We had the good fortune of connecting with Merci Ortenzi Treaster and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Merci, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am from Douglasville, Ga. It is a small town about 30 minutes west of Atlanta. I was raised by two women who greatly impacted who I am today. Both business owners, both health care professionals, but most importantly, both strong, independent and told me I could do whatever I wanted to do. One mother in an OB/GYN and other is a chiropractor. So out popped me, a pelvic health physical therapist!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up in a healthcare world, anatomical terms were part our daily conversation. I remember my mom going through the female reproductive system in my 3rd grade class during a career day event. All the other children’s eyes were big and scared and I just thought it was a normal day. How was I supposed to know that other moms did not teach their children anatomical terms like vulva, vagina, clitoris, urethra, etc. Other kids called their privates “ hooha, no no, foo foo, bum, china..” while I could recite all of the stages of your menstrual cycle at age 12. I always knew the field of health would be in my future, pelvic floor and all! It was in the car one day that my OBGYN mother and I discussed the lack of women’s health during the postpartum period. As a physician, she knew how to keep the mother “medically safe” but when it came to the musculoskeletal side she had no clue how to help them. Daily she heard complaints of pelvic pressure, pain with intercourse, urinary leakage, bowel leakage and she knew about medications and surgical interventions that could help but never knew there could be help outside of the medical realm. That is where I come in. I did research and found that in other countries pelvic health physical therapy is the norm. It is protocol before and after you have a baby. The Pelvis Pro began as an Instagram account as a way to deliver fun and educational pelvic health information to the public. It quickly grew as a place to present prenatal tips as I started my pregnancy and postpartum journey. People reached out to me weekly asking questions regarding pelvic health and exercises that could be done and when to begin postpartum. After becoming a mother myself, just 24 short months ago, I learned more than ever how important it was to have a pelvic health physical therapist as a partner during recovery (you can read about my labor and delivery/postpartum journey on my blog posts). I worked very hard alongside my pelvic health therapist to get to the place where I am today. What sets me apart from others is my passion for preventative care. I believe all women should “know” their pelvic floors. They should know their bodies to prepare for sexual activity, pregnancy, post pregnancy and menopause. The lack of knowledge regarding our own bodies I see day to day from my patients is unreal.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I live in Decatur, Ga. But I love all the neighborhoods in Atlanta (one of my favorite things about this city is how many eclectic neighborhoods there are and how easy it is to get to them). Brunch spots: Rising Son in Avondale Estates Walks: Beltline walk from Krogg Street to Piedmont park, Stone Mountain Trails Lunch: A quick lunch at Cypress Street Pint and Plate (I lived next to this restaurant for 8 years and fell in love with the patio), Leons in Decatur, Sun in My Belly in Kirkwood, Lunch at El Tesoros, Arepa Mia, Henry’s in Midtown I have a 2 year old so I am all about kids activities: The Atlanta Zoo, The Fernbank, The Botanical Gardens, Skate Park area in Inman Park, The amazing playgrounds all around Atlanta
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would say my husband! He was 100% behind me when I told him I wanted to go out on my own! Never doubted that I could be successful and help women on their pelvic health journey. Of course my moms’ who I mentioned in the first questions deserve a lot of recognition. Both being business owners themselves, they were able to coach me in every step! Oh….I would also say Dr. Danielle Drobbin, a Chiropractor that I work closely with also deserves some pretty big recognition. She believed in me from the beginning and pushed me to go out on my own and work out of her wellness center.