Diastasis Rectified

My journey to heal postpartum diastasis recti

My diastasis recti recovery update, or how I hope I don’t get fitted for another bridesmaids dress anytime soon

23 Comments

Sometimes when I am feeling particularly deflated about my glacial progress to restore tone and function to my midsection, I do what every wallowing person does and Google magical success stories. These shining examples are always self-motivated, and fitnessy, and tan – why are they always so uniformly tan? Do they not have sub-Equatorial arms and Icelandic thighs? They pop back to strong and svelte without ever even changing their intensive exercise routine. It’s neato!

Let me tell you another story. I was getting fitted for a bridesmaids dress a couple months ago and the sweet 21 year old measuring me noted that my stomach is four sizes bigger than my hips and chest (yes, f-o-u-r). I was even sucking it in a little, shame on me. She says, “don’t worry, I get girls in here all the time who drink a little too much and I tell them it all goes to your middle!”

Fast forward to this week. I’ve been getting ready to go to Vegas for the bachelorette party. Me, the woman who in a measure of austerity – or was it exasperation? – got rid of all her pre-baby clothes except for seven (now quite ratty) nursing shirts and three jeans will be going to a place where they permit entry based on your appearance. Did you know many clubs in Vegas require women to wear high heels? And the more scantily clad, the more likely you are to get in free? It makes me feel like in Vegas woman are the commodity and men are the purchasers, but let’s save my feminist rants for never.

Also, have you ever tried to open a really heavy door with one hand? My brain is yelling, “HEY ABS! Could really use your help right now!” and my abs are like “eh, mate? Can’t quite hear you. ZZzzzzz.” And that’s how I learned my abs are Australian.

Getting my mind right

I am a person prone to frustration and black and white thinking and guilt, which means you hope you’re never invited to a picnic in my head. I have to continually remind myself of these things:

  • My body is unique. No one else has my body and no one else is responsible for my body and it’s no one else’s responsibility to love my body but me.
  • Exercise programs are great, just like weight loss program or other life improvement programs. They do not guarantee long term success, though. Often they predict the opposite.
  • 15 minutes of exercises a day can make me stronger, but it’s what I do the 23 hours and 45 minutes of the day that will determine my long range outcomes.
  • Every time I choose to sit on the floor or stretch my hamstrings or hang from a pull-up bar (side note: don’t do pull ups! just hang until you can handle pulling up) or untuck my pelvic or unthrust my ribs or do a couple squats or go for a walk – each time I do those things I am changing my trajectory. It may seem inconsequential at the time, but over time those habits will make all the difference.
  • Any time I want to hide or give up or start comparing myself to others or even to my previous selves, I can stop and give myself a little breathing room. I can ask myself what that critical part of myself is afraid might happen if it stopped doing its job (yes, I got this from counseling. Hey, it works!).
  • Listing the things I am specifically grateful for in my life and then letting specific people know that I’m thankful for them helps to give me perspective.
  • I’ve also found superbetter.com to be helpful for those days I need help building momentum. It turns your recovery into a game and you invite friends and family to be allies who support you in your Epic Quest toward regaining strength.
  • Stop measuring the diastasis recti gap

What do you do to keep a healthy perspective?


 

My Update

diastasis recti side view 13mo postpartum

13 months postpartum, irregularly Mutu-ing, making progress with alignment materials!

Here is my latest picture from the side. I’ve been doing a little bit of Mutu but I’ve mostly been doing exercises from The Restorative Exercise materials. Side note: I LOVE Wendy’s new MuTu videos! She has incorporated so much of what I’ve been learning from Katy Bowman’s alignment materials, and I like her revised exercises much better.

Despite my wallowing, I have been feeling stronger and more flexible, even if my middle still feels like a Jell-O mold. In fact, it feels so much like a Jell-O mold that sometimes it even looks like one:

Innards bulging out through diastasis recti gap

Innards bulging out through diastasis recti gap after a meal

Does this happen to anybody else out there?

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Author: diastasisrectified

I am charting my progress as I recover from a diastasis recti and get back to an active lifestyle.

