I get asked if I am pregnant all. the. time.
Pregnant with #3 (2011)
From 2006 through 2011 I have had 3 people live inside my body. I made space for each visitor by expanding and stretching to their growing needs. Almost 4 years has passed since my last guest vacated his home within my womb and I am left with a body that has not yet realized that there are no visitors taking up this extra space.
I am 4 years post partum and I look 3 months pregnant, sometimes more after a big meal. My abdominal muscles are stretched and have not yet regained their previous length. They don’t have the tone to keep my abdominal organs tucked neatly inside and instead they push my abdomen out like a uterus with a growing baby. I also have diastatis recti a common condition in pregnancy and beyond, where the abdominal muscle separate at the midline and cannot hold in the pressure of the abdominal organs.
1 year after baby #2 (2010)
After my second child was born I was smaller and more toned than I had been since I hit puberty. Things were different in my life, I was back at work within 3 months working as chiropractor which is a physically demanding job of always moving your body. I also had started doing capoeira (a Brazialian martial art) at 3 months postpartum and was working my core muscles through the movements.
After my third child my life changed. I chose not to return to my chiropractic practice so I could be home more with my kids. I have been working more on the computer writing my upcoming new book Great Sex, Great Birth, blogging, and developing the Natural Birth, Baby, and Beyond Childbirth Empowerment Curriculum and Community, as a result more time has been spent sitting at a computer. With the extra busyness of life with 3, lots of volunteer work in the local birth and parenting community and moving homes farther from my capoeira classes, i haven’t returned to the same level of activity, and it shows.
3 years and 9 months after baby #3 (July 23, 2015)
I get asked quite frequently by well meaning acquaintances, strangers, and especially children, “Do you have a baby in your belly?” I answer, “Sadly I do not, just that my body remembers what it is like to have 3 individuals live in there.”
Honestly, I am not offended by their questions. People know I am very involved in the world of pregnancy and birth and that I love babies. I do look pregnant and am happy to still be within childbearing age that people could think that I am indeed pregnant. Although I am likely not going to have more children, as strange as it may sound I take a certain amount of pleasure form still being fertile. That probably comes from societal programming as a kid that fertility is a measure of your worth as a woman, but I won’t address how ridiculous it is that I grew up with that insane judgement about women and their bodies in this post.
I have breastfed three kids since this last pregnancy and even the extra calories burned by nursing will not change the way my tummy hangs out. So now 4 years after giving birth I am resigned to the fact that my belly isn’t going to magically disappear on its own and also that my pelvic floor needs some work.
My pelvic floor is an issue i didn’t realize I had until just recently. Having pushed three babies through my pelvis it wasn’t entirely surprising that after my last birth I had some mild stress incontinence with laughing or sneezing. This seemed to resolve itself just fine within a short time after giving birth. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago when I went to a trampoline park with my family that I discovered that my pelvic floor isn’t as strong as I thought it was. Daily life is fine and normal but my body just could not handle the intensity of jumping on a trampoline. Going to the bathroom to empty my bladder every 10 minutes wasn’t even enough to allow me safely jump without leakage.
While I loved my pregnant body when there was babies living in met, I am at a point where I want to regain tone back into my core and reclaim my body that has given so much to others.
Up to now I haven’t addressed the issues because I know that conventional core exercise does more harm than good when someone has diastasis recti and I wanted to make sure I was doing the right exercises to effectively deal with my postpartum body. There are some local classes lead by wonderful women but finding the time in my schedule to drive across the city once a week just hasn’t made it to the top of my priority list.
I recently discovered a course called the MuTu System to help postpartum moms get their core strength back, correct their diastasis recti, and improve their pelvic floor. I have just signed up to give this course a go and I am going to share my journey with you.
My goals are:
1. Increased core strength
2. Tighter abdominal muscles (not look pregnant)
3. Ability to go trampolining without needing to wear a diaper
Today, July 27th, will be day 1. I will keep you posted on my progress and if it is something I would recommend to others. In the meantime, feel free to check it out yourself by clicking HERE.
Let me know in the comments how you are feeling about your postpartum body.
Please note: links are paid affiliate links and I have not yet experienced the product so cannot vouch for the program just yet. I hope to be able to give you some great feedback and post pictures soon.