Maternal & pre-conception health: Interview with Physiotherapist Sissy Taufika

Maternal & pre-conception health: Interview with Physiotherapist Sissy Taufika

Nicky: Today I'm going to be talking to Sissy Taufika. She's a registered Physiotherapist, Nutritionist and Life Coach who works holistically with families and children. The company is called Absolute Potential Health and Performance, and it's a one-of-a-kind wellness studio on the Sunshine Coast. Sissy is mother to a two-year-old little girl.

Today we're going to be talking about how important your health and movement is right from preconception, through pregnancy, through the postnatal period. We will talk about some things you can do to ensure you are getting enough exercise in during your pregnancy and how to make sure it's the right kind of exercise for the stage you are at.

We'll talk a bit about self-care and how mothers and fathers can take care of each other and themselves in the postnatal period. We will be talking about exercise and why it is important not only to yourself but also to your growing baby to get the right amount of exercise during your pregnancy.

To start with, can you tell me about your own journey into motherhood, which was a couple of years ago now. What did you find easy? What did you find challenging?

Sissy: I actually found the transition to being a stay-at-home, full-time mom in the early months relatively easy. I was quite lucky. My little girl took to breastfeeding quite well. I was mentally ready to take a break from work, and physically, I recovered really well from the birth, which I'm so grateful for.

Probably the most challenging has been recently, the last six months or so, trying to juggle motherhood, being a partner and starting up a new clinic. We moved from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast at the start of the year, which meant setting up a brand new clinic, marketing, website, starting everything from scratch with a one-and-a-bit-year-old who didn't really want to be apart from me.

I think the thing that made it a little bit tricky for our situation is my partner, who's in a wheelchair, actually started having some health issues around the same time. It was really quite a difficult time because I felt so torn between wanting to look after my family and wanting to get started with this business that I'm so passionate about.

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So it really, really highlighted to me that whole mom guilt phenomenon, which we have experienced. It's because I felt guilty for wanting to spend time on my business when I felt like that was taking time away from taking care of my family, my little girl and my partner. It was a really tough time, that conflict between the two, which I'm sure a lot of moms would go through as well, especially moms that have returned to work and have their own business and things like that as well. That was definitely the most challenging for me.

Nicky: The mom guilt is very, very real.

Sissy: Yeah, there was a study that I was looking at by a researcher up here in Queensland that did her PhD on it and she was talking about how for moms, going to work is still considered a choice. Whereas for men, it's not a choice. We just assume they go back to work. So that's why for us, when we have to choose between work and family, we feel like we're taking away from our family and it's crazy that we all feel that way.

Nicky: It's one of those, you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. I know a lot of mothers who have to go back to work, for instance, because they financially need to and they feel guilty they have to go back to work.

I also know mothers who choose to stay at home and forfeit an income and their family sort of struggles financially as a result, and they feel guilty about that. It's like, you can't win.

How did you get through that? How did you find the balance?

Sissy: It was tricky. I think it was, as I said, it was a really stressful time. I actually think communication with your partner is really important. I had to almost take a bit of a step back from the work. That was a decision that I made because I knew that this period, where he might need a little bit more help, was something that I needed to focus on right now and that the business would sort of still be there which, that wasn't easy.

That was really tricky, because for the last year to get back, waiting for the move to get started. Emotionally, it was quite frustrating for me as well. But I had to really just, like I said, take that time and I know we're going to talk about it later in terms of mindfulness and the meditation. Those kinds of strategies helped me through as well to realize that, it doesn't all have to be done now. My partner was super supportive as well. He understood and he was like, "Don't feel guilty. It's your career, it's what you've been waiting to do. I want to support you as much as possible with it."

So I think definitely talking to your partner and having that conversation makes a big difference to that kind of situation too.

Nicky: I think so. So what is it that you do? I know you're working in maternal health as well. Why are you so passionate about that area?

Sissy: My qualifications: I'm a registered physio. I'm an integrated movement specialist, but I'm also a nutritionist and a life coach. So sometimes I say I'm an integrative health practitioner because that's really what I do. I take all my skills and knowledge in all those areas and combine them to work with the families and children in a holistic manner, if that makes sense.

