The answer is NO! I have been asked this question a lot of times since Camden was born. I’m about to get really serious and personal with you. I have diastasis recti, one of the many conditions that can happen after having a baby. It basically means that the stomach muscles stretched so much during pregnancy that they don’t go back together after the baby. Crunches and ab workouts, you say. These only make it worse. I hope that sharing my struggles and victory over this will help someone else who is going through this same thing.
This has been a deeply personal battle to walk through over the past year and a half. I think I had a little bit of a diastasis after Arabella because even after getting back down to size 6 and 137 lbs, my stomach still protruded a little – mostly at the top under my bust line. It even got worse after Camden’s birth from improper movement and some rapid weight gain after getting the birth control shot (which I don’t ever recommend for anyone).
Here’s a picture of me at Camden’s 1st birthday. Look how high up my belly goes and how I’m clearly not able to support him with my back muscles.
My separation was pretty severe. The muscles were so separated that it was a thin layer of tissue holding back my organs. You could feel them if you pressed your hand through the gap in the muscles. Yuck…and it hurt really bad if Camden crawled on me and pushed on me. Also, the back pain was excruciating. I was done standing by 5 pm. When we had friends over, it was all I could do to sit in a chair and talk. Never could I make it to the kitchen to clean up. If I did, I was in a lot of pain. God blessed me with some great friends during this season who come over regularly and help contribute to dinner and always clean my kitchen. I love you, Faith and Jamie!
My midwife had given me the Tupler Technique information and exercises to do. I tried off and on with a little success, but not much. Finally, this summer I was lying in bed crying and telling John that I was in excruciating pain. I’m not a wimp when it comes to pain. I’ve had both of my babies without pain meds and not easy labors either. I had looked into surgery, but the stories I read were not encouraging. We decided that my condition was serious and needed serious action.
I bought the Tupler Technique Package that came with a DVD that explained everything that was going on in my body, how to do the exercises and how to not injure myself in the future while exercising. Also, I bought a splint that I wear 24 hours a day except for Sunday when I wash it. I have 2 now for convenience. This splint has arms that wrap around you to pull your muscles together so they can heal. It also helped me do the exercises better. You only wear it until the diastasis closes. I also got a booklet that gives you a checklist for every week of the the program up to 18 weeks. I am on week 10 right now, and am going to share my before and progress pictures with you. I have only lost about 3 lbs. since day 1, so it’s all the muscles pulling everything back in where it’s supposed to go. Plus my waistline seems to be whittling a little.
These photos were taken after I had worn the splint for 3 days. Prior to that, my the bulge came up to right under my bust line. It actually flattened out at the top after the three days. I saw my parents that day and they both thought I must have had the splint on under my top, but I didn’t. I wish I had a picture before this. Notice the belly button sticking out. This is common with a diastasis. No wonder people thought I was preggars. I couldn’t even hold in my stomach if I tried.
My measurements were 34 1/2 under the bust and 38 1/2 across the belly button.
After 4 weeks of doing the program faithfully, I had gone down to 32 1/2 under the bust and 36 at the belly button.
By week 8, I had gone down to 32 under the bust and 34 at the belly button. Notice no belly button protruding!
I still have a ways to go, but my back doesn’t hurt anymore. The diastasis is closed except at the belly button line. I can still get about 3 fingers in, but it use to be two hands across. I’m not as self conscious and fidgety out in public as I use to be, and I can stand up straighter too. The best part is as he has grown heavier, he actually feels lighter to me because I can pick him up and hold him without pain. I love my baby boy!
If you think you have this condition, you can check it by going to this link and following the instructions. The package I bought is here. I am not making any money off this. I just want to share with others who may be struggling with the same thing. If you have any questions, I would love to help you get on the way to healing! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave me a comment.
I hope this inspires someone!