23 thoughts on “My diastasis recti recovery update, or how I hope I don’t get fitted for another bridesmaids dress anytime soon

  1. I love this post. Truly. Thanks for expressing real stuff!

  2. Wow, I seriously think you are looking awesome! Your belly really looks quite flat to me. Which exercises are you doing from the rei? Have you purchased and of katy bowmans alignment snacks or dvds? I have been tempted to try some of them…I do a lot of hamstring stretches, alignment checks, calf stretches, some spine twists, and switched to barefoot shoes…

    • Thanks Tanya! You know, it changes so much based on the time of day and how much I’ve eaten. In regard to the exercises, I have been rotating through all of the alignment snacks and all of the DVDs so I am doing a lot of different exercises. On my good days, I do a lot of the things you mentioned! Especially calves and hamstrings because they are SO tight. I also have a pull up bar that I hang from, which has been great! Especially hanging one-handed. My other favorite is lying on the floor, bending my knees so that each foot is under the opposing knee, and then putting one foot on top of the calf it is under. That is hard to describe…I’ll have to do a post with a photo! And I try to cover neck and shoulder openers because my neck and back are constantly in pain, literally. And psoas release because my ribs are always thrusting. After writing all that it sounds kind of overwhelming, but I think the important thing I’ve learned is that I can incorporate a stretch here or there and then over time they accumulate but I rarely sit down and do 40 minutes of stretches unless I’m following one of her DVDs. Hope that answers your question!

  3. I could have written this post myself. I just came back from the mall where I had to explain to at least 4 well-meaning saleswomen that I was not pregnant. All the beautiful clothes I tried on of course made me look like I would need to be rushed to the labor room any moment. Many thanks to the huge diastasis recti alive and kicking 19 months post partum.

    Thanks for making me realize there are other women out there going thru the same struggles I am. Makes the pain easier to bear.

    • I am so sorry, Sree! As you know, I can totally relate. It’s very frustrating. Thanks for speaking out and joining me. It makes it easier for me to bear this weight, too. We’ll achieve healing eventually! However, it does take a lot of forbearance with well-meaning but ill-informed people who say unfortunate things. 😉

      • Thank you for your lovely confidence inspiring blog. I just got an appt to see a physical therapist. I am not making too much progress with mutu, I am probably missing something. Will let you know how that goes. I wish PTs were not expensive , hopefully this will help me better than the mutu.

      • Hey Sree 🙂 I’m sorry that you aren’t making much progress. The more I dig into this, the more I realize that there is so much about our bodies that affects the impact a DR can have on our strength and appearance. I feel like Mutu touches on a lot of factors, but for many people we need to address other things like all-over alignment or old injuries, etc. before we can see progress. How has physical therapy been going? I hope to hear that you are making great progress!

  4. 19 month postpartum. in the same boat with you. I am very frustrated, after my first baby I lost all the weight quickly, in fact when my oldest turned 1 year I was 2 size smaller than before pregnancy. now with my second I look 4 month pregnant 19 month after delivery. I got the mutu system, and the last 2 weeks I am trying to stick with the program but even a 10 min is not possible every day. I am tired of seeing all those slim looking mother at our playground. why me? why us? but at least I am not the only one. Thanks you very much for keeping me company. tell more about alignment work that you do.

    • Hi Natasha! Thanks for stopping by and sharing a little of your story. How is Mutu going? Are you finding it possible to fit in an exercise here and there throughout your day? I totally know what you mean about seeing other mothers. It’s so hard not to compare myself to other women who look the way I *thought* I would look. It’s been a good lesson for me in where my value lies, caring for myself, and being patient! I’ll make sure to post more about alignment. Thanks for your feedback!

  5. I definitely relate to your post, and my daughter is now 2.5! It’s hard to feel “back to normal” after a baby. I’m constantly readjusting to the new, yet ever-changing, me. Katy Bowman’s materials are great. I started her prerequisite pack and hope that it will help with my diastasis. Physical improvement is fantastic, but paying attention to the mental part is important too. We gotta be nice to ourselves! You look great and you’re doing what you can to take care of yourself. xxoo

    • Yes, we totally do! Thanks for your encouragement, Vanessa. I hope the prereq pack is going well for you. I’ve found the value of doing the materials over and over is that I might have an extra two minutes and some floor space and an exercise I can do comes to mind. I’d love to know how it’s going for you! Thank you so much for joining me in this. 🙂

  6. Hi, I just found your blog. I just ordered the mutu system. My baby is 11 mo and I have DR that is really affecting my confidence. I’m small everywhere else so I am still getting asked if I’m expecting. My DR isnt too bad, its probably about a 2. So, I’m hoping that with a little work I can get a tighter core. You look great!

    • Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for stopping by. I was surprised by how much my confidence was taken to task by this split between my abs! Some days it can be so discouraging, it makes everything seem a shade darker. Thank you for your encouragement! How is Mutu going for you?

