Episode 23: Personalizing Physical Therapy For Pre and Post Natal Women, with Abby Bales

June 22, 2021

I am SO excited for our first medical professional to join us on the podcast! You may wonder how someone in the medical field, with years of schooling was able to change up her career path with tiny human in tow — and don’t you worry, I got ALL the details from our guest! Abby Bales is the founder of Reform PT, a private concierge service designed to help women remain active before, during, and after pregnancy.

Abby dives into her introduction to physical therapy, where she was working at an outpatient facility and saw upwards of 70 patients a week!! She quickly realized it was unsustainable for her and her family, but recognized it was helping her gain the knowledge she needed to start something on her own. She then tells me how she came to specialize on the pelvic floor and her love for helping her pregnant and post partum mamas! Abby then tells me ALL about the women in her circle that helped support her emotionally and professionally, which was amazing to hear! She finishes by telling me how she uses what she has learned from OBGYNs, athletes and her students to create a 3D view of her clients.

Dr. Abby was such an insightful guest and overall human! Even if you are not pre or post natal, there is SO much to learn about curating your brand, continuing to learn and develop to help her clients and find the time to be Mom through it all. Make sure to check out their site, Instagram (her preferred method to chat!) and Facebook.

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23. Personalizing Physical Therapy For Pre and Post Natal Women, with Dr. Abby Bales

I am SO excited for our first medical professional to join us on the podcast! You may wonder how someone in the medical field, with years of schooling was able to change up her career path with tiny human in tow — and don’t you worry, I got ALL the details from our guest!

Full Transcript:

Dana: Are you dying at the thought of missing a single one of your babies first would have no idea how you give up the security that your nine to five job brings. My name is Dana Graham and I had no clue how to escape that vicious 40 Hour Workweek cycle either until I did, as the wife of a traveling husband and mom of two tiny humans and I made the terrifying and totally bizarre leap from health insurance broker to successful newborn and family photographer, all with the amazing craziness of a two year old and the newborn into, but I’m not the only one. I’m so glad you’re joining me as I chat with other moms who took the leap into entrepreneurship and created the ultimate best of both worlds life doing it all amidst the chaos. Alright everybody, welcome back to another episode of amidst the chaos, I am here this week with Dr Abby bales, she is phenomenal and has a great story for you guys and I can’t wait for her to tell it. So Abby welcome thank you so much for being here.

Abby: Thanks for having me. This is really exciting to be able to chat with you a little bit today.

Dana: Yeah, I love these conversations because for me, well before I started this podcast anyway I didn’t have a ton of friends who were entrepreneurs and moms and I feel like between those two things like that’s my identity, and I didn’t really have anybody that I could just talk to and basically word vomit all over you know my story everyday because they’re over it, you know, they don’t want to hear it anymore so I love having these conversations and being able to hear other people’s stories and actually get it from you firsthand and give you a chance to tell your story and say all the things so I’m so excited. Can give you a chance to tell your story and say all the things so I’m so excited for you to do that so Abby tell us what your business is like today.

Abby: Well my business I’m a physical therapist in New York City I specialize in pregnancy and postpartum and orthopedic physical therapy, and today my businesses currently part virtual, which has always been, I’ve always treated patients, virtually around the country, just because I happen to know a lot of runners from my past life experiences, and the other side of my business is that I treat patients in their homes or in my clinic in New York City and today in these times, I drive two and a half hours from my summer house outside of the city to the city to work once or twice a week and see patients in the city, and that is going to change because we are moving back to the city in the fall for our kids to go back to school but we have been away from the city for COVID So it’s been a kind of a big shift for my business being that I market myself as somebody who comes to people’s homes hits a little challenging, but I’ve still been able to put together some time where our children are being watched after and I’m able to take the day to drive in see patients put them all on one day and be able to continue to serve that population.

