Healing My Body after Baby

Hey, mama, do me a quick favor. Look down at your precious belly for a minute. I say precious because that belly of yours--whatever it looks like now--once housed a tiny human. It stretched and moved and grew as she grew. Your belly is freaking incredible!
As you look at it now though, you might not think so. Does it look like you still have a baby in there? Do you feel like you have to wear flowy shirts because of your pooch?  And--an even more uncomfortable question that may not seem related but I promise you it is--are you peeing yourself on accident? Yikes--we're going there.
I was ready to jump back into working out and hitting the cardio hard shortly after Edie was born, but as I did so I found that my babe wasn't the only one who needed diapers. I thought maybe it would get better after a few more months of healing from her difficult birth, but it ended up progressively getting worse. My midwife mentioned that I had a two finger diastasis recti at my six week postpartum appointment, but I thought that listening to her advice--no situps--would be enough to get my body back into shape. Turns out when you have damage to your ab muscles and pelvic floor, you need to repair it before your physical routine can return to normal. That includes everything from exercise to holding your pee until you get to the restroom to sex to sitting up from lying down. Those muscles play a huge part in everyday life!
They also play a huge part in what your belly looks like after birth. If they're open, your belly will stick out. The muscles being tight and close together are what holds any extra stuff in for a flat tummy. And those middle ab muscles are connected all the way down to your pelvic floor. Which means, in cases like mine, you might look like you're just starting your second trimester and feel like you're well into your third with a baby kicking pee out of your bladder without any warning. Ugh.
After several months of cutting my runs short because of soaked pants, I started looking into fixing the issue. A quick Google search told me surgery was my best option, and that I'd probably have to have it after each child and then every few years after that for maintenance. Um, no thanks. I ended up asking around in a few local mama Facebook groups, and that's how I found Jennifer's class.
Over the course of ten weeks the separation in my ab muscles went from two plus finger widths to completely closed, and I stopped peeing myself while working out about six weeks in.  I met with Jennifer in the fitness room at Terra Tots one afternoon a week for an hour--she had a specific workout tailored to my needs that she guided me through and then had me snap an Iphone photo of to take with me as homework. I did the workout throughout the course of each day (five minutes here, ten minutes there as Edie allowed) and then came back the next week for a routine that was just a bit more challenging.  
And when I say challenging, I kind of have to laugh, because these workouts pretty much look like you're doing nothing at all. But oh my gosh, they stinkin' work! Each move was so tiny and precise and made my pelvic floor (which I was convinced was a goner--I couldn't get it to flex at all when we first started) come back from the dead a little more each week.
I am so thankful to have found a better option than surgery, and the coolest part is that I feel armed against letting this happen again if and when we have another babe. I'm equipped with exercises to do during and after pregnancy to keep my belly and pelvic floor strong. Also, I just feel so much better after working for something rather than pursuing a quick, temporary fix.  The best things require a bit of hard work, right? And, after experiencing it for months, I'd consider not peeing yourself a pretty good thing. :)

For all you local mamas interested in pelvic floor and core repair therapy, check out Terra Tots!