Women Who Do What They Love - Mary O'Dwyer

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Who is this woman? Mary O’Dwyer

What’s her business? Redsok Seminars & Publishing

Where can you take a squiz at her stuff? www.holditsister.com

What does she actually do? Apart from writing books, articles for magazines and generally promoting awareness of pelvic floor function and incontinence, I run three full-day workshops – for women, for fitness professionals and for physiotherapists.

How long has she been doing it? Well, I’ve practiced clinically as a Women’s Health Physiotherapist for 30 years and spent the past three years running the Hold It Sister business.

Why does she do all this? Clinical work has given me a window into the effect pelvic floor dysfunction has on women’s lives. Like most problems, we don’t think about it until something goes wrong.

Well, an epidemic number of women do have ‘something go wrong’ in this area of their body. My clients keep on saying ‘Why didn’t someone tell me this before?’ or ‘Where can I get this information to send to my daughter/mother?’ It soon became obvious that women need quality information in everyday language to help understand and overcome these all too common problems, no matter their age.

Many women are disconnected from this part of their body. They may have injuries from pregnancy, childbirth, abuse, disease, heavy lifting or poor habits and really benefit from guided learning about their pelvic floor.

"Every woman needs to know what’s in this book." – Dr Christiane Northrup M.D.

The distress and tears of frustration of thousands of my clients gives me the ongoing drive to teach women how to confidently control their pelvic floor and pass correct information on to their daughters.

It’s a joy to be part of one woman’s triumph when she reverses total loss of bladder control and sexual dysfunction after birthing ; seeing the delight of another who is able to enjoy travelling again without fearing a flooded dress, or relieving intense pain preventing a young woman from having intercourse.

I’m saddened when I think of the indignity my mother and grandmother (and countless other women) suffered with incontinence and no options apart from surgery and pads. Today’s women are living longer, birthing later, exploring the world and planning on living to a ripe old age, so it’s time to educate ourselves and demystify ‘down under’. Women today are savvy – they want to look and feel good and I’ve found many are desperately seeking more information if their body is ‘malfunctioning’.

After all, the pelvic floor controls our continence, assists with spinal stability and gives the OMG in orgasm.

What is this talented woman’s story? I was raised in Brisbane, trained at the Universities of Queensland and Melbourne. I am a part time Senior Teaching Fellow at Bond University on the Gold Coast. I have six kids in all (three step children) and the eldest child was born in USA where she now lives. I love beach walking and controlling my garden with a hedge trimmer (feel like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens). I have a passion for fresh ingredients and slow cooking.

Has her current journey been easy or tough? Let’s just say it’s been a major learning curve but getting help from experts and learning new skills has helped to develop my business.

What pesky obstacles have tried to block her progress? Having no knowledge of printing, publishing, distribution and marketing are huge obstacles to success but I’m a ‘boots and all’ person so have learned many new skills through ‘doing’.

My determination to educate women keeps me finding ways to jump over the obstacles while realising I still have much to learn. I’m a bit too disciplined in working from home and have to schedule breaks to keep some balance in life.

What are her greatest joys in doing what she loves? The marvellous women I meet, the opportunities to make new alliances, the freedom to set my own agenda, to work from home, and to meet friends for coffee or lunch.

What is she loving most at the moment? I love running workshops for women – it’s a fun, educational, sharing day full of self-discovery, helping women overcome barriers about their pelvic floor.

I’m enjoying running another workshop through Fitness Australia which teaches professionals how to train women with pelvic floor problems. As women, we get all fired up about our fitness or weight loss goals and often start exercise which overwhelms our pelvic floor control, so this is a much needed area of professional education.

What is her inspiration? Women of all ages - clients constantly inspire me to learn, investigate, question and dream of what ‘could be’.

I’m inspired by philanthropic women like Dr Catherine Hamlin who is still performing and teaching surgery on birth damaged Ethiopian mothers. She is now in her eighties.

If she could do anything in the whole wide, entire world – what would she do? I would choose to become a skilled organic farmer.

Where would she escape to if she could? Right now I would love to travel down the Croatian coast and spend a summer in one of the divine UNESCO listed towns in Montenegro.

What would she do there? I would swim, eat local food, explore, dream, sip coffee in the town square, read, look at the stars and feel ageless.

What are her secret aspirations? To develop a Pelvic Floor Institute to ‘train the trainers’ who return to their community and teach women to start making an in road into the ‘present epidemic of pelvic floor dysfunction’. Women should not be living with incontinence or protruding prolapses for years, having to ask for tips in online forums or avoiding sex because of embarrassment or lack of knowledge.

What is her greatest achievement? Without a moment’s hesitation – my children. They have taught me to love, and are a constant source of energy.

What would be her absolutely perfect day? It starts with being woken by the sounds of fisherman leaving for their day at sea in Bantry Bay, Cork. My husband and children all chat through breakfast, followed by a stroll over pebbled roads for coffee and the morning paper. Packing a picnic, we tramp over fields of intense green to lie around on rugs, eating - only broken by laughter.

Walking home, we finally decide on dinner’s menu and everyone carries home parcels of fresh food for tonight’s feast. Fires are started, aromas waft through our cottage as music is played which instigates singing and fetching of drinks. After dinner, we head to the local pub for music and happy company before succumbing to the lure of our soft beds.

What five words sum her up? Loyal, quixotic, tenacious, inquisitive, grateful.

What really fabulous advice does she have for others wanting to Do What They Love? Don’t lose sight of your dream and get help from experts.

Mary’s book – Hold It Sister, is available now. Check her website for more information.

Are you doing what you love? Please contact me here if you would like to tell your Do What You Love story. I’d love to hear from you – no matter where you are in the world.

1 comment:

moggies said...

Mary can I come on your perfect day? It sounds divine. Congratulations on the wonderful work you are doing!

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