There are milestones in life that many women have in common aren’t there? Shared experiences like our first bra, first period, pregnancy, childbirth and, of course the postnatal tummy. Yet for some reason some of these experiences don’t necessarily get shared or talked about much.
I don’t remember discussing my period with my friends as a teenager, or my fears about giving birth a second time, or the fact that I sometimes used to wet myself on a run after having my kids. And I think Mum Tums can fall into that camp. Sure, we can maybe have a laugh about wanting to hide it or prod it disparagingly when we want to pretend it doesn’t really matter to us that much. After all, we’re told that we should be proud of this new body and that it’s carried and birthed children. However, true as it may be that I would love women to embrace their body as it is right now, it’s also true that we should be able to talk about the fact that we might not love this bit of our body so much anymore. And that some women struggle with this change and despair of the fact they may never feel the same about themselves again.
You see, as far as I’m concerned, the issue of the ‘Mum Tum’ goes way deeper than physical appearance. Sadly it is often seen as a bit of a vanity to worry about your tummy post-birth. There are even some in the medical profession (luckily not all, but definitely some) who see this as a purely cosmetic issue and will routinely dismiss mums who come with concerns. Because it’s just ‘normal’ right?
And the reason I know that the ‘Mum Tum’ really isn’t just skin deep is because the number of women who come to me asking for help. I’m a Women’s Health and Fitness Coach and I specialise in working with women, particularly mums, who have experienced core and pelvic floor dysfunction. Such as diastasis recti (tummy separation). Many of them come initially because they want a flatter tummy and a stronger core. But when I start to dig a little deeper, there’s often a lot more to it than meets the eye. These are often women who have actually disconnected with that whole area of their body, whether they’ve had a natural birth or a c-section. They may be leaking urine, they may have back pain, knee pain and hip pain, they may feel weak, they’re worried to exercise for fear of the harm it might do. And sometimes they admit to not being able to look at, touch or even feel that area of their body anymore.
Whichever end of the spectrum you are with that, the fact is that your ‘mum tum’ could be causing you issues that you didn’t even realise were related.
When Mums come to me it’s my job to get them feeling strong, capable and confident in their bodies again. And when a woman has dissociated herself from her tummy or simply ‘hates’ that bit of her body my number one priority is to help her establish a connection again. Because once we can feel more connected, once we stop leaking, once we reduce our pain and start to make friends with our lovely tummies again then we can start to grow in confidence.
Does it mean that you’ll get a flat tummy thrown in too? Not necessarily. And it’s also my job to help women come to terms with that and grow their confidence in how they feel and how strong they are. However, for anyone of you who thinks there’s nothing you can do, I want you to know 2 things:
- You are not alone
- There is help out there!
There is a network of amazing coaches and physios out there who specialise in healing tummies. I’m a Holistic Core Restore® Coach, one of many across the country and you can find one local to you at www.holisticcorerestore.com. You can also look up a Women’s Health Physio offering the Mummy MOT at www.mummymot.com.
I personally work with a couple of local physios to ensure that the women coming to us get the care and support that they need. There’s a team out there that has your back!
There is lots of information available on my website www.chickfit.co.uk and If you have any questions at all and need to know where best to go just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on social media @alixchickfit.