Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hey, I’m Steph Bouwman and I’m from Guelph, Ontario. I am a mom of four energetic kids, ages 7, 5, 3 and 7 weeks. I have a background as an Educational Assistant, where I primarily worked with kids with behavioural disorders and learning disabilities. When my daughter was born, I started thinking about whether I should go back to work as an EA or try something completely new. My answer came when I was pregnant with my second baby; a friend was studying to be a personal trainer and so I decided to do the studies alongside her! I got my certification at 38 weeks pregnant.
It wasn’t until after my third baby that I experienced pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence. I also had lingering diastasis recti and muscle imbalances due to some poor (but uneducated) choices in my previous pregnancies and postpartum periods.
How did you hear about the PCES program?
It was because of my prolapse that I found Dr Sarah. I’d had a very low night, wondering if I’d ever be able to run or lift weights again. Google was depressing and I needed some hope. I had seen some posts from Dr. Sarah on Facebook, and so I messaged her. To my complete and utter surprise, she messaged back! So when PCES opened for enrollment, I signed up. I had started to see that there was so much more to core and pelvic floor dysfunction, and I wanted to learn everything I could.
Why were you looking for a program like Sarah’s? How were you feeling emotionally/physically?
I wanted a program that didn’t just tell people to stop lifting things over 20 lbs, which is impossible if you have kids. I wanted to know the WHY behind it all, because that’s the way my brain works. Prolapse is difficult emotionally and physically. Emotionally because I felt ‘broken’ as a woman, I felt my body had failed me somehow. Physically because I just wanted to be strong and independent and not be held back. I wanted to learn and provide hope and solutions for moms just like me.
How are you feeling now after applying what you’ve learned during another pregnancy and delivery?
I feel great! My fourth pregnancy was the best one I’ve had. I had very little back or pelvic pain, whereas before I would have a hard time walking. My recovery has been amazing; my diastasis recti is almost closed at 7 weeks, where before I would be seeing these results at a year postpartum. I was nervous about pregnancy and birth with a prolapse, but that has not been an issue.
How has this program changed the way you train your clients?
I feel much more confident assessing someone to see where their needs are, and I feel like I know how to address those needs. I’ve learned how to take a whole body approach in my programming. This addresses the original pain point of the client, but we also improve other aspects with this total body approach.
Do you feel your clients are getting better results because of what you learned in PCES?
Absolutely! They feel strong and empowered, and are able to go about their everyday lives pain and leak free.
What was your favorite part of the program?
I loved the case studies; it was great to apply new concepts without the pressure. I also love the exercise index, because it provides strategies I can apply to my existing clients!
What did you expect to get out of it versus what you got?
I expected lectures and a few downloads. What I got was a workbook full of pictures and information, which was great for me as a visual learner. The lectures and PowerPoints have so much valuable info that I often took notes so I wouldn’t miss anything!
Find Steph's contact information below!
FB: Steph Bouwman: pregnancy, birth postpartum