Dana: That is awesome. So tell me how you got to this point, what did your life look like, obviously you have, you know, your doctor you’ve been through significant amount of schooling, what did it look like once you were done school where did your career start off

Abby: my career started off with a one year old, my son, our son, and I started off working in a pretty typical outpatient orthopedic setting. One of the practices in New York City, we’ve had a lot of locations, and really that’s where a lot of outpatient orthopedics, we start in those sort of mill clinics where you’re seeing upwards of 60 patients a week, not being paid very much not being given very many benefits, but it’s the place to start. And one of the benefits of starting in that kind of high volume, orthopedic setting, because I knew I wanted to stay in orthopedics, was that I saw a lot of patients, I mean I saw some weeks like 70 patients a week and that’s just it’s unheard of, it’s unsustainable it’s absolutely terrible, but at the same time it is a really fast way of learning certain patterns of patients, and sort of piecing out who I loved working with and who I didn’t love working with, and I was always into the hips and the glutes and the pelvis. But it got me into pelvic floor, because I had a mentor there who was a pelvic floor physical therapist as well. Then I started using my continuing education money to go back and learn more about the pregnant and postpartum pelvic floor and pelvic floors in general and how it contributes to athletes, particularly female athletes or people identify as women in the pregnancy and postpartum world and that that’s very interesting to me because I’ve always had this side of me that really loved my experience working in the hospital, but I don’t love bedside therapy so I loved learning about all of the medical sides that were going into how our patients were performing in a clinic setting, but I didn’t love working in a bedside setting so it allows for me to still incorporate endocrinology, cardiology, and Euro gynecology and obstetrics into my practice, which is really interesting because it means that I’m literally always learning from so many other disciplines, and that’s really exciting as a practitioner, I really got in a rut, at my first position, And it really, it makes you not want to be a therapist anymore because it’s kind of a abusive situation where your hands are starting to become, you know, arthritic and swollen because you’re putting your hands on so many patients and the expectation is so different and I just didn’t want to do that but I knew that I loved, orthopedics, athletics, the pregnant postpartum population and so I was able to kind of put that together in my head, and then it was like a year and a half later, I was pregnant with my daughter and I was like you know what I’m done, I’m done. I had built up such a name for myself as a practitioner that I had collected over 95% Over 95% of my patients who saw me would recommend me to somebody else and over 68% of my patients who were seeing me were specifically waiting to get on my schedule, so I knew that I had, I built myself as a business, and I just didn’t want anybody else to be profiting off of that anymore, you know, it wasn’t serving me It certainly wasn’t good for my health and the sustainability of my family. And so I was pregnant I left, I had my daughter. And then, while I was going to the tail end of my pregnancy I put together my practice and then four months later, it was incorporated and I started seeing patients, and ever since then it’s been just one door after another that I’ve been able to open for myself because I just haven’t limited what physical therapy could be and what my education could lead to in terms of other jobs and other opportunities, so it was great. I had a great exposure I had, I made some really good friends. I love the group of therapists who I work with, I was able to learn from them, and then I was ready to move on.

Dana: Well, and I love that you build your own brand within a company that wasn’t yours I mean you did just by being you and so many people say you know I don’t have any, like, I don’t have any business experience I have all this education but I’ve never done anything in business, I don’t know how to start a business, but the thing is, you already did, you know, so much of that business sense really is just you, you are especially when you’re starting something, you know, not that it’s a small business, but it’s all you. And I feel like so many people don’t give themselves enough credit when it comes to starting their own business and realizing that so much of it is, you as a person, and the talent and the skill that you bring and the way that you think outside the box for your clients and that you bend over backwards for them I mean having that 68% of people waiting to see just you is complete proof that you could obviously jump off and do something on your own and I think even if you don’t have those specific stats for someone looking to start something, and a similar path to this. You should realize that they’re probably on the back end. So even if you don’t know the specific stats off the top of your head, I bet you it’s something similar because if you are having great success and you love what you do and you’re putting your effort into it, then there’s no way that the people that are coming to be served by you aren’t coming for you. And I think that that’s amazing that you recognize that and you said hey I can do this for myself and make it something that I really want and I also love that you did it pretty quickly I mean that’s not a long time, it’s not like you know you’re in the shop for 10 years before you said Why am I doing this, why am I burning myself out. I love that you had the objective thought to say hey like this is something that I could do on my own and do it for my, for myself, and that’s great. So how did, how did you make that jump with your business because, like I said, you obviously are highly qualified very educated but starting a business is something totally different and I know you know when you’re a physical therapist and do the things that you do, there’s a ton that has to go in and in terms of insurance and all that backend stuff So what made you think hey I can do the business side of this.

