Wendy Powell

Wendy Powell, Founder of MUTU System: My Birth Story

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Wendy Powell MUTU Founder

Founder of MUTU System, Wendy Powell shares a little of her birth story.

My first. Man, she’s incredible. Man, that hurt.

Wendy Powell My Birth Story

“I believed my body let me down.

I know that women’s bodies are incredible, amazing things. That they are strong, adaptable, powerful and occasionally capable of miracles. But I have ‘wobbled’ on 2 fairly major occasions to maintain that belief, namely my very own birth story.

Don’t worry, it’s not going to be a ‘my gory birth story is worse than yours’ moment. Many women have traumatic or physically damaging birth experiences and just as many have fantastic, unassisted and empowering experiences (I applaud you whilst being just slightly envious).

I needed to re-think the advertising for my pregnancy and postnatal personal training business after I had my first baby in 2005. I had been one of those trainers who with the very best of intentions would assure clients how easy their birth could be if they just followed the correct pregnancy exercise regime. How quickly they would pop out their baby with their finely tuned pelvic floor muscles and how swiftly they would zing back to energetic gorgeousness.

Then I had a go at that Giving Birth thing.

I felt short-changed, bitter and broken. It was so unfair. I’d ‘done everything right’. I had eaten, relaxed and exercised by the book, so how come none of it worked out?

My daughter was a pretty damaging ventouse delivery after 28 hours labour; postpartum haemorrhage; a ‘manual evacuation’ (yuk) and a catalogue of gruesome and crappy moments which I won’t bore you with.

Her brother was born nearly 2 years later, a natural birth with the full support of midwives and doctors who assured me that there was ‘no reason why it would happen again’. His birth was glorious – but then my haemorrhage came again and this time it was vicious. Paramedic helicopter, theatre and a whole series of ‘procedures’. A terrified looking nurse told me the next day how she ‘thought we’d lost you there’.

“Could be anything. You’ve had a LOT of drugs”

At one point I asked, ‘Where did that bruise come from?’ as I groggily noticed yet another angry needle site. She shrugged ‘Could be anything, Love. You’ve had a LOT of drugs’.

When I recovered I was mad. Mad with my body for letting me down. Twice. Bitter because it wasn’t fair. Other women could do it… why couldn’t I? Women who weren’t as fit/ strong/ healthy/ ‘knowledgeable’ as I was. I had wanted ‘that natural birth’ so badly. What was the point of all that preparation and exercise? What did I do wrong?

Back at home my midwife put it in perspective and stopped me feeling quite so sorry for myself. ‘You think most women can still squat after 24 hours labour?’ she asked. She reminded me of my strength and stamina. Of my core and lower body strength and how my nutritional knowledge had enabled me to nourish my body so quickly back to vitality after such massive blood loss.

It helped a little. But the bigger result was it gave me purpose.

Mother Nature and my Midwife taught me that there is an awful lot about labour and birth that really is in the lap of the Gods. We can do some things to help… and by eating for optimum health, exercising to restore, and having confidence and respect for our body, I think we empower it to do (and bounce back from) incredible things.

We play the hand we’re dealt. Our babies are born (thank God… and Doctors and Midwives…). And then we start to heal. It makes me so sad to see women being made to feel they should or could have done it better / more naturally / more beautifully / more anything.

Wendy Powell, birth story: “It’s hard giving birth. We did good, however we did it”

I work with women on re-connecting, emotionally as well as physically, with their bodies. This is so important when they have ‘cut off’ from certain body parts when faced with incontinence, discomfort or stretch marks. Their body’s ability to recover and feel amazing is still there, but it needs help, in the form of very specific exercise and great nutrition, as well as a lot of love and acceptance.

I know so much more now

What I know now, is the academic and technical basis of MUTU System. I will never know if I could have changed what happened. But I do know that what I knew at the time, what we are taught and what we understand and what we learn in the gym or on social media, didn’t serve me. I made MUTU to serve other women, as well as to make peace with my experience. Now I teach, write, speak and coach around the world on the subject. But back then in 2005, what happened, happened.

