My Story, Part 3

Part 3Start with Part 1 and Part 2.

Part III:

How did I narrow my diastasis recti? How did I help my cystocele?

Honestly, I don’t know.

Time played a big role. Exercise played an even bigger role. The size of the diastasis had gotten down to about 2.5/3 finger widths before having my 3rd child, and since then has gotten slightly smaller, sometimes still 2.5, sometimes closer to a 2,  sometimes even a 1.5, so I know it can be narrowed, but not magically. (I’m not convinced it needs to close to regain function, something Diane Lee’s research supports)

I wish I had a program or splint or exercise or posture correction or breathing pattern that I could pinpoint as THE solution, but I don’t.

That said, I’ll tell you what I suspect helped.

And again, for emphasis, this is MY personal experience, not over-arching evidence, not replacement for advice from a doctor or physical therapist, not the conclusions of a double blinded placebo controlled study, not the deductions from population based statistics, not anything other than an informed opinion based on lots of study, mentoring, and moving. You’ll notice I repeat this disclaimer a lot. If an internet source is giving you a guarantee without a giant flashing disclaimer, click click away.

The Essentials:

  1. Time
  2. Exercising in the right way.
  3. Breathing in the right way.
  4. Some posture modifications.
  5. Possible splinting, especially in the first weeks after childbirth. I hedge on this one.

This blog is an attempt to look at these essentials without obsessing over them.

BUT the biggest discovery I made in my diastasis recti and prolapse journey has not been one about the body.

Not at all.

In my personal training studies, I became disheartened that so much talk for moms was about “getting your body back,” or having an even better body than before, or closing the gap, or getting into that bikini. All the focus was on achieving this one goal that either wasn’t achievable for various reasons, or, if achieved, still didn’t make the goal any good. For some women, losing all the weight, getting a pre-baby body back, even closing the gap, won’t happen. It just won’t.

As someone who taught English in my past life, I realized that I’d spent so many years studying my body and trying to “fix” it that I had neglected narrating it. I had been researching the mechanics, but not the mindset.

Letting go of the goal to close the gap or erase my prolapse has freed me.

My body is a story. Not a Barbie doll in the making. Not a project to be perfected.

This is why the Motherfigure tag line is “You can’t go forward trying to get your body back.”

This is my manifesto—my plea to any new moms, seasoned moms, and soon to be moms crying about their bellies, their vaginas, their boobs, their thighs, their butts. You don’t need your body back, and not just because you are beautiful for giving birth, which you are, but because you can’t need what you can’t have. If you try, you’ll drive yourself crazy.

And even if you eke out the body you demand, it won’t make you a better mother, a better woman, a better partner, a better person.

Free yourself of body based goals. Promise yourself you will work out, you will breathe, you will look at your body honestly, you will seek out professionals when you don’t have function, but promise yourself you will not demand anything of your body other than to be. To exist. To carry you through life. To change.

I believe in this so strongly I won’t even let my sarcastic self cringe at the earnestness of my manifesto. Ladies, that’s what I call progress.

2 thoughts on “My Story, Part 3

  1. I see that this post is several months old, but I just found your blog. Anyway, I think your blog is a great idea and I”m glad you reached some peace about your experiences.

    It’s like the dirty little secret no one tells mothers-to-be: that vaginal birth can carry big time risks. In all the efforts to demonize C-sections, DR, bladder prolapse, and pelvic floor damage don’t even get a mention.

    I have twins—they were born vaginally, and because they were small, I only sustained a small tear. However, the labor was long and augmented with pitocin: the perfect storm for post-partum hemorrhage. I narrowly missed a transfusion, and felt awful for the next few months. I remember going to Target by myself, maybe a week after they were born, and just trying to push the cart around the store made me weak and breathless.

    Anyway, all that to say, I understand the havoc that pregnancy and birth can wreak on a woman’s body, and I agree that letting go of unrealistic/unhealthy body image goals is difficult, but wise.

    1. I had a similar postpartum experience at Target, except it was waiting in line. I wasn’t breathless, but I was in a ton of pain because standing still hurt my tears. Anyway, I completely agree about DR, bladder prolapse, and pelvic floor damage not being talked about before birth. It’s crazy really. I was told I could make the decision whether to try for another vaginal birth or a c-section, and I still chose a vaginal birth with my second. This is because I truly believed a c-section was like the end of my world and because I hadn’t realized the extent of my pelvic floor damage from the first (which got worse with the second and even larger kid). I’m glad you found the blog. Feel free to email me if you want to talk any more.

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