Diastasis Rectified

My journey to heal postpartum diastasis recti


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Week 2, “Training Puppies”

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Training puppies

My all time favorite yoga teacher was this wiry ball of muscle, Janice. She was the only older woman I’ve seen rock pigtails legitimately. Anyway, at one of my first classes she explained how to engage your “yogi toes” and feet. She said that it feels strange now but it’s like training puppies – just keep showing them how and eventually they’ll get it.

I feel that way about not only engaging my TVA (transverse abdominis). Actually, I feel that way about just being aware my TVA is in there. I find constantly engaging my TVA while simultaneously not putting undue pressure on my abdominis rectus (“six pack”…”no-pack”) is especially difficult. I’m just so used to depending on my outer abs to help me out during the day. I had no idea how much I jack-knifed while getting up off of sitting surfaces.

Also, I’m not feeling much of a connection between my TVA engagement and pelvic floor engagement, which has me a little concerned. Anyone else out there experienced this?

Progress Report

Above are my week 2 pics. I think there might be progress? I have still not started the actual Mutu Week 2 course material (which uses high intensity interval training) because I feel challenged enough with just the six minutes of core work and stretches Week 1 entails. I plan to start that soon, though.

Specifically, the “Drop your heels, find your middle” exercise really rocks me. In this exercise she has me lay on my back, raise knees to the ceiling while keeping shins parallel to the floor, and drop one heel at a time down to the floor and back up. This exercise is so difficult for me that I can rarely do ten reps without feeling my abs separate and my innards poke through. This has me considering getting a splint after all!

 

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My starting over point – the belly before, during, and after pregnancy

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This is me at 8 weeks pregnant, the day before I went into labor, and then at 5 months post partum (my transverse abdominis is not engaged). What a difference a diastasis recti makes!

It’s difficult for me to look at these shots. I really expected to bounce back quickly as I knew only 12% of women who exercise during pregnancy get a diastasis recti. No one in my family has ever had one. In fact, when my mom visited me at 8 weeks post partum she asked if something was wrong with my belly and I got offended. I should have gotten a clue! I just didn’t expect it to happen to me.

If you are currently pregnant

If you are currently pregnant and wondering if you have a diastasis, keep an eye out when you are doing push-ups. I never did crunches, in an effort to avoid a diastasis, but I did do push-ups. I saw a dome like a big hot dog running down the middle of my belly. I was ignorant enough to think it was my abdominis rectus, when it was actually my innards poking through! 

In retrospect, I would have also cut out the side arm balance way before 9 months. Word to the wise.

Tupler recommends splinting with her approximating splint and extenders while pregnant. I don’t know if I will splint post partum (I’m waiting to see if Mutu works), but I will definitely splint in my next pregnancy.


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Day 1 all over again

I started Mutu and did it for several weeks but wasn’t consistent. I got to the push-ups in the intensive 1 and my abs were doming. It was very frustrating! I can’t even do a push-up! I did them on the wall, which is what I plan to do next week. This week, though, is all about just getting back on the wagon. So, here we go! Day 1. Let’s do this.


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A coming out of the bedroom post

Every day I impulsively turn sideways and look in the bedroom mirror at the big bulge around my midsection. I remember how taut and gigantic it was back in March, right before my son made his big entrance into this place. By comparison, it’s small now, but I was hoping I wouldn’t look pregnant at all.

I expected that as soon as I was healed up I’d be back to the gym doing inversions, wheel pose, Body Pump, spinning, and all the other things I genuinely missed. Weeks and then months went by and my midsection didn’t pop back the way I was expecting.

My doctor confirmed my three plus finger diastasis recti and told me to just wait until my last kid and she could do a C-section and stitch me back together (no, thanks!). She said if I didn’t opt for surgery I was just going to look pregnant forever. My upper back started to tingle, my lower back spasm.

I signed up for the Mutu course, but had trouble sticking with it. I don’t have Facebook so I can’t be part of their community of moms. I started to spiral, feeling that I’d lost a part of myself, trapped between wanting to be fit and not wanting to hurt myself further.

So that’s where this post leaves me. I hope that someone else out there with a diastasis recti reads this and finds some camaraderie with me in this journey. I am going to start the Mutu course by Wendy Powell again from scratch and post my updates here. I don’t plan on doing Tupler, but I may change my mind depending on if I see results with Mutu.