Q + A with TWO HANNAHS
Dr. Hannah Anderson is our go-to gal for all questions around keeping moms healthy and strong from the inside out. We sat down to chat about her passion, expertise, and family.
Make sure to read Hannah's other post on ways to love your mom bod.
Tell us who is in your sweet family.
My husband (college sweetheart), my daughter (she's the coolest toddler around and most certainly in charge), and our small fluffy pup (summoned 400x a day by toddler in charge, a la "PUP. PUUUUP."
What gets you up and moving in the morning? What are you passionate about?
My passion is in health and wellness. Particularly, how can people nourish their bodies so they can enjoy their lives, and reach their potential. In my chiropractic practice I focus on women and children because pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood fascinate me (leading me to an extended education in these areas). I love people who realize, or are willing to learn they don't have to settle for mediocrity when it comes to health. They don't have to be in pain, they don't have to be uncomfortable, they don't have to deal with stuff "just because they're old" or "it's a thing that happens when you have a baby" I get really excited when people are willing to work with nourishing food, movement, and mindset changes to make living life a positive experience.
So you are most definitely a #girlboss. Tell us about your businesses and projects that you are working on.
Thanks! My home base is my chiropractic practice at Back In Line, where I see mostly women (preconception, pregnant, postpartum), and children OR people who want to work on their wellbeing via nutrition (nutritional lab testing and food intolerance testing). Some women I've cared for through infertility, pregnancy, and postpartum rehab, and their newborn baby, to boot! It makes me want to sing "Circle of Life" from Lion King on a loop, and happy cry about it. Truly though, anyone looking to prevent illness, "fix" things in a non-traditional way, or running out of answers in the traditional medical model - I'm in. Let's hang out.
I also co-own a nutrition company called Well Labs where we do our best to put functional medicine into plain English so people can comprehend how their body works, and get really high quality nutrients delivered to their door. Well Labs is great because it's rare for supplement companies to be really transparent with products and their quality. The average multi-vitamin or prenatal at a store sells because of flashy advertising or affordability, but you often get what you pay for (stay away from the $10 gummies). In my practice, I test vitamin and mineral levels of my patients via blood test and those who've been on a generic vitamin are often still deficient because low quality ingredients were used (artificial forms of vitamins, sugars, dyes, undigestible fillers). We made Well Labs, in part, so people could have access to ethically marketed, high quality products. Our mission is the 2nd reason Well Labs is awesome - our profit goes back into promoting lifestyle medicine. Each year we donate to make some sort of preventative health initiative accessible to those who can't afford it. In the past we've been able to fund music therapy for autistic children, and enable our local farmers market to accept EBT, and obtain extra organic produce. We're always looking for new ways to give back to people pushing healthy lifestyles!
My most recent "hat" is BIRTHFIT Regional Director for Cedar Rapids, IA. BIRTHFIT is a national organization, growing fast, so tell your out-of-state friends to check it out. It's supporting women through all stages of the motherhood transition, so it naturally fell in line with my practice and passions. It addresses the female body physically, nutritionally, and mentally. There are classes and programs for preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum. I'm psyched to bring this to Cedar Rapids because there's such a void for postpartum care in particular. Most women are getting 1 visit at 6 weeks, where remarkably little happens. Pregnancy and childbirth are arguably the biggest physical events in a woman's life if she has children. Yes, rest is good for a pregnant mother, but also, birth is an athletic event and there's something to be said for training for it whether it's 3 hours long, or 30. In addition, after birth, every thing becomes about the baby (not that I don't love babies, I do... who hates babies?), but moms are rarely rehabilitated from either a major surgery (cesarean) or vaginal childbirth. BIRTHFIT is working really hard to make birth and postpartum an empowering time, which makes LIFE as a mom empowering, because you're literally postpartum for the rest of your life after that beautiful baby :)
You work a lot on physical strength, but let's talk inner strength too. What are some things that help you be a strong mama?
Knowing my boundaries, thinking positively, and honest/open communication with my family. I don't know when I learned it, but I'm really good at saying "no" when I can't realistically hold up a commitment, or know I wouldn't enjoy something. Time is precious, it needs to be spent carefully! Being a mom has also made me much more patient with adults, and positive about my daily interactions. You never know if someone had a rough night, or has a rough life, and is truly trying to do their best that day. I'd rather assume the best in people than get upset. I don't want to put in the time or effort to be mad at people... again time is too precious. I've also been lucky that my immediate family is really good at communicating. There are times amongst my husband, parents, and siblings where we look at each other and say things like "I think you're acting irrationally. What's really going on?" "Why are you being crazy?" "What can I to help you not be stressed?" "I'm really confused and mad that you (fill in the blank)." We discuss it, and get through it. I'm not naturally confrontational like that, but I like that they don't stew on emotions. Once it's talked through it's pretty much "no harm, no foul" and everyone is done being upset. All of those things take away a lot of stress which helps my boost my mental strength!
So, we LOVE TO ASK...
Cheers, Mama! is a community dedicated to celebrating the mama life. How and why do you celebrate being a mom?
Being a mom is amazing. What else can put you through the biggest physical, mental, and emotional feat of your life, and end in something you love more than yourself. The science of it is amazing. The hippie/woo-woo/spiritual aspect is amazing. I celebrate being a mom by taking care of moms. Too many times a mom has had a rough day (or year), never takes time for herself, and is hyper-focused on helping her family thrive. I love to be the person who makes time to honor her role, and give her the time and space to feel cared for, listened to, and supported. Sometimes it's 15 minutes in my office, and sometimes it's an hour long class. Sometimes it's making my own mom dinner and reminding her that she did a lot of stuff right.
What are some next steps for moms who want to either be more active, nourish themselves in a better way, start exercising with their babies/kids? What would you suggest as a good place to start?
Mimic your kids. Get on the floor, roll around, crawl, squat, jump, hang. These are all great movements for you too. Focus on adding a variety of healthy foods, movements, and thoughtsvfor the grown ups and kids in your house instead of freaking out about limiting "bad" things. Hook up with a functional medicine doctor to get some baseline testing. I would suggest following BIRTHFIT (the original ;)) in addition to BIRTHFIT_CedarRapids. BIRTHFIT.com has a great blog, online courses if you don't have a BIRTHFIT near you, and consultations for fitness, pelvic floor health, nutrition, mindset, and more.