Welcome to Chicago North Shore Moms weekly Meet a Mom series where we feature one local mama, what they’re up to both personally and professionally. This week’s Meet a Mom feature is the lovely Davenport, Iowa transplant and mom of two, Kaitlin Iversen, PT, DPT. Kaitlin is all about helping people feel physically better in their body. And having just given birth to her baby girl last Apri, she’s well aware of the physical and mental toll that being postpartum can have on a new mom. Thanks for sharing a bit about you, Kaitlin! Welcome!
Hi Kaitlin! Welcome! Please introduce yourself.
Hi! My name is Kaitlin Iversen, PT, DPT. I was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa, a city located along the Mississippi River on the eastern border of Iowa. I moved to the city of Chicago 10 years ago while attending graduate school to earn my Doctorate in Physical Therapy and quickly fell in love with Chicago. Over the years I have had the privilege of exploring a variety of neighborhoods within the city including Wicker Park, West Town and Logan Square. Shortly after joining the React team as a Physical Therapist I’ve had the opportunity to work in Wilmette. For the past 4 years have been raising my family in the Portage Park neighborhood which has allowed me an easy commute.
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have been blessed with two amazing kids. Oliver is my adventure seeking, energetic always down for a dance party 3 year old. While Lucy, my 9 month old, is fast approaching her brother’s love for chatter and adventure, she tends to hang back and assess the situation prior to making her grand entrance. She loves to snack, nap and snuggle. Together, they are best friends in the making and keep me on my toes!
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
I absolutely love the amount of laughter, innocence, and energy that my children share with me every day. I have been blessed with unconditional love, new levels of patience and have been given the opportunity for endless experiences both fun and challenging. Being a mom has taught me as much about myself as it has taught me about being selfless and for that I am very thankful.
Excellent! Any successful parenting tips you’d like to share?
I adopted the “learn as you go” and “do the best you can” philosophies, but on steroids. Lucy was born at the very beginning of COVID and with all the unknowns my family has pretty much been on a hard lockdown since beginning of April. What made our day to day easier with two young kids, is routine, routine, routine, exercise, and fresh air. Kids, like adults, enjoy the safety and comfort of their routines while also needing to expend all their built-up energy and fresh air never hurts!
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I tend to be an open book and share my life story on day one of learning your name. However, my claim to fame is that in one of my college basketball games, standing tall at 5’6 I pulled down 22 rebounds and scored 21 points against a rival team. Outside of that win for the average height basketball players, I love navy blue, my spirit animal is a hippo, I routinely use sage to smudge my house of unwanted energy and I cry every time I leave a family vacation.
Rapid Fire – Go!
Current lipstick brand/color? I am a basic Chapstick wearing mom.
Favorite candy? Sour Patch Kids
Strangest thing in your purse right now? I have what some would consider a small obsession with quarters. I have a coin bag that is fully stocked with quarters in my purse at all times.
Last book you read? Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Current binge shows? Most current binge was The Undoing. I am always down to binge any true crime documentary series!
You’re a physical therapist at React Physical Therapy. Please share!
React Physical Therapy was started with the intention of changing what people believe is possible with their bodies. And we continue with that intention every day, in everything we do. I have the privilege of being a physical therapist and the Clinic Director of our Wilmette location. React PT is a Chicago-based, privately owned company founded by David Reavy, PT, OCS. At 18 years old a car-accident left Reavy with an extensive set of injuries. The accident and the subsequent injuries altered his life path. After he was unable to regain his previous level of function through traditional physical therapy, it ultimately challenged him to think beyond his limitations. Reavy was able to use his negative experience into a positive for himself and others and led to the creation of React Physical Therapy. React PT started in the West Loop and has now expanded to 4 Chicago locations and locations in Deerfield and Wilmette.
What is your biggest challenge about running a foot-traffic business during this pandemic?