Abby: Well, first of all, I want to acknowledge that it is near impossible to do this type of thing, without having my spouse being the primary breadwinner in our family. You know I was I was pregnant when I was in school I was pregnant and I was working in all of those things are challenging, you know, and not taking any kind of maternity leave during school and sort of time to time things out and then trying to time things out with work, that’s a different beast, but I was able to be in a position where we looked at the money that I was going to make, as you know, a staff therapist, and then look at the potential that I could make, and start to, you know, math out those numbers, and that those numbers were going to make sense, even if I wasn’t crazy busy and I was able to do that because my husband is the primary breadwinner, and that’s not always possible for everybody and I definitely feel very privileged to have not only his support, but his like kick out the door like you need to go and do this he was so good with that I mean, he’s braver than I am with that and he has a lot of experience starting companies in different fields and reinventing himself throughout his life so his support and his encouragement, was everything to me, as was the fact that I am in my world, almost all of my friends are entrepreneurs and these are friends that I’ve had for, you know, some of them for decades, but most of them are moms, if not all of them. And all of them are entrepreneurs, one of my very best friends is she moved and she opened her clinic in New Jersey and like I was like, how are you doing this and she’s like well, I did this and I did this and I did this and I was like, I can do that and I can do that and I can do that and like right people in my sphere, were doing amazing things and it wasn’t just in physical therapy, it was in business and marketing and I have this really wonderful group of female friends who are all big thinkers, and they are all idea people, and it made it seem possible because I knew that, you know, I know their strengths and I know their background and I know their education and I don’t think any of them has an MBA, you know, none of them are like, none of them are like from business school and, you know, I have all this VC capital or anything, they have ideas, and right and they have a work ethic, and they have a goal of doing something big. And that is all you need really. Because you can be the business person who can put all the plans together and do all the data crunching and the number crunching and all the other stuff but you need an idea you need a good idea. And that’s where people like me and people like my other friends and these friends by the way are all women. So, it just adds like being in New York and knowing all these women who are doing these big huge, huge, huge things. It’s empowering and emboldening and so I felt really buttressed by their success and was able to learn from their experiences, and they are so generous when it comes to like me talking things out and what do I need to do next. And there’s actually another physical therapist, she’s really a good connector, her name is Karen Lizzie, and she’s lovely as she sat with me on the phone for like an hour and talked me through how she put her own practice together in New York City. She gave me the name of her lawyer. She gave me the name of the person who put together, parts of my business that are very specific to pelvic health and home therapy. And so, that generosity, amongst these women in my life was really the jumping off point, after I said okay I have this idea and my husband said we can afford to do this, go do it and I was like okay, but how and I was able to ask these women and they just shared everything you know they weren’t closed off, they didn’t hold their accountants close to their chest or their lawyers close to their chest and say oh no not this person not this person. I think there were three different people one who gave me one of my lawyers than other who gave me another lawyer and another who gave me their accountant, and they were like these people are great work with them you know so that abundance mentality, really benefits me, and I am so grateful that even if any of them are also therapists, and the New York New Jersey area, they never saw it as competition they said this is great, people need this, they need at home physical therapy pregnancy postpartum their moms, they know that struggle of being able to take care of yourself, and they were like you need this here you know go, and that’s really how that was possible. That’s how it was possible to do it without having a business background, and also I had the good fortune of having a business class at my doctorate program where our last semester of school at NYU, our my professor Dr Kevin Weaver has all of us put a business proposal together, and the business proposal that I ended up creating for my current practice is not the one that I did in school, but because I was so passionate about it, I put together a real proposal. And then I got feedback from other practice owners during school, and then my superlative for graduate school was I was most likely to see my business plan, come to fruition.

Dana: And my gosh, that’s awesome.

Abby: That was really like the other people really saw that in me and I had all of that support and that like push to see those things really out in the world, and if you can see it you can do it, you know, and I was exposed to it. And that’s not everyone so I feel very fortunate.

