How my experience with diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction led me to helping other moms not make the same mistakes I did.
We have so many questions about what’s normal during pregnancy and what we should be doing. With my first pregnancy I was extremely conservative and only walked and advice from doctors included not lifting over 30 pounds. I ended up not lifting anything, at all even though I was an active woman and exercise enthusiast.
Then as soon as I could leave the baby at home for an hour I was back in my group fitness class - kickboxing the weight off. For my second pregnancy, I am ashamed to say my mindset hadn’t changed much. I had no idea or anyone to guide me, it’s not that I necessarily thought I was above it all, I just didn’t know any better.
I took group fitness classes and did a lot of high impact movements until late in my pregnancy. My class instructor never said anything to me about modifying and the other ladies in the class just encouraged me by commenting on how fit I looked and how I was such a motivation.
I was so afraid to be “fat” and my identity was crazy wrapped up into being a fit and active mom. And truth be told, as a stay at home mom, dropping my kids off at the gym daycare was giving me a much needed break. I need to be there!!!
Training for a marathon, after 3rd pregnancy.
After a “six week clearance” I ended up almost fainting after taking back to back classes and that was a wake up call that I needed to chill. But I still had no idea how to gradually return to fitness. I only knew high intensity workouts.
With my third pregnancy (I know right, it keeps going because there is still one to go, but I got more educated each time) I actually did pregnancy specific workout videos and yoga. Including adding free weights and “bodybuilding” movements to my fitness plan. This birth and recovery went very smoothly and I felt healthier than ever.
However, back to my workout videos I went, this time I was on a mission to be an even fitter mom with three littles at home. I really liked high intensity and high impact training, the endorphins were addicting, and now knew a little about lifting weights. Most of the time I would leak during any of the jumping movements so I would buy incontinence pads and keep going. Sometimes I would leak through one pad and then have to pause my video to go change my underwear and shorts. Thank goodness I wasn't taking classes at the gym, how embarrassing would that have been!!!
Peeing my pants while working out was really annoying.
When I started CrossFit classes I knew I had found my fitness love language -- high intensity movements and competition. As a former college athlete, the competitiveness really inspired me and probably fed my ego.
I picked up skills and movements quickly, progressed way too quickly and then started competing locally. I would joke with my coaches and classmates about peeing my pants, and even had to go buy new leggings during class once because I had wet myself so badly.
Not once, did anyone ever mention that there could be a treatment option for this and that my body was providing feedback that it wasn’t working for my body.
Finally, it was the last straw when I peed all over the floor at a competition in front of a sea of spectators. I finished the WOD and everyone that noticed the pee on the floor was extremely supportive and kind to me, even commenting what an amazing woman I was to keep going through it all.
I was completely mortified and humiliated.
Seeking the assistance of a pelvic floor physical therapist was my first step to fixing this embarrassing problem, as well as adjusting my training. As a coach and trainer at this time now it became my passion and focus to ensure that other women knew better on how to take care of themselves during pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. When you know better you can choose better.
With my fourth pregnancy it became even more clear to me that there is no “one size fits all” approach for every woman. I was able to incorporate strength training and conditioning that was designed to support my changing body and prepare it for birth and beyond. I was able to continue doing some of the things that I loved while also honoring this unique season of life.
I hope that gives you a glimpse into all the experience I had in making mistakes that led to some unfortunate experiences and why I am so passionate to share my knowledge and expertise with other moms and moms to be.
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