I Wanted That “Old Thang” Back
“Learning the Hard Way that No Two Fitness Journeys are exactly the Same”
They Said I was “Old”
At my first prenatal appointment for my last and final child, I was told that I was considered a “geriatric pregnant patient.” At the age of thirty-seven, I didn’t look a day over thirty and I had the spirit of a twenty-five-year-old but there I sat being told that in the pregnant community I was considered “old.” The saying is you are only as old as you feel, and I felt twenty-five so I was determined the label of “geriatric” would not be attached to me. I had my entire pregnancy journey all planned out, working out and eating right; I was determined I was going to breeze through my pregnancy with flying colors, and after my baby was born my bounce back was going to be a piece of cake. Not!!
They Might Have Been Right
My third pregnancy was anything but easy. The nausea, the sleepless nights, the backaches, the swollen legs, and the daily dizzy spells; passing out in public places; I was a mess. I think I literally cried for nine months straight. If I didn’t feel old before; carrying my last child had begun to convince me otherwise. The pregnancy was hard, the delivery was hard, and the bounce-back was even harder. Having a c-section coupled with the many other complications that my body went through during and after delivery, I was not able to jump into a fitness program right away. I was under strict orders but all I could think about was getting my body back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I wanted to get back to “me”; the size I was before my pregnancy and who I was mentally before giving birth. It was something that was on my mind daily as I did not like the way my body looked in my clothes. I still looked pregnant and I could not understand why. After speaking with my doctor regarding my concerns, he found that the weight of my children caused me to develop a hernia and a four-finger separation in my abdomen; referred to as a diastasis recti. Walking around still looking six months pregnant was definitely not a bounce-back; it was a huge setback and I wanted it fixed immediately.
I Want This Thing Gone Nowww
After speaking with several surgeons, they refused to operate due to the complications I had with my c-section. All I kept hearing was “if you get back under that knife, more than likely you’re not going to make it out alive.” I understood that my body had gone through a lot of trauma, but I was not ready to accept that I would have to walk around looking six months pregnant for the rest of my life. After several talks with my healthcare team, I was forced to accept it for what it was and I sadly took my cue and backed off. I began to understand that this was just something I was going to have to deal with for the rest of my life but what I didn’t know was that the separation of my stomach muscles was going to cause further problems for me down the road. Developing severe back pain and poor posture; the separation became a physical and mental deformity. Changing outfits several times in the morning before work just to feel comfortable in my own skin; something had to give. I was determined that if I couldn’t have it closed surgically, I was going to do everything I could to try and at least reduce the size of the separation. I must have bought every waist trainer on the market to help hide the unsightly bulge but those gave me more problems causing me to develop long-term acid reflux from the constant pressure I was walking around with on my stomach. I couldn’t win.
Work Out Mistakes
After my doctor finally cleared me, I began my fitness journey, but my worse mistake was not properly researching the do’s and don’ts when having a diastasis recti. I wanted that thing gone so badly that I became a stomach crunch and sit-up junkie not realizing that I was only making the separation worse. Lifting heavy objects with no back support would eventually prove to do more harm than I could have imagined. After noticing the bulge in my stomach had grown significantly larger; I began to delve into even more research and what I found was horrifying. Every exercise I was doing for the last several months was setting me even further back from reaching my weight loss and fitness goals. I did not know that I was making my situation worse. I was giving it everything I could to lose weight and close the separation so to read that all of my hard was for nothing was very discouraging.
After many hours of research; some good, some bad, some discouraging, some promising; I eventually accepted that this was my journey and it is what I make of it. No, this was not my ideal situation, but it was part of me now. I began to use new techniques, incorporating them into my daily workouts to try and reduce the separation. Any exercise that did not force me to create a bulge in my stomach area was now part of my workout plan. After several months, I only saw slight improvement and was told no matter what exercises I do I will never be able to close the separation without surgery; the separation was simply too large.
No Two Fitness Journeys are the same
A tummy tuck could have possibly taken the unsightly bulge away and restored a confidence I once had but that opportunity was non-existent. I had to figure out the best way to embrace my new body and not long for the body I had before pregnancy. It was hard for me in the beginning, but I grew to tolerate, not fully accept but tolerate my new body. Later, toleration grew into acceptance. This was my new body and it was my job was to care for it, take care of it, and love it unconditionally. I remember in the beginning of my journey I use to hate seeing women with flat stomachs not long after giving birth because I was never so lucky to get that bounce back but the take away I got was to embrace and accept ‘Me” for ‘Me”. No two journeys are exactly the same and although you may not have the body you want, you had all you needed to bring beautiful life into this world. That in itself is a blessing. No two fitness journeys are exactly the same so never compare your journey to anyone else’s. Do what works best for you and give it everything you got. Always listen to your body and work out at your own pace. Stomach on flat-flat or fat-fat; love yourself unconditionally.
Mommi Contributor, Bri