I'd be from preconception or prenatal and postnatal help with working with parents to help them regain their health. I also work specifically with babies and children. So in the early intervention, tricky area, but look at the physical as well as, as I said, the diet and nutrition, as well.

In regards to why I became so passionate about maternal health, definitely becoming a mom. I think it's so cliche that everyone says your life changes, and it totally does. To me, although I've always worked holistically, that target group of wanting to work with moms, parents and helping them and supporting them to achieve their best health so they can be the best parents they can be. That became so important for me because I really realized that when we're not feeling our best, it's so hard to give 100% and be that parent that you want to be. That has a big carry on effect to the health of our children. Really, that's what I want to do. I want to help change the trajectory of our children's current health situation. It's so scary to think about these 10-year-olds with type 2 diabetes and obesity is a problem in like six- or seven-year-olds. And yet, we have so much influence over that as parents. So yeah, I think you're good. You know, if we can feel our best, then we can be the best example for our kids.

Nicky: That's exactly right. We're modelling what they should be doing and thinking, and how they should be reacting and responding to food and to exercise and to mental health.

Sissy: It's funny there's so many parents telling their kids that they've got to eat healthy. But then if you are eating not so great stuff, that's the stuff they pick up on. That's where it's so important to take care of yourself first, and then you can be that parent that you want to be. You can grow, have happy and healthy kids.

Nicky: So do you do one-on-one training? Do you do clinics, classes? How exactly does that operate?

Sissy: I do a bit of both. I work one-on-one with, like I said, with couples on the preconception stage so that they fall pregnant naturally. So that's with mom and dad cause both are super important in that stage of life.

I do one-on-one, sort of pre and postnatally, so moms that are experiencing you know, post-pregnancy issues, dads as well that are wanting to get back into shape cause it's so hard with having kids. That's where I really specialize is in kind of customizing fitness fitting into busy family life.

The other thing I do, too, is I run a prenatal workshop. It's an eight-week workshop. There are small groups of eight mums or so. Basically, I go over, not only the physical side of things, the nutrition side of things, but also the mindfulness side of things, the importance of sleep. It's a really holistic workshop, in a group situation, which then becomes almost like your little moms' group while they're pregnant, and then they can carry on that relationship because community is so important. Support in that network is massive.

Nicky: So, if we're talking about ways that mothers and fathers, I suppose, can look after their health in that preconception and pregnancy period, what are some key things that you would be recommending they do?

Sissy: Obviously, there's a lot of things, I think, from a nutrition and mindfulness point of view. A lot of people know about that, but I definitely think movement is a huge role in maternal and paternal health that not a lot of people think about. Starting from preconception, it's a really important time that's really undervalued. It sets up a foundation for a healthy child and we know things like obesity and being underweight have a negative effect on becoming pregnant. So utilizing exercise and movement to help you reach a more healthy weight for yourself is really important.

On the flip side, if you're exercising a lot, doing a lot of high impact exercises, training every single day, that can have a negative impact on you getting pregnant. For that type of person, they might actually be looking at reducing the amount of exercise they're doing in that preconception period because it affects your hormones, exercising that much, particularly, if you've also got symptoms like amenorrhea where you've lost your periods. Depending on what sort of target population you're in, it's just about modifying your exercise in that time to help support you.

What I do with a lot of my moms, during that preconception time, is get them to start doing the pelvic floor exercises and deep abdominal exercises. It's much harder to do these things after everything's stretched out, for lack of a better word.

Nicky: That's a very descriptive explanation.

Sissy: I think it's great that they have physios. I don't know if they do that in New Zealand, but in Australia they do have a physio come in and see you the day after you've given birth to go over pelvic floor exercises.

Nicky: No, we don't have that here.

Sissy: It's great that they do that.

Nicky: Yeah.

Sissy: But when you think about it, the day after you've had a baby, there's no way you're taking on any of that information. You do have to seek external help. There's a lot of women, as you would know, that experience the diastasis recti, the separation, prolapse, incontinence. I think starting a lot of these exercises before you even get pregnant just helps you to lay down again that really strong foundation, so you're stronger through pregnancy and recover a lot better afterwards.

