PPSM Baby Brain; Emotional Wellness in Pregnancy, Postpartum and Parenting

Help for Colicky Babies? Postpartum CranioSacral Therapy and Occupational Therapy information with Maria Bossert, MA, OTR/CST

July 09, 2022 Samantha Season 2 Episode 5
PPSM Baby Brain; Emotional Wellness in Pregnancy, Postpartum and Parenting
Help for Colicky Babies? Postpartum CranioSacral Therapy and Occupational Therapy information with Maria Bossert, MA, OTR/CST
Show Notes Transcript

Maria talks about using occupational and craniosacral therapies to treat perinatal depression, anxiety and how they can also be helpful for difficulties babies might be experiencing. 

Maria Bossert is an Occupational and CranioSacral Therapist specializing in maternal wellness and birth to 3 early intervention.  She is the owner of Happy & Healthy Therapy and is passionate about whole-body treatment of tethered oral tissues, early childhood development and providing much needed postpartum nurturing and support to birthing parents.  Aside from one-on-one services, Maria also offers free monthly education sessions for expecting parents called "New Parent Nights" and will be adding a birthing parents group called "Prepared Postpartum" in the fall.  Maria lives with her husband, step daughter and biological daughter and son.  She comes to her work with personal experiences with PMADs, miscarriage and traumatic birth experiences.

Insta: @happyhealthytherapy
Facebook: @happyandhealthytherapy 

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Speaker 1:

Welcome listeners to baby brain. I'm Samantha, Huga your host. And with me today is Maria Boser. She's an occupational therapist and cranial SAC therapist. Welcome Maria.

Speaker 2:

Hi, thanks for having me.

Speaker 1:

Could you share a little bit about your connection to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders?

Speaker 2:

So I am a mom. I have stepdaughter who's 16, and then I have two biological children, a daughter who's eight and a son who's four, and I've experienced postpartum challenges after my daughter was born, which never really had specific identification, but something in the realm of postpartum, depression and anxiety, things like that. And then between the birth of my daughter and son, I experienced a miscarriage and then my son's birth was traumatic with internal bleeding and like, uh, emergency C-section. So I've kind of experienced a lot. I got help with, um, my postpartum depression anxiety, but I would say I didn't see someone who specialized in that area. And at the time it was sort of enough and I was sort of trying to help myself and find somebody that could, could help me and just kind of went with the person that I found looking back. And as I've continued in my profession to learn about skis and postpartum support and all those things, kind of realizing how someone who does specialize in this area brings a special kind of support that I think is needed in a different lens and a different approach.

Speaker 1:

Were you already an occupational therapist before having kids?

Speaker 2:

I was been an occupational therapist for about 13 years, had my daughter four years into my profession.

Speaker 1:

How was pregnancy and postpartum support Minnesota or its parent postpartum support international involved with your journey?

Speaker 2:

So I wish it would've been involved earlier. I really came to postpartum support Minnesota as a professional after I started, uh, my private practice getting connected with the director, Lauren Robins and then becoming a member myself. So I've really only been connected professionally in the years since I had my daughter, I feel like I've both learned myself the different supports that are out there, but also I think there is more now than there was then in an array of, um, fields.

Speaker 1:

I think none, everyone knows what the role of an occupational therapist is. Can you tell us a little bit about what that role is?

Speaker 2:

Occupational therapy is a profession that can serve pretty much anyone from birth through hospice, cuz we're really our sort of our core focus is helping people to engage in their main occupations or the, the activities and things that give them purpose and are a part of their daily functioning, anything from what we call activities of daily, living, what getting dressed in the morning, making food, brushing our teeth to our hobbies, to our even more vocational works. I've worked mainly in pediatrics and with my experience with pregnancy and peds miscarriage, the variety of experiences that I had and what I really felt like was a lack of support and saw as a pretty big hole in postpartum care. I really got motivated and passionate about becoming an occupational therapist that serves birthing parents and their, their babies in those early years. My work now, and also as ARA sacro therapist is to really nurture and support the birthing parent during pregnancy to prepare for postpartum and then to help support that transition into parenting through postpartum or at least the early phases of that. And then also to support their children if there's issues and challenges that we're seeing with development.