Dana: Yeah and I think too, you know you having seen firsthand all these women in your life that are so inspiring and have all these resources, to have them be so generous with their knowledge and with their experiences, I’m sure only made you want to pay it forward even more, which I think creates this crazy ripple effect that’s going to just help so many people in the future do what they know that they can do and you know even doing something like this podcast like you didn’t have to take the time out of your day to record this with me but hopefully there’s somebody out there listening, who has a similar background to you and says, Oh, I have this idea of a way to help whatever type of issue, somebody might be having. And I think this needs more attention and I could do it on my own and I love that you’re taking the time out of your day to do this dress like all of these other women have taken time out of their day to help you specifically so I think that in any way that you can be generous and foster a community over competition is just so much better for the world. I mean, I talked about this all the time but there are literally 1000s of photographers like within a 20 mile radius of me, I mean, no joke, like 1000s like pages and pages and pages of Google search of photographers and, but there are 1000s of people and all these people need something different and needed in a different way and I think that, you know, being able to be there for your peers and people who want who aspire to be like you. Why would you ever shut those doors because there’s going to be a time where you need something or you have something to share back and to have them already in your corner and available to you and have a great relationship with is only going to make your world a better place and it’s just like just that general positivity of saying hey somebody shared this with me and now I have this knowledge like that just makes you feel better, like that just makes you a better person. And I think instills, you know, the want to give back and I think that’s so important and I love that that’s been your story because I think geographically, that may have had a part in it too for you in like, you know, more rural parts of the country you’re finding that even for me like in Northern Virginia and I, you know I’m a little bit different too, but even in Northern Virginia, like there’s not a ton of that, there’s just not. And so, you know, for me this podcast has kind of been that finding all these different women and moms who have started something. And I think that finding that community and finding those people is really great so for anybody listening who needs a community or need somebody to reach out to and talk to I can almost guarantee you that anybody that’s been a guest on this podcast will email you back and say, yes of course I can question like, Do not be afraid to reach out to somebody the worst they can do is not respond to you, which happens, But that’s the worst it’s going to happen.

Abby: Yeah, I think people are really great about this, I go back to NYU and teach in the business class and I talk a little bit about marketing and starting your own practice and stuff like that and like how do you know you’re ready. And I always give out my email address and people do email me and sometimes it’s because they want to clinical experience which I can’t really offer my practices in people’s homes, but I’m always open to, hey let’s hop on a phone call, you have a question, I honestly don’t want to write down the answer it’s too broad and let’s talk about it so let’s, let’s set up a phone call and I can’t guess who wants that information, you know, and I always tell them, Don’t, don’t feel weird about contacting me I’ve just you sitting in these chairs, not so long ago, you know, and yes, when I see these students in there, they’re the last semester of school they’re about to, you know they’re one or two rotations away from going out into the world they said we’re colleagues, you know, don’t think that I’m any better than you because I have my own practice or my DR is already in front of my name and, you know, that’s not the thing, I have something to learn from you and you have something to learn from me. But don’t be afraid to reach out and I did too, you know, I reached out to these people who I, you know Karen and I know each other better now, but I didn’t really know her all that well and I said you have a practice in the city you’re someone I know who’s doing it and I’d love to know how you did that and she, she just took an hour over day to have a chat with me on the phone, like, she also did not have to do that so I think that generosity of spirit really is something that’s contagious, and it’s something that if you have an abundance mentality, versus a scarcity mentality, you can really, you can really tap into people’s creativity and see that what they’re doing is, is different from what you’re doing and that’s, you know, that was the other thing about working in such a big clinical setting, is that we were all different therapists, and we were all serving our patients in different ways and the people who were attracted to my type of therapy, were certain type of person. And I’m not for everybody, get I’m not I’m not for every student I’m not for every patient. I’m not for every pregnant patient I’m not for every postpartum patient and so. And by the way, when one of us has a question, we’re going to need somebody else to talk to about that so right I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed patients over to another therapist because I couldn’t see them for a reason and just knowing and being able to have chats with people in the community and in our profession, it really just makes this really broad wonderful supportive network, and I co treat with other therapists. I asked them to counsel on my patients I consult on theirs and that’s what it’s supposed to work, to serve patients best. Okay, so I do get a little bit nervous about sharing my big ideas with people because it’s definitely been taken advantage of in the past for as a student, but as far as like my clinical knowledge, my, my business knowledge any anything that’s like that, I’m an open book on, I’m here for all of those questions so you can also DM me, I will I will answer you. I love that.

