OT for Mama

At Adira Occupational Therapy, we specialize in providing maternal health services. We know that a mother’s health and well-being directly impact her baby’s health, development, and well-being. We prioritize the mother’s and child’s overall health and wellness at Adira OT.

Our occupational therapist and toddler mama, Dr. Monica, has extensive education and skills to address maternal mental health, baby and child development, infant feeding, and pre-and postpartum care. Our main objective is to empower mothers by offering support during their transition into new roles and routines, focusing on their identity while helping them participate in daily activities they desire and need to do. We also aim to provide meaningful and supportive activities for the whole family.

Dr. Monica utilizes assessment tools to personalize Occupational therapy interventions and sessions. These assessments help to measure and identify self-perceived occupational performance issues and satisfaction levels with participation in daily roles.

In addition to promoting positive mental health and well-being, OT sessions can offer several interventions, such as:‚Äč

  • Providing training on ergonomics and body mechanics for new mothers with baby care
  • Facilitating engagement in self-care activities
  • Create health-promoting routines to encourage eating and physical activity
  • Addressing symptoms associated to Carpal tunnel syndrome and Dequervain’s tenosynovitis (“mother’s thumb”)
  • Learning therapeutic exercises to support the physical changes in matrescence
  • Education in joint protection techniques
  • Exploring adaptive equipment to assist with activities of daily living
  • Modifying everyday tasks to manage pain and improve performance.
  • Sleep as an ADL

The frequency and duration of therapy depends on your changing needs and challenges. Very often I offer short term intervention with periodic check ins on an as needed basis.

Motherhood is the most beautiful and joyful role I have been privileged to experience. However, it has been quite a rollercoaster ride.

An OT's Shift into Matrescence

Motherhood is the most beautiful and joyful role I have been privileged to experience. However, it has been quite a rollercoaster ride. As an Occupational therapist, I felt well-equipped and prepared to take on the new role of motherhood; I felt confident that the transition from pregnancy to postpartum would be smooth. Well, hehe. Once I had my daughter, I was not ready for the inability to recall or support myself despite all my knowledge, experience, and education.

Along with all the physical and emotional struggles of early postpartum, I lacked support. The world was one year into COVID-19, and my husband and I lived in Santa Barbara, about 90 miles away from all our family and friends in Los Angeles. I had no one locally to lean on and felt isolated in our home. A memory I have firmly entrenched is when I broke down while speaking to my parents; I felt like a failure; I didn’t know what I was doing; I cared for my newborn, met all her needs, and loved her so much. However, I was wasting away–feeling like a shell of a person as I could not meet my basic activities of daily living, including eating. My parent’s asked me to stay with them and help facilitate the support I needed during the day, as my husband worked traditional hours and exhausted his paternity leave.

Along with my mental and psychosocial struggles were the physical ones too. Like many new mothers, I had breastfeeding challenges; I was incorrectly diagnosed and treated for mastitis and thrush. I remember how painful it felt to nurse; attempts to sit and rest caused me shooting pains in my breast, and there was no relief. I was referred to a new provider, an MD who was a breast oncologist, a maternal mental health specialist, and a lactation consultant. I was finally correctly diagnosed with “milk blebs” due to hyperlactation; I can’t even describe the sentiment of finally being correctly diagnosed and feeling seen.

Although my breastfeeding challenges were addressed, and I generally felt better, I still suffered from intense, intrusive thoughts of physical harm to myself or my baby. It was debilitating and again interfering with my ability to engage in my desired occupations. I finally decided enough was enough and sought help. I returned to my MD and finally voiced to someone what I was feeling; I needed the support of pharmacological intervention to begin my healing journey. With time, I could utilize my OT lens to support my day-to-day and facilitate positive engagement with my new routines and roles. I identified a community of mothers, and life was just better. There will always be challenges to overcome. However, I know how to use my toolbox to support myself or when to reach out to another provider or my community.

We’re only human; motherhood is hard, and your feelings are valid and important. Let’s normalize our psychological and physical changes.

From one mother to another, I’m here for you.