My Physical Therapist is a Doula

Five years ago I injured my right shoulder.  I spent four years and three surgeries getting it fixed.  So, when my left shoulder starting hurting almost a year ago, I was afraid.  Afraid that I was starting down the same path.  It was for that very reason that I didn’t go to the Dr. for more than six months.

Fast forward….I have now been in physical therapy for about 3 months.  I had to change therapy practices and now I am very happy with my therapist, Greg.  He pushes me and is trying his hardest to get my shoulder into the best shape it can be.

On Friday I was having an especially hard day.  Pain is hard and my fear of the pain was making it so much worse.  It all came to a head when he was moving my arm and I started to cry.  It hurt so bad.  He believed me.  He knew it hurt, but he also knew that my head was getting in the way of my progress.  He knew that my fear from what had happened to my right shoulder was paralyzing me.  He told me that he understood how afraid I was.  I was crying the whole time.  Then he said the words that would make it all make sense to me.

“You are doing great, Erin.  I believe that you will get better. I just need you to believe it, too.”

How many times have I said that during someone’s labor?  How many times have I looked someone in the eye and said that I believed in them? They could do this.  I just needed them to believe it!

There have been so many times that I’ve been with a client that had a traumatic birth experience and they have fear about what will happen during their next birth.  We spend time talking about those fears.  I tell them that every birth is different.  I tell them that I believe in them.  I will be right by their side the whole time.  But they need to be the one that believes it!

Honestly, I was reminded last week how hard it is to get rid of our fears.  It takes hard work and letting our bodies heal.  Each story matters and each story is different.  Little did I know that it would take a PT appointment to remind me of that.  And I’m pretty sure that Greg has no idea that he is actually a doula.

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