Speaker 1:

I think people make a general assumption in me too prior to learning more about the PMA type of occupational therapy, that occupational therapy is something you do after you have a car accident or if somebody has had a stroke. So can you tell us a little bit about what occupational therapy then looks like in the postpartum time might what might be something somebody does with you as a treatment,

Speaker 2:

What I'm offering right now and what that might look like in how I'm doing it is I offer a package that's sort of mirroring what you get in prenatal. So in your prenatal care, you get a number of very regular check-ins while you're pregnant. And then after you have the baby, you get two check-ins typically and then that's it. So I'm offering a number of sessions through that first year of postpartum, as check-in points to one, know that you just, you have a point of contact, you have somebody that's there to support you and then to, to get whatever support you need in that phase, your baby develops and things change so much in that first year. And you're learning so quickly how to be a parent and transition to this new life. So it might be in the very early stages is how do I get back to any kind of a routine I'm not showering regularly or I'm not, I've lost any time for myself to, in the area of sort of PBAs, if there's more feelings of anxiety or just not feeling very regulated or grounding teaching those skills for parent to do on a regular basis to help their nervous system be more grounded, be more regulated, to be able to handle some of those things that can be triggering or feel dysregulating, discussing how to transition back to work or figuring out, you know, how do I run errands with a baby or a baby and a toddler in a way that doesn't stress me so much that I just don't even wanna do it. So that's a few examples of just some of the things that can come up in that time, that change over time as well. So at six weeks you might be facing some very different things than you might face at six months, but we have an opportunity at those different checkpoints to kind of see how can I support you now?

Speaker 1:

I think we either forget, or we don't really know what it's like to have that mom brain when you're sleep deprived. And honestly it does become<laugh>. It can become complicated to remember how to put together an easy recipe or how do I get just logistically everything done in a day and packed up and make that deadline of time getting to work. Absolutely what a wonderful, wonderful support to have. So tell us a little bit about the second portion, the cranial sacral therapy. What is

Speaker 2:

That per SAC therapy is a super lovely modality to support our natural healing mechanisms within our body supports the nervous system. It works on sort of level of functioning, just bringing in some deep relaxation, grounding, even just the work that we do helps kind of reset the nervous system a little bit. We have CRAO sacral fluid running from our sacrum up our spine into our brain and then back down constantly. And that up in down movement of that liquid is what creates the CRAO SACL rhythm, which is something you can palpate that has two jobs. One is to nourish and feed the brain. And the other is to pull away toxins by working with the body and the way that we do that's one way that we're addressing the nervous system and sort of giving that process sort of a reset and making sure that rhythm is fluid and consistent and, and doing, being, doing its job. Another facet of it is, as I mentioned, we have these natural healing mechanisms. One piece of that is we hold our experiences within our body and our body wants to let that go, but we don't always have the resources in the moment to fully process that. So when we experience something, that to us feels traumatic by that it doesn't have to be something drastic. It can just be, you know, a stressful, emotional experience or, you know, a heated conversation that leaves the individual feeling, you know, a sense of intensity or trauma. If we don't have the resources within us to fully process that because we're sleep deprived or because we're really stressed or because, um, we're malnourished or whatever it might be, then that gets contained within our body. The cran sacral therapist sort of provides those extra resources. So the body then is able to flush that out and finish that process. So we can, we have the ability to really heal emotional and both physical trauma as well. Um, it's also something that's just really supportive as the body's changing during pregnancies, because so much is shifting. And there's a lot of symptoms that can become really common for women like SAC, iliac pain, low back pain, sacrum being out of alignment, other things with just even our respiration and our organs, just all getting pushed up discomfort and things like that. And so the cream sacro therapy again, can help nurture that, that body as it's shifting and help things to remain as comfortable as possible.

