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To All the Flipping Mothers Sitting on the Sidelines

I was sitting there in a crowd of other mothers, watching our kids through a thick glass window as they practiced their gymnastics, flipping and tumbling around. Then, as is so classic of me – since I can’t have normal conversations with anyone because they ask me what I do, and then we proceed to talk about the core and pelvic floor – I ended up asking a woman if she’d ever dealt with prolapse or leaking long before we even swapped names.

Ask me out to coffee sometime.

By the time we’re done, we’ll have the whole place to ourselves.

“Is that one yours?” She asked me and pointed to an adorable little toddler who had just tumbled off the low balance beam.

“No, I wish mine were still that small!” I pointed through the window at my huge-by-comparison 8 year old son who was showing off and NOT at all doing what his teacher was demonstrating. Then she pointed out her girl practicing her supported back flips on the other side with a different group, and we proceeded to make small talk about all the normal things

“I just hope my children have the confidence to return to one of these things they’ve practiced so hard as kids. Like this colleague of mine…You have to see this.” I said it as I pulled up Jessie Mundell doing this awesome move on instagram.

“She just had a baby a year or so ago, and look at her! She rehabbed her core and made sure things were right, and just look at that!” We both watched it together. “I hope some of these abilities stick with my kids like this.”

“Me too,” she said wistfully. Then this mama said something that broke my heart.

Moms who can’t get back to doing what they love because their dysfunctional core has stood in their way always get to me, because it’s so needless and treatable!

She said she did gymnastics and all the flipping, kipping and dismounts for 35 years, but she’d had her little girl, and her hips just never went back right. She didn’t even know me, and there she sat telling me of doctor’s visits and failed physical therapy appointments that gave her moves like planks and crunches that only made her hurt more.

She had been a competitive runner, too. She had even raced while she was pregnant and soon after she had her baby. All sorts of alarm bells were going off in my head.

“Okay, I want to ask something – mom to mom – and you should know that pre and postnatal fitness is sortof my thing, and it’s kind of bold of me, and you’ll prolly never talk to me again, but I might be able to help…” I trailed off and waited for her to wave me off.

“It’s okay. Go ahead. I’ve probably heard it all, and if I haven’t, I want to know!”

“Okay then! Did you have any trouble with leaking or prolapse during that time?”

She didn’t even bat an eyelash before saying she hadn’t {which surprised me, but not every woman struggles with that as a symptom of an unstable core} but then she said she’d had other “stuff.”

She hooked the first two fingers of both hands into air quotes like we do when we don’t want to tell total strangers the worst parts of our journey, but we’re fairly certain the stranger will still get what we’re saying because she’s a fellow mom.

“I even met with an orthopedic surgeon, and he laughed at me and told me I’d have to live it, and I’ll never run again.” Her eyes were full. “I guess it’s just part of growing older and aging.”

Her eyes were full, yeah, but I was nearly seeing red.

I’d like to meet that surgeon and give him a piece of my mind!

Quality surgeons will refer to physical therapy before condemning a woman to “living with it.”

To all the flipping mothers sitting on the sideline...“Did your physical therapists ever check you for diastasis?” I asked her, already guessing the answer.

“What’s that?” She asked me. If only it weren’t so flippin’ hard to find PTs that know about this.

“When your abs thin out and shift apart,” I said, taking a deep breath and giving her a little more of the most basic definition.

“I’m not sure. I don’t remember. Shouldn’t that be something that gynecologists should check us for? Or our OB’s after we have our babies?”

“Sadly, No. I wish they would screen for it. It’s a speciality topic that really shouldn’t be so special. It sticks around after pregnancy in about 6-7 out of every 10 women.”

And friends? That’s when told her about The Tummy Team clinic which is local to us and how they specialize in mom-stuff, particularly diastasis, pelvic injuries, and core stability.

Understandably, she was reluctant to take in and write down one more source of possible hope, but she kept talking. She asked me more questions.

I did my best to keep it light. I even joked at one point that if I see her next week, I promise not to stalk her and ask if she called The Tummy Team. She laughed and finally pulled them up on her phone. She said she’d think about calling.

I said I send all my clients there. She finally asked me what I really do. I said, “Oh, I’m just a really passionate core fitness specialist who wants all the mamas to be able to get back to doing what they love.”

She said she’d like that. And then we finally introduced ourselves, shaking hands over our children’s bouncing heads as they tumbled out of class. We promised to chat next week, and I hope we do.

Blessings, Beth

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