Sissy: I guess that then leads into that prenatal pregnancy period. Exercise, you know, is super important. I'm a huge fan of doing exercise, but I think it's really important not to overdo it when you're pregnant.

We're not talking about people that have always lifted weights, always run a lot. Those people generally can exercise and keep exercising up until a certain point in their pregnancy. But for those people as well, it's important that they listen to their bodies, because physically, there's so many changes that go on in your body when you're pregnant. Hormones are different, muscular, skeletal changes, you've got physiological changes and your body's just not the same when you're pregnant, no matter what anybody says.

I think the other really important thing to remember, too, is that you're responsible for a human. You can't exercise crazily or start a new exercise. It's not a time to start like a crazy, 12-week let's get in shape kind of program like that. You want to leave that to the side when you're pregnant and not start anything new.

I guess just some specific points for moms during pregnancy, in regards to movement and exercise, is just some kind of daily exercise. Even if it's just a walk, is really important. It actually helps to stimulate your baby's own movement development down the track and helps to develop their nervous system, their cardiovascular health, it even helps to reduce their risk of diabetes and obesity down the track as well, just from the mom exercising while she's pregnant.

Continuing the pelvic floor and core exercise, as I already mentioned, that's huge. Definitely keep doing that while you're pregnant. The biggest thing I think to be a bit careful of is overstretching and sort of end-of-range movements. A lot of mothers hear about the hormone relaxin, that helps to loosen everything up for birth. It makes you feel like you've got more flexibility and mobility; but it also means you're at higher risk of injury, it is why so many women experienced SIJ or sacroiliac pain during pregnancy, and that's due to those ligaments starting to relax a bit more and then us having issues with walking and rolling around and things like that too.

I really like natural movements too. I think just normal things like swimming or gardening or even just squatting, are really, really important, particularly in the third trimester. Squatting really helps to open up the pelvic outlet to help move your baby's head into that downward position for birth. So it's actually a really nice, natural movement that can actually help a natural delivery as well.

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Probably the last point I'd say too is just get outside to move. That links in really well with going for that daily walk. Vitamin D production from sunlight is super important for fetal bone growth, even things like miscarriage and brain development down the track, you're getting that safe sunlight while you're moving during pregnancy is super important for your baby's later health as well.

Nicky: That's awesome advice. What about in that postnatal period? Are we talking like baby pops out, jump back on the treadmill straight away? Should we be focused on getting our pre-baby bodies back? What are your thoughts on that?

Sissy: I know, I think that's another thing that kind of relates to that mom guilt a little bit too. There's so much pressure on moms to look a certain way, like within two weeks, especially when you see celebrities posting stuff up on Instagram. How they've just lost all their baby weight in a week or two.

I think it's not realistic to think about because they will usually have a huge support network of people that can, one, look after their baby. They've probably got a PT that can spend two hours with them every day. I think it's not necessary. You definitely need to be listening to your body again. I think starting with something very simple, even just that walk, you can start doing that a couple of days after you've given birth, and that will just help you to recover as well. But if you don't even feel like doing that, that's not something that you need to push yourself to do anyway.

I definitely wouldn't be doing anything too heavy or too intensive. Levels of relaxin still hang around for a couple of weeks after you've given birth as well. So there is still a risk of injuring yourself after you've given birth. You want to ease back into things as well.

I can't encourage mothers enough to really just listen to their bodies and try to put away that guilt of having to get back into shape and exercise straight away, because it's not a time to be worrying about that. You've got a more important role during those first few months.

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Interview Part 2

Nicky: So the, I suppose that links into, the thing we briefly talked about earlier, with mindfulness and self-care. Particularly for mothers and new fathers too, and that massive devastating wake of having a new baby. Why is that so important? And also why is that something that seems to be quite hard to achieve?

Sissy: Look, I'm so glad you asked Nicky. I think it's, again, it's so important, but totally undervalued and so hard to implement. You know? Again, I think it has to do with that mom guilt, taking time for yourself to meditate or have a bath or relax.