Speaker 1:

Is that done by exercises or by touch movement that you are performing or is it something that the patient is doing on their own?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a really great question. A lot of people have no idea what to expect is really relaxing. If you can picture massage, I have a massage table. Um, you lie down on the table and you get to just be, so I set up an environment that's relaxing with low lights and music, and, and then I'm sort of working with your body. It's very light touch. We use a very light touch because we're working intimately with our fascia, which is connective tissue that's helps our body be fluid, but it also helps our body to have structure and be protected. So the fascia is very sensitive to manipulation. So if our goal is to help things move and be mobile and release, then we come in with really light touch to allow the body to find its way. If we come in too hard, it can actually be more defensive and stiffen up. So I use really light touch and am really just there for the body sort of to take over and follow it. It's plan.

Speaker 1:

How can either of these therapies be helpful to somebody who's experiencing that postpartum depression, anxiety, that whole encompassing perinatal mood and anxiety disorder?

Speaker 2:

It can be, I would say the biggest avenue is the nervous system. So the nervous system is really the thing at the heart of, of our functioning, whether it physical or nutritional or mental or emotional, the nervous system has a part in that. And so when we're supporting the nervous system and giving it the resources to process all of that, then we're able to function better. The fact that sort of nurturing the nervous system and sort of helping it, give it resources in widening its bandwidth to handle stressors and big changes. That's a huge, huge help for things like depression and anxiety. It's also very relaxing and very grounding. Most people after a session, just comment on how grounded they feel sort of out and all the other stuff.

Speaker 1:

Can you say a little bit about what a new parent might be experiencing, that they should reach out for help with OT or the cranial sacral therapy?

Speaker 2:

In my experience, I really felt like you had the baby and then that huge void, the mental health support, which I feel like is getting just so much commonplace or well known or referred to is a huge piece of it. The other piece of it is a village. There used to be more of community support around birthing people in the whole process. And now I think it's very common for birthing parents to have a baby and then end up feeling isolated or feeling alone or having a struggle, but nowhere to go and then incomes feelings of like, well, it's just me. And so, and so everybody else can handle this, but I can't. And then, and then insets a lot of these other struggles and out of that can come anxiety and depression are just other challenges outside of just figuring out how to become a new parent and take care of a newborn. And you had mentioned earlier that I think you're right. A lot of people do think of OT as sort of a rehab thing, something you get after, you know, a hip replacement or something like that. This is one area where OT is absolutely missing a person who has had a, C-section a person who's had a baby it's perfectly reasonable referral to send for OT. And also PT. Pelvic floor therapy is a, is a big thing too, that I think is missing an automatic referral for somebody that's had a C-section you can't use your body in the same way that you could getting in and out of bed is totally different. You're learning to manage having a baby in all of that, that entails in those first few weeks.

Speaker 1:

It seemed like that's just a sad situation that it's an automatic referral, literally for somebody who has a hip replacement and can't use their body the same way. But thinking about, yeah, having a newborn baby at home that you have to pick up that you have to bathe that you have to dress yourself yeah. That you may have other kids at home and that isn't an automatic referral.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. And I just feel like we're really missing something there because to me it's so simple.<laugh>, it's easy, it's doable in terms of, it's not super expensive. There are people out in the world prepared and able to provide that kind of support. And I think birthing parents really don't wanna be figuring this out alone and they don't wanna feel alone,

Speaker 1:

Especially with your first baby. You don't know what you don't know. And you're

Speaker 2:

Just kinda exactly

Speaker 1:

Sent out into the EBIS when you leave the hospital to figure it out on your own.

Speaker 2:

Exactly. And I think too, especially for people who identify as women and really in that maternal role, there's so much that society tells you about how you need to be in that role. And not in a big piece of that is that we should just do it all that we should just take it all on and we should do it all. And so even if we're struggling, we're really expected to take care of ourselves even then in the moment where really you shouldn't even be thinking about cooking, you're thinking about how do I continue to cook and how do I make it more efficient. So now you're problem solving on your own about where do I get 30 minute meal recipes? Or like, how do I meal plan for the next month when really you should just be feeding a baby and sleeping and in bed.

