Linking up with the always hilarious Kelly.
Once upon a time, I had three children in three years. Each pregnancy was more painful than the last, until the third, when I ended up with pubic symphysis, separation of the pubic bones.
Yes, it’s painful.
By my third child’s first birthday, I also had developed diastasis recti, and had a severe pain in my abdominal muscles when I moved certain ways, or carried heavy objects--including my children. I didn’t carry my children a whole lot. That’s painful to write. I had an umbilical hernia, and was plagued with what every woman who seems to have had children is plagued with--stress incontinence.
I peed on myself a lot.
And it all sucked--all of it. I was tired, achy, and in pain. Couldn’t move the way I wanted to. And just in general was exhausted. One can attribute a good deal of the exhaustion to three small children and not sleeping through the night, but by December of last year, I knew I needed to figure out how to get better.
I’ve done scads of online reading, tried and rejected multiple exercise problems, and seen a handful of medical professionals, and--I don’t pee on myself anymore.
That’s worth repeating (and shouting from the rooftops, writing in the sky, etc.):
I NO LONGER HAVE STRESS INCONTINENCE.
Here’s what’s worked for me:
I started taking baths in the evening as a way to prioritize my health and be purposeful about making the changes I needed to. They were relaxing before bedtime, helping me get to bed on time instead of way too late, and they soothed my tired or aching muscles. I’ve become a huge fan!
2. Physical therapist
I started seeing a physical therapist at the end of December. I did, probably, 6 sessions. It ended up not working out: I had to travel an hour for each session, the sessions were $80/pop, and in the end the office was charging me $150 in fees, and I just called it quits. But…
3. They prescribed, among other things, walking for 20/minutes a day
It hurt so bad at first. I was hobbling by the end of each walk (I probably spent those twenty minutes just going around the block), and taking a hot bath and then sitting on an ice pack. So painful. But I kept at it, and now, I can walk for thirty minutes or an hour like it ain’t no thang, and where I was probably walking not even a quarter of a mile in 20 minutes, now I’m walking a mile in fifteen minutes. AND I’M NOT IN PAIN AFTERWARDS!!!
4. Peggy Brill
This has been my favorite discovery to date. I’ve done a lot--a lot--of research on the pelvic floor and women’s problems. Kegels ain’t cutting it, my friends. Peggy is a physical therapist who wrote this amazing book. It is filled with amazing stories of women who were in pain, and who are now pain free. I literally cried over some of the stories--pain is no joke, my friends, and Peggy was offering hope! The exercises seemed absurdly simple, but I was faithful and--WOW. What a difference. I immediately felt better, my core felt stronger--I can pick my children up without hurting now. That almost makes me want to cry.
5. Katy Says
In all my pelvic floor research, I stumbled upon Katy Bowman. Man, this woman knows her stuff. I’m just diving in. I purchased her Diastasis Recti book (Peggy’s book doesn’t focus on DR super specifically, and I wanted something that did) and am getting ready to purchase a DVD. Her outlook is much, much, MUCH more lifestyle--it’s definitely not a fifteen minute a day kind of thing! It’s an incredible look at the human body, however--I finally feel like I’m getting answers nobody was ever able to give me!
6. Special note:
When I asked about my situation, Katy recommended working my way through the alignment snacks--she said she filmed them 10 weeks post partum, and they’re an excellent place to start. Her DR book has a series of exercises, but I found them a little difficult to wrap my head around--watching a video is much more helpful!
7. Diet change
I should also mention diet. Sugar and grains seem to be the root of so many evils. I could write a whole post about all of this, but I’ll try to keep it brief. I wanted to do a Whole 30 in January, but what I realized was that giving up everything at once felt too much like deprivation, and I was rebelling against that. It’s such a mind game. Instead of a Whole 30, I gave up added sugar and all grains for the month of January. It was amazing. I dropped a whole bunch of weight (still don’t have a scale, so I have no idea how much, but I went down two clothing sizes and my face looks like my face again) and just felt good--I had energy, and didn’t experience that 4pm sugar crash. I still haven’t been able to get totally back on the no sugar no grains train, but I’ve made that more of a lifestyle than not--and I feel soooo much better.
Friends, I need your help! Will you share this via Facebook or Pinterest or messenger pigeon? I feel like there are a lot of women, like me, who need to know incontinence and pain don't have to be their reality after childbirth! I KNOW I would've loved this post four years ago...help me share it with a woman who needs to hear it TODAY! Thank you!!
*affiliate links used--thanks for helping me keep the lights on!