Correcting Diastasis Recti with alignment shifts, appropriate stretching + strengthening + through great nutrition is the right way to heal postpartum. But one Mom’s persistent questions + posts to me became increasingly frantic + obsessive. Her frustrations, her tears, her endless + seemingly hopeless search for ever-more information about her body prompted this letter.
This woman has a diastasis recti + suffers related pelvic + abdominal discomforts, caused by intra abdominal pressure – all of which she is searching for solutions by learning about correct alignment + understanding her postpartum body better. So far, so perfectly logical – but for this lady her quest was neither healthy nor productive.
She has spent a lot of money purchasing programs + DVDs, struggling to follow through with any of them, as well as to consult with various ‘experts’… + has become literally obsessed with finding the one solution that will *fix* her. It is all-consuming + it is affecting her relationships as well as her overall happiness. This is unfortunately for some the downside of the infinite source of information that is the internet. It becomes an obsession + you end up actually standing in your own way of healing. I wrote a letter to her in an attempt to help, which I am sharing here in the hope that it will resonate with others who feel the same.
I see your posts here + in other groups – saying how you are ‘always thinking about your DR ‘[diastasis recti] + how it ‘takes over your life”… I see you feel like a failure again + again as yet another ‘solution’ somehow feels overwhelming + out of your reach or understanding. I see you scouring the internet hopelessly for the next solution, the next explanation, the next medical paper that means it will all fall into place for you.
Please, please, try this. Shift your mindset before you try to shift your body. Diastasis recti is merely a symptom, one outer manifestation of pressure + mal-alignment within your body. It’s telling you your body is not quite in the right place or comfortable, which is why it doesn’t look + feel the way you want it to. It is not *the problem*. I know you feel overwhelmed + I know you’re frustrated + searching for answers. You’re trying to change everything + fix everything all at once + you feel everything about your body is ‘wrong’ + broken.
You’re not broken Honey, but you have lost connection with your body – you’re mad with it. This is why you’re not making progress – not because you don’t know enough, not because you haven’t read enough alignment information or consulted enough experts – but because when you try to follow this myriad of instructions + advice in your head –all you see is chaos + confusion + a body that is a failure.
I know you read Katy Bowman’s blog + my blog until your eyes glaze over. You’re a model alignment student… in theory if not in practice! I know you’ve paid to see private practitioners + Physical Therapists… + I’m not surprised you’re tearing your hair out. I really, really feel for you as I see your frustrations pour out in this + other forums.
I’m not going to give you yet another ‘how to stand’ or ‘how to engage your core’ instruction or cue. You have enough. You have too much for now.
Instead I am going to ask you to commit to doing one thing every day, starting today: to take 10 whole, silent minutes. To lie on your back (neutral spine, feet flat, neck unscrunched… you know this part) + to close your eyes + allow your poor confused, blamed body to relax. Breathe slowly + deep (ideally into your rib cage not your belly… but hey, you know what, just lie there + breathe will you?).
Your body is trying really hard to get it right for you. It wants to move naturally + without pain + discomfort. It has a natural default that it wants to get back to. As you lie + breathe, just appreciate it. Focus on every part of your body from the tips of your toes, then the soles of your feet, then your ankles, your calves, your knees…move your focus slowly, mindfully up your entire body + relax every precious part one at a time.
And if any part of your head right now – is skim-reading this, thinking, I don’t need this yogic b******t ! I need to fix my DR!’… Stop. You do need it. This IS the missing link. I know because I have helped hundreds of women through this, more common than I’d like it to be, obstacle. You are not ‘not getting it’ because you don’t know enough. You are ‘not getting it’ because your mind, body + soul are not all on the same page right now. They need to be or you cannot heal.
When you get up (roll to the side first – not straight up!), then pick ONE alignment instruction or cue you have learned from a trusted professional source. I want you to find one single alignment shift that resonates with you – that you can connect with + that makes sense. If it gets you flustered, that’s not the right one. One, simple change that you can do + see happening. The outsides of your feet lined up on straight lines, or your lower ribs down + stacked over your hips. Or your weight through your heels or a barefoot walk propelled from the glutes, or just untuck your butt.
And today, without blame or force or frustration, keep re-aligning that one thing. You’ll have to keep coming back to it. We all do – yes things become more natural + unconscious, but you never completely stop noticing. I’m always ‘shifting’. I’ll find myself standing in line at the supermarket, distracted + impatient – weight all in the balls of my feet + chest out, tense. I do a little check – ‘Back up Wendy. Weight through your heels… Oh that’s nicer. Drop your ribs. Relax your jaw. Smile at the kid in front of you’. Big difference – to the tension in every fascia + muscle in my body, as well as to my racing mind.
This isn’t a chore, or an exercise, it is simply being present in my own body – something that takes practice to get used to + then is just a happier way to just be.
Give your body a chance to get it right – one small shift at a time. Just start over today, + quiet your mind from the overload of information + instruction. No more googling.
You’ve got this – you know the ‘rules’ – so let your brain + heart + body have a little hug + make up + let them find their way.