the battle of the [belly] bulge... my diastasis recti.

(You're about to see some awfully personal photos.  Be gentle, y'all.)

I'mma shoot you folks straight: childbearing has done a number on my body.  To clarify, I haven't suffered any major baby-related physical trauma, and I'm so over-the-moon thankful that my body has been willing to produce my babies.  I'm not overlooking my blessings.  But, my body has also stretched and changed and essentially turned itself inside out five times now, and it shows.

One thing I've been struggling with since Finneas was born (and that has gotten progressively worse, especially after Rocco's 9.5+ pounds resided inside me) is a diastasis recti, which is just fancy-pants doctor-talk for a separation of my ab muscles.  The two columns of abdominal muscles that run down the front of your belly part ways for a while during pregnancy, and they're supposed to reunite when all is said and done.  But that doesn't always happen, especially after multiple kiddos.

After Finneas was born, I noticed my posture had gotten really bad.  It was like I couldn't hold myself upright.  I now kind of hunch over when I sit, and slouch when I stand.  This bugs me to NO. END, and I suspect it's because my core strength is pretty compromised by the diastasis recti.  (And my slouchiness then probably makes it worse.  Gah.)  Then, when I announced my pregnancy with Laurelai, a family member said he had already known for a while, since I had started showing a long time prior to telling him.  I was four weeks pregnant when we had this discussion.  Ouch.

At first, I wasn't sure what was causing it, other than just the umbrella phrase, "Mom Bod."  But I started hearing more people talk about diastasis recti, so I checked myself for it, and sure enough, I have a gap between my abs that is about two fingers wide.  (If you're curious about your own abdominals, but don't know how to check for a separation, there are lots of online tutorials.  Or, better yet, if you're in the Twin Cities area, you can get in touch with Kelley Suggs from Lithe Wellness Solutions and schedule a free ab check!)

You can see what I mean about my belly bulge in some of these photos Todd took recently when I wasn't thinking about sucking in my stomach:

I have been spending the last few months hoping that my belly roundness will diminish as I lose some of the baby weight.  But I'm currently within two pounds of my pre-Rocco weight, and within six pounds of my high school weight, and my shape is still radically round in the belly region.  (And the boob region and the hips region and the biceps region, but one complaint at a time.) Well, I've finally had enough - I'm tired of feeling weak and looking schlumpy.

So I got in touch with Kelley and got my hands on a copy of her Ab Rehab DVD.  It's a program of exercises that take about ten minutes a day for about ten weeks that gently and increasingly train the abdominal wall back into healthy shape.  You can do the program a few months postpartum (like me), or even years after having your last baby.  I'm starting today and will keep you posted as I go along.

(Here is a 'before' shot, and for reference, my stomach circumference at its roundest point, without sucking in or slouching, is 33.5 inches.  I'll be measuring as I go to see if it's changing.)

Wish me luck, y'all!

Check out all the posts in this series!

*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the DVD for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*


todd said...

You got this!!!

Lissa said...

I'm going to look in to purchasing this video!