Hi! I’m Janelle and I'm so glad you're here!
I have to admit, I’ve lived a big, fun life so far! I’m grateful every day for my health, my family and that I chose Occupational Therapy as my profession. OT has taken me on lots of adventures and given me a wealth of knowledge in a lot of areas. I love approaching my client's care with a sense of curiosity and using the unique skills I have picked up along the way to support their healing on a deeper level.
I've had the pleasure to have lived, worked, traveled and studied all over the country and the world. My journey has taken me to places like Seattle, Guam, Thailand, San Diego, Denver and Michigan. These places have helped me grow, learn and become the person and therapist I am today. In 2019 my husband and I decided to relocate our family back to Holland, our hometown. Finally, I had the support I needed to launch Wana Mama! My village!
If you're interested in my story, read on...
Here's the gist of how it all went down...
I have a deep history of endometriosis, cysts and fibroids that caused years of debilitating chronic pelvic pain and dysfunction going back to my teens. Back then, my only options were surgery and medication. I spent years of my young life suffering with these conditions and searching for real answers. My habits, my routines and social participation suffered well into my young adulthood. My ability to participate in the activities that were important to me were hindered. I was forced to modify and downgrade everything I did. I relied on ibuprofen for years to manage the pain. I had to get jobs that allowed me to sit down when I needed to and I missed out on fun things that would have brought me a lot of joy, like running. Along the way I had to figure how to restore my own function and happiness. Thank goodness for OT school!
Pelvic health is a relatively new area of therapy, about 30 years old. But giving birth is not new. While I was having my babies between 2013 - 2017, I started to really notice the lack of comprehensive care and support for mothers and everything they go through. Although, I was surrounded by loving support of my family and friends during my first pregnancy and delivery, I experienced a severe birth injury while delivering my first son. Nobody suggested pelvic floor therapy. Soon after my son was born, I would say things like, "Gosh, my vagina feels like it's sideways now." and "Why do I have more trouble going to the bathroom now?" and "This urge to pee is overwhelming!" Can you relate?
After my first child, I lost two pregnancies. Through these experiences, not one provider offered resources to help me process and heal from those losses. I had to recognize the need and seek it myself.
I had a difficult pregnancy with my second child. My son was big and my midwives doubted if I could deliver him. I was hearing things like "What if his shoulders won't pass through? We'll have to snap his clavicle to get him out." My pre-natal care was driven by fear, not empowerment, despite my best efforts to find supportive care. I did, however, find an amazing doula, whom I owe so much gratitude. She made my beautiful delivery possible with her advocacy and expertise. And yes, I did deliver him safely and peacefully. The way I wanted to. But...I did experience a powerful round of post-partum depression. For a long time, I didn't even know. Sound familiar? It's hard to see things clearly when you are only seeing it from the inner perspective. The silver lining here was that my post-partum depression presented in a unique way. Despite the deep love and gratitude I have for my children, I was feeling lonely and isolated in the first year after having both of my babies. It's easy to get lost in motherhood and lose sight of yourself. After reflecting on this years later, I realized I wanted 2 things; to continue to stay connected to myself as an indivivual person and to find my village. I am a lifelong learner. This is one way I keep sight of myself. I love learning and exploring new areas of my profession. When my 2nd child was 7 months old, I went back to school to study in a Holistic Health Program. In that program I took a business class. That is when I wrote the business plan for Wana Mama! About a year later we found ourselves back in Michigan after a 12 year abscense and Wana Mama came to life!
In the fall of 2021, I received a breast cancer diagnosis, knowing I had a lump for a year and half and being told it's not cancer. I had to advocate for more diagnostics and a biopsy. That self-advocacy is what led to finally getting the diagnosis. Unfortunatley, by then the tumor had grown to the size of a baseball and my left breast couldn't be saved. This led to a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I spent the next year receiving and recovering from one surgery after another and cycles of physical and emotional healing. Today I am cancer free! But I am still navigating the emotional and physical toll this disease and intervention has taken on my body and my psyche. Feeling comfortable to in my new body is an on-going process. The bright side is that I have my life and I am better equipped to help women who have experienced cancer. Such as resuming intimacy after losing body parts and managing with the side effects of treatments, surgeries and medications.
Since I was a teenager, I found myself feeling alone and broken and having put myself back together at various points of my life. The disappointing lack of care, awareness and guidance from my providers was not something I could overlook. It took a lot of self-advocacy and effort to get the help I needed and I don't want other women to struggle the way I did. So I set out to change that and haven’t looked back. My mission is to educate other healthcare providers to approach their clients/patients with a braoder lense and empower women advocate for themselves.
The birth of Wana Mama was inspired by all of my experiences as a woman, a mother and as an Occupational Therapist. I found myself perfectly situated to bridge this gap in healthcare.
Thanks for taking the time to read about little blips of my life. If any of it resonated with you, help and validation is here!
I look forward to meeting you!
MOTR/L, ATP, CSOT
Janelle Kloske a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist, Owner and CEO of Wana Mama LLC. Wana Mama is a holistic Occupational Therapy practice in Holland, Michigan. Providing Pelvic Health and Healing for Women. Janelle enjoys helping women feel their best by helping them learn more about their body, reconnect with themselves, and support their recovery process, so that can get back to what matters most them.