During the pandemic we were able to expand our service offerings to include Telehealth but the bulk of what we do is best done in the clinic, hands-on, which has had its challenges. One of the biggest challenge was easing the anxiety and worries of those that needed physical therapy but were hesitant to seek the care they needed outside of their home. Compliance is particularly important in physical therapy, so we knew that we had to take the steps needed to do what was best for our community and patients to make sure that they had access to physical therapy safely. As a healthcare facility we already had high standards of sanitizations, but the pandemic heightened our processes and added extra screening and PPE for staff and patients. We had to alternate schedules and limit in clinic staff to only essential workers, but we are proud that we have been able to stay open for our community.
React has always valued the importance of community. Having clinics within the North Shore has allowed us to provide exceptional care to many members of the community. It is the positive experiences and lasting impact that we have on our patients that we believe is the footprint necessary for our business to continue to be successful in and after this pandemic. As a company our hope is that the level of care provided is shared among the community so we can help as many members as possible!
As a PT, what is a common question you get from friends/family members?
One of the most common questions usually entails “Can you send me some exercises to cure my back or hip pain?” My answer usually consists of me trying to convince family and friends that exercises are just a small part of the healing process and they will need to seek care from a licensed PT for more appropriate care. However, I am always more than happy to send some tips and exercises to help them in the short term with discomfort. Exercises range from stretching, mobility and basic hip and core strengthening.
Favorite city restaurants for when COVID is gone one day?
I am going to make every effort to support the small, privately owned restaurants in the city including some of my favorite city destinations:
Parachute in Logan Square
Scofflaw in Logan Square
Pot Sticker House in China Town
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Often times when a patient comes into the clinic they are in pain and at their most vulnerable state. It is my goal as their physical therapist to connect and build trust with the patient through patience, education and hard work. Once the goals we set together have been achieved and the patient has returned to their daily activities, it is the lasting impact on that patient success that I feel is the most rewarding. I often keep in close touch with my patients, even after the clinic work is finished.
Anything our readers would be surprised to know about with regards to React PT?
At React PT we pride ourselves on taking the time to get to know our patients to ensure individualized treatment and quality hands-on care. All our providers utilize the Reavy Method, a proprietary method that takes a whole-body approach to physical therapy that relieves pain, removes stiffness, and restores natural movement. Patients spend at least 30 minutes one-on-one with their treating physical therapist during follow up appointments and we do not overbook. Rather than treating just the site of pain we investigate the whole body to understand the underlying cause as well as the cascading effects being produced on the body. The impact is immediate, and it lasts.
We stress patient education so that our patients may gain a deeper understanding of how their body works and ultimately develop the self-management techniques necessary for avoiding re-injury and to get our patients stronger than ever and back to the activities they love.
Oh! We have to ask this…. What was it like having a baby during COVID? Are you giving yourself any new mom PT exercises that you can share with us?
Lucy was induced on April 20, 2020. At this time there were more unknowns and uncertainties than answers when it came to COVID-19. Being 9 months pregnant was scary, stressful and isolating. I was told that I needed to be mentally prepared in the case that my husband would not be allowed in the labor and delivery room and that I may have to give birth on the COVID floor with physicians that had volunteered to help that day. Luckily, once I arrived at 2:30am to be induced I was given my test results and they were negative. I was sure the hardest part was over! But when I reflected at home with a newborn just 29 hours after delivering, I was hit with the cold reality that this time around would be much harder. COVID continues to play a HUGE part of my recovery postpartum both mentally and physically.
As a physical therapist and mother of two, my goal is to continue to educate and normalize the effects that pregnancy has on our mental and physical being and to help other new moms through this process. COVID has amplified this mission for me. I do perform daily rehab exercises that are focused on strengthening the core muscles and hips! I am happy to share exercise recommendations to any new moms or moms-to-be!
Are you able to pass forward a discount for our readers?
Come in for a complimentary injury or pain screen and mention you heard about us from CNSM and you will receive a free React t-shirt!
Where can we find you on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn?
You can find us on Instagram @ReactPT Facebook React Physical Therapy and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/reactphysicaltherapychicago