After more than 12 years with my partner and three kids later, I have had the opportunity to watch our relationship evolve. In the beginning and for the first several childless years, it was all work hard, travel, sex and fun! We were perhaps unhealthily the center of one another’s universe. Fast forward to a move across the country and 3 kids within three years and here we are. I ADORE my husband, but I have had to adjust my expectations. We had somehow made the other our best friend, confidant, lover etc. etc. What I’ve realized with age and becoming parents is that we can’t possibly be all of those things to the maximum capacity any longer. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. Instead of expecting my husband to be the “friend” I call to chat with about work or life or kids, I started reaching out to others. There was an adjustment period for both of us where we felt a little less connected. Perhaps too many of us think our relationships are failing if we are not getting every one of our needs met by our partner. In watching some of my single girlfriends date, I realize that ALL of us have very unreasonable and unrealistic expectations about what our significant other should be able to offer. Thing is, this is real life, it’s not fucking “Jerry Maguire”. My husband does NOT “complete me”. He makes me laugh, he lets me cry, he lets me be my whacky self, he gives me support, he parents with me, he loves me unconditionally. Honestly, that’s plenty. I think we have to be willing to create our own villages as we raise ourselves through adulthood. We have to be willing to outsource some of the meeting of our needs to others. Thereby, preserving our marriages and ultimately leading happier more fulfilling lives! End preach.
I am intrigued by what I see watching my children interact with one another, their classmates and their friends. They are 6, 5 and nearly 3yrs old. At these ages, they are COMPLETELY honest about all of their feelings and express them to one another without fear of consequence or rejection. The offending party generally looks shocked that they have upset their friend and then they chat about it or decide to part ways and play with others. If the latter was decided, within 5 minutes the friends are authentically playing together again. No grudges held, no rehashing of past events, no judgment, just truly living in and enjoying the moment.
This made me wonder at what age do we start to not express ourselves for fear of what others might think or say? At what age do we become judgmental? At what age do we begin to develop a lack of trust for past offenders and hold grudges? At what age do we lose compassion? I understand self-preservation and not allowing another human to repeatedly hurt us emotionally or physically, but it seems that in society today, the slightest indiscretion can be grounds for dismissal. What is that about?
Perhaps my lack of filtration and over sensitive, expressive nature has been passed down to my children. I love to watch them be able to share exactly what is on their minds without a second of thought to how the receiver might respond. They are open, honest and vulnerable. It’s beautiful. I don’t see them say something or do something and then wish they could take it all back. They spoke what was in their hearts or minds in that moment and they own it and the receiver hears it and then it all passes. It’s such a lovely way to interact. It’s as if they all understand that everyone is just doing the best they can do on that day. In one moment, they can have really big feelings and they may behave badly. But in the next all is back to normal, life goes on. They’re just trying to have a good time. Aren’t we all?
Cheers- to honest, open, vulnerable, non-judgmental, compassionate, fun relationships!
"A healthy, toned pelvic floor is important for more than just pregnancy and childbirth. It plays a significant role in a woman’s ability to orgasm! “Estrogen levels naturally drop as you age. This not only effects your sex drive and vaginal moisture, but it also weakens the pelvic floor muscles, reducing sexual sensation.”
Read more of my interview with Prevention Magazine here check out #6 !!
Thank you so much for sharing your story! Thousands of women will benefit from your open honesty! The next blog post will be directed at the specific exercises we need to heal diastasis and flatten the tummy, but the breath is the most important place to start! This piece will carry through into all of the exercises I show you, so if you start, you have a head start! Ready GO!
So I love what you've been working on and admire so much your work passion and dedication, needless to mention how amazing you look. But above all what a healthy happy mama you are and that tops it all. a healthy happy mama is a healthy happy strong united family I know that takes much work sacrifice and dedication so kudos to you- especially while raising attending and caring after a family of 5.
Anyway, looking forward to your next blog post not sure how much I can benefit without being able to actually attend your workshop from all the way out here in FL L
But I already learned from your first post on what my main problem is, I have Diastasis Recti and never even knew. Makes TOTAL sense now, since my belly has looked pregnant now for years even much after having my babies. Like you I have had 3 pregnancies in very short period not even brake between my last two between nursing and being pregnant again. Anyway, everything, EVERYTHING you mentioned on your post I live & feel on a daily basis. I've pretty much put myself on a back burner for years, and had not been able to focus on me or figure out how to make time for myself to take care of me- I know- MAJOR MAJOR MISTAKE. If mommy is not strong healthy & happy we all know what that does....
