There is no magic social media account that is going to have all of the answers. So much of the information out there is trying to get you to buy something with a promise for a quick fix. It is so much more than just safe/unsafe exercises.
There is no weekend certification that makes someone ready to train this population. Instead, you need someone with lengthy training that uses critical thinking and creativity while also addressing the biopsychosocial model.
The problem is that we crave black and white answers to our problems because that makes us feel better and safer. However, in the end, embracing the grey area will be the only way to truly grow and heal. I remember searching for answers and focusing more on what I wanted to hear rather than what I didn’t because I was so terrified for my athletic career. But your story can be different, find the people out there with hopeful, progressive, and educated messaging; it will change everything for you.
Are you working with someone ….
...that is willing to say, “I was wrong about that?” ...that is willing to refer out if they just don’t know? ...that chooses integrity over making money? ...that tries to disprove what they think the answer might be to check their own biases? ...that is constantly learning and seeking professional development? ...that is REALLY listening?
I am still working hard at doing these things as a coach, so I can be the best I can be for my patients. Your doctor, physical therapist, OB, and whoever else should all proceed in the same manner.
DO. NOT. SETTLE!
Let’s address the hierarchy of competence in regards to how this applies to YOU as a client, consumer, mother, and athlete.
Unconscious Incompetence: Many start out with unconscious competence, like I did, where “you just don’t know what you don’t know.” You “listen to your body” and just do whatever feels okay or maybe even push through pain because that is just what you are used to doing.
Conscious Incompetence: Then, you might see some inaccurate information online and starting changing what you are doing or thinking. So, you are aware things need to change, but it isn’t the right information. This can go a lot of different ways. For example, many women can be completely scared out of exercising during pregnancy or postpartum OR they become reckless because they don’t want to look “weak” and feel that being “fit” makes them exempt.
Conscious Competence: This is when you become aware of the quality information and begin working on it! This is a great place to be; just not a place to be forever. For example, when I was pregnant with my second son I was breathing out and doing pelvic floor contractions whenever I picked up a piece of paper from the ground. Picking up a piece of paper should not be such a conscious effort. However, I was making everything a conscious effort out of a deep rooted fear and a fight to control whatever I could to make up for the time lost not knowing.
So, women often get stuck here because they are lacking the right coaching and support team to help them progress. It is hard to figure this all out on your own when you are managing pain, pressure, and/or leaking while also feeling like you need to make up for lost time.
Unconscious Competence: Working with clients so they can reach this goal of automaticity and unconscious competence is such rewarding work for me. When you are doing something like picking up your toddler or doing an Olympic lift like the snatch, you aren’t thinking about every muscle as you move. You just do it. The way your pelvic floor and abs respond in these situations can become automatic like that, too! It is truly the most amazing and exciting thing, and you just need the right team of people with the right training helping you reach this goal.
Can simple online programs work for some people? Absolutely. However, if those programs didn't help you that doesn’t mean anything wrong with you! You simply need individualized care, which isn't a popularized idea but what most women need.
I want to get you back to lifting your kids and/or doing your favorite fitness routine symptom-free! So, if you feel stuck, please reach out. There is so much hope, and you are not alone.