Women's Health Physical Therapist, Allison Oswald, on the Transition to Motherhood
Allison Oswald, PT, DPT, WCS, CPT founded her private clinic, Plumb Line Studios in Santa Monica in 2011. Allison works with clients on an individual basis and sets up the proper treatment plan for them, utilizing other aspects of her clinic, such as Pilates, lymphatic treatments, massage and more. As a mother herself, Allison finds her passion in working with women who are in their childbearing years and postnatally, as she knows first hand, this area of health can be challenging without the proper support. Allison lives in Santa Monica, CA with her husband and two sons.
For you, what has been the biggest surprise about becoming a mother?
Motherhood surprises me everyday, both the the sweet moments and the challenging ones. But overall I think I was most surprised by the pure magnitude of love that one can possibly have for another person. Children seem to fall into a different heart space than anything or anyone else. I feel like my children are a part of my soul, and the love I have for them will never diminish. This doesn't mean there aren't difficult moments/days/weeks, but even with the tantrums and the constant negotiations, I feel that love in my heart.
How did you feel about returning to work?
As I entered motherhood with my first son, I had also just opened my physical therapy studio 8 months prior. So it is with no hesitation, that my most memorable challenge was finding balance as I returned to a working schedule. I vividly remember wanting to go home to nurse him between patients so that I wouldn't have to pump. So I would race home, nurse, and then race back for my last couple of hours. One day driving home I ran a stop sign and was pulled over, I started sobbing unconditionally, leaking milk everywhere and the thoughtful police officer (who was a father), consoled me and told me how difficult it is for moms to juggle it all (with a warning to stop more completely too). In that moment, which was both my low and high, I realized what I was trying to achieve was impossible. I couldn't do it all, I needed support and it was up to me to ask for it. That was the lesson I needed and still remind myself of every day.
What do you miss most about your life before becoming a mother?
After giving birth I definitely felt supported on the physical aspect, as that is what I educate other women about on a daily basis. But I don't think I was prepared for the moments of loneliness in the initial postpartum period. Even with all of the support around me, I remember feeling so alone. I'm still not quite sure if it was the fact that there are many things that only a mother can do (ie. nursing) or that I felt like I didn't know enough to be a mom. But what I do know is that all that helped was talking to other moms. Sharing experiences with them was so reassuring, in that none of us know all the answers and that we need to follow our mama instincts from the start!
WHAT HAS MOTHERHOOD MEANT FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PARTNER AND/OR YOUR OTHER SIGNIFICANT RELATIONSHIPS?
None of us ever know what type of parent we or our partners will be, until we actually have a child. My husband fell into fatherhood seamlessly. He was and is so involved in every aspect of parenting – from swaddling to changing diapers – he did it all without hesitation. And seeing him willingly participate made our connection, our understanding of one another, our love and our mutual respect grow exponentially. We openly discuss the highs and lows of motherhood and parenting, and I believe that communication like this is really key for any successful relationship.
DID YOUR CENTRAL VALUES CHANGE OR SHIFT IN SOME WAY THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
If anything has changed with my core values, it's just that I want to be sure they are transparent to my children. I believe showing them by example is the best lesson, so I think about them a little more intentionally than before having children. And then we often talk about how certain actions make us feel, especially the positive ones. This creates a conversation with your littles that will hopefully leave an impression and seamlessly become a part of their lives as well.