“Phys­i­cal ther­apy gave me back my core.”

Parents (USA) - - Mom -

Shanise Ol­lie, 33; Flint, MI Months after de­liv­er­ing my third child, Au­gust, I no­ticed that my mid­sec­tion still felt phys­i­cally weak. I re­mem­ber my older son, Kingston, plopped down on my stom­ach while we were play­ing, and my ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles didn’t re­sist at all. The breath went right out of me, and my belly felt like a limp pil­low. I ad­mit I was self-con­scious about it. I’m petite, and my clothes never looked or felt right with a still-big stom­ach. Plus, my back ached all the time. I knew some­thing wasn’t right.

I Googled and found out about a con­di­tion called di­as­ta­sis recti. It oc­curs when the pres­sure from your grow­ing uterus pushes your ab mus­cles apart an ab­nor­mal dis­tance. This split can cause a bulge and make it hard for your core to work prop­erly. My doc­tor re­ferred me to a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist. In a six-week course, he showed me ex­er­cises that got my abs work­ing well again. I worked with re­sis­tance bands and did stretches, and dili­gently did my home­work, like clench­ing my abs while walk­ing around the house. Au­gust is now 1, and I still prac­tice. (Okay, when I re­mem­ber.)

After phys­i­cal ther­apy, my back­aches dis­ap­peared be­cause I fi­nally had enough core strength to hold my 32 DDD chest up. My stom­ach doesn’t look as pouchy ei­ther, and I can lift my baby with­out los­ing my breath.

I tell other mom friends who have sim­i­lar symp­toms not to ac­cept hear­ing, “Oh, you just have a mommy tummy.” Seek­ing help made me feel more in con­trol of my body. After hav­ing three C-sec­tions, my body is not the same as be­fore I had kids. Hey, I can live with that! But I want to make sure that I’m as healthy and strong as pos­si­ble. That’s what my kids need me to be.

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