While I do not have a direct line to the spirit world as some people on the planet do, I have it on pretty good authority that one of my big life lessons has to do with trusting my intuition and allowing myself to be guided by my own inner voice. My pregnancy offered me a wealth of opportunities to practice that very important life skill and now that I’m 15+ months into motherhood, I am miles ahead of where I was two years ago.
Yesterday I was on my chiropractor’s table with yet another spasm of my diaphragm and a seriously hard wad of visceral fascia causing me much consternation. As I’ve finally begun to realize that this is much more commonplace since giving birth I mentioned it to her and she confirmed that indeed what I’m experiencing falls within the range of “reasonable to expect” postpartum experiences.
As I’ve already pointed out, I think that it is essential that every woman be given support in recovering from the demands of childbearing. And I’ve already shared my deep appreciation for visceral manipulation and its miraculous healing powers. But now it seems that a little more specific information is needed.
Since my baby was born, I’ve been slowly and carefully reconstituting my core. While I have all my functions back, my tummy doesn’t look the same. It seems that my abdominal muscles are not laying as flat as they used to and that the cause is the slow and steady knitting together of the two sides of my rectus abdominis muscle is not yet complete. So there’s that. But I can’t help but think that there is more going on in my gut as well. Because I have often experienced very hard and painful clumps of something in what is usually the softness of my relaxed belly. Before my pregnancy I experienced something similar and it was a very tight psoas muscle. But now the source of the tension is the visceral fascia. I have been receiving care for my core consistently throughout my pregnancy and postpartum but I still have a ways to go before all is normal. While I understand that everyone’s experience is unique, I can’t help but think that there are a lot of people who could use some deep abdominal support postpartum who do not have the awareness or opportunity to do so. Because I’ve seen plenty of mama bellies to know that there is a difference between the pre-baby and post-baby mama belly. It is my sincere hope that more people learn about what can be done to truly support new moms.
Simply put, since I am not an expert by any means, the contents of our abdominal cavity can undergo a serious shift or series of shifts in the course of childbearing. Those shifts can contribute to inflammation and inhibition of normal function. If there is inflammation, the belly will be bloated and the common situation of the still separated rectus abdominis muscle will be amplified by the underlying layers of viscera. And there is more, much much more to the story than that with enough variations to cover every person on the planet. But again, I am not an expert. Suffice it to say that with proper support and care, mamas have a very good chance of their bodies recovering completely from childbearing. A much better chance with knowledgeable support and care than without, I might add.
Another common experience for me is the manifestation of stress or worry in my gut. Which, given my current level of inflammation, is more noticeable than usual. So it seems that in a very real way these days, my gut is guiding me toward the quiet and calm place of home. The journey is slow but the destination certainly worth the effort.