A look back at 2019

My intention for 2019, was that I wanted it to be ‘vanilla’. After all the change in the year before, I was hoping for nothing too exciting!

2018 involved settling in South Africa again after 12 years in London, moving into a new home, establishing my practice in Durban, creating a new community for our family and very little sleep as my babies love to feed all night.

And so as I went into 2019 getting more rest than I had for a long time, and having been fortunate to have started receiving more and more referrals by word of mouth; I hoped for a cruisy year of just getting by. Time to reset and breathe a little after a whirl wind previous year.

As I listened to a guided meditation this week that asked me to focus on what 2019 was for me; the resounding word in my heart was ‘good’, and it really was!

So in summary, the Ups of 2019:

My little practice continues to bring me GREAT joy. I have a wonderful stream of clients who come to see me after having been recommended by their friends or Doctors and I feel so privileged to do the work I do! I primarily treat pelvic pain, followed by kids incontinence, female urinary incontinence, breastfeeding related issues and male pelvic pain and incontinence.

This year I have also had the privilege of working with some incredible women on their journeys towards pregnancy. Being the lover of courses and everything holistic I am; I have been on 3 Fertility Acupuncture courses in the UK in the past few years. For some reason I never felt quite ready to start incorporating this into my practice. I guess I knew that I would struggle to maintain boundaries regarding how invested I would become in the process and didn’t feel equipped to negotiate the emotional aspect of holding space for Women hoping to conceive. Some way or another I have had the honour of supporting a few ladies this year as they journeyed towards their (now) pregnancys. One lady said to me ‘I don’t even know why I am here to see you, I just felt I should do after seeing your instagram page’. I really hope to be able to do more of this work in the future.

Along side the fertility work and after a LOT of reading this year; I am also becoming a bit of a (self proclaimed) period expert. I am completely fascinated by how our menstrual cycle is so closely linked to our physical, mental and emotional well being! Now that I have more awareness, the monthly patterns in my productivity, energy and inclination to socialise are quite remarkable.

I started a Pregnancy Exercise class in January and this has been one of the best things I’ve made since being in private practice. The only downside is that ladies aren’t pregnant forever and I really miss them once they have had their babies! To rectify this from the New Year (watch this space) I am going to be running a breast feeding support group which will incorporate some stretching too!

The other GREAT class I have introduced this year; is an hour long yin yoga type stretching class on a Thursday morning. And since my friend Jess started teaching it and I am merely a participant, it has been even better! Making Thursday my new favourite day of the week!

As always, this year has involved me spending far too much time and money on courses. When I last tallied; I had spent almost 2 months of my salary on courses (I hope my husband isn’t reading this). I just can’t help myself and have already got a list of local and international courses on my dream list for next year! I’ve accepted that I am someone who just loves to learn and feel so lucky to be in the profession I am.

I particularly enjoyed the ‘Be Activated’ course I did here in Durban and it reaffirmed to me that the diapraghm is the most important muscle in the whole body. Jilly Bond’s Happy Bladder course that I went the UK for was also SUPER and if you are a pelvic health Physio I highly recommend you do it if you can!

Another realisation this year has been how much I love teaching, and if I wasn’t Physio I would definitely be a teacher or a midwife. Which brings me to an exciting part of 2020’s plans, which is more teaching! Thank you to the Physios who have signed up to my The Poo Detectives Course early next year, I am so looking forward to it and I have a few other exciting courses in the pipe line too.

I wasn’t looking to grow my practice at all, but then I met Chantelle Wills and having her join me has been another highlight of 2019!

Other Ups have been:
Hosting the ‘Fussy to Foodie’ workshops by Kath McGaw in December.
Speaking at various clubs, groups and fundraisers to try and improve awareness regarding Women’s and Pelvic Health.
Being interviewed by a number of inspirational ladies on their Podcasts.
Utilising the power of social media and the internet to stay abreast of new research and the thinking of some of the brightest minds in the industry.
Using video calling to provide virtual support to families around the world whose children are struggling with continence issues. These have included Australia, the UK, Madagascar, the Dominican republic and various parts of Africa!
Establishing a network of like minded health professionals in Durban.

After becoming increasingly frustrated by the awful advice that the new Mums I treat in Durban receive regarding breastfeeding (and accepting how biased I am towards breast feeding), I signed up to study to become a lactation consultant. In hindsight I am not sure if I was arrogant or naive thinking I could do this alongside what already feels like a somewhat overwhelming life, but my goodness it has been a LOT more work than I expected it to be. While in London I caught up with a friend who studied the alternative course to the one through Wits University that I am doing; and she said “that sounds very difficult, the one I did was FAR easier”. And a part of me longs to do just that. I do know that after completing this course I will be very well informed, but I do perhaps worry I was (as usual) a little too impulsive in signing up to the course.

All in all, this year has been very positive but there are a few things I need to improve on for 2020.
Firstly; systems and admin. These do not come naturally to me and as my practice grows and develops, they become more essential.
Creating more dedicated admin time to allow for the above (not easy when you work from home and have small kids who don’t care at all about what admin needs doing!)
Overcoming my own ‘money blocks’. I have increased my prices slightly for 2020 and it makes me feel anxious every time I think about it.
I have had very little time to write anything longer than an Instagram caption, I hope to do more writing in 2020.

Social media continues to be a contentious issue for me in my head and my heart. I have simultaneously loved and loathed it for a few years now. This I presume will be an ongoing battle for me, but I am glad I made the decision to no longer share images of my children on it.

On a personal level, 2019 saw me exercising more and getting back to playing squash which I have always loved. I have made new friends, caught up with old ones in SA and the UK and been reminded of how lucky I am to have the family I do. I have accepted that my body is better off when gluten and dairy free and that my mood and energy levels are impacted significantly by them too. Painting walls and gathering bits of furniture and buying new plants for our home bring me great joy and I am so grateful for the home we live in. My husband and our two little girls make my world wonderful and I still can’t get over how lucky I am to be their Mama. My 4 year old said to me this week “Mummy I love you exactly as you are” and it’s most definitely the greatest thing I’ve ever been told.

I wish you a magical 2020 and I hope you are able to love yourself ‘exactly as you are’.

Thank you for all your support in my practice! I SO appreciate it x