Dana: Okay so you spent all these years in school right you knew that you wanted to be a physical therapist did you know when you were going through school that you wanted to specialize in the pelvic floor in this sort of area, or were you already to be like an overall physical therapist,

Abby: so I was old as hell when I went back to school, I was 10 years older than all of my peers was, I think the second second oldest in my class of 42. So when I went back to PT school I knew I wanted to do, orthopedics, I knew I loved the glutes, the hips, as the primary mover of the body. I had great experiences working in the cardiac ICU, doing physical therapy there I had, I loved it. It was so much stimulation of my brain, I love that, but it wasn’t feeding that side of me that wanted to work with athletics and progressing people from injury back to sport and that kind of thing. So pelvic health was taught to us in school which we were lucky to get this it’s not in every curriculum, kind of like an old lady problem, and it was not presented to us and even though I had a child like it wasn’t presented to us as a problem of people who were infants, children, men like it was outdated, and they’re very well intentioned and we got a lot more exposure than a lot of schools give their students but at the same time it needs it needed to be updated so I wasn’t really feeling like I was going to be specializing with public health, until I was well out of school, and I met a mentor who tied things together for me and then I started to piece things together for myself because my friends were having babies. They were asking me what am I supposed to do I have this problem and I was like, gosh, like, I don’t know, let me figure that out, and I didn’t experiencing these issues during pregnancy or postpartum. So, I wasn’t like my own wealth knowledge in that regard. So I was I needed to learn about it, and I needed to go back and do continuing education after graduate school and so that’s where my, my focus has, has been since then so I knew I wanted to stay in orthopedics, and then I knew I wanted to work in a primary female identified population, and then cane pelvic health because it’s such an intricate part of the body, it’s, it’s everything to me. It’s, you know, people talk about the core and there’s no more core then inside of your pelvic floor inside of your hips, so that’s, that’s where I fell in love with pelvic health as the mover of the rest of your body.

Dana: Okay, so as you’re learning I said you start you go to this clinic and you’re practicing, there was the majority of your work that you were doing there was it in the pelvic floor or was it in the hips, was it that whole area or were you doing everything like I want to know how you from working in this clinic and doing everything to specializing, and doing something very specific on your own.

Abby: So I was doing everything to begin with, and I was burning out because, okay, you just can’t be an expert in everything you really can’t and it doesn’t serve the patients and so I was doing everything because outpatient orthopedic clinics do everything you’re supposed to be a generalist who does everything. And then I took my pelvic floor courses which certified me to do internal exams, and then my schedule filled with that, but it wasn’t like I put out anything but it was like, oh my god, somebody who does this, like, yes please. So my schedule became more than 50% pelvic health almost immediately. Wow. And so, you know, one of the benefits about going to certification courses and getting certified to do internal exams is that in those courses, there are upwards of 40 people in that course, and you spend three days doing exam after exam after exam as you’re learning different parts of the exam process and all that kind of thing. So you’re doing internal exams on 20 to 30 people in a course on a weekend. So you’ve already done 30 exams, and then you go back to your clinic and you’re like okay I’ve, I’ve examined 30 patients I know at 30 Different pelvic floors feel like and they all feel different. What’s yours like. And so, I started to bring in my orthopedic knowledge, and prior to being in physical therapy school, you know, like I said I was quite an elderly student. I was a personal trainer for 13 years and then before that I was an athlete for my whole life, I’ve been a runner for 30 years. So I have all this knowledge of how the body moves, and how to strengthen it and all that kind of thing and so I brought that into pelvic health, and it kind of made me a unique commodity in that I understood. And this is different about me than other therapists, I found over time that I have in my head this 3d model of the body. And when something hurts here. Where’s that pole happening from so the way that a musician can look at a piece of music and they hear in their head. I hear patients describing things and I, I know where to look for the problem, and that now included the pelvic floor and so then I very quickly became the go to person for orthopedic pelvic health issues, you know my moms who were wanting to go to Barry’s boot camp but they couldn’t because they were you know in voluntarily losing control of their bladders or people who had levator hai avulsions pelvic pain, pain was sex pain with orgasm, things like that. Then I started to get these referrals from my friend group from my running group for so many decades of running in the city being a run coach being a Lululemon ambassador, being a personal trainer so that’s how that all combined. And then I started to learn from my friends in the OB GYN world, and the endocrinology world to understand better how the hormones were playing into the pregnancy postpartum body, how fertility treatments might play into it and then I started to think about the body, the female body from start to finish, and realize that there’s this roller coaster ride, that is unlike any male body would experience with regard to their hormones and how their musculoskeletal system was going to change throughout these different ebbs and flows of their hormonal life. So that’s when I started to really stretch out into the idea of learning about the lifespan of the female body. And that’s where I am now is, is combining orthopedics and physical therapy and gynecology and endocrinology all into like one thing but it was layers and layers over time, and it was born out of necessity that I did not see filled in any orthopedic practice, they would look at these people and be like just two key goals, and I was like well that’s not the thing, it’s not helping them, and they can’t run, they want to run marathons, they want to go to CrossFit and they can’t. And, you know, that was, I even had a male clinic owner, you know, when I told him I was practicing and doing pelvic health and internal exams, he laughed at me and said, Better you than me and not not better me than him because now his practice is all about it because they saw a market for it, you know, and I just happened to see it a little bit sooner. But yeah, that was how that happened.