I did feel that my body had let me down. But then I got over myself and realised that (with just a little medical intervention…) it had actually been amazing. So much had gone right, and of course, the results make me grateful every day.

Giving birth is a very big deal, and I know only too well how many women continue to be affected by their experiences (good and bad) many years later. This post is not supposed to be about who has a ‘perfect birth’ and who doesn’t. Rather a reminder that you are a Warrior, a survivor and a beautiful and powerful human who made a human. And that needs honouring, not shaming.

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31 comments

LeslieSeptember 9, 2015

I love this post. I was extremely healthy through all my pregnancies, exercised, did all the right things, but still ended up with 2 cesareans then on my last a vba2c with Pelvic Organ Prolapse (which I assume was because I ended up pushing on my back coached-necessitated by an unplanned epidural -which at the time I did not know increased the risk). Meanwhile my TWIN SISTER who never exercised her core or pelvic floor or was especially nutritional and smoked had 4 vaginal deliveries including twins and no POP. I also believe I have minor diastasis recti. I want to do something to help (am already doing modified kegals simultaneously activating my core) amd get back in shape (got a flat stomach after both cesareans but this time seems different).


mutufanFebruary 10, 2015

I have had 2 blissful, drug free births, both in water. I tore badly but never had any problems with stitches. My 1st born had a huge head (98 centile) and just after he was born I got a terrible cough and had unbelievable, crippling, worse than childbirth by about a million times constipation. As a result I have a minor prolapse.
Just so you know- even if you get the birth you dream of (I really did, both times) it doesn’t preclude you from problems.
Have just bought your 12 week programme as I have gone as far as I can with regular pf exercises- my physio recommends movement!
Do you envisage any problems with the intensive workouts?
Thanks


mutufanFebruary 10, 2015

I have had 2 blissful, drug free births, both in water. I tore badly but never had any problems with stitches. My 1st born had a huge head (98 centile) and just after he was born I got a terrible cough and had unbelievable, crippling, worse than childbirth by about a million times constipation. As a result I have a minor prolapse.
Just so you know- even if you get the birth you dream of (I really did, both times) it doesn’t preclude you from problems.
Have just bought your 12 week programme as I have gone as far as I can with regular pf exercises- my physio recommends movement!
Do you envisage any problems with the intensive workouts?
Thanks


AnnetteOctober 7, 2014

Love this. It’s a great reminder to be patient with ourselves and know that birth was a big event and takes time to heal. I to had a near-death hemorrage after c-section. Wasn’t pretty and am still recovering almot 2 years later but I know I am good hands with MuTu.

Wendy PowellOctober 8, 2014

Sending you hugs + healing Annette x


AnnetteOctober 7, 2014

Love this. It’s a great reminder to be patient with ourselves and know that birth was a big event and takes time to heal. I to had a near-death hemorrage after c-section. Wasn’t pretty and am still recovering almot 2 years later but I know I am good hands with MuTu.

Wendy PowellOctober 8, 2014

Sending you hugs + healing Annette x


Wendy PowellJune 26, 2013

Thank-you!! Have you joined our private facebook group too? Loads of support from the other Mamas as well as me + my team in there 🙂


a fan in CaliforniaJune 25, 2013

Fantastic. Thanks so much for your quick reply. I’m on phase 2 and will hang out here for at least a few weeks. I’ve noticed more adhesions in my scar tissue since I started, but I’m getting massage therapy to work those out as well.

I previewed phases 3 and 4 and they seem out of reach for me in the near term, but I’m hopeful I’ll get there in the longer term. I used to be really strong and fit — I taught power yoga! — and it is strange to be so weak. Mostly I’m just glad to be alive, as you probably understand better than most.

Unrelated: you rock the haircut you have in the videos. 🙂 Thanks again for the quick response!