Nicky: Or go for a walk.

Sissy: Yeah, exactly or go for a walk, without the baby. I think it's seen as a real indulgence in a way. Like your spoiling yourself, or you're doing something where you really should be focusing on taking care of your baby, or looking after your family, or doing something.

But I think it's hugely important. And it links again to the effect that it has on your baby. So prenatally, your baby experiences everything you experienced through the amniotic fluid. Through the blood that's being transported to the placenta. So if you're in a really high state of stress, those stress hormones, like cortisol for example, they get passed on directly to your baby.

And there's been a lot of research to actually show that high levels of stress and anxiety on the body, have a negative effect on your baby's IQ. You know, their social and behavioural issues down the track, postnatal depression in their mom afterwards. Even things like a shorter gestation. So the risk of having a preterm baby if you're very, very stressed during pregnancy as well. And I think personally, again, it's really important to start some of these mindfulness or meditation practices. Or whatever it is that you do in terms of self-care, again, before the baby gets there.

And I think the difficulty with implementing a mindfulness practice once your baby's there and it's all crazy, is very similar to why it's so hard to change your habit, when you're in a very stressful, full-on situation. Too many things already going on, and adding a mindfulness practise it's almost like a new ... It's a new skill that you're trying to learn. Here comes another stress that you know, you just aren't able to cope with. You know, your body only has a certain amount of reserve for stressful events to happen. And I think, you know, stress has taken on such a negative connotation in the last few years, but it's actually quite neutral, the definition. It's really just about, you know, a particular event that causes a change in your life, that depends on the perception of the individuals. So that's really where that mindfulness practice comes in, because it helps you to change your perception of different events that are occurring.

And as I said, anything that you can start before baby comes along, will actually make it easier for you to carry on once they are already there. So as I said, yeah, one of the reasons why I think it'd be so hard for us to start any kind of self care once baby is around. Which is generally when people are like, "Oh, maybe I do need to do something." It's something quite new. So I would really advocate all pregnant moms, even before you get pregnant. Just that implementing that, when things are less stressful.

Nicky: Yeah. Get into the habit of it.

Sissy: Exactly. Yeah. It'll give you a much higher level of success of keeping that going while the baby's there. And probably the other really important thing, and I heard this from another mum that I was talking to, is before your baby comes along, have a chat with your partner. About some things that he can sort of bring out when you need it.

So for example, for you it might be a massage, it might be him taking the baby for half an hour or so you can have a shower, or a bath or something like that. And write them all down. And it's almost like it becomes your little deck of cards. Because once you have the baby with ... Moms are terrible at asking for help. So you know, to put your hand up and say, "Hey, I need some time out now." Becomes really difficult.

So if your partners aware of the things that really help you during the stressful situation. And if he can see that you're getting a bit stressed out, he can actually come along and be like, "Well okay. So now I'm going to take the baby for half an hour. 'Cause he knows that that's going to work for you. You've discussed it before the baby, you know has come along. And you don't have to then ask for that help. He just kind of can help you out. Once he's seen that you actually need it.

Nicky: You could have a code word like bananas.

Sissy: Yeah exactly.

Nicky: Like bananas, bananas. And then he's like, "Right. Got it. I'll go take the baby for a walk."

Sissy: Exactly. Definitely.

Nicky: That's really important. That's something I was talking about with somebody else recently, was how important it is to just have all your expectations on the table, you know. 'Cause otherwise that's where the, I'm expecting him to do something. He doesn't know that, but I'm getting mad cause he's not doing it, but he doesn't know he's supposed to do it.

Sissy: Yep totally agree with you. And you know, half the time they actually don't know. And I think that's where ... That also helps to support our dads, because a lot of the time they feel quite left out and a bit, you know, helpless. Particularly when you're doing all the feeding, you're doing all the sleeping, you're doing a lot of that care for the baby.

They're kind of there in the background and going "I kind of want to help, but I have no idea how to." So if you give him some tools that he can use to help you, it makes him feel that more -

Nicky: Valued.

