You May Have Diastasis Recti (Say What?) – Sharing My Journey So Yours Can Be Easier

If you are a mom, whether you gave birth last month, last year, or last decade, I want to share some information I came across after my second baby was born.

Brace yourself: you may have diastasis recti, which is the term for the separation of the stomach muscles that happens during pregnancy. But relax and breathe. It’s a big word for what is normal and usually just a small problem. (However, the bigger the diastasis, the more it may cause back pain.)

Diastasis1Diastasis2

Source for photos

Before you go any further, please read my disclaimer

In an effort to save you time and effort, I will share my journey on diastasis recti I like to call:

Fix My Abs in 21 Steps

1. About 18 months post partum (after child #2), I came to the conclusion that my little belly pooch probably needs some attention, since I was well beyond the I-just-had-a-baby-that’s-why-my-tummy-looks-like-this period.

2. I started a (half-hearted) routine of doing some ab crunches every day. (Bleh.)

3. Some random bit of information about checking for diastasis recti after having a baby caught my attention. Was there perchance an actual reason for my tummy pooch, beyond the obvious culprit (i.e. eating too many chocolate chips)?

4. I followed the instructions for doing a quick check, which are simply to lie on your back with your knees bent, place your fingers near your belly button, and lift your head. If you feel a gap that is a couple fingers wide, you have diastasis recti. (For more detailed instructions, you can go here. For a video with instructions, you can go here. To read my disclaimer, go here.)

5. I felt literally nauseous when I felt the gap in my ab muscles. Eeew. Continue reading

Are You Seeing the Bluebonnets or the Cactus?

BluebonnetsOrCactus

Not a native Texan, I learned about the beloved state flower of Texas, the bluebonnet, when I moved here. I fell in love with the bluebonnets once I had children – and learned about the Texas tradition of taking photos in bluebonnets. Loving photography as I do, this was an easy tradition to adopt and I eagerly await the three weeks each year when bluebonnets are in bloom.

Our Bluebonnet pictures over the years

Our bluebonnet pictures over the years

As I was driving through the Texas countryside a few weeks ago I found myself ‘oohing’ and ‘aaahing’ at all the little patches of bluebonnets springing up along the side of the road. My parents (who were visiting from out of state) were driving behind me and when we reached our destination the first thing I asked them was, “Did you see all the bluebonnets along the road?” They have seen my bluebonnet photos and are aware of the tradition and I was excited they could actually seem them in bloom in person.

“No, we didn’t. But we did see the cactus,” was my mom’s reply.

Huh. I didn’t see any cactus. How could two people driving along the same road see different things? Continue reading

Subtle Sabotage: Common Insensitive Words You Use and More Mindful Alternatives

As you may have heard in the media recently, Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, wants to ban the word “bossy”, saying we should instead say those girls are leaders (as she specifically speaks of). Without getting into the debate on that topic specifically, I do think she has a point on a larger scale – we need to be more mindful of the words we use and their possible effect on those to whom we speak.

I believe being mindful about our speech is important in all aspects of life. When communicating, sometimes the better option is more mindful words or no words at all (remain silent).

I’ve noticed some common insensitive words or phrases that may be subtly sabotaging women at vulnerable times of their lives (pregnancy, childbirth, newborns, and babies). You probably use most of these words and don’t think twice about it. I’d love for you to read the list with an open mind.

I’ve also included a list of better, more mindful alternatives. As you read these words, try to visualize how it feels to hear each set of words.

1. Overdue vs. Post Date

During pregnancy an estimated delivery date, or “due date”, for the baby is calculated. IMG_6590_bwWhile only four percent of women will deliver on their due date, it is quite common for people to consider the due date some sort of absolute, final day. There seems to be much fear and anxiety about approaching the due date and even more so about going past it.  If a pregnant woman goes past her estimated due date many people, including health care practitioners, use the term “overdue” to refer to either the woman or the pregnancy.

The problem: When used to describe a woman’s pregnancy, “overdue” can seem judgmental and can infer that something is “wrong” or not as it should be, that “something should have happened by now” – and that some action must be taken. When used to describe a pregnant woman (i.e. she’s overdue, I’m overdue) it can cause undue stress to the mother, with her possibly thinking she is doing something wrong.

Continue reading

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