Before I begin this post I feel that I should make it clear that I am very proud that my body managed to grow three healthy babies at the same time and I am amazed at how quickly my body has recovered from such a task. The issues that I have with my new Mummy tummy are certainly not related to the way it looks but of concern for my long term health.
When we found out that we were having Triplets, after the initial shock and then the excitement that we were going to be doing something that only the select few ever get to experience, I must admit that the thought did cross my mind that I had better say goodbye to my lovely flat tummy. It was just a fleeting thought, and of all the issues that we faced throughout the pregnancy this was by far the least of my worries.
It wasn’t until I was in hospital on bed rest (about 33 weeks pregnant) that a physio in the hospital told me that I would definitely have a muscle separation (Diastasis Recti) to deal with after the babies were born. This would mean having to be careful when lifting, sitting up or exercising, all of which could cause a hernia. She advised that I would need to do specific exercises in order to strengthen my core muscles and could require surgery to have the problem fixed.
I did some limited research and decided to purchase some SRC recovery shorts (think extreme support shorts) in the hope that they would hold everything together after the babies arrived.
When the triplets did arrive I found that there was hardly any time to eat and definitely no time to sleep so there was no way that I could find time to do the exercises that the Physio had advised that I do. At this stage I still looked very pregnant, even with the Support shorts on.
As we settled into a routine I remember occasionally lying down in the nursery and trying to do the moves that the Physio had told me about while I sang to the babies to try to get them off to sleep, but even that wasn’t always possible if all 3 didn’t want to settle at the same time.
It was shortly after the babies first birthday that I decided to register to run a 5.7km challenge with the Triplets in their pram. I would get up early a couple of days a week and put the babies into the triple pram and take them for a run around the local streets, gradually building up to 6km over the next few months.
During this time I tried to make an effort to do the Physio exercises more often and even attempted a couple of visits to a local Physiotherapist but it was such a mission to get to the appointments with 3 babies in Tow and I didn’t feel like I was getting any improvement so I just stopped going.
Within a few months – and not long after we had completed the challenge – I was no longer able to go running as the Trio, now Toddlers, were no longer willing to sit in the pram.
Months passed by and the muscle separation became something that I learned to live with. I am however always aware of it and also conscious that my lack of core strength is making my back more prone to injury as well. Because of this I decided to look into getting the separation repaired with Surgery. I quickly realised that (for many reasons) this wasn’t the way I wanted to go if I could help it.
I needed to get serious about improving my core strength before it did start to become a problem.
Several people along the way had mentioned that Pilates was a safe way to improve my core strength, but I had dismissed the idea previously due to not being able to commit to regular lessons. Now that the Trio are going to Daycare twice a week I have an option to try this avenue with the hope that I can improve my core strength enough to prevent any future problems occurring.
I asked around (Facebook forums) and found a Physiotherapist that offered reformer Pilates classes locally.
I signed up and started going for 1 hour once a week.
What I didn’t expect when I started the Pilates classes was that I would get such an all round work-out. We do a lot of moves that work our legs, bums and arms as well as our core. After my first lesson I was surprised at how much my legs were shaking, I had assumed that with all the carrying and running around after multiple toddlers that I do my legs would be pretty strong.
I have been going to the classes for one hour a week for 2 months now. (Although I did miss a week when we went on holiday)
I already feel stronger not only in my core, but also my shoulders and neck which had been causing me no end of grief with tension headaches that I had just dismissed as being linked to my lack of sleep.
Here are the “Before” and the “2 Month” photo’s:
I think that if nothing else, my posture has definitely improved which has to be a good thing. Does the muscle separation look like it’s improving? I’m not sure, What do you think?
What’s more important to me is the fact that I feel much stronger and more able to cope with the everyday challenges that that being a Mum of Multiples throws at me.
Are you a Mum who has had to deal with Muscle separation? Do you have any advice for me and my readers? I’d love to hear from you.