Congratulations on your precious baby! Having a baby is truly a miracle. But after a pregnancy, hours of labour, a c-section, lack of sleep and all the hormonal changes, it’s not uncommon to feel disconnected from our bodies. You may be feeling ‘disconnected’ from your body too, particularly your tummy and pelvic floor after childbirth. Nothing looks or feels like it used to.
The feeling that you’re the only one dealing with a tummy or a c-section scar that looks “like that” , or a pelvic floor that feels like that when you poo, sneeze and needs to rush to the bathroom to pee! The feeling that you are out of control of all these physiological changes, and that even after you start your fitness regimen, your efforts during your workouts don’t make no difference.
You are not alone mama! And the good news is that the way your body feels right now is not ‘as good as it gets’. It is not a state you should put up with, accept or that cannot be treated or improved. Don’t let anybody, medical professional or otherwise, tell you different. Because of it, I wanted to share 8 things I wish my doctors would had tell me the first time around about my post-baby body.
- That your brain and your core muscles need to re-connect if you want a tummy that looks and feels like you want it to. You can’t strengthen a muscle your brain isn’t talking to and right now, you need to re-connect with your core muscles. Getting re acquainted is the first step, not boot camp. And it’s not complicated at all. But it takes conscious effort and consistency.
- That crunches, planks and intensive ‘ab work’ are going to make your tummy look worse, not better. You cannot make a non-functioning core, function, by doing more core exercises, You need to do different ones. Take a look at my Instagram stories under “Postnatal, I shared great exercises that will help you too.
- That Diastasis Recti is a reason your tummy pooches when you roll up from lying on your back, or why you may look a few months pregnant when you’re not. Diastasis Recti aka “the gap”, abdominal separation, means that your outermost ab muscles, the ones that run vertically from breastbone to pubic bone, have separated leaving a gap and everything in the middle unsupported and weak. Diastasis Recti is merely a symptom of the problem. The problem is the pressure inside pushing out, and that sewing it up, binding it up or holding it in won’t fix it. Re-connecting, re-aligning, restoring and then strengthening, will.
- That the shoes you wear are important! As well as how you habitually unconsciously stand, sit and walk. These all directly affect the ability of your pelvic floor and core to heal and do their job. A few adjustments, stretches and ongoing checking in of all these things will reap huge, visible and functional benefit.
- That leaking and a weak pelvic floor may be common, but not inevitable or un-treatable. You don’t have to be OK with it! And surgery is not the only solution to stress incontinence, Diastasis Recti, hernia or pelvic organ prolapse. There is a ton you can do to reduce the pressure causing the problem.
- That if you have a C-section you need more time to heal and you need to massage your scar. This type of surgery is not only hard on your pelvic floor and abs, but also requires a bit more recovery time in order to heal properly and avoid complications, such as diastasis recti. As a cesarean delivery scar heals, the different layers of skin and fascia can become adhered to each other, limiting your range of motion. These adhesions may lead to future problems like urinary frequency, or hip or back pain. A scar tissue massage, also referred to as scar tissue release, helps break up the adhesions and assists with proper tissue healing. Only begin scar massage after your scar is healed and your doctor gives you the green light.
Remember that you didn’t do anything wrong. Actually you and your body did something amazing. You made babies and your body is incredible. It is not vain, selfish or a low priority to desire a body that functions as it should and makes you feel good. Wetting yourself when you laugh or sneeze, not wanting to look at your naked self or to have sex, this is not superficial. It’s vital. You deserve to feel connected to your body again, you deserve to feel good about your body.