back to your “old self” in no time. Get up earlier, work harder, do it all. 

Doing all the things is great, but until you decide to put yourself first, true change is not possible. So how do you start? It would be great if there were a pill, a mantra, a “something,” however, this is not the case. It starts with a mindset shift, a commitment to you. Tell yourself every day that you are worthy, that change is possible and that a stronger version of yourself is waiting on the other side. Then, the hard work begins. Change the habits. Honor yourself and your body. Nourish it with healthy, nutrient-dense food, get sleep, ask for help.


You cannot possibly do this alone. Ask your spouse, your partner, your family. Hire help if and when you can. Use that time to engage in healthy behaviors so that when you are at work or with your children you are using that time in the best possible way. I know you want to do it all. Superwoman exists in comic books and movies. Be you. Be the best version of you, and love yourself for where you are. Even if you are not yet where you want to be. Learn to accept where you are as you strive for more. When you give yourself permission to breathe and rest and move at a pace that feels right for you, that’s when you will begin to see the results.

So Emily - she reached out to me not long after that day, admitting she had been experiencing the symptoms of an eating disorder and was seeking out treatment. She thanked me for noticing that she wasn’t her best self. This was several years ago and we still speak. In fact, she got the help she needed and is thriving as a mom AND as a business owner. 

When we slow down, stop the hustle, and honor where we are, it becomes possible: for you, for her, for all of us.

*name changed for patient privacy

Feeling like you need more support? Looking for someone who will listen and help you figure out your best path to postpartum recovery? Or recovery from an injury? Reach out here and set up a consultation with one of our women’s health physical therapists.