Diastasis Rectified

My journey to heal postpartum diastasis recti


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Changing Habits for Diastasis Recti Healing

It’s rare I meet a woman with a diastasis recti who hasn’t beat herself up for “slacking off on my exercises” (I bet men would

pie chart of habits

If we can make changes in the blue and grey times, then the yellow will be more impactful!

say the same thing, but I’ve never yet met a man who realizes he has a DR. Come join the DiastasisRectified party, guys!).

The paradigm is: 1) “my body is screwed up” and 2) “I need to do exercises to get it better” and 3) “Why am I not doing my exercises?” 4) “Ugggggh.”

So this post is not about exercises, because let’s just give that a rest for a minute. This post is about habits. We’ve spent (x) number of decades forming habits of movement: how we brush teeth, lounge, carry stuff, sit, open stuff, cut things, and on and on. Maybe we spend one hour a day three or four or even more times a week doing concerted “exercise” efforts, but what about those other 23 hours each day?

Our bodies take the shape of our habits

sketch of skeletons, one with rib thrust, one without

Pelvis forward, ribs thrusted will put pressure on our tender midsection versus letting our skeletons do the work of carrying our mass around. Oops, I forgot to draw the sacrum on the right skeleton. Just imagine it’s there.

All those tens of thousands of times we do those things will create some pretty deep neural pathways. Copying what parents/caretakers did, getting all that sitting practice at school (what activity did we do more than sitting?!), and then friends, culture, environment, sports, interests (bike riding, reading, video games), and personal preference.

What likely didn’t shape our habits was what would be most beneficial for our bodies over time: protect joints, prevent injury (like diastasis recti, eh?), get blood flowing, maintain healthy muscles, stay flexible, yada yada.

Unless your parents were yogis and you lived in a furnitureless yurt in the rainforest canopy and foraged for food. If I just described your childhood, please let’s be friends.

Below are pictures of me doing a habitual body position and then trying an updated option that doesn’t add more stress to my already totally stressed out diastasis. I’m working on keeping ribs down, untucking my tailbone, and keeping the weight in my heels.

Rewriting the code of everyday movement…in pictures

Instead of this… I’m trying this
Sitting in a white Modernica clamshell, reading a book sitting on two yoga blocks, reading
Being stationary in my favorite clamshell, reading about moving Pelvis elevated above heels to allow tailbone to untuck
washing face, rounded over washing face, tailbone untucked
 Rounded spine, tailbone tucked. This actually hurt,
but I just don’t pay attention to the dull ache usually.
 Untucked pelvis, using my hammies to hold me
up, trying to keep ribs from thrusting toward counter
 sitting on the toilet  sitting on the toilet with elevated feet, pelvis untucked
Lots of strain on the old pelvic floor (esp if you hold your breath!) Tailbone not as tucked, feet elevated. Feelin’ so fly.
You could also try zees, but my husband has forbade.
 leaning against counter  standing while brushing teeth
I do this ALL THE TIME, like I am
incapable of holding my own body up
for the two minutes it takes to brush
my teeth (yes, I time it so what)
 There you go, lady. That’s better.
 Sitting in a chair  untucked pelvis in chair
 Working on my chair-shaped bottom  Sometimes life calls for chair sitting, but sitting
on the edge means I can untuck the tailbone.
 holding child on hip  holding child in arms
 The ever-popular holding child on hip
whilst contemplating something
 Using arms to hold kid instead (okay maybe there is a
little leaning but have you seen the size of that guy?!)
bending over to pick toys up squatting to pick up toys
 It feels so normal to pick stuff up this way,
but I’m putting tons of pressure on my spine
Switching it up to a squat, I feel the work in
the pelvic floor. Been trying this a lot more this
week and it is feeling more normal.
 getting out of chair  squatting to get out of chair
 Using momentum to send me out of this
chair, while knees go way over toes
 Keeping knees over toes, turning
“getting out of chair” into “hey let’s squat”
thrusting ribs when I need to reach up reaching without moving ribs
 Moving ribs up and out (like the illustration above)
in order to reach the cabinet
 Keeping ribs down (and therefore abs “on”) while
reaching up. Feeeeeeling the burn in the shoulder
here.

Now that I’ve done these, I am thinking of so many more! How I pick up my kid, getting out of bed (remember friends, no jackknifing!), opening heavy doors, stirring a big pot of something, how I always sit on one foot, etc.

What are some things you can switch up?

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