Shawnte' Peterson, LMT
Diastasis recti, a secret struggle
My journey into motherhood is much like many woman, I was with the love of my life and looked forward of the day we could have a family of our own. We are a blended family and I love my husbands children very much but my husband and I spoke about having 1-2 children...this was 14 years ago. I had stopped birth control and had a couple cryosurgery's due to abnormal cells found in a pap smear screening. I was also told I had large fibroids and needed intervention to remove them or I may not be able to have children. I was shocked and scared. I am a rebel of sorts, thinking outside of the box and doing things my way has always been in my character.
So, I sought out alternatives to shrink or detox my fibroids, I was convinced they developed due to years of birth control. Anyway, in 2005-2006 I made many changes to my nutrition, learned about several ways to detox my blood, liver, gut and reproductive system. I was pretty active in a running club and practicing massage in a couple places. I felt pretty healthy overall. I had a consult with an herbalist and took a fibroid tonic and I birthed those fibroids and in April 2006 I got pregnant right away, and those children came really close together I had 3 daughters lovingly born at home between Jan 2007 - Jan 2011. I went from a diagnosis of infertile to let's get fixed so this won't keep happening lol. I was so blessed to have turned my circumstance around.
My abdominal muscles did not have time to heal in between pregnancies therefore I developed a severe weakness in my core due to diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is a partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis muscle often seen in women after pregnancy, however it can happen with excessive abdominal exercise or bodybuilding. Research states that more than 3 million cases of diastasis recti each year, characteristics of the condition include constipation, lower back pain, weakness, bloating and pelvic floor weakness and posture issues.
I have lived with this condition for years, and it altered my lifestyle. I finally sought help with repairing the muscles and I found repairing this condition is not covered my insurance. It's really frustrating that an insurance company dictates what they think is considered medically necessary. My husband was supportive, but frustrated as well. I waited a couple years and revisited this with my PCP. She referred me to a surgeon, I met with a couple surgeons and they basically wanted to turn me into a franchenstine. Meaning the scar would be prominent and large across my abdomen. I had a consult with a plastic surgeon and he was so knowledgeable and kind and wanted me to know he cared about the end result and making my tummy "look pretty". I liked how that sound, in comparison to the other surgeons I met with.
I had the diastasis repair this summer and I am so pleased with my results I wish I had done this a few years ago. In most cases folks have not heard of this condition so I did not talk much about it. There are exercise videos that demonstrate how to properly exercise in an effort to strengthen the muscles to induce a tightening of the muscles back together, without the intra abdominal pressure that could cause a hernia into the weakened connective tissue area. This did not work for me I had pain and spasms that made any core work unbearable...
Although I am still recovering, I am really happy that I had the procedure, I utilized friends and colleagues for lymphatic drainage bodywork. I have been able to discuss this condition with people that had the same or similar condition and it's validating and encouraging to know that women are out here frustrated just like I was and seriously considering a surgical procedure to correct the muscles.
I am an advocate for educating yourself with the best options and decision for you and your family. Speak to your doctor about it and be honest about the pain and discomfort you are experiencing in your core.
I think with so many people diagnosed annually there has to be a way we band together to get the condition recognized as medically necessary for intervention. People like myself won't have to finance, a procedure that has already made a huge difference in my health.
Thank you for reading about my story.
If you know of anyone who has experienced the same or similar, lymphatic Drainage works wonders for clients dealing with inflammation after to procedure.
I look forward to helping with the healing process.
Below is my transformation from large distended belly to to muscles corrected.