Sissy: Valued exactly. Yeah.

Nicky: I always said to my husband, "I'll keep the baby alive, you keep me alive." And that was the deal. I'll feed them, you feed me.

Sissy: Another milestone to is even just like leaving bottles of water around the house in strategic places, so that you don't have to get up and get water while you're breastfeeding, for example. It's something that they can do that's really easy.

Nicky: Or it might be for some people, it might be that their partner kind of their job is to encourage you to take that time out to say, "Have you gone for a walk today? Why don't you go, it's sunny now. Go out for 20 minutes and walk around the block and come back." You know, to kind of encourage that self-care period. Or run you a nice hot bath. Or sort of force you. 'Cause I think a lot of us are really bad at ... We don't ... Once you become a parent you just don't put yourself first. And sometimes we need to put ourselves first, because we are also important in that parent-child relationship. And if nobody's taking care of us and putting us first, then where does that leave us? So I think, you know, if they can force us to take some time out each day, and force us to take care of ourselves, that could be a big help for a lot of families.

Sissy: I think you've just touched on a big problem that we have. It's to do with that permission of asking to do something, you know. And if the dad can come in and kind of suggest it straight away, it's kind of taken away that -

Nicky: That awkward barrier.

Sissy: Exactly. Of asking, putting your hand up and saying, "Hey can I have that permission to do it?" And definitely, what you said, it's that whole analogy of having an empty cup and a full cup. To be able to take care of your kid and your baby and everybody else. Because that's really what we want to do. We want to be the best mommy's. Want to be, you know ... We want to do everything for them. But it definitely starts with self-care. If we're not feeling filled up, and if we don't have enough to give, it just becomes so much harder to actually be that parent that we want to be.

Nicky: So if we're tired, and it's hard, like it's super hard having ... I mean, having a new baby, but actually just parenting in general. And I mean, if we're looking at getting some kind of exercise in, I suppose we're talking about endorphins as well. Which is definitely going to be helping our mental state. So it's helping us physically, and it's helping us mentally, isn't it?

Sissy: Yep. Definitely. Yep.

Nicky: And we know- Sorry, go on.

Sissy: I was just going to say that's where just even getting out for that 20 minute walk is so important. 'Cause you're getting the sunlight, which also helps to stimulate those endorphins. You're getting out of the house. You're moving your body, which helps you to recover and feel better as well. So many, so many, so many good things just from being able to get out there and move your body. Especially when we spent, you know, I mean I know I spent the first couple of months sitting on the couch breastfeeding because that's kind of what you do -

Nicky: Watching TV. Watching trashy daytime TV.

Sissy: Yeah.

Nicky: Yeah. I totally agree. And it's hard. It's hard to just go, you know, you go "Ugh. I know I should go do something." But I totally agree that if you can get into the habit of it, before you have the baby, then you know. So what would you suggest to parents who aren't brand new parents. You know, they've got six-month-old or 12-month-old children already. And they're wanting to get up and sort of have a new lease on life and start some exercise. And start some of those self-care, 20-minute walk a day. Is that something that they can just implement like that?

Sissy: I think it's one of those things that unless, like you said, you've already established a habit. A lot of those moms do need the support and guidance. And you know, that that permission in a way as well to do it.

You know, it's hard to do things like self-care and exercise when you don't have the things in place to take care of yourself. For example, If you want to go out for a half an hour walk, and your husband's at work all day. And you want to go on on your own without taking your kids ... It's very hard to do that. So that's where firstly you want to get your partner or family support network on board to help give you that time. So you can carve out that time in a day. For moms, as I said, I don't know how it's like in New Zealand, but after that initial sort of physio comes in the day after pregnancy, there's often no, you know, follow up from that. And a lot of people ... The percentage of women that are still suffering from post-pregnancy issues down the track is huge.

Nicky: I imagine it would be the same here, as well.

