"Being the first person they've come across who understands exactly what they're going through - either the symptom, system or experience."
What drew you to this work?
I was drawn to study Chinese medicine on... somewhat of a whim. I wanted to change my career trajectory and I knew I wanted to work with the body. I knew next to nothing about Chinese medicine, but had this intuitive moment where I thought - that's it. That's what I can see myself doing in twenty years! That was a really special moment, because at that point in my life, I could barely imagine what the next year would look like.
Working with reproductive health and pregnancy had a similarly intuitive feel. I was diagnosed with endometriosis in my third year of study and so I followed the breadcrumbs in my studies - seeing what worked for me and learning as much as I could. The patients came and as I saw myself helping them, I knew I'd found my niche.
And in terms of pregnancy and reproductive care? You only need to poke your head inside the system for one moment to learn that women need advocates and options. There are plenty of people trying to take advantage, to gaslight and to muddy the waters. Being able to guide and help people on their journeys is absolutely the most affirming path I've ever followed.
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
Lightening the load for people. Being the first person they've come across who understands exactly what they're going through - either the symptom, system or experience. Being able to light the way so they know what to expect. Helping people feel better. Showing women that there is another way and that it's NOT nonsense or witchcraft - it's actually quite sensible and simple (maybe a little bit of witchcraft sometimes).
What is the most memorable thing you can tell someone about your job?
I will never get over the shared joy when a fertility patient sits down and tells me they're pregnant. I almost always scream with joy and laughter. And it would be remiss of me to not mention the look of shock on a person's face when they explain that a symptom has eased or gone. Particularly a missing period coming back - that is really special.
Based on your area of expertise, what can you share with our followers about postpartum care?
If possible, begin your postpartum care BEFORE pregnancy. I will shout from the rooftops for folks to engage in some form of preconception care for a healthy postpartum and YES, that is so you and your partner are in the best shape possible prior to conceiving your kiddo, but quality preconception care will also hold YOU in good stead after they are earth-side. Have a Chinese medicine doctor or naturopath go over your bloods before AND after and increase nutrient density of dietary intake (this doesn't mean you can't eat chocolate too).
Don't be afraid to rest. In my practice I have really noted that again, this is important to settle into at least a little during pregnancy. The world that we live in is incredibly active - we are constantly bombarded with information, entertainment etc etc. I've noticed plenty of new mothers struggling with the notion of rest. They struggle to say no to visitors, to allow the house to get messy and want to be out and about within a week. I think many people would do well to question why they are in a hurry to get back to life as usual. How can they adjust, even slightly, to their new life. This is not to say that a new mother is an invalid, but the practice of rest will hold you in good stead not just for the present moment, but the following years.
It's all well and good for me to suggest being organised for your postpartum with a full freezer, a meal train and some good rest, BUT practically speaking - find your health team!
Chinese medicine practitioner! I am both a herbalist and an acupuncturist so I am biased, but I do like to tell my patients (and anyone who will listen) that a good CM prac are worth their weight in gold. Yes, often we have a field of interest, but often your practitioner can see you through more health / physical ailments than you would think. Always ask them - "so this thing is happening - are you able to help with that?" And if we can't, we'll refer you to someone who can.
Either enlist a lactation consultant during pregnancy or have one lined up, just in case - lookout for the acronym IBCLC - watch how-to videos on breastfeeding - don't assume "it'll just come naturally"
Pelvic health physio - the best kind of physio. Worthwhile to see during pregnancy to confirm whether your pelvic floor is hypertonic (doesn't like to let go), or weak - this will dictate birth prep - don't assume you need to just strengthen your pelvic floor. Also great postpartum for check ups even if you delivered via c-section!
Physical health. Find the movement that works for you, try to engage with it in pregnancy and find the space postpartum. MANY personal trainers work via zoom these days, so if they know your body during pregnancy, they will be worth their weight in gold as you refind your strength postpartum (and post confinement). Diversify, be ready for change. Know when slow movement is good (yin yoga) and when strength work is good. The happy hormones from exercise or movement are a godsend.
Consider a doula if it's within your means - they often do full packages OR one off visits. There are so many available and I'm confident you could find one to suit your personality. Ask around.
See our Instagram post here.