Dana: Yeah and I think that this story is, you know, there’s a couple layers of it that are really inspiring and I think that for you you know you keep saying you’re You are old to go back to school but there are so many things that you did prior to being old, that gave you the perspective that you really needed to be able to spin off and make a very niche business work for you and to know exactly where that need was and I think there’s so much right now especially in like, in terms of, oh my gosh I’m already, you know 35 I’m already 40 like how am I going to make something like this work, how would I go back to school, how would I actually do that and make it a thing I’m too old. And I think that people really discount what their life experiences brought in terms of education and experience I mean that is so much a wire business works is because you first off you networked, I’ve seen you doing all these run groups that was networking, I mean, of course it was just living your life and doing what you wanted to do at the time but now you have this whole network of people that need your services and are truly benefiting from it, but also it gave you an idea and a really good deep dive into what people needed and you found something that’s been really really helpful for people which they’re going to wind up out the door if you find something that people truly need and is truly going to elevate their life. And I think that’s awesome.

Abby: Well definitely the age thing is, it’s huge, like I want to I want to be clear, then like, I had so much support going back to school but one of the biggest things that benefited me being an older student is, I was very clear with what I was doing, and I was very clear with what was important and what was not. It was not important to me that I got an A in every class, and it did not matter, and there is no ranking. What mattered was my understood the material, school is to give you a lot of exposure, a lot of information and then to have you pass the exam. And just because you finished school with all A’s doesn’t make you a good therapist and that’s absolutely you know what makes me a great therapist is that I spent all this time and personal training talking to people one on one, I can’t tell you how many physical therapists can talk to a patient for 45 minutes, I could start a conversation with anybody, you know, male, female, old, young child, teenager like, it doesn’t matter. The other part of it is being pregnant and then giving birth while I was in school, it really gave me a perspective on what was important, It was very important that I put my son to bed when I got home, it was not very important that I stayed at school and study till nine o’clock at night for a pharmacology exam for these ridiculous names of drugs that I was never going to prescribe. I understand the general, I have Google as well. You know I can’t tell you how many doctors, doctors offices, I have walked in saying, I’m taking this vacation, they’re like, let me look that up and I’m like you know what, that’s another thing. Like it’s just not a thing that’s a semester for his therapy school unless you’re working in the ICU, in which case, guess what, you have to take a special exam for that. So, that was not important to me and I knew it wasn’t important in life. And so having that made my school experience a lot less stressful than my peers, experience, it really clarified where I wanted to go what I wanted to do and the practicality of it you know I wasn’t going to say that I was going to take a job for, you know $30,000 In the middle of nowhere, or I was going to take $125,000 out of school and go to the middle of nowhere, which is like kind of your choice and physical therapy is like you can get low paid you can stay in the city and get this kind of random pay but like I was very clear that I knew I wanted to work for myself so I took my business class really seriously. I took, you know my orthopedic class really serious I loved learning about the body but reading journal articles and learning how to write them like that’s beneficial and all but it’s, it’s, it’s busy work to, you know satisfy credentials and things like that so for me I feel really fortunate that I went when I did, I certainly wish I was 10 years younger now but, you know, that’s mostly because of the wrinkles on my forehead, not because of the life experience that I have. So, you know, female who’s had children and who is thinking about going back into school the workforce or whatever. Moms are my favorite people to work with because they have no time for your BS, they don’t have any time to mess around. They need to know what you need from them, and then they’re going to get it to you. So I love, I my whole population is typically pregnant or postpartum moms and I love them, And that’s why I chose to work that population so I think if you’re thinking about going back and doing something that you’re really passionate about, that you can never, you can drum up the passion for something if you don’t love it. And if you feel a passion for it you can drum up the time and energy to, you know, fulfill those school requirements, and then get out into the world and do it.

