Dear Doctor who doesn’t understand my diastasis or how it has hurt me, my body, my life, my ability to mother, my ability to make love, my ability to laugh without wetting myself,
I’m angry at you. You should have known about this common abdominal injury, and you should not have told me to just live with it, to just accept it. You should have offered me a splint when I first had my baby, and you should not have offered me a surgery that I can’t afford and that will take me weeks to heal from when I’m still trying to heal from my birth. Maybe you think it’s okay because you’re not the only doctor stealing the hope of recovery from millions of women. I know I’m not alone because these are some letters I’ve received from other moms…
“I did see a surgeon and discovered I have a hernia from my pregnancy with my triplets. Surgeon wanted to check my diastasis. He infuriated me by checking it improperly – basically wanting me to do some planks. Then he told me to give up on feeling good or beautiful – that it couldn’t be achieved after how massive I was carrying the trips and now with all my medical problems and caring for my kids. when I challenged the doctor on his diastasis checking technique, I told him I had been heavily researching this since my original 6 finger separation 18months ago, and he said he’d been a doctor for 20yrs, not to be compared with my 18months.” -Rebecca, mother of four
Just last night I was talking to my cousin-in-law, and she said her doctor told her to stick a tampon in her vagina to stop her incontinence. I guess that doctor forgot his anatomy for a minute? I also guess that doctor didn’t know how strengthening her transverse abdominus would likely eliminate all the leaking and hip pain and lower back pain she’s now having in her third pregnancy… So that’s three of us, but wait there’s more…
“None of my docs or midwives knew about diastasis when I had my kids. I heard about it somewhere and informed one that I had it from my first pregnancy and was told otherwise. I have been seeing a DO as my primary care physician for almost a year now and loved him, until this last visit when he was really rushed… I’ll get to the point… I told him about the diastasis, he ‘checked’ me while standing up and said I don’t have one, I just need to work on my core strength to help with back pain. Told me crunches and situps are still great. THEN, I made a new mommy friend in September from my daughter’s preschool. This mom is a board certified trauma surgeon, though not practicing now because she stays home with her son. So, she knows the ins and outs of abdominal anatomy and all of the muscles, etc. because that was where a LOT of her surgeries took place. So after hanging out a few times I asked her, as a doctor, surgeon and also a mom… she basically said the diastasis is just something you have, you can’t “heal” it because it’s just connective tissue and once separated it doesn’t come back together… so I asked about the musculature bit and if doing the TVA exercises would help, and she said “sure, do them” but also to do crunches, sit-ups, etc.” – Amy, mother of two
Dearest doctor and lady surgeon, I’ve done the situps and crunches, and they MADE MY BELLY worse! After trying all that for YEARS after having my babes and realizing my belly still looked pregnant, I did my own research and learned that those moves bulge the damaged connective tissue/fascia of the abs and stretches it further apart… basic kinesiology, anatomy and physics here, folks. My belly got smaller and HEALED when I stopped doing crunches and situps and switched to “tummy safe” moves.
Moms all over the world are learning that they’ve been lied to, sold out to expensive surgeries they didn’t need, and they want to know why. Why don’t you know about this? Why weren’t you taught about this? Why are you telling moms to just accept all these medical issues that are life-altering? I mean, have you ever had to tell your child you can’t carry them for fear of soiling yourself? Why have you abandoned us? And why do you get angry at us and pull rank on us when we try to tell you that we’re broken and hurting? Why does it threaten you when we go looking for answers after you won’t give us any direction but another bill for services? Why don’t you just listen and realize that something is seriously wrong with post-partum care which is why your mamas have so much trouble with getting their bodies back? Why have you condemned us to this?
Please help us. Please think about where the transverse abdominus starts and stops and how it flexes and what it puts pressure on when it’s deflated and what it might mean to an ailing mother to strengthen that muscle. And think about the pelvic floor muscles and how they tie into the TvA muscle to coactivate each other, and ponder whether kegels truly build strength or just tightness and shortness in area meant to be supple and strong…. There’s so much I’m learning. I’m sure you know more than me. But you’re not me, and you didn’t help me. I helped me by turning to those who know how to truly heal this brokenness. And now I’m trying to help other women. Will you please just read my blog and listen with your heart… Please?