Her Doctor Said This About Her Belly, and I’m Furious!

Dear Doctor who doesn’t understand diastasis or how it has impacted me and my friends, my cllients, our bodies, our lives, our ability to mother, our comfort in the bedroom, even the way we laughed for a while… I hope you read this!

Dear Doctor who doesn't understand "diastasis recti," please learn how to check me correctly and please stop telling me I need you to cut me open more!

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

Old picture of me on the right with a 3.5 finger deep diastasis. My belly stuck out all the time after I had my second child because I had a diastasis recti that neither my OB nor my degree in exercise taught me a thing about... wait, there was one page in one textbook about DR and it said to do things that I now KNOW make it worse.
Old picture of me on the right with a 3.5 finger deep diastasis. My belly stuck out all the time after I had my second child because I had a diastasis recti that neither my OB nor my degree in exercise taught me a thing about… wait, there was one page in one textbook about DR and it said to do things that I now KNOW make it worse.

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 inner core with the right exercises 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.

It’s not really about a flat or perfect belly though, is it? It’s about restoring function and alignment and energy, and the process of making that happen often tends to tone up the belly quite a bit. It’s also about how 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?

Turn back the clock on your tummy by turning on your transverse abs. Fit2B.com

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.

If you’re a woman reading this, and your doctor stole your hope of recovery and restoration by giving you the wrong information, please give your core a second chance. It’s never too late to restore and rebuild your strength and function. Give our workout routines a few weeks of consistency and notice the differences in your posture, energy and motivation to try more!

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13 thoughts on “Her Doctor Said This About Her Belly, and I’m Furious!

  1. Jenny says:

    I must say, my OB confirmed that he is a wonderful Dr. when I told him what I had learned about diastasis recti and how I had greatly reduced mine. He actually listened, believed me, and asked if I could get him more information. He has been telling other doctors and patients about it now and referring them to the Tummy Team! He is a surgeon and said that he would love it if women could find a way of naturally fixing all of these issues, and that he wants to see less women go under the knife! Definitely not the expected response from a Dr! Amazing!

    • bethanylearn says:

      That’s wonderful! You know we could turn this comment thread into a list of doctors who know about it already or who have shown genuine interest in learning about it. So who is your doc, Jenny? If you don’t mind sharing 😉

  2. Steph says:

    Is there hope for me after having an epigastric hernia repair with mesh, and then my fourth pregnancy? I feel like my old hernia is somewhat compromised, and that I maybe now have an umbilical hernia. I feel like nothing is holding my guts in anymore 🙁

    • Beth Learn says:

      Yes, but I would have you head straight to The Tummy Team which offers full abdominal rehab. She works with hundreds of women in your same shoes. She’s a neuromuscular physical therapist who applied her work with stroke victims to healing cores! I link to her all over Fit2B but here’s the straight link > thetummmyteam.com … After you do rehab, she always sends people back to us for fitness that won’t undo that work. She and I are always collaborating.

  3. CherylMostowski says:

    So glad you posted this article, Beth… it unfortunately is so true and I hear the same things every day with my clients! Thanks for keeping up the work of getting the word out – you are doing a great job!!

  4. Saam Adams says:

    I am in tears right now after reading this! After suffering with progressive back/pelvic pain, that I chalked up the cause to sitting for too long over a computer, or maybe the size of the baby temporarily dislocated my pelvis, and after having multiple expensive epidural shots for almost 8 years pp, you have helped me finally connect the dots that my OBGYN and my Osteopathic Doctor never bothered to let me know! I am 100% convinced that, because I knew nothing about Diastasis Recti and therefore, did “0” to fix it, is exactly why I am in constant pain 24/7. Thank you for this site and speaking out on this subject!!!!

  5. Pingback: So You Have Diastasis Recti... Now What? | Fit2B Studio

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