Returning to Running After a Baby

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Today my third and final baby is five months and I decided to celebrate by going out on my first long run since before he was conceived. It was 6 miles and it took me an hour and five minutes to complete, so no need to contact the good people at Guinness just yet. It was tough and I walked a bit, but I’m mega pleased with myself. My mind is clear after having had a chance to have some uninterrupted thoughts and I feel lighter for having done something without the baby.

At this point in my recovery it’s all about function; did my core feel like it was struggling to hold my insides in? No. Did my pelvic floor feel like it was impersonating a mini trampoline? No. Did I feel any pressure pushing down? No. Did I wet myself? No (isn’t motherhood majestic?) This to me is a big post natal win, but it hasn’t come naturally and I’ve had to focus on gentle, targeted, paced out exercise and movement to get me to this point.

IMG_7058.JPGLet’s rewind.

In 2010 when I was around 5 months pregnant with my first baby I noticed my abdomen doming whenever I sat up, forming a central ridge. At first I dismissed it and put it down to strong core muscles reshaping due to my expanding bump and relatively low body fat.

Lots of research and three babies later I now know that this was the early stages of Diastatis Recti (split abs).

Post birth the doming continued, my core was incredibly weak and my back ached. When I lied on my back and felt my stomach there was a four finger gap between my abdominal muscles that run down the full length. Where there had previously been counter pressure of muscle tone when I pushed down, my fingers now disappeared deep down into abdominal cavity, particularly around my belly button. It was scary but my GP shrugged it off as having had a baby.

The separation of the abdominal muscles also meant that one year postpartum, and despite having lost a significant amount of baby weight, I still had a tummy pooch that was affecting my self esteem and the type of clothing I could confidently wear.

I researched and found an online exercise programme specifically designed for women suffering with postpartum issues like Diastatis Recti and the related pelvic organ prolapse (POP) called MuTu designed by Wendy Powell. Let’s just say that the things I learnt about my post baby body, the reasons for my conditions and how to safely repair them, have transformed my healing process after my second and third baby. Taking things slowly, working on strengthening my core, adjusting my alignment, have got me to the place where I can run 6 miles after delivering an 8.5lb baby only 5 months ago. Whilst others may be looking to have bikini bodies by this point, I’m feeling pretty darn grateful and chuffed to bits with my progress.

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Goodbye, Farewell, Adios Maternity Clothes

Goodbye , farewell, adios dear maternity clothes.

IMG_5669We had a lovely time together throughout my three pregnancies, mainly spent eating and reading online articles about the importance of staying active whilst dossing on the sofa, but a lovely time none the less.

Despite my attempts and financial sacrifices to look fashionable during pregnancy, like the Pinterest boards promised me I could, I always ended up looking, erm, heavily pregnant. Funny enough no brand of maternity clothes ever made me look like the size 6 non pregnant models with their tiny fake bumps.

I remember lovingly boxing you up after my second pregnancy and putting a hilarious note inside that started along the lines of ‘oh no you didn’t’! Turns out it wasn’t hilarious. A sickly green and exhausted version of myself eye rolled so hard I saw the back of my own skull, ‘this is proof that you were clearly planning for this to happen you giddy idiot’!

Much like myself you stretched well beyond what was intended (one pair of Gap jeans actually ripped open exposing my ever expanding arse) and gathered multiple stains as I sat balancing my plate on my bump to eat ‘hangry’ style in front of the TV.

You served me well but it’s now time to say goodbye for good.

So there you are, the ones that survived the ripping and staining, bagged up in a black sack, like the body from Shallow Grave, purchased on Ebay and awaiting collection. Before you go, I sigh, reflecting that I will never again search the maternity sections or wear empire line, drop waist, trapeze style shapeless sacks that cost the same, sometimes more than actually nice clothes. I pick up my phone and eagerly start putting shit into baskets.