  7. Hi, thanks for creating this blog. I am a mom of two, with the youngest being 20 months. After two c sections my belly is looking very drab these days. People are always looking at my belly, congratulating me, patting my belly, you name it! I’ve tried losing weight through diet, cutting carbs, refined sugars, and while I’ve lost weight my belly remains large. I finally brought it up with my DR who said I have diastisis recti and that the only way to resolve it was via surgery! Not someone who likes to go to that extreme, unnecessarily, I started googling other more “natural” options and now contemplating MUTU.

    While you may be frustrated, you look great and whatever you are doing looks like it is working well for you. I’m so glad to know there are other women out there like me and that I’m not the only one who bloats from 4 months to 7 months pregnant from AM to days end!

    I’m inspired to do something and we’ll see how it goes!

    • Hi Layla! Thank you so much for your comment. I am so sorry you are dealing with this! My doctor said the exact same thing and I was not at all pleased. It’s just so unhelpful and you think they would know that there are other options for at least gaining core stability back even if the gap never goes away (and some people even close their gaps without surgery!). I’d love to know what route you’ve chosen for now and how things are going for you. We’re all in this together!

  8. Hi! I’ve just seen your picture entittled ‘Innards bulging out through diastasis recti gap after a meal’ and I thought – That’s me!
    I have the same bulge and after an ultrasound scan, the doctor established it’s a small hernia. Since it’s bang in the middle of my tummy, and I know I have diastasis recti, I thought – Fix your diastasis and the hernia might actually be reversed. So I started looking into the MUTU and the Tupler systems to fix the diastasis (I have not started either yet but your thoughts would be appreciated).
    Am I thinking too wishfully about repairing the hernia with exercises to close the gap? What’s your experience of your hernia and how it’s changing with your exercises for the diastasis recti? Is there any hope or will that bloody hernia be there regardless of whether I have diastasis recti or not.
    Asking a doctor about this is a bit pointless as hernias are only treated with surgery where I live…

    • Hey Barbara! Oh, do I ever hear you on this one. It’s very frustrating!! I haven’t yet gone for the ultrasound yet so I don’t know the extent of the damage, but I am not in a rush because the solution is the same unless I decide to get surgery. What I’ve garnered so far (and please do not take this as medical advice because I am not a doctor, but do take it as a starting off point for your own research!) is that nothing has to poke through the herniated tissue if the pressure isn’t there to push it. Meaning that if you can change the way your body is aligned, then you’ll reduce the intraabdominal pressure. In that regard, I’d say Mutu is a good first step because it does touch on alignment. Tupler, to my knowledge, does not as its focus is on isometric exercises for the transverse abs. That’s not to say Tupler wouldn’t help at all, but that it wouldn’t be sufficient on its own because our bodies would be constantly working to undo the work. The homework for women in our situation is to figure out how our particular bodies are misaligned and then work in a holistic way to reduce those guts being forced forward and out. Mutu plus the alignment snacks (http://www.restorativeexercise.com/alignment-snacks/) and reading Alignment Matters (http://www.restorativeexercise.com/book-store/) are all great places to start! I hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by! I hope to hear about your progress as you decide what the best plan of attack is for you. 🙂

  9. I understand your frustration at glacial improvements. I am trying the same approach to heal triple prolapse. Some days I get so discouraged that the tissues aren’t lifting and retreating into their proper places, but the mental part is so important. I don’t have lower back pain aanymore nd more often that not I remember to keep my pelvis untucked….baby steps! It’s just tissue, right? It can change, it just needs enough load and frequency in a good pattern 🙂

    • Yes!! I love this. Thanks for sharing, Jessica. 🙂 I’m sorry that you’re in this boat, too. At the same time, I am glad to have the company and encouragement. When I stop to think about how systemic the change I’m asking my body to make is, it makes me appreciate the baby steps so much more. Like sucking in or pelvis tucking or rib thrusting for three decades…to reverse even one of those engrained habits is an accomplishment! Kudos to you for seeing progress and appreciating that your body is responding to your desire for it to change. Here’s to more good load+frequency!

  10. You look fab, your hard work is showing! Any tips on how to cover up our mummy bellies? Do you have any pictures to post? I am dreading going back to work and want to hide mummy tummy if I can as every time I am asked if I am pregnant despite my best efforts I am depressed for days after the comment.

  11. I have a severe diatastis recti that I have had long before I was ever pregnant. I was told by two drs. that their was nothing that could be done and dont even try exercises they dont work..I hopefully am going to have it surgically repaired in the upcoming year and am hoping I will no longer look 4-5 month pregnant as I am not and can no longer have any children..I have seen these workouy video’s that some of you speak of and would to try them but the price tag is keeping me away..does anything really truly work? Any insight would be great as I would love to close the gap as much as possible before I have my surgery so it might not be so bad for my surgeon.

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