A fan in CaliforniaJune 22, 2013

I, too, had a massive hemorrhage right after delivery (via c-section after 37 hours labor, etc). The surgeon that saved my life and my uterus did so by cutting through my fascia and up my rectus to ligate my hypogastric and uterine arteries. I think I would have had a diastasis anyway, but I’m wondering if mine is extra deep. The focus program seems to be narrowing the diastasis, but I don’t know if there are any extra concerns for me? I know you don’t respond to these blog comments as frequently as the Facebook posts, but I’m not on Facebook right now. Am I safe to do the Focus program? I’m 2 weeks in and the diastasis seems to be closing. But I am *so* weak. I’m 4.5 months post partum.

Also, if you had your arteries ligated like I did, I wonder if you did so after your first hemorrhage? There isn’t much data on secondary fertility with ligated arteries, so I’m starting now to look for stories to give me hope for #2 if we’re able.

Thanks!

Wendy PowellJune 23, 2013

Hello, Yes, Focus is safe + restorative for you. You will certainly have severe weakness, scarring + trauma to the area due to your surgery – Focus will ease your body back to where it needs to be. You may have limited sensitivity due to scarring etc so just take it slowly – the reconnection part may take longer for you. Ignore the advised 2 weeks on each Phase – you may very well need longer – take your time. Good luck!


A fan in CaliforniaJune 22, 2013

I, too, had a massive hemorrhage right after delivery (via c-section after 37 hours labor, etc). The surgeon that saved my life and my uterus did so by cutting through my fascia and up my rectus to ligate my hypogastric and uterine arteries. I think I would have had a diastasis anyway, but I’m wondering if mine is extra deep. The focus program seems to be narrowing the diastasis, but I don’t know if there are any extra concerns for me? I know you don’t respond to these blog comments as frequently as the Facebook posts, but I’m not on Facebook right now. Am I safe to do the Focus program? I’m 2 weeks in and the diastasis seems to be closing. But I am *so* weak. I’m 4.5 months post partum.

Also, if you had your arteries ligated like I did, I wonder if you did so after your first hemorrhage? There isn’t much data on secondary fertility with ligated arteries, so I’m starting now to look for stories to give me hope for #2 if we’re able.

Thanks!

Wendy PowellJune 23, 2013

Hello, Yes, Focus is safe + restorative for you. You will certainly have severe weakness, scarring + trauma to the area due to your surgery – Focus will ease your body back to where it needs to be. You may have limited sensitivity due to scarring etc so just take it slowly – the reconnection part may take longer for you. Ignore the advised 2 weeks on each Phase – you may very well need longer – take your time. Good luck!

a fan in CaliforniaJune 24, 2013

Fantastic. Thanks so much for your quick reply. I’m on phase 2 and will hang out here for at least a few weeks. I’ve noticed more adhesions in my scar tissue since I started, but I’m getting massage therapy to work those out as well.

I previewed phases 3 and 4 and they seem out of reach for me in the near term, but I’m hopeful I’ll get there in the longer term. I used to be really strong and fit — I taught power yoga! — and it is strange to be so weak. Mostly I’m just glad to be alive, as you probably understand better than most.

Unrelated: you rock the haircut you have in the videos. 🙂 Thanks again for the quick response!


Wendy PowellJuly 13, 2012

Just re-read this & realised how long ago i wrote it – my babies are 5 & nearly 7 now!!


Wendy PowellJuly 13, 2012

Just re-read this & realised how long ago i wrote it – my babies are 5 & nearly 7 now!!


TamiMay 10, 2012

Same here, every birth was different for me. I have given birth to 4 boys and the last one (easieast right??) the most difficult by far. I will say, my healthy eating and vigorous exercise while pregnant helped my body bounce back amazingly quick!!


TamiMay 10, 2012

Same here, every birth was different for me. I have given birth to 4 boys and the last one (easieast right??) the most difficult by far. I will say, my healthy eating and vigorous exercise while pregnant helped my body bounce back amazingly quick!!


love sevenOctober 21, 2011

Well, I’ve been pregnant 6 times ( and been blessed with 7 boys) and EVERY birth was different.  I exercised and ate well most of the time.  It’s really God’s way of saying you are mere man and I am in control of this as well.