Dana: Okay, so we know that obviously, going back to school after being a mom and being able to prioritize was obviously a huge benefit of going back to school at that age but what, what were some of the tricky parts of doing that and starting your own business with already having kids because you were already in the thick of it when you went back to school, and then started a business, what would you say to moms that are on a similar path, words of encouragement things that you would do differently in terms of being a mom, and starting a business with the education piece involved to,

Abby: you know, childcare is always going to be a huge hurdle,

Dana: Yes,

Abby: people are going to disappoint you, people are going to fall through people are going to get sick. And in my house. I’m the one who picks up that piece that gets dropped so I dropped my, my work, my workouts my whatever, to take care of the kids when something happens and that’s how it works in my house, and, you know, according to my therapist, that’s how most households work, and the default to mom. For me, is by choice. I want to be mom who is present. I want to be mom who can come to that afternoon, picnic at school. I want to be mom who makes dinner have been maybe not make dinner I hate to cook. I want to be at dinner with my children. At the end of the day, I want to put them to bed, I want that but I have the push and pull of both sides of me. And so yes, fulfilling each of those needs for myself. During each individual day means that each of my individual days does not look the same as the one before or the one tomorrow. And that is not great for someone who loves to plan things like me. So I have a child I’m constantly challenged with that that push, pull, and if you’re like me, like most women who have babies, then you will constantly feel that push pull in a way that yes is, you know, put on by society, your own family of origin background, but mostly by your own personal desire because there’s nothing like having a child, and being their mama, and when they’re hurt, or they’re sick, I want to be there. And so, that for me will forever be the challenge, no matter what I’m doing, it will always be that I am, I’m wanting to be in both worlds, at the same time. And so I need to figure out. In that day or in that hour in that moment. Am I Dr Bales or am i Mama, and that is forever. My challenge.

Dana: Yeah, I think that is so, so many people’s challenge and the thing is is that there’s never an answer to that, right, you know, and I think there’s, but I think there’s peace in knowing that I think there’s peace like there’s a certain level of because I don’t think I, I still don’t think I fully realize it, you know, I say it, but I don’t think I am ever going to be at a point where you say, Oh, this is how it works from, you know on five days a week I do this and other days of the week I do this with my kids, and you know and I don’t, you can say it all you want but that’s just not the reality of the situation and being a mother and like you said, being the default, and I choose to be the default for sure but there is never going to be a point where you’re just not one or the other, even in your quote unquote off hours and I think coming to senses with that and realizing that hey it’s going to be a push poll, and every day is going to look different. There’s a point of acceptance that you have to reach on that, and being okay with it and I think that, I think I say that I’m there, but I don’t, I think it takes a long time. Yeah. By the time I get it I feel like my kids are gonna be graduate.

Abby: I don’t think I’ve ever truly stops, you know for until late in your child’s adulthood, You know the biggest piece for me is finding a childcare situation where I feel like my children are loved and cared for in a way that I feel comfortable stepping away for whatever amount of time that I need to. And that’s not easy, and it’s not easy. It’s not affordable. Again, like my job basically pays for childcare plus, you know other things. And that will always be the biggest challenge is like my you know my infant child, who do I want to leave her with and who do I trust to take my child home in a taxi from preschool, and that’s really really hard because you know I barely trust my husband again a car with them when they’re babies like who in there is their. He’s their father, so it’s not that he’s a bad driver it’s just anyone but me. Right, and so it’s like, oh gosh, okay so Leone and childcare is hideously expensive and it’s, it’s almost impossible to find and the waitlist for daycares is ridiculous. And, you know, we’ve been lucky to find, you know nannies for long periods of time but again that’s not an affordable option for everyone, and sometimes if the outcome is not good. And so that’s, that’s, again, then we’re, you know I have to drop what I’m doing and find someone new find another place, find, find a different my progression of my business, more challenging and less linear than a typical, A typical one that you know historically is a man’s trajectory with an entrepreneurial mindset, so that’s always that’s always in the back of my mind is like, Are the kids okay and I don’t think that will change and and finding a childcare situation or school or whatever when your children go is the best that you can do.

