We believe women do not have to fall apart after birthing children! We offer a Prenatal Core Foundation Training and our programs heal diastasis and other related issues, as well as prepare the body for living life. We have helped many moms and welcomed many babies into our little family. Below is the story of Tanya, an online rehab client who healed her diastasis and bladder prolapse through our program.
During pregnancy, I had literally felt my ab muscles “ripping” apart above my belly button and, after some online reading, discovered I was probably developing a diastasis. My midwife confirmed my diagnosis and told me I would fix it after having my baby with physical therapy and/or surgery. I started doing “belly breaths” on my own and holding in the transverse as best I could while still pregnant and I think this helped my diastasis not to worsen much beyond a three finger gap throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. Besides the diastasis, my pregnancy was quite uneventful, and I enjoyed almost all of it. I continued to walk nearly 6 miles per day right up until I delivered my baby boy on October 24, 2012.
My un-medicated labor was fine and manageable (labored at home and at a park, and actually arrived at the midwife center fully dilated and pushing!!), but my little man was stubbornly “sunny side up” and was incredibly difficult to get out. My midwife encouraged me to hold my breath and push (which I now know is soooo wrong!), and my baby moved millimeters at a time for 2 hours. At that point, I was taken by ambulance to the hospital, because even though the baby was not in distress, they suspected I would need a c-section to get him out. By the grace of God, something shifted in the ambulance and I was able to push him out myself in one more hour at the hospital. I had a second-degree tear which healed up nicely, and I was walking within an hour of giving birth. I dove into mothering and home-making head first and loved (almost) every moment of it. I was back to walking a few miles per day a week after birth and felt my recovery was actually fairly easy. I lost the baby weight effortlessly while breastfeeding and everything checked out fine at my six-week appointment. My midwife wrote me a prescription for physical therapy to fix my diastasis, and I felt fine about where I was at.
Two days after my six-week check-up, I felt a bulging down below and discovered a bladder prolapse. I remember being shocked and scared and crying to my husband. I really felt like my body was broken. I went to the physical therapist and they gave me one exercise for my diastasis recti, did not recommend splinting, and gave me no info at all about lifestyle or postural changes. They told me to do Kegels for the prolapse. And I did. I did everything they said for months and saw only a worsening of my pelvic floor and diastasis symptoms. I started feeling very frustrated and hopeless. I did not feel attractive, despite my husband telling me I was beautiful. My midsection, previously always effortlessly flat, was bulging and shapeless and hung to the side like a cow’s udder when I lay on my side. I didn’t recognize myself. I felt embarrassed to wear anything that showed my belly and shopped for some new “boxy” shirts that would better hide my new 5-month-pregnant-looking form and protruding belly button. I didn’t like anybody touching my belly because it felt like a bowl of pudding, and I would avoid looking down when it stuck out while I was nursing. I hated my belly. It had let me down and it wasn’t responding to all my efforts to whip it into shape. And it frustrated me endlessly that no amount of healthy eating or exercise seemed to make a difference.
I felt defeated. After all, I had been to a women’s rehab specialist, and they had not been able to help me! Where else could I turn for help? I started to grieve the loss of control over my belly and to work on accepting my body as it was right now, with a protruding tummy that was the result of carrying and delivering my beautiful baby boy. However, even as I tried to give up the “vanity” issues, I still worried about how my body would possibly support another pregnancy. I felt broken already and was worried my mild prolapse would become unmanageable during the stress of another pregnancy. I felt I needed to find a way to improve my strength before carrying a second child, even if I would need to deal with the “cosmetic defect” of a “mummy tummy” for life.
I prayed about it and I feel God’s response to me finally asking for His help was to lead me to Fit2B. I felt nurtured and calmed by Bethany’s approach to healing my tummy, and I started learning that I did not need to “beat my tummy into submission” to see results. Her teaching about how to move in core-supporting ways in everyday life was eye-opening to me and I started seeing changes in my belly and my everyday core strength. After about 4 weeks of doing Fit2B workouts, I felt I needed more. I needed to start from the ground up and find somebody to help me systematically rebuild what was broken. Through a search on Bethany’s site and reading her testimonial, I found The Tummy Team.
After emailing with Kelly, I signed up for their Online Core Foundations Course.
Empowered. That is how I would describe how I feel after going through the Tummy Team’s online core foundations program and having 2 one-on-one Skype sessions with Kelly. I now understand how my core functions, how to balance all the parts of my body that impact my transverse and my diastasis, how to move and function in everyday life to support my core, how to live my life in a way that promotes healing and limits damage to the precious instrument God has given me that allows me to love, nurture, and care for my family.
The program is step-by-step, comprehensive, nurturing, and realistic.
She is the opposite of “alarmist” which is so good for my sometimes-neurotic personality. When I obsessed about my diastasis measurements over and over, she patiently encouraged me to “stop checking so often!” She was right. She told me I was doing great, and that my efforts were paying off not only in my slowly-closing diastasis and healing connective tissue, but in my functional strength and my posture.
Before finding the Tummy Team, I felt frustrated, desperate, and broken. Deeply broken. That might sound dramatic since we’re just talking about a tummy, but my diastasis and my pelvic floor weakness were leaving me feeling frustrated, unattractive, and fearful of what another pregnancy would do to my body. After eight weeks of rehabbing my tummy, I feel like I can imagine another pregnancy (not yet, but after another several months of strengthening my body and healing). I will also definitely sign up for Kelly’s online prenatal course if/when the time comes for delivery and recovery with pregnancy number 2.
My progress has been admittedly slow, and my before and after pictures are not astounding, but I can see and feel some progress after 8 weeks. I splinted nearly 24/7 for the first several weeks, and with Kelly’s encouragement, I started weaning gradually around week 5/6 of the program. I started with the following measurements (taken by myself, so not sure how accurate my reading is…):
Top: 2.5-3 and medium, 28.5”
Middle: 2.5-3 and deep, 30”
Lower: 1.5 and shallow/medium, 31”
At the end of eight weeks:
Top: 2 and shallow/medium, 27.5”
Middle: 2 and medium, 28-28.5”
Lower: 1-1.5 and shallow, 30-30.5”
I am breastfeeding my one-year-old son on demand and he still nurses a lot, so Kelly has told me my healing might stagnate a bit until I’m done. I am about 50% weaned from my splint.
I feel so much stronger, so much more aware of my posture and the positions my body is in throughout the day, and much more able to stabilize myself with my transverse. My new postures and movements, and the way I now engage my transverse are becoming increasingly automatic. I feel more willing to put on a slightly more form-fitting T-shirt, and I can honestly say I feel more attractive. My core feels much stronger, and I can see the increased muscle definition and structure in my midsection. I no longer feel like I am just “mushy” in the middle. My belly stays in place much better when I lie down on my side (instead of just kind of “oozing” away from me). My pelvic floor is getting stronger, I no longer have to run to the bathroom as often, and my prolapse symptoms are gradually lessening.
I feel like I am finally moving in the right direction. I have hope that if I continue doing the exercises, keeping my transverse active in my day to life, stretching, and being mindful of the posture and way I use my body each day, I will continue to see improvements in my diastasis measurement, the strength of my connective tissue, my pelvic floor strength, and my overall functional core strength in my everyday life.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you Kelly and the Tummy Team for making this information available to me in Pennsylvania. Thank you for the Skype sessions, the Facebook forum, and the clear path to continued healing you’ve helped lay out for me. I will be sharing your information with the Midwife Center in Pittsburgh, and with any women or men I come across who were/are suffering like I was.
– Tanya S, new mother of 1 year old