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Diastasis Recti is Bad@$$: III - Language Matters

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

A women has just given birth to a beautiful baby. She’s thrilled.

As she approaches 4 weeks postpartum, she catches her body in the mirror and thinks to herself, “Hmmph. That doesn’t look like it used to…” as she gently touches her belly.

She groggingly searches words like “belly pooch” and “mommy tummy” on The Internet during a middle-of-the-night feeding in hopes of uncovering the exercises that will help her get there. As her search deepens, she sifts through phrases like “abdominal separation”, “ab gap”, “split abs”, and “the postpartum problem no one is talking about.

{ As we’ve been discussing in past few articles, these phrases are often misleading at best and inaccurate at worst.

But let’s put the inaccuracies aside for today. Do we honestly think this type of language is supportive or encouraging?}

I don’t know about you but “split abs” would make me feel like I was broken and fragile. Oh wait. It did.

I didn’t know about DR until I was 5 months postpartum with my twins. I was at the beach with another postpartum mom friend (not talking about our bellies but talking about recovery) and we found our way to diastasis recti. I did a quick measurement and my hand was quickly engulfed by my stomach and, because I’m weird like that, I thought it was pretty cool. I felt like I was actually inside my abdomen.

But I’m also pro-taking-care-of-my-body, so coolness aside, I booked a physiotherapist appointment once we flew back to YYC.

In my case, it wasn’t The Internet but my physio that made me feel broken.

Up to this point, I had been taking care of my babies, moving around the house, slipping in some light lifts, going for walks - no problems. And now I felt that everything I did could cause debilitating damage. Not just “hold back my progress” - but full core devastation.

I was instructed to lie on the floor and do breathing exercises, tiny abs “squeezes” and gentle glutes work.

Even now, I’m surprised by how that one conversation flipped my switch. Admittedly, “fragile” is not a word I would have ever associated with any part of my being - ever. And yet, here we were.

Afraid to slip out of the ideal postural position for fear of having my organs protrude out my midline....? Jeeeeez. Seriously. A functional DR (with a 3-finger space and nowhere-to-go-but-up with my midline rebound), a readiness to rehab and I was still fearful of what a 'slip' of my pelvic position could do to my DR.

AND I had over 10 years of studying and coaching the body under my belt. I KNEW better. I KNEW how resilient the body was and yet OrgansPressingOutMyBodyLineForTheRestOfTime and NotBeingAbleToLiftInASquatRackEverAgain were on my radar.

>>> Fast forward 5 years .... Another pregnancy later, another round of DR and I’m all healed up and tossing kids and barbells wherever I please.

Because bodies = awesome. Once I had the right information and the right people in my court, feeling fragile didn’t have a space. Of course, it wasn’t a linear win-after-win healing and recovery process. Training never is. As with any training, you take a couple steps forward, chill for a bit, maybe take a step back, go forward again. BUT. Fragile? Broken? Not for a second.

Language matters.


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