Wendy PowellOctober 21, 2011

I totally agree! I like to think of the childbirth ‘thing’ as when Mother Nature gets to really show us who’s in charge!! And wow… 7?! I’m impressed, Lady!


love sevenOctober 21, 2011

Well, I’ve been pregnant 6 times ( and been blessed with 7 boys) and EVERY birth was different.  I exercised and ate well most of the time.  It’s really God’s way of saying you are mere man and I am in control of this as well.

Wendy PowellOctober 21, 2011

I totally agree! I like to think of the childbirth ‘thing’ as when Mother Nature gets to really show us who’s in charge!! And wow… 7?! I’m impressed, Lady!


Mummy LionJune 4, 2011

i was the same as you – i exercised, did yoga, ate *almost* all the right things and STILL he took 6.5 days to come out and had to have some assistance.  Afterwards i was like ‘bah! if there’s a next time i’m being lazy & eating chips’, but looking back on it, i did recover very quickly so your post has actually made me realise that all that trudging through muddy fields with the dog maybe wasn’t quite such a waste of time.

mind you, i’ve got a mate who i doubt she eats that well, doesnt exercise and and smoked through her pregnancy & her babies popped out in under two hours each.

the internal debate continues…..:)

Wendy PowellJune 6, 2011

It is unfair isn’t it?! But I really do believe that everything we do to look after our body & to make it healthy & strong, does make a difference. Pregnancy & childbirth is indeed very natural & happens every day, but sometimes it can be dangerous & scary too – and there’s only so much control we have over that. Maybe its Mother Nature’s way of putting us in our place sometimes! If there’s a next time for you Catherine (not for me – I’m done after 2 thanks 😉 then I hope you staty healthy & strong & have a better experience!


Mummy LionJune 4, 2011

i was the same as you – i exercised, did yoga, ate *almost* all the right things and STILL he took 6.5 days to come out and had to have some assistance.  Afterwards i was like ‘bah! if there’s a next time i’m being lazy & eating chips’, but looking back on it, i did recover very quickly so your post has actually made me realise that all that trudging through muddy fields with the dog maybe wasn’t quite such a waste of time.

mind you, i’ve got a mate who i doubt she eats that well, doesnt exercise and and smoked through her pregnancy & her babies popped out in under two hours each.

the internal debate continues…..:)

Wendy PowellJune 6, 2011

It is unfair isn’t it?! But I really do believe that everything we do to look after our body & to make it healthy & strong, does make a difference. Pregnancy & childbirth is indeed very natural & happens every day, but sometimes it can be dangerous & scary too – and there’s only so much control we have over that. Maybe its Mother Nature’s way of putting us in our place sometimes! If there’s a next time for you Catherine (not for me – I’m done after 2 thanks 😉 then I hope you staty healthy & strong & have a better experience!


Wendy PowellMarch 19, 2010

Thanks Bumbling, I try to keep it in balance – I’m not nutritionally perfect by ANY stretch, if I want wine, or cake, I have it. I just run further or faster the next day if I want my flat tummy back!

And thank-you Josie – I’m definitely no hero, but it’s lovely to hear you say, ‘you know what, I think we did OK’. We did good Girl… look what we made 🙂


wendyMarch 18, 2010

Hi Helen, it is indeed. Thanks for reading!

Josie @Sleep is for the WeakMarch 19, 2010

You sound like an absolute hero to me. Labour is so physically gruelling and you sound like you endured it fantastically. I have a lot of sympathy as although I was lucky enough to have a good delivery, I did haemorrhage badly afterwards (although not as badly as you – bloody hell!). It’s something I still struggle to think about as it was very, very scary and it’s hard not to wonder why my body did it. But I healed, I have a beautiful healthy boy, so I reckon my body did ok 🙂

Thanks for joining in the workshop!


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