Here at The Tummy Team, most of our clientele is made up of moms (though we see plenty of women in all stages of life…and yes, even men too). So we are extremely familiar with pregnancy and delivery and the toll it can take on a woman’s body, especially at her core. Every aspect of carrying and delivery can impact your core, like, in this case, a uterine rupture and diastasis.
Below is the journey of one mom who, after the toll of three pregnancies, found healing at the Tummy Team.
I am a mummy of three little ones, aged 5 ½, 3 and 1.
Around ten weeks after the birth of my first baby boy, I was on holiday lying on a sun lounger laughing at something with my husband when he suddenly said, “look at your tummy.” I found that every time I laughed an “alien-like” bulge popped out of my tummy! I was already concerned and self-conscious about the size of my stomach…but this worried me even more. When I got home I arranged to see a doctor who checked my tummy and told me about diastasis. She referred me to a consultant, who told me that the separation of my stomach muscles had occurred during pregnancy… [and]… had led to an umbilical hernia. Worse, whatever I did to try and repair it was unlikely to work and I would need it to be surgically repaired at some point in the future.
Even this information did not break my determination to recover my pre-baby body. I had physiotherapy, hired a personal trainer, went on a strict diet and lost all of my pregnancy weight and more. I ran long distances, swam and did fitness classes and yoga. Whilst these were all helpful things to do in terms of general weight loss and well being, I found that the more weight I lost the more pregnant I looked. I researched diastasis as much as I could, bought various books and sought advice from different professionals. Despite all my efforts I was unable to close the diastasis in any significant way and resigned myself to surgery when our family was complete.
During my second pregnancy, my back and pelvis gave me quite a bit of discomfort from the start and I wore a support belt to the end of my pregnancy. I had a uterine rupture, which was an extremely traumatic and difficult time for me and my husband. Miraculously, my baby girl was born outside of my womb and is completely well. However, the diastasis was even worse than before and just looking at my core reminded me of all that had happened. (Traumatic experiences often lead us to disconnect from ourselves which is the last thing we need to do in order to heal).
My third pregnancy was a surprise to everyone, especially me! The consultants we dealt with had never seen anyone pregnant after a full uterine rupture. In the circumstances, I was concerned about how I would carry but I was fine for most of the pregnancy… Following the birth of my beautiful baby boy, I was once again determined to lose my pregnancy weight, but still had the diastasis and still felt really low about my tummy. For five years strangers have always congratulated me on my pregnancy when I am not pregnant and family and friends have made horrible comments about it.
I then quite randomly stumbled across the Tummy Team online. The post instantly made me skeptical as I had tried so many things before, but I was curious…and so I posted in the comments. Kelly [PT and owner of the Tummy Team] quickly and empathetically replied. I figured that if it didn’t work, I would [lose] money and I could live with that. But if it worked as Kelly claimed it would, then I could avoid surgery and that would be priceless.
I really enjoyed learning about how the core muscles work and the theory behind the exercises. (If you’d like a glimpse into what we teach, check out this blog). I was immediately impressed with the way the information is delivered and the way the programme is set out. I have found that I prefer [online] rather than personally attending a course. Maybe it’s the nature of the programme but I feel that I can totally focus on me without being distracted… and no one is watching so I don’t feel self-conscious. Additionally, I can record and measure my progress, I feel encouraged by Kelly (and the forum members), it’s completely flexible so no childcare is required and time zone doesn’t matter so being based in the UK is not an issue.
In just three weeks I had seen significant improvement to the diastasis itself and could definitely feel that my core was stronger. However, by the end of week four, I suddenly felt overwhelmed and doubted whether I would be able to heal my core. Given the progress I had already made, this “low” surprised me and I struggled to be able to pinpoint why I was feeling this way.
A tremendous help to me during week five, was my Skype session with Kelly. This was excellent and I thoroughly recommend it. Despite me being in the UK, Kelly was able to look at my tummy and we talked about what she saw… Kelly was also genuinely empathetic and listened to me talking about my difficult births and the way I felt about my core. She was super encouraging and understood the practicalities of being a mum with little ones and all that that brings. She helped to tailor the program to suit me and my lifestyle, focusing in on the exercises that I needed most.
I have just completed week 6 of the course….I am feeling positive about the rest of the course and look forward to updating you soon.
To read more about my story, my births or other baby and breastfeeding related issues please click here.
Did any of this sound familiar to your story? You are not alone! We can help you restore your core, relieve your pain and reclaim your true self.