Dana: Yeah and I think that, you know once you found somebody, of course, you know, trying to let go and try to be like okay, they’re great, they’re well loved, they’re having fun, they’re taking care of it’s a good change of pace for them to not be with me and to be I know I can trust that this is going well, but knowing that it can change in an instant, is part of that acceptance right knowing that like okay, this didn’t work out all of a sudden and now I’m the default that has to stop what I’m doing and fix it. And I think that knowing going into any sort of situation that it could change, and not in a bad way but just knowing that like, Okay, I have to save space in my brain, to know that if this situation does change, I have to have the space in my brain to be able to fix it. And I think that that is something that I was not really prepared for when it came to starting a business, and being a mom because you know you want to have this path where you’re like okay, I get to dedicate this time to work no matter what, but that’s just sometimes not the case. And I think that knowing that can help a lot, and like just expecting it, so that when it doesn’t happen, you’re like, awesome, I can actually, you know, spend the time that I might have been, you know, trying to fix something or or pop in for the babysitter when the babysitter sick, you know, knowing that and having that as your as your backup space in your head is going to be really helpful to just realize that hey, this, this might happen, I might have to be flexible here, and then when it doesn’t happen, you’re good to go. That’s been my attitude as of late that’s been helping a lot, especially with the crazy COVID childcare that’s that’s been happening for everybody.

Abby: Yeah COVID As you know in so many ways highlighted the issue with childcare and women in the workforce and how supportive we are just overall and that, you know, it’s what we all knew as moms working moms, we all knew it. Work yep you know we’ve been shouting about it for years and now it’s suddenly an economic issue that is making numbers problems for other people and so now it’s being recognized, but yeah it’s, it is forever and always the the piece of the puzzle that I will not have a perfect fit to and every day is different.

Dana: Yeah, every day is different. Well, Abby, thank you so much for coming on this podcast, I don’t. I’m trying to think, I don’t believe until this point we’ve had anybody really in your field at all and so I’m really excited to have I know I have a few moms that listened specifically off the top of my head who do have pretty high levels of higher education that are trying to pivot but don’t want to waste their degrees and I think that this is going to be a really great inspirational story for them so I’m super excited for everybody to hear this but until then tell everybody where they can find you your website your Instagram wherever you’re most accessible for anybody who might have questions or want to utilize your services for that matter,

Abby: I think I’m actually easiest to catch, but my Instagram DNS at reformed PT NYC, perfect. You can also email me at info@reformptnyc.com , website is Reformptnyc.com

Dana: Super easy. I love that and I love what you’re doing and I know that at least the new moms who I’ve talked to who have used you just like sing your praises when I think that speaks volumes for pretty much everybody I’ve had on this podcast anybody who is has started a business it’s, it all comes back to you and and how you treat your people and I think that that is just fantastic that you’re giving them such such hope and positivity and solutions at a time, especially in that postpartum time of your life where things can feel so heavy and daunting. So, I love what you do and I am so excited for everybody else to hear about it too

Abby: Thank you. Thanks so much, That’s really nice. It was nice talking to you.

Dana: Alright, Abby will have a great day and we will talk to you later. Hey, bye. I am so honored you spent any minutes of your day listening to me babble about living this entrepreneurial life amidst the chaos in any mom’s normal day to day. If you love what you’ve heard any more snippets of knowledge about this mob boss life, head over to our website at amidst the chaos podcast, calm. For show notes and links to anything mentioned in today’s episode. If you’re really feeling inspired, it would mean the world to me and my family if you take the time to rate and review. Thanks for joining me, Amidst the chaos.

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