About Me

I’m a busy mum of 2 young boys originally from Sydney, Australia, but I now call Dunedin home. I have always been active, swimming competitively throughout school and I went on to study a Bachelor of Exercise Science at University. Over the past 15 years I have worked in both public and corporate gyms, health care administration and been involved with coaching swimming, hockey and running.

I started Empower Me Fitness & Consulting after going through my own pregnancy and postpartum journey. I found that there was a lack of information available for pregnant and new mum’s as to what exercise you CAN do during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. I was given the opportunity to instruct pregnancy and postpartum exercises classes and I haven’t looked back.

I am passionate about providing women with the right knowledge, environment and motivation to feel strong and confident, especially during pregnancy and after birth when so many changes are happening to your body and your life in general.

My aim is to educate women on the changes they experience during pregnancy and postpartum and how they can safely experience the many benefits of exercise during this special time of their life. I am constantly looking for ways to improve my knowledge and am currently undergoing further study relating to exercise and pelvic health, after going through my own experience developing Pelvic Organ Prolapse in the postpartum period.

Education

Bachelor of Exercise Science (2005)

Certificate III in Fitness (2003)

Pelvic Floor Piston: Foundation for Fitness (2017)

Certificate in Pregnancy & Postnatal Fitness (2018)

Diaphragm/Pelvic Floor Piston for Adult Population (2018)

Female Athlete: Ready for Impact (2019)

Pelvic Floor Focus Workshop (2019)

Pre & Postnatal Coaching Certificate (2019)

Online Training Academy (2020)

Certificate in Nutrition & Coaching (2021)

# of countries I've visited

# of countries I lived in

# of kids

POP, PASSION & PURPOSE – My Journey with Pelvic Organ Prolapse

I have always been active. I swam competitively during school, I played hockey during my uni days & early 20’s. I became a runner in my late 20’s after signing up for a run clinic. I ran my first half marathon, in the snow, with a cold and I loved it! I was hooked. I even ran a marathon a few years later, with the first half faster than my first ever half marathon.

Fast forward a couple of years to 2 kids later and I used running (especially pram running) to regain my fitness after both boys. I ran a half marathon and felt great but the competitor in me wanted to do better. I wanted to beat my half marathon time.

I had heard about doing kegels (pelvic floor exercises) in my pregnancy but didn’t keep them up regularly after birth.

At one year postpartum after baby #2 I was training for my 2nd postpartum half marathon. I felt a strange feeling. It felt like I had a tampon falling out….but there was no tampon. It was uncomfortable to walk. I googled (were my insides falling out my vagina?), I asked my midwife. I eventually found a local women’s health physio who I could see. I was diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse. Apparently common for women after having children….but I had never heard of it before.

I was told to stop running and not lift anything over 5kgs. I was devastated. I was on track for a PB in my next half marathon. I had a baby & a toddler (both over 5kgs) who required lots of holding/carrying/lifting. I was on a painfully slow 12 week pelvic floor strengthening program. I was still breastfeeding so may not see a huge improvement until I stopped. I wasn’t ready to stop.

Not only were my symptoms uncomfortable (all day), I also struggled mentally. I could no longer do what I loved. Why did this happen to me and why didn’t I know such things could happen?

I researched and researched some more. I found an amazing supportive group for women with prolapse (POP Fitness). I studied online courses on Pelvic health and I did the work my physio prescribed. I gradually built up strength, not just in my pelvic floor but overall strength. I gradually started running again. Between light posts on my walk to/from work. I built up to 10kms running again, without symptoms and felt amazing. WIN#1

About the same time as developing prolapse, I took over teaching Mums & bubs exercise classes in my local area. I’d studied exercise science and had a certificate III in Fitness, but the pelvic floor was never mentioned. Being a fitness professional, I knew I needed to do better for the mums in my classes – if I hadn’t heard of prolapse (or pelvic floor dysfunction) before, it was likely the mum’s in my class weren’t aware either. After further study specialising in pre and postnatal exercise, I started my own fitness business, with a mission to educate mums around a safe return to exercise and pelvic health. Not only do I run classes and online personal training specific for mums, One of my favourite parts of my job is speaking to, educating and empowering Mums to understand their bodies so they can safely exercise after having a baby and with pelvic floor dysfunction.

Then, in 2020, during lockdown, I noticed changes in my pelvic floor. This time I was more educated. I understood my body better and knew what I had to do. I booked in to see my physio again after lockdown. I had a slight worsening of symptoms and a pessary was recommended. I travelled 3 hrs each way, with both kids, for a 1hr pessary fitting appointment. Luckily for me, the pessary works well is supports my pelvic floor so I can continue to be active. Mentally, this was just a little blip (unlike the initial diagnosis). I knew I there was still hope. I’d gotten back to running before, I can do it again.

But, I haven’t really. And I’m ok with that. This blip has also made me reconsider what I want to do. My pelvic floor will always be something I need to be aware of and manage. I am actually the strongest I have ever been. I now know how to activate my core the correct way. Running has fallen down my priority list but I am still active in many ways. I swim sometimes, I cycle sometimes, I workout several times a week. I run around the park chasing my boys. It’s taken a few years, but I don’t feel that draw to running long distances as much as I used to. I’ve accepted my pelvic floor isn’t what it used to be and that there are still plenty of other things I CAN do. WIN#2

 

In a way, having POP has given me a purpose. I am passionate about sharing my own experience and knowledge to help other Mum’s navigate pelvic floor dysfunction with hope (or prevent it from occurring in the first place!).

So for anyone experiencing pelvic floor dysfunction or any type of injury. You’ve got this! You are STRONG and you will be stronger for the experience. Ask questions. Ask for help. See the right professionals and never give up. Focus on what you CAN do.

  Contact Me

More Info

Phone: 0204 006 7441

Email:info@empowermefitness.co.nz