Sissy: Yeah. Yeah. So if you do want some kind of help, you actually need to go out privately and seek some kind of expert experience. I would definitely encourage all women to make sure they are cleared for those things. You know, you want to make sure you've addressed, your separation. That you're safe to be able to actually go out and exercise. And as I said, that guidance. So it's really important to ... If you don't have a support network to help support you through starting some of these things, that's where you want to make sure you find someone, you know. A professional and expert that you actually resonate and trust. A trust that can help guide you through that, and that can actually assess you to be safe as well as making sure that an exercise program is written for you that's personalized and customized to you. Because it depends on so many factors.

Another important component of that is having someone to, as I said, almost hold your hand and to coach you through it. Because I think the biggest thing with moms and them regaining and rediscovering their health is sticking to it. Because all these things come up all the time.

Nicky: It's too easy to make an excuse.

Sissy: Oh, and you always come last. If things are going on with your family and it's so crazy, your workout session that morning that you had. Okay, I'll just forget about that. I'll do this. And then that becomes one day, becomes a week. It becomes you know, six months and you haven't done any exercise. So having a coach or I work, as I said, as a physio and an almost like a life coach as well helping moms through this period.

There are a lot of really great people and resources out there that have the skills to help you from sort of a medical point of view. But then also have the ... As I said, you want a connection with that person that's taking you through that journey as well. And I do highly encourage women to find someone that can work with them, sort of long term to get them to a point where it becomes more natural. Where it becomes a daily habit. Because it is so easy to fall off the wagon. Saying that for most moms getting out and just doing a really low-intensity walk, is pretty safe generally. And very easy to start off with. So, even if you haven't done any of these things, just getting out there for that, even if it is only 10 to 15 minutes to start off with, can be a really great stepping stone to doing something more structured.

Nicky: And of course, initially, something like walking is really easy to take your baby with you anyway.

Sissy: Exactly Yeah.

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Nicky: Especially if it's at their morning or afternoon nap time.

Sissy: Or they'll fall asleep while you're out walking outside. Then it becomes a really good idea. I used to walk every morning with my little girl, and just have headphones and listen to a podcast. Or you know, do something like that. So it did kind of feel like me time as well, 'cause baby was happy in the stroller and I got to educate myself. I've got to listen to something. So it becomes, yeah, something that you could do pretty easily. You don't need any equipment or anything to start that kind of program.

Nicky: So just in general, and I'm not just talking about your area of expertise, but in general your advice to new mothers for anything baby related. What would that be? What would be your absolute key advice? I mean it can be in your field of expertise.

Sissy: I would definitely say don't be scared to ask for help. It doesn't mean that you've failed at all. I think a lot of us don't want to ask for help because again, there's a bit of a stigma of we should be able to do it all and on our own. And without, you know, needing to ask anybody for anything. And that's, it's not true. Like it's so important that we reach out. Whether that be, you know, on a casual level. Like seeking out a moms group, reaching out to your friends, or even to your mom or in-law, extended family. Or whether that be a professional or an expert. Like I said, if you need a little bit of help to help you on the journey, it doesn't ... It's not a sign of failure, you know, it's really necessary, I think, that we reach out to people.

I mean it definitely got me through, because especially after the first few months of just talking to a baby, you kind of go a little bit crazy. And even just connecting with other moms, you know, and talking about the struggle you're going through. It gives you that little bit of sanity back. And you don't feel like you're isolated. And that's what I really hope changes with, I guess a motherhood ... That we all become a little bit more connected. And see the value of that, as well. Because that's where we can really help each other out the most I think. By really helping to support, rather than judge. I think probably one of the interesting things about motherhood is that it's such a vulnerable period, but it also has a period where there's, unfortunately, a lot of judgment.

I don't know if you experienced that

Nicky: Girlfriend, we are in the baby sleep industry.

Sissy: Oh yeah, true true.

Nicky: That basically invented judgment.

Sissy: Yes, exactly. You're made to feel bad about everything. And I think that relates back to, if you can get to your best state of health. Where you feel well, where you feel empowered. Where you feel, you know strong, you actually then have the confidence to figure out and pick what's the best for your baby. Because no one thing that fits everybody.

