My name is Marie Fell and I love teaching & empowering others about posture, pilates and their pelvic floor.
Throughout my life I have always been fit and active. Playing netball for five different teams during high school contributed a lot to this. I love being outdoors and I love the freedom of the space exercise gives me mentally and the serotonin hormone release is an added bonus. Couple this with my caring nature and empathetic ways is how I found my way into Physiotherapy.
After qualifying as a physiotherapist at Northumbria University in 2003 I worked dutifully in the NHS for twelve years. I completed many rotations across the various hospitals I worked at but the one that shone and stood out for me was my nine month rotation in women’s health.
Women’s health also better known as Pelvic Health Physiotherapy opened my eyes to a whole new world I naively, before children, was completely unaware of. This speaks volumes in itself! I plunged myself into this new education and thrived teaching ante-natal classes, checking for tummy separation in ladies post baby and helping ladies post gynae surgery to get comfortable and then moving again post surgery. I loved sharing my knowledge of core muscle activation to help improve day to day function.
In 2012 my life turned upside down during the pregnancy and then the aftermath of the birth of my first child. My glowing pregnancy experience I envisaged was swiftly diminished when my breech baby stayed breech from 20 weeks gestation until full term. I suffered with severe shortness of breath on exertion from just walking and fainted a few times. Apart from some gentle pregnancy yoga all my exercise stopped in its tracks. My planned C-section was not the natural water birth using hypnobirthing techniques I had hoped for.
After the first couple of weeks my little boy developed colic until he was weaned at 6 months old. The piercing cry still haunts me now. Life was pretty hellish for both him & I if I am truly honest. I was sleep deprived and miserable and had no idea how I would ever make it out of the house to work in a morning. Within a year, I did return to work part time and I found it extremely hard juggling the demands of NHS life in half the number of hours with a demanding little toddler (aren’t they all) either end. I had such a huge sleep debt I had no idea how I actually functioned.
Fast forward to life with an eighteen month old baby and my wonderful mum who was only 57years old died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was utterly devastated. I grieved for a long time afterwards and took a career break to help me cope.
When I returned to my job a whole year later, after a few months I knew I didn’t have the heart or stamina to keep devoting myself to the NHS and so I took a huge leap of faith and set up my own business.
I trained to be a Pilates instructor with the APPI ( Australian Physiotherapy & Pilates Institute) and specialised in pregnancy and post natal classes as this was my passionate professional area. This evolved to teaching general classes which filled quickly so I taught five classes a week. I also started 1:1 sessions and my week became pretty full doing things I loved.
Teaching pilates really helped me come out of my “fog” and I truly enjoyed my work once again. I was teaching, I was empowering and I was helping others and my posture was pretty amazing to!
In 2017 we were lucky enough to become pregnant again and welcomed our second child towards the end of the year. This time, my pregnancy was amazing, I kept fit and active and I believe that was due to my pilates practise. I had high hopes for a natural delivery this time and I was well and truly in my birthing zone. Sadly, I was thwarted yet again this time with placenta complications and a second C-section brought our baby girl into the world.
I felt like I battled my way through pregnancy with lots of medical advise & professional opinions steering me away from my desired birth preferences BUT this was nothing compared to my aftercare post baby. Of which there was nada. Not even a diddly-squat! It was like I was hung out to dry. I was sent home with no pain relief and told to take my own paracetamol and ibuprofen following MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY! I had one or two midwives prod my uterus and glance at my scar when I expressed concerns about it and that was it.
To top it all, I had a letter from my GP congratulating me on the birth of my baby but unless I wanted contraception, had persistent pain or bleeding, then a six week post natal check up was “not deemed necessary”.
My eyes were well and truly opened to several things all at once here and I instantly knew I had found my calling and my purpose in life: To create post natal care check ups for all women in the UK! I also did not have the foggiest idea how to do this.
After liaising with a few other pioneering women in the pregnancy and post natal care world I started a petition calling for the above to be actioned. This attracted 2000 signatures within four days & I became very excited that I was definitely onto something here.
Creating my petition enabled me to find many like-minded women who were also wanting to create a change in post natal care. It also sent waves out into all areas of the UK and ripples of change started to surface and lots of murmuring amongst health care professionals began.
Recently the NHS plan has just been published and more women’s health physio for post natal care is there in black and white. My next mission is to see proactive changes take place quickly and with the help of some excellent fellow physio’s I truly believe we will make it happen.
My big driver in all this is my daughter. I do not want her receiving the same post natal care I did if she chooses to have her own children when she is older.
Because of her arrival, I had my eyes opened wide to no one taking responsibility for looking after the mother. Because of her, I know some GP’s do not see women at 6 weeks for a check up apart from asking if they are “ok” at their baby 6 week check. Because of my daughter’s birth I know that women’s health physio’s are massively under utilised with their specialist knowledge here. Because of all this, I choose to make post natal care better for all women in the UK.
My purpose this year in 2019 is to educate ladies about the WHY post natal care is so important. The WHAT is needed to change current mindset and understanding of post natal fitness and the HOW the heck do you really do your pelvic floor exercises…correctly! Easy they are not otherwise more of us would do them.
I hope you find the information you are searching for here to help you with your pregnancy or post natal journey. If you would like me to advise you on any postural, post natal or pregnancy pelvic health concerns I provide online consultations that you can find out all about in my WORK WITH ME section.