My final Fabulous Females of this first series are three women who make up #pelvicroar. Myra, Elaine and Emma are a physio led collaboration intent on challenging any taboos surrounding pelvic health and making pelvic exercises as vital as brushing your teeth. Personally I love to combine the two!
The importance of a strong pelvic floor is something any childbearing woman will be familiar with, but maintaining a healthy pelvic floor is vital for everyone, male and female and reaps benefits into midlife and beyond.
The pelvic floor is largely underrated but it is a crucial system of muscles and ligaments that not only house our pelvic organs but also control our front and back passages. It is perhaps, therefore, not surprising that by its nature of being such an intimate part of our anatomy, it and any possible problems associated with it such as incontinence, prolapse or sexual dysfunction can be a source of embarrassment for many.
It is this very “British” awkwardness that Myra, Elaine and Emma want to tackle, whilst directing people to evidence-based information at all stages of their life. They all have a strong pedigree in pelvic health and each bring a unique perspective to the mix.
Myra is the co-creator of award-winning pelvic floor muscle exercise app Squeezy. Elaine, a self-confessed attention seeker is the woman behind Gusset Grippers a sell-out comedy show she wrote about how to laugh without leaking. Last but by no means least, Emma is a specialist women’s health physio who has used her own childbirth experiences to focus on postpartum recovery and among other things has a keen interest in helping women start or get back into running.
They are without doubt an inspirational trio with passion at the very heart of what they do. Here’s what they have to say about their motivations, their ambitions and all the bits in between.
- Who is or was your role model?
Myra: I have had a number of people – I am inspired by anyone who tackles something that they have a strong belief in and refuses to take no for an answer. I have great admiration for people like Desmond Tutu and met him at work once, which was completely overwhelming!
Elaine: My mother, obviously. She’s a quietly fierce woman and has taught me the value of saying less than you think – something which I aspire to be able to emulate. Even just once.
Emma: My mum and my friends.
- What motivates you?
Myra: I love to challenge things and am particularly motivated by situations where I see change as possible, especially if I think it will change the quality of life for people. It’s one of the reasons I became so interested in pelvic health as we can change people’s lives….
Elaine: People being able to enjoy life. Life is short, there is joy to be had, it’s nice to be able to help people to get that.
Emma: My husband and children. Horribly cliched but so very true!!! Both my husband and I are keen to provide as many opportunities for our children, expose them to an active lifestyle full of love and fun but also to show them that hard work is an important part of life.
- What are the values you hold dearest in life?
Myra: Making the most of every moment that we have and putting your heart into everything you do.
Elaine: “Deeds, not words.”
Emma: Living life to the full, cherishing every moment and not taking anything for granted.
- What has been your biggest challenge so far & how did you overcome it?
Myra: Working with a technology company, Living With, to create Squeezy App. We kept being told “no” or “don’t know” to all the questions we asked. We just kept moving ahead and bypassing the obstacles until we launched!
Elaine: Trying to extend the orbit of the earth so we get a 36 hour day. I’m not getting very far with this, and so, my “to do” list remains unrealistic.
Emma: My pregnancies have been incredibly challenging, having suffered hyperemsis graivda during both pregnancies. During my first pregnancy I was incredibly unwell. I guess I dealt with it by ensuring that during my second pregnancy I was well prepared and supported, researching the condition as thoroughly as possible and seeking pre-emptive medication which was not made available to me first time around.
- What is your proudest moment?
Myra: Winning a big industry award for Squeezy!
Elaine: Selling out the Edinburgh Fringe run. That was nice.
Emma: Having my babies oh and setting up my ladies running club which now has 65 female members that walk or run every week and who all have an increased awareness of pelvic health education.
- What motto do you live by?
Myra: Do your best and accept that sometimes your best may not look very good to others.
Elaine: Yeah, same as above “Deeds, not words” It’s no good to just talk about things, that’s just words and words are not tangibly helpful.
Emma: Nothing worth having comes easy.
- What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Myra: Stop worrying!
Elaine: Stop stressing.
Emma: Have more confidence.
- Who gave you the best advice and what was it?
Myra: “It will all be fine in the end” – my husband, on many occasions!
Elaine: Nike – “Just do it!”
Emma: A dream doesn’t become reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work – my husband often reminds me of this.
- How would your friends describe you?
Myra: Busy, caring, good baker.
Elaine: Gobby, funny, kind.
Emma: Kind, loving, determined, worrier.
- What makes you laugh out loud?
Myra: Elaine Miller
Elaine: Calvin and Hobbes – the cartoon strip about a little boy with a stuffed tiger. Should be essential reading for everyone. Especially if you live with a six year old boy or like snowmen.
Emma: My friends.
- What would your autobiography be called?
Myra: “She came, she saw, she Squeezed.”
Elaine: “A lot of pish”
Emma: “A Mama and a Runner”
- What does being a modern woman mean to you?
Myra: Choosing to live in the way that is right for you.
Elaine: Worrying that feminism is not serving us effectively and wondering how to galvanise us all to protect ourselves, our spaces, services and hard won equalities if we have them. A woman’s lot is still a sorry one in many places.
Emma: Doing my little bit on this planet to help ensure that women’s health and needs are as highly valued and met as men’s.
- What would be your desert island essential?
Myra: A piped supply of good red wine.
Elaine: A big bag of knitting. Like, a lifetime’s worth of knitting. And, a wifi connection to www.ravelry.com, please. Would be quite happy with that.
Emma: My running trainers and an ipod!!!!!
- What makes you feel fabulous?
Myra: A supply of good red wine!
Elaine: A good bra and a large glass of wine.
Emma: An amazing trail run followed by a large gin and tonic.
- In your own words – ” A fabulous female is…..
Myra: ..one who is true to herself, and enabled to reach her potential.”
Elaine: ..all of us. We’re all fabulous.”
Emma: ..someone who is loving, kind, caring, hard working and inspires those her around her to be the best they can.”
Pelvic health is so easily overlooked yet as I know from personal experience, awareness of its importance and doing those exercises whenever you have a spare moment, whether standing on the tube, or cleaning your teeth can make a real difference when you least expect it. Please do take a look at the Pelvicroar website and check out Myra, Elaine and Emma – you never know when their invaluable advice and expertise may come in handy.