And you know, I think even the best advice and programs out there, can all be adapted. 'Cause every single kid is different. So when you're feeling empowered, and strong, and healthy, and well, that's where you can then actually discern between all the different advice out there. And you know, be able to kind of let those judgemental comments, and things that people say to you, just kind of roll-off.

Nicky: Wash off, yeah.

Sissy: Yeah. There's so much of that. Hey, it's crazy.

Nicky: So much.

Sissy: We should be supporting each other, we shouldn't be -

Nicky: I know, right. Just absolutely kills me. A psychologist I was interviewing the other day, that's what we were talking about quite a lot actually. Is that the psychology behind all of that, and just how unnecessary and inappropriate and uncontextual it is. And we're just like stay away. Be kind. Why can't everybody just hold hands and skip around in a circle?

Sissy: We do. And we need to support each other as moms. I think it's hard enough as moms anyway, in our society. And being female anyway. But yeah, particularly being moms, we really need a, like you said, hold hands. Support each other, and kind of have that mutual goal of wanting to really be able to be the best parents that we can.

Nicky: Yeah, totally. I think that is an outstanding advice for new mothers. And I wholeheartedly agree with the ask someone for help. That's my number one tip, as well to new parents is don't be afraid to ask for help.

Sissy: Exactly yeah. You do want to find something or someone that you feel comfortable with. Like we were we saying, there's a lot of people out there. There are a lot of experts. There are definitely a lot of, you know, different ways of supporting each other. Just find something that resonates with you, 'cause I think that's important. It is a vulnerable time. You want to make sure you feel safe, you want to feel like you can trust that network that you're reaching out to. Yeah. So take the time to really find something that works for you, and that's different for everybody.

Nicky: Just lastly, are there any ... For people who don't have access, you know, I for example live in a relatively small town. So there's not much access here for the kind of work that you would do one on one. Are there any websites or online programs or anything, that you could recommend for people to look at? To get some kind of information about their physical health, and nutrition and stuff. And that pre-conception, pregnancy, postnatal period.

Sissy: Yeah, it is hard 'cause just Googling anything you can come up with anything.

Nicky: Minefield.

Sissy: I actually do work sort of remote with clients as well. So I do online consultations. There's a lot of questionnaires. Some of the physical assessments obviously can't be done. But a lot of the lifestyle, nutrition, and mindfulness stuff can also be done. As well as the coaching can be done online.

And there would be quite a lot of practitioners that are in this field, that would also offer sort of similar sort of online Skype or Zoom appointments as well. The other thing that I found quite helpful, in regards to reaching out to people is finding like your local Facebook group. There tend to be a lot of sort of, we've got ... There's two or three sunshine coast mums and bubs groups, you know. Or areas of interest, as well, that you can kind of connect with as well.

Nicky: Just find a community.

Sissy: Yeah, just find a community. Like I said, a lot of stuff these days can be done online. And it's not impossible. Even if you are remote, I think you can definitely still have that face to face contact with people. It's just a video instead, you know. Sometimes that can be easier. I work ... I do Skype appointments with moms that are even in this local area, because it means that you can ... It's more flexible. Mom life is ... It's super crazy sometimes, babies don't sleep between business hours.

Nicky: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Sissy: Being able to just jump on video, and talk with your coach or your therapist, or whoever that may be, in your pajamas. You know, you don't even have to get dressed.

Nicky: I love it.

Sissy: Can actually be really great for moms.

Nicky: Yeah. Perfect. Thank you so much for this really, really enlightening chat today.

Sissy: Oh no worries Nicky. It was so great chatting to you. I'm always happy to chat by email. You know, you're going to put my website details in

Nicky: We sure will. there.

Sissy: Definitely email me, more than happy to help guide the listeners them towards where they need be going. And yeah, thanks so much to you guys as well, for all the great work that you guys do with moms and helping moms.

Nicky: It's like you know, your physical and your mental health, sleep is a massive component in that. So if we can pull all the pieces together, then hopefully we will have happier and healthier parents and babies.

Sissy: Yeah, that's the goal, I think. Definitely.

Nicky: Thank you so much for your time.

Sissy: No worries, Nicky. Thanks so much.


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