Folks We Love with Laura Callea | physiotherapist, owner of Pregnancy Posse
Who is in your family?
My wonderful husband J.A (James-Anthony) who is not only my life partner, but also my business partner! Together we have a beautiful son, Massi, who is currently 18 months old and baby number 2 arriving in a matter of weeks.
Where are you from?
We are from Melbourne, Australia, but recently made the move down to the Victorian surf coast for a sea change. We love being by the beach and out in nature, and so far it has been the best move we’ve made.
I am a women’s health physiotherapist. I treat mostly pregnant and postpartum women, with a particular interest in pelvic floor dysfunction and pregnancy exercise. I work in a women’s health physiotherapy clinic in Geelong, run the Physio Laura blog and also run an online pregnancy program, the Pregnancy Posse.
Can you tell us more about the Pregnancy Posse? How did it come to be and what does it entail?
The Pregnancy Posse is a simple and safe online membership program designed for pregnant women. The Posse guides women week-by-week throughout their entire pregnancy to take the guess work out of pregnancy. Inside the Posse, there is tailored and specific weekly exercise workouts, oodles of information about the changes in your body during pregnancy and how to manage those aches and pains. We also cover preparing for birth and recovery after birth.To make sure each lady gets the help they need, I host weekly Q & A sessions inside the Posse. The Posse also has a wonderful community forum for the Mamas to get to know each other and for us to all help each other have a wonderful pregnancy journey!
The idea for the Pregnancy Posse came about because I was tired of hearing my clients say “I wish I had known about this earlier” or “Why didn’t anyone tell me?!” I am all too often treating women in the clinic who have complications from pregnancy and birth that could have been likely avoided with some simple advice. I knew that I could only see so many women face-to-face in the clinic, but I wanted to spread my knowledge wider and reach even more pregnant women. I believe all women should be able to access this important information about their pelvic floors, abdominal muscles, safe exercise guidelines and managing pain (just to name a few) to help them feel confident in their pregnancy and birth experience.
I wanted women from all over the world, in remote areas of the country, with varying financial situations… to still be able to access this knowledge so I knew the online space was where I needed to be. I now have women inside the Pregnancy Posse saying things like “I’m so glad I learnt about this before birth” or, “I’m so glad I didn’t just accept my pain/incontinence/whatever it may be that is troubling them”. I love getting this sort of feedback as it means the Posse is achieving what it was created for!
How have things changed with your partner since you became parents? What is it like for you guys to work together?
Becoming parents has been the most magical journey together. I love the “team spirit” that we have as parents. We are both so conscious of working on ourselves and our relationship with each other so that we can be the best parents possible. There is a real sense of responsibility to role model to our son, to show up every day and be the best version of ourselves possible. Fortunately, we have similar values and morals (I guess that’s why we got married!), so we haven’t had too many challenging parenting moments… just yet!
I think the biggest change has been trying to define and manage our roles and all the different hats we wear. This ties into working from home together too, which all happened after the birth of our son. We became parents and business partners working under the same roof all within a matter of months. We’ve had to work on creating boundaries around our work and home life, which is a lot easier said than done, especially when you love the work you do. We’ve had to become crystal clear communicators with each other to make sure that the load is fair and neither of us is feeling out of balance or depleted. It certainly had it’s “teething” moments when we started working together, but it is now so wonderful to be on this journey together…creating something from scratch to serve women better.
What is your favorite thing to do as a family?
Spending time together, technology-free, at the beach or park… anywhere outdoors! I also cherish our morning bed snuggles, which I am extra conscious may change very soon with the arrival of baby number 2!
What are you reading?
Right now I am reading a novel called “Maybe in Another Life,” which was recommended to me as a good romance novel, I love a good fiction. Next in line is “The First Forty Days,” which is a book about post-natal recovery and nourishing the new mother. That also comes highly recommended to me!
Where do you feel most inspired?
Often sitting in the sand at the beach watching the waves roll in.
What does femininity mean to you?
Great question, this is not something I’ve ever really thought much about. However being pregnant right now, I do feel in my feminine element. I think the physical and mental changes that happen when you grow another human soul, give birth and then nourish that teeny tiny little baby are the most transformative of my life so far and make me feel most feminine. So I think strength and nourishment is what springs to mind when I think femininity.
How do you manage stress?
Meditation, mindfulness and practicing gratitude daily. It’s so hard to be stressed when you think about just how lucky you are to have what you have. I try to never lose sight of how fortunate I am, and most things that “stress” me out are really just first-world problems with easy solutions. Being around my son is a great reminder to not get caught up in stress. Children are always so present in the moment and I try to model this from my son if I am ever feeling overwhelmed or stressed (…minus the tantrums that Massi occasionally throws!)