I have finally decided to get my body in shape & reclaim it for myself. I jumped on starting T25 challenge & also Xtendbarre (XTENDBARRE.com)similar to PureBarre, just to start getting my very fluffy out of shape body back to being strong and healthy. But NOW I've discovered I have this Diastasis so I'm not sure if I should even be doing all those very hard aggressive ab/core exercises. Not sure if they work against me instead of help me...? I wanted fast results so I wanted t do these 2 more active "aggressive" "programs" so I could wear a damn bikini this summer! Ugh! What movements/exercises should I be avoiding? And how can I can close the Diastasis gap and avoid reopening it again... certain movements including getting out of bed the wrong way may affect it I read... OMG! I was so excited about my way to getting in shape for the Summer, but now with this Diastasis seems it will be so much more challenging. J My Diastasis is 4 fingers wide…is there even hope for me.
ANY advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated. I know u are a busy mama, and I respect your time. If u have any links or suggestions let me know. I wanna get to the other side but wanna do it right and the healthy way. I don't wanna go into this and make it worse.
Thanks so much. Wish I could attend one of ur workshops, or you come to FL J
It's all so inspiring. I need more people like you in my life. Very inspiring.
This is my tummy.
Diastasis is tricky. I think we look in the mirror and see our still pregnant looking bellies and think, “right 5,000 crunches 5x a day oughta do it”! But in reality when trying to heal diastasis and flatten a post baby tummy, less is SO much more! Possibly the easiest and most important thing to do is notice where your breath fills when you inhale. If you are constantly belly breathing (the belly puffs out when you breathe in), every time you inhale, you are stretching out your belly muscles and creating more space between the abdominals. If you can think about pulling the belly up (like you’re zipping your tightest pair of pants) keep that as you breathe in, you’ll notice that the breath fills the back body. Breathing in this way will keep the abdominals closed and will give your back a nice little massage. More to come Tuesday….. until then breathe well!
Starting with the obvious. Don’t compare yourself to the most recent airbrushed celeb on the cover of some magazine at the grocery store, in their bikini, with the 6 pack and the 8 hour old baby. Do rest, recover, heal, enjoy your baby and know that you will absolutely get into all of your clothes and lose all of the baby weight in time. (You will learn lots of ways to achieve those things on this blog.) So sit back, relax and get to know this new little human built! The pressure in the American culture to get your “Pre-Baby” body back (there is no such thing) is insane. The physical and emotional medical issues we have in this country far surpass those in ANY other. We have turned creating life into a business. If we were to press pause…. enjoy the process and let our extremely intelligent bodies repair themselves, we wouldn’t need Prozac or Surgery or me. The issue is none of us sit back and relax etc. In most cases the rest is not possible because of obligations. The American culture is not designed to support new Parents. We have jobs, other children, spouses who are also like other children, extended family, etc. We have people counting on us. We have bills to pay, mouths to feed and we just do it! It’s admirable the amount of things a parent accomplishes in one day. But these accomplishments are not without consequences. Here comes the Karma. As a new Mom, if we don’t do our very best to rest and recover there are consequences.
Physical- like maybe you end up with a Prolapse (it’s like a hernia where the bladder, bowel or urethra fall through the pelvic floor and hang in to the vagina). It sounds horrifying and it is- I’ve been there for some of it. That “skin” hanging out of your vagina is actually your bladder. NO ONE wants to hear that shit. So REST!
Emotional- the sleep deprivation in the early stages of motherhood is real. Our government uses sleep deprivation to torture terrorists. Just so we all have some perspective. If we don’t or can’t take the time to catch up on our sleep or we are overworking our bodies in the time when we are not caring for our newborn, it is extremely taxing on the adrenal glands (future blog post on that). This leads to anxiety and depression. And could explain the rates of post partum depression we have in the U.S.
Bottom line- Moving, stretching, even sweating a bit is excellent for all of us and especially a new mom. But we need to be smart. We need to do stretches that will open what needs to open and not reopen the parts of our body that we need to close up and strengthen after having a baby. We need to remember to self-care, to do our best to rest despite all of the daily requirements and to not succumb to the pressures induced by airbrushed magazine covers.
Upavista- The straddle stretch. As the song goes… your thigh bone is connected to your… as is the inner thighs and the pelvic floor. Stretching the inner thighs in this position can tug on the very vulnerable pelvic floor and wreak havoc.
