When I became pregnant with Eli, I was over the moon as is expected of any mom discovering she is pregnant with her first born.  I honestly had no idea what to expect, I read books, spoke with my mom, siblings and friends and so on, but each experience is unique so basically it is just something you must go through.

Pregnant with Eli

My pregnancy with Eli as with the others was “normal.” I had lots of pelvic pain that required me to wear a pelvic belt but thankfully, there was no morning sickness. With Eli, my last day of work, was the day before he was born. His delivery went well. I had the joys of experiencing contractions and that is a whole different ball game. I remember wanting to try delivery sans epidural but when the fiery pain started to run through my body, I had to change my mind. My thought process was my mom did this 5 times; I could certainly do it. Yea, that did not happen. Every pang of pain was felt by both myself and my hubby lol, poor guy was so sick, he was throwing up. Anyway, my mom told me I did not have to be a hero, just take the juice and I did. The doctor that administered the epidural was amazing and after a few minutes I was completely numb. Within a few hours, Master Eli Archer was with us.

Master Eli

I never really researched the whole story about pregnancy and the aftereffects that I could expect on my body. I knew that yes, I may gain some weight, may have pelvic pain, varicose veins, back pain, but what about this muffin top that just lingered. Some women have the amazing ability to snap back, it is like you see them extremely pregnant one day and the next day, they are back to what they were before having the baby. I was very naïve where that was concerned. I thought I was 120lbs before I got pregnant, I was in great shape and even though I went up to about 180lbs when I was pregnant with Eli, I was thinking I would have that “snap back.” Anyway, that was not the case, months were passing by and there was no change, in fact, I looked pregnant still. I started exercising and though I was losing weight, I was not losing my yummy tummy. Most people said I would never go back to what I used to be, and I just could not accept that.  Shortly, after I was pregnant with Anayah and after having her, I started exercising and the got the same results, weight was gone but belly did not budge. After having the twins, I made a conscious effort to deal with my tummy. I joined a gym and one day after classes one of the members came up to me and mentioned that I may have diastasis recti. I never heard of it before, she told me she had it and advised me on what she did to address it. I felt a little hope after speaking with her since her tummy was amazingly flat.  Apparently, all the times when I was exercising, I was hurting myself by doing crunches, sit ups and planks, those exercises only make the situation worse.

Photo Cred: momjunction.com

Diastasis Recti (DR) is the separation of the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis), it is common during pregnancy. It occurs because as the uterus grows to accommodate your baby, the stomach muscles start to stretch. That stretching can lead to complete or partial separation of the abdominal muscles. I was the lucky recipient of complete separation and as a result I suffer severe bloating which translates to me looking about 4 months with child. You can determine if you have DR by performing a self test.

  1. Lie on your back
  2. Bend your knees
  3. Raise your shoulders up slightly off the floor, look down at your belly
  4. Move your hand up and down your midline ab muscles, see if your fingers can fit in the gaps between your muscles
  5. The number of fingers that can fit in that gap determines the severity of your DR
Photo cred: mamamadestrong.com

Image showing how self test can be done

Photo cred: radyrahban.com

Image showing what the tummy looks like when you have DR

When I lie on my back, my entire stomach collapses into my back. So, it is safe to say I have it badly. I guess it started with Eli and since having him and not knowing I even had DR, my condition got progressively worse during each pregnancy. DR is not just limited to pregnant women, it can result in babies, luckily it corrects itself. It can also result in men. DR can weaken your core and as a result you may need to wear a band for your tummy. I wear a waist trainer for support and to be able to wear clothing without the bulge. I managed to find a slew of information and exercises online and I have recently started implementing them into my exercise routine. I plan on visiting a pelvic floor specialist as well to get some professional help on how to strengthen my core and recover from this situation.

Photo cred: https://www.pinterest.ca/agligorevi/

I could have done things differently; had I been equipped with the knowledge I have now, but that ship has sailed and all I can do now is look ahead and repair what I can. It is embarrassing to be constantly asked if I am expecting or why do I still have a tummy, but I guess it goes with the territory. I do not get angry anymore, I just take the time to educate people on what I am experiencing, and I just remind myself of what it is that brought me here – 4 beautiful little beings.


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