What’s the most challenging part about being a mom?
Showing up, even when you are not feeling it. Prior to becoming a Mum, if I was having an off day I could just take it easy, rest more, fill my cup up in whichever way I liked. But since becoming a Mum, if you have an off day you still need to show up for your child. You still need to feed them, comfort them, play with them and show up. And sometimes this is actually the best thing to help pull you out of your funk.
What do the day to day operations look like for you?
We start every single day with a coffee at our local cafe. We make Massi’s breakfast and bring it along with us to the cafe… I can count on one hand how many breakfasts he’s eaten at home since he was born! We then tend to spend an hour or so walking or playing at the park all together. After this, my husband will usually get started on work, and if Massi is home, I will continue to run errands, have playdates, etc. until he naps.
When Massi naps, I hustle my little butt off to get done what I can in that 1.5-2 hour space. This usually involves work, cooking or household jobs. We then play, visit the beach or go for a walk in the afternoon and then wind down into our dinner, bath, bed routine. I have recently tried to not work so much once Massi goes down to sleep for the night, but I will usually do at least 30 minutes, sometimes a few hours depending on how much work I have.
If Massi is in childcare (currently 2 days per week), we still have our morning coffee routine but then I will be head down, bum up working from home until we pick him up. We have recently been trying to have more “time-off” on the weekend and that has been fabulous. :-)
What is the most challenging part of running your business?
Time management and delegation. It is so easy to just work all the time, I actually think it is a very lazy way of working to be honest. So recently (and in the lead up to trying to factor in some maternity leave) I have been thinking long and hard about what do I really need to be doing. Can I outsource or automate these tasks to lighten my load somewhat? Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I have to. Often I find that if I get caught up in admin tasks, that I really am doing a disservice to my Pregnancy Posse members because my strength is not in admin, it is in educating. So I’m learning to let go of my internal expectations, outsource smarter, automate better and free myself up to spend more time working to my strengths.
How do you maintain balance with work, a partner, kids, and yourself? Any tricks?
My husband and I have been talking a lot about this lately. What is working for us right now is having daily habits that we do to fill our cups up that help us feel more in balance. This looks like getting up slightly earlier to exercise, meditate, journal etc. We have also started switching all of our notifications off on our phone so that we are not constantly distracted with work/socials and can be super present when we are having family time.
I try to only check my emails twice a day. We don’t have a TV, so I imagine this frees up a lot of time. I always batch cook, I never ever make a meal for just one sitting! I am a list-writer so I never have to keep things in my head, they are always written down. This makes grocery shopping and errands much easier. I double things up if I can to make my time more efficient (ie: I listen to podcasts whilst driving, I’ll film my workout for social media content whilst actually exercising, I do my pelvic floor exercises every time I talk about them with my clients). They’re the main hacks that are working for me right now!
What are you watching right now?
Well, we don’t have a TV so I sporadically check in with Netflix on my laptop every now and then. We just finished watching “When They See Us” on Netflix which was incredibly moving, especially when you’re the mum of a boy.
What does self-care mean and look like for you? What do you do for yourself?
Self-care to me means showing up every day to be kind to myself and set myself up to be as happy and healthy as possible. Self-care looks like eating well, moving my body, practicing gratitude and getting enough sleep. These are things I try to do every day to keep myself top-notch. Other things that fill my cup up are time with friends and family, massages, swims in the ocean and going to the movies (although this is rare now that we have Massi).
What makes you feel sustained?
Waking up with a purpose. Being a mum and a wife is my number one reason to bounce out of bed each morning, but a very close second is my wonderful tribe of pregnant women. I love showing up for them and helping to serve them better every single day. This gives me so much purpose :-)
You spend so much time with pregnant women--what do most women express they wish they had known about pregnancy and postpartum that they didn't know before getting pregnant?
Oh I could chat about this for days! The main things women speak about is the lack of knowledge surrounding their pelvic floor muscles and what they could have done to try and prevent or manage incontinence or prolapse better. Another common one is the lack of knowledge they had surrounding safe exercise guidelines during pregnancy and after birth which could have potentially prevented their abdominal separation, pelvic floor issues or pelvic and back pain.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
“This is it” - essentially meaning that life is short… all we ever have is this moment, so this is it. Make of it what you will. Whilst it may sound pessimistic to some, I find it so inspiring to remind myself that there is no guarantee of tomorrow… getting that next exciting shiny object won’t necessarily make you feel any better… this is it.
What are 4 things you can't live without?
Coffee, active wear, reflux tablets (the pregnancy heartburn is getting to me!) and of course my family.