I started running when my son, Kamea (now 4) was 4 weeks old.
I was struggling to process his birth
I was struggling with my new identity as a mom
I was struggling with lack of sleep and feeding difficulties
Running was the only was the only coping tool I was using at that time
It was also the only time I felt like I have "peace" from a "colic-y" newborn, as he would sleep when I was going more than 6mph - walking wouldn't cut it.
I joined a local moms running group and these women were incredible. I didn't even really talk to the people there that much if I'm being honest. But simply working hard, pushing myself and being around other people who were moms too was keeping me a float in one of the craziest times in my life.
One day after a run I was taking a quick shower while Kam screamed - He always screamed.
During this quick scrub down, I felt something between my legs.
I wasn't a pelvic floor PT at this time, and wasn't particularly familiar with my own anatomy, but I grabbed a mirror and could clearly see something in my vaginal opening that (despite my minimal pelvic floor knowledge back then) didn't "look right".
Cue the spiral...
Cue the guilt, shame, worry, stress anxiety....
Cue the obsessive checking day after day...
Cue the late night googles and image searches trying to convince myself ....well... maybe it's not that...
Cue the pelvic floor evaluation I had where I was told I should never run, jump or lift again because my cystocele and rectocele could completely fall out. - cue eye-roll (it can't FYI)
I never thought I would want to be a pelvic floor PT.
I wanted to be a mom, but I didn't want that to mean I had to dive into "mom world" in my physical therapy career.
Welp... it got personal.... And I got mad.
Mad that I felt alone, mad no one told me or was talking about this, and mad that the solutions were so limited.
Mad that this type of injury was somehow more taboo than any other type of injury.
Mad that there were all sorts of pelvic floor conditions that pelvic floor therapy can help with, that people don't know enough about!
My anger turned to passion and I turned this passion into seeking all the information I possibly could.
Almost 5 years and a second baby later I'm here creating a life, and serving a mission I could have never imagined back then.
Looking back, I'm so grateful for that journey. I think that "shower Hayley" who was freaking out about a bulge in her vagina would be proud of me today. Proud that I am creating a space in the world where we can talk openly about our journeys, and I can do my best to support you through it.
I am hosting a Pelvic Organ Prolapse Masterclass July 25th at 8PM CT via Zoom, but if you stay tuned to my social media for the rest of July I will be covering all things POP!
I also offer both in person and virtual consults for those seeking more individualized advice