Single pigeon- Same as Upavista- everything is connected. While this can feel like an amazing hip stretch/opener, it can also be a deep inner thigh stretch. Another cause for concern in this posture is the instability of the SI (sacroiliac) Joints. With relaxin (the hormone secreted into the body that relaxes the muscles and ligaments allowing the body to open to facilitate the growth and delivery of the baby) still in high concentration in the system, the joints are more mobile than usual. A posture like this can easily cause those joints to slip out of location and create back pain.
Malasana- the squat. In time Malasana will be an incredible pose for creating strength in the pelvic floor. But think of it like lifting weights- only move into this, AFTER you are healed and things are functioning well again.
Heavy lifting- pretty straight forward. Don’t lift heavy things while the muscles of the pelvic floor are open and over stretched or you’re sort of asking for something to fall out.
Impact- Many women run through their pregnancies and it feels great and appropriate to them to begin running shortly after delivery. I advise against this for all of the reasons listed above. That constant jarring impact when your body isn’t healed or reconnected has consequences.
Supine Gomukasana- I call this a “closed chain” hip opener/stretch. With the 2 legs crossed, the inner thighs are not on stretch and there is no real risk to over-stretching the pelvic floor. Plus it feels delicious!
Supported badakonasana- On your back with the soles of the feet together to stretch the inner thighs. Placing the blocks beneath the outer thighs allows you to safely adjust the amount of stretch the inner thighs get, so that you do not go too deep. You can adjust the height of the blocks and the placement to find the ideal inner thigh opening without it being potentially injurious.
Walk outside– (as long you don’t live in Boston in January like I did for my first.) Pushing your baby in the stroller getting the heart rate up, maybe even a bit of sweat, is great for both of you!
Lie over rolled towel with knees bent- Opening the chest after nursing and carrying your baby is so important for the health of your neck and upper back and this feels so yummy!
All 4’s opposite knee to elbow- This one is a bit more advanced. You will need to keep an eye on your belly when you extend out for the first couple to notice if it puffs out. If it does and you cannot pull the belly in to support the low back, it is best to hold off for a little longer until your body heals and reconnects. This is amazing for strengthening everything, but especially the back body. It will begin to wake up the low abdominals and obliques much more and helps the body pull itself back together. Inhale extend right leg and left arm out long. Exhale pull the elbow to meet the knee beneath as you round the upper back and pull the belly in.
There is SO much that goes on in pregnancy and after that no one tells you. Not your Dr. Not your sister. Not your best friend. As a regular practitioner of yoga I felt more things in my body than the average Joan. You can imagine the things you might experience and feel having 3 kids within a 3 year time span! These "things" that transpired in my 6 years of pregnancy and nursing, lead me to create my post baby bodyshops and have inspired me to share all of the glorious and gory details I've learned and experienced about the post-pregnancy body! Moms need a place to share freely, get some answers and just begin to understand what the hell is going on!
I found the most mysterious area of my post baby body to be that area encompassing the bellybutton and all things below. The spot below where the belt would go on my newly purchased high waisted pants designed to hold in all things that could no longer be contained. I went from having a solid "innie" to a well protruded "outie" even 10 months after the birth of my first child. The Dr. said that nursing would "flatten" my tummy. Nursing did help a bit but by 4:00pm I looked I was at least 5 months pregnant. My regular yoga practice had me feeling like a foreigner in my own body and pilates….. I couldn't even feel my abdominals, let alone ask them to do anything. It was as if parts of my body had gone to sleep and I couldn't wake them. So I began to study. I discovered that some muscles legitimately go to sleep while we're building humans and because of the way we live our lives in this culture those muscles never have an opportunity to wake up! This leaves moms peeing their pants (I needed diapers more than my infants), looking pregnant long after pregnancy is over, suffering from back or hip discomfort and sexually uncomfortable. My journey of healing, repairing and reconnecting to my body is what is shared in my bodyshops. Every mom deserves to feel and look like the rockstar they are! We build humans for crying out loud! We should CELEBRATE! but don't jump or laugh too hard you might pee :)
Too many moms accept their aches, pains and discomforts as some sort of sentence of motherhood. I am telling you that after having 3 kids in 3 years, in my not so young body, I nearly did the same. But I wanted to be able to go back to living life to its fullest. I wanted to be able to run, jump and laugh with my kids and have sex with my husband with absolutely no hesitations. So I studied. I found what worked. I did the work. and I am elated to share that I have all that I had hoped for! It is my mission to share Mom stuff, yoga stuff, family stuff and nutrition stuff, so that all of us Moms can be all we are capable of being!