Today we’d like to introduce you to Abigail Morgan.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Abigail. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in New York City by parents in the theatre business and had a very eclectic upbringing. I was an actor in my teens and twenties and studied Literature and Photography at Bard College.
I moved to LA in 2001 for pilot season, but I absolutely hated LA. I kept wanting to move back home to NYC, but my side gig in prenatal massage therapy was taking off. Within a year, I found myself in grad school for Traditional Chinese Medicine and knew I had found my calling. I left behind my fledgling career in the entertainment industry and devoted myself to the ancient practice of acupuncture and herbal medicine. Grad school was four years, full time with no vacations, but I was in my 20’s and didn’t have kids yet, so I had plenty of energy. Before long, I was introduced to a homebirth nurse midwife, Sue Wolcott, who became a mentor and teacher to me, and offered me entry into the world of birth and taught me about the midwifery model of care.
I started FLOAT in 2007 because I wanted to offer one-on-one, unbiased and heart-centered care to Angelenos in search of a more integrated, holistic approach to wellness. I was raised in New York City by parents who owned and operated their own small business (in theatre design consultation), so starting a small business right out of Chinese Medical school didn’t seem odd to me. I knew I didn’t want to work for someone else, I wanted to be my own boss.
I’ve now been in practice in Glendale for 11 years and I see patients four days a week in my office. I also do home visits for families during the postpartum month. I start sessions early (7:30 AM), as many patients like to see me before work, and I finish in time to pick up my kids from elementary school and enjoy time with them during these years that are going by so fast! I work late one night a week. I also do Skype consultations with people all over the world.
Has it been a smooth road?
The first few years of practice, before I had my first child, were a challenge. I worked 6 days a week, did not yet understand the importance of self-care, and got very busy very quickly. I had only one treatment room, situated within an OB/Gyn office, which was a fantastic source of referrals and opportunities to learn more about how a Western medical office operated. I was also still doing a lot of house-calls all over LA county, so I got stretched thin pretty quickly. I made a lot of mistakes as a business owner, and really learned first-hand how important it is to have a business plan and a budget! I think mistakes are a wonderful opportunity to learn something you won’t forget.
I had my first child in 2008 and took about three and a half months off work to recover and stay home with him. It was challenging to make that happen because I was self-employed with no maternity benefits and my husband was at the time working in retail, but it was worth being broke for a while! The week before, I was to return to work, I got a call from the Ob/Gyn office at which I was subletting space saying they needed my treatment room back. I had one week to hustle and find my own office space to rent. I did it and signed my first lease on an 800 square foot suite in a 1960’s medical office building in downtown Glendale. (Five years later, I would move to the 1300 square foot space we currently occupy, in a modern medical office building in Glendale.)
I wouldn’t call it smooth sailing the whole way! But I was raised by theatre people in New York City, so I’m well versed in those unexpected bumps in the road.
On my first day back at work after maternity leave, 9/29/08, the stock market crashed. Somehow, my little private acupuncture practice was able to survive the Great Recession – I think it really helped that I specialize – but it wasn’t easy. I feel lucky that I was (and am) my own boss, so I was able to be creative with my hours, pump breastmilk whenever I needed and make my own decisions about when to take time off. I don’t take that lightly.
I had two kids in two years, and the biggest struggle I’ve had as an adult began shortly after my second child was born. I fell into a dark time of postpartum anxiety. My husband was working on the other side of town and was rarely home. I was tandem nursing. We had no family in town. It was incredibly hard trying to meet the needs of two little ones and also stay present for my practice while dealing with constant panic attacks. I’m writing a memoir about that time (the tentative title is “Dark Days”), so stay tuned.
I love doing meaningful work. Being an acupuncturist and herbalist is not just a job to me, it’s a calling.
It’s always a challenge to balance parenting, running a business, marriage and home ownership, but I’ve found the way I can be most successful is to have very clear boundaries about my work hours, take time for myself, and be super organized about time management. I also meditate and hike in the mountains on a regular basis – that’s my church. I have had to learn to lower my expectations – especially after the second kid was born – and find acceptance with being “good enough.” Because really, when is the To-Do List really all done?
I also struggle with other moms who say things like “I stopped working, so I could be a full-time mom” – as if having a career means you’re “part-time mothering”? The Mommy Wars have got to end. Enough already.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I’m a board-certified Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, a writer, and mother of two. FLOAT: Chinese Medical Arts are my private practice and as of April 2018, my doors have been open for 11 years. I’m also a fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine and a maternal health advocate.
My practice provides acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal medicine and nutritional consultation to women, men and children, with an integrative, modern approach. We support all genders and do not discriminate.
I specialize in reproductive health and the childbearing cycle.
Women’s and Men’s Health
Pregnancy & Postpartum
Acupuncture Labor Support
Anxiety, Stress, Depression
I offer fertility consultation and coaching to all folks, across the wide range of possibilities that exist in the journey towards conscious conception. Whether someone is trying to conceive the “old-fashioned way” with timed intercourse, going it along or with a partner, using IUI, ICI or IVF, I help bring common sense, holistic health, and education to a process that can quite often be baffling and overwhelming.
I use empathy-based listening and the philosophy of Nonviolence with the patients I treat. I’m passionate about the midwifery model of care, and I try to apply that to our ancient medicine. I reject the idea of a “magic pill.” I also don’t think that one practitioner can “fix” or “heal” another person – true healing comes from the inside out. I’m passionate about helping people learn more about their bodies and become empowered to find answers for their physical and psycho-emotional complaints.
I’m thrilled to have been in practice long enough to have supported many women through the journey of infertility, the terror, and joy of subsequent pregnancies and losses, attended their births, helped them during the postpartum time and am now treating their kids. I’ve also helped others who started seeing me before they got married, came in for prenatal and postpartum acupuncture, and are now, years later, going through menopause!
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is so diverse and so many of us have settled here from other places. It’s incredibly rich in stories. I’ve found an amazing community of creative professionals, integrated health professionals, birth professionals, and parents. Starting out in LA might be challenging, but once you find your community, it’s hard to beat. I mean, you can play in the mountains, beach, and city all in one day – truly!
Our city needs to improve public transportation, hands-down. As a native New Yorker, I still can’t believe I own a car and rely on it daily to get me and my kids where we need to go. Like they say, LA is 200 suburbs in search of a city. It’s a fantastic city, but it’s all about the micro-environments and the people you come to love.
- Address: FLOAT: Chinese Medical Arts
800 S. Central Avenue, Suite 302
Glendale, CA 91204
- Website: www.FloatChineseMedicalArts.com
- Phone: 818-392-8797
- Email: FrontDesk@FloatChineseMedicalArts.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mamafloat/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FloatChineseMedicalArts/
- Other: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MamaFloat
Dave Clark Photography