I’m a Mother. I’m also an Occupational Therapist.
And the two are more inter-related than I ever imagined they would be.
If there’s been one thing that has influenced my job as an OT more than anything else, it’s been becoming a mother.
As an OT, I’ve worked in a few different fields – vocational rehab, mental health, physical rehab, hand therapy, soft tissue injury management. But even these changes in work fields didn’t have the same level of influence over my daily work as an OT than motherhood did.
Why motherhood? How can something that isn’t even related to my job have such an impact on my career? And I’m talking about more than my decision to change to part-time work, or to need flexible hours. I’m talking about how my role as a mother had fundamentally changed the way I view my profession, the way I relate to my clients, the way I value the philosophy of OT in general.
Because motherhood is more than just birthing a baby and raising a child. It’s something else entirely. It’s what I consider to be the “greatest occupation” there is. Because for most of us who are mothers, we carry it with us everywhere we go. It’s the one role in our life which permeates all others. Once we become a mother, it changes us. It changes our physicality, our hormonal balances, our mindset, our psychology, our spirit. In essence, it changes our whole being. And from that point on, every decision you ever make in your life is influenced somehow, in some way, by the fact that you’re a mother.
I very easily could have said: I’m an Occupational Therapist. I’m also a mother.
But it doesn’t really work that way. Because, now, I’m a mother first and foremost. Even in the middle of my workday, when my children are the furthest thing from my mind, they’re still there, skipping around the edges of my subconscious.
To be honest, I never really gave much thought to how motherhood would change me. I guess I sort of figured it would change the things that I did, the structure of my daily life. But I didn’t expect it to make such a profound change inside of me – to alter how I see myself and perceive the world around me. I was completely unprepared for the upheaval it caused within me.
But I know I’m not alone in that respect. I speak to women every single day who talk about how motherhood has changed them. Women whose babies are just days old, through to seasoned grannies! Change is always the constant.
Which is why I talk about this in my postnatal wellbeing course, Body Mind Baby. Because as an expectant or new Mum, most women don’t get the chance to speak to health professionals about their expectations of motherhood – of what it means for them and how they see themselves, and how it impacts their wellbeing. So much of the antenatal and early postnatal care we receive is focused on the baby – are they feeding, are they sleeping, have you figured out what that pink rash is yet? And unless a Mum appears to be not coping, rarely will someone sit down with her for an in-depth conversation about herself.
Which brings me back to the fact that I’m a Mother and an Occupational Therapist. And just as I can’t switch off my Mum brain when I’m working, I also can’t switch off my OT brain as a Mum.
Which is a good thing, because there is sooooo much I learned at Uni through my OT studies, which has helped me along this motherhood jaunt. From human anatomy and physiology, to child development, psychology 101 and sociology. OT is an amazing profession and being an OT has definitely shaped me as a mother. For the better, I like to think.
I’m an Occupational Therapist. And that means I help people to live their best lives and to fulfill the roles and occupations within them the way they want to.
And as I said before, Motherhood is the greatest occupation of all. So I feel so privileged to be able to work with new Mums every day to help them find their feet in their new role and to figure out how it works for them and how they can best keep themselves well through this time of enormous emotional and physical upheaval.
I’d like all new Mums to feel confident having these important conversations about their own wellbeing, on a regular basis. To know that their health and needs are just as important as their child’s and that it deserves just as much airtime.
Because if being a mother is important, then shouldn’t we place grater importance on taking care of mothers?
Until next time,
Be well and Live Your Best Life.
Ps. If you’re in Adelaide there’s still time to join my next Body Mind Baby course which starts on Wednesday 7th June. Check it out here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.