Speaker 1:

Can you tell us a little bit about your private practice?

Speaker 2:

My practice is happy and healthy therapy, serving birthing parents and their babies from conception. Through the early years, I've talked a little bit about how I serve the birthing parent. Another reason they might come to me would be for their child. We have a system right now that's really set up in terms of pediatric OT, for some of the more obvious or higher needs situations like children with autism children with down syndrome, some of the congenital things in the, the bigger needs situations. What I have noticed again, which feels like it's missing or were not giving it enough attention is children who are typically functioning all their ways, but parents really struggling with them. They're not sleeping. They're considered colicky. They have reflux. They're not pooping. That's either commonly brushed aside by possibly a pediatrician saying, well, we'll just give it time or they're gonna grow out of it. Or it's not a big deal. Or that's common parent just continues to struggle again on their own sort of without enough resources or what do we really do about this? Or where is this really coming from? I just am really passionate about helping parents through those issues and those early developmental phases where really keeping an eye on and supporting those developmental milestones because of how much that contributes to really the rest of life. We're getting those. Those are the building blocks for everything else to come.

Speaker 1:

I think that those last few statements probably just offered a sigh of relief to a number of parents listening, that there might be something that's being overlooked by the pediatrician with ickiness or some GI problems that come up with babies, which impacts their sleep and their eating, thus our sleep and our eating and art functioning.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. And it can be so stressful things that as parents, we tend to take on as like it's something I've done or it's something I've not done or something's wrong, my baby. And it can be really none of those things. And just with the right support, we can figure out how to move through that. And sometimes with cran SAC therapy, it it's about getting those restrictions or things that can happen in Ute or the birth process to lengthen mobilize. And now baby can have bowel movements without discomfort or without constipation.

Speaker 1:

I would suspect other people have this question because it comes up in my mind. If there's a referral, let's take, for example, the GI problems with baby or Cy mm-hmm<affirmative> and that referral comes to you. What does that treatment protocol look like?

Speaker 2:

Birth to three? I start with an assessment, which gives me the chance to collect really a good detailed picture. And then from there I offer three different plans. Each one includes 10 sessions from something like, you know, email communication and a home program to a home visit if coming to me in person and is not enough. If things aren't translating, parents are having a harder time getting things in at home or want some support with how to set up their environment at home to really are just get more out of what they're doing on their own time. I can do that. Then I also offer sort of more support in terms of consultation. So there's options for me to consult with like a daycare provider, for example, or another caregiver, maybe it's a family member or a nanny or something like that, or to consult with another professional that maybe they're seeing if it's a speech therapist or a lactation consultant.

Speaker 1:

Can you say a little bit more about the specific therapies that you would be doing with, again, that example, maybe of the coy baby.

Speaker 2:

I really like to marry together the OT and the cranial SAC pieces. So the cranial sacro piece again, is really that body work and helping the, that baby physically access and function the way that they're supposed to. And then the OT piece is a combination of identifying the motor skills or perhaps sensory things that could use support in terms of further development. And then also a lot of environmental use and adaptations. It's really a lot of games with baby providing opportunities for them to activate their own body. Using myself, parents objects, the room to create interest, to give them the opportunity to move in a different way.

Speaker 1:

If somebody were interested in your services, how would they get connected to you?

Speaker 2:

Find me on my website, it's possible to be referred by somebody else that they're seeing a midwife, a chiropractor, lactation consultant, something like that. But if a family's interested, they can just come to my website, which is happy and healthy therapy.com. I offer a free consultation call.

Speaker 1:

You mentioned some packages, are the services available for private pay or a fee? Can you describe that?

Speaker 2:

I take private pay, which I can take any form of payment. I also am able to accept health savings accounts, which is really nice. And then I offer a scholarship. I sort of have a little scholarship program. That's very accessible

Speaker 1:

For more information about Maria, the services she offers and connection to her website. See the description of the podcast.