Vivacious Guest: Dr. Chelsea Harkins
After a few months hiatus from writing, I'm excited to be back with the first blog of 2021! I've been a little busy moving into a new home, giving birth to a baby boy and trying to figure out how to handle two under the age of 2. Speaking of giving birth, I can't wait to share this second labor experience with you all! But first, I had to write about someone who helped prepare me in the weeks leading up to that beautiful moment.
So, I'm starting this year off by introducing you to the blog's second Vivacious Guest: Dr. Chelsea Harkins from Dallas Pelvic Health, LLC.
Chelsea has been friends with my husband and sister-in-law since their early teenage years. Isn't awesome that when you marry someone you suddenly get to be friends with all of their cool friends?! I feel particularly blessed because this lady isn't just a kind friend to the family, she's also a wealth of knowledge about everything us ladies need to know about "down there."
Alright. Enough gushing. Ladies (and gents?), take a seat, get comfy and let's talk Pelvic PT with Dr. Chelsea!
Tell us about yourself!
Daughter of the King, wife to Ryan, mommy to 2 sweet little boys, and doctor of physical therapy. I'm very passionate about all of these vocations I have, living them intentionally and, well, serving God through serving my husband and boys while also serving Him through the mothers I see for pelvic health therapy at my business. I strive for integrity everyday as I live my life and make decisions that support these key aspects of my vocation.
A business in a niche field...tell us about it!
I serve prenatal and post partum women through my pelvic health practice, Dallas Pelvic Health. I believe the female body is brilliantly designed for pregnancy and birth as the pinnacle of her physiology, and therefore, she is also brilliantly designed to heal completely after. This guides the way that I practice in a very holistic manner, treating the entire body to bring healing to the pelvis. Pregnancy and birth affect the ENTIRE body, and the pelvis is the center of the action. I offer in person and virtual appointments as well as online courses.
What inspired you to want to own a practice like Dallas Pelvic Health?
The birth of my first son was super challenging. As a PT, I was so surprised at how much pelvic dysfunction I had after his birth. I somehow thought I was immune since I worked in this field. Not true. I suffered for 6 months with bladder prolapse, painful intercourse, debilitating pelvic pain all of which affected me mentally in my ability to bond with my baby and connect with my husband. And, when I told these things to my birth provider, she told me to "do my kegels." This was NOT the answer. Once I received my own healing, I knew I had to do something about this so other women don't suffer like I did. Unfortunately, I hear all too often the testimony of women whose birth providers completely dismiss their symptoms. While the word is getting out about proper healing and more and more birth providers are referring to pelvic PT, there are still so many women suffering in silence. Either they're dismissed by their provider or too afraid/shy to talk about what they are experiencing.
I just want to be that safe, healing space for women to come to receive a holistic plan of action for restoring their bodies.
She's in Dallas, I'm in Austin...how did she help me prepare for the birth of my second child? The "How to Get a Baby Out" online labor course, of course!
With the onset of the pandemic, I was hearing stories about women who were being forced to birth alone. These women are my heroes, and I can't imagine going through that. But, I wanted to put some confidence and empowerment back into mothers regarding their body's ability to birth a baby, especially if they were faced with the challenge of having to do this alone. Also, I was pregnant with our second at the time and on a quest to make this birth go much smoother. So, I spent time digging into the biomechanics of birth to create a labor flow all for the sake of empowering a woman with knowledge of her body so that she can have the tools to promote a healthy birth in pregnancy and then enter into labor and birth with confidence!
Pardon my interruption, but I need to talk about this course. I'll be honest, I started it quite late: 36 weeks. At that point, the anxiety of the upcoming labor and delivery was already weighing on me. This pregnancy had moved so quickly that I had barely even considered what it meant to prepare mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Suffice to say...I was feeling REALLY unprepared and extremely overwhelmed. As soon as I began the first module, that all changed.
Whether you decide to go through a medicated or unmedicated birth, Chelsea speaks so much wisdom into your labor prep! From re-learning our anatomy, the stages of labor, what is happening to baby where and when, to which positions help facilitate the birth at specific times, you'll walk away ready to hop into that birthing tub or hospital bed!
What was extra special to me was that I could watch the videos and read through the material with my husband so that he was as prepared as possible, too. I think it gave him the extra push to motivate me to continue certain exercises and stretches in the final weeks. And I'll be honest...it made the fact that he was my birth partner go MUCH smoother (I think I only gave him "the look" once or twice!) because he knew just what to do and when.
The amount of labor prep resources out there is overwhelming, but having all the essential guidance from pregnancy, labor and delivery, to postpartum all in one course was a confidence booster and anxiety reliever! All I have to say is...where was this course my first time around ?!
We're all curious...how do you manage to serve the women of your community so well, all while having a husband and two littles at home?
Ha! I'm still trying to find the answer to that question! I'm definitely not perfect at this, and am always adapting and adjusting as the needs of our family adjusts and adapts. But, if I had to nail down one thing that keeps us grounded, it is respecting the sabbath. If we didn't respect the sabbath as a family, there is no way I
would be able to do what I do. And, there are times where we do fall on that and I notice it big time as it either manifests in burnout, fatigue, moodiness, or lack of peace. I really do believe that I am leaning into God's anointing for my life. If He has called me to it and I am being obedient, it will all fall into place.
And with that so beautifully said, are there any other courses in the works?
YES! I'm working on a course that I want to offer for free that will be available soon. It will be called "Sex after birth." Also, I am working on another course to accompany mothers post natal before they are cleared to see a pelvic PT around that 6 week mark.