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My Diastasis Recti, The Healing Process and How To Get The Life & Love You Want

By: Aesha Adams Roberts

"How can I help you," she muttered, barely looking up from her paperwork.

"I have an appointment with a physical therapist. I'm here because of a diastsis recti."

"You have an abdominal injury?"

She looked up at me, her pen suspended in mid-air over the intake form.

"Yes. I was pregnant. " 

I finally got her to laugh.   

This conversation with a receptionist at a physical therapist's office happened almost a year ago. Referred to the office by my doctor, I was hoping to get some answers as to why I was having recurring pain in my abdomen, lower back & hip area.  After a lot of poking, prodding and a consultation with another doctor, an ultrasound confirmed I had a diastsis recti & umbilical hernia, both caused by my most recent pregnancy.

A diastasis recti is a split in the rectus abdomnis muscles, the ones that form the coveted "six-pack." Although it's caused by pregnancy (our amazing bodies stretch to accommodate a growing baby), men, children & women who have never been pregnant can have a diastasis too! The doctor said a Tummy Tuck or Physical Therapy was all he could offer me. 

Stay with me. This isn't a post about pregnancy or stubborn baby fat, I promise. 

I discovered later through diastasis experts I found researching online, that surgery wasn't my only option and the exercises my PT walked me through could actually make it worse. In fact, crunches, situps & planks, will make it worse! Special exercises could close my diastasis. I had proof because they were working!  

Then, I quit. I got tired of wearing a splint 24/7. Besides, I was feeling better and ready to get my body back!

Fast forward to 2013. Despite warnings from the experts, I began a rigorous workout program I dropped a full dress size in 30 days! One day during my program, I lifted my leg to give it a kick. Something didn't feel right. I was in so much pain, I decided to go to a Chiropractor and he confirmed that I'd aggravated the issues related to diastasis recti. Because I wanted results, I'd skipped the healing process; I was worse off now than when I first learned of my diastasis!

See, I told you this isn't a post about weight loss or pregnancy or a diastasis recti. It's really about the healing process we all need to go through to get the life and love we want.  

Let me explain.

I was comparing my postpartum body to other women who only took 6 months, at most 1 year to lose the baby weight. I "was" that woman with my first pregnancy!  However, it's taking me much longer to recover this time.  

How many times do we compare ourselves to others?  Here's the deal. The Bible says when we compare ourselves to others it only proves one thing: we are unwise! No one else has your body, your family, your money or your LIFE, so comparing yourself to them is a waste of time

Secondly, I fell into the trap of perfectionism. Holley Gerth, bestselling author of You're Already Amazing, puts it this way:  

“Perfectionism is all or nothing.  Growth is little by little by little.  Perfectionism is all about the goal. Growth is more about the journey.  Perfectionism is about outward appearances.  Growth is about what happens on the inside.  Perfectionism is about what we do.  Growth is about who we’re becoming.”

I had an "all or nothing" approach to losing the baby weight. To heal and get my body back, I need to make my goal a lifestyle!  If you're trying to find your perfect match, get through a bad breakup or heal your marriage, it's going to take an inside-out approach, and that takes time. 

Finally, I didn't want to go through the process. I wanted a quick fix. I prayed for God to miraculously heal me . . . and He can! But He spoke to me while I was still pregnant with my little man and said, "It's time to change your lifestyle." My healing process includes partnering with God and creating an entirely NEW life!

Question: Are you trying to skip steps & avoid a healing process? I'm reminded of a young woman I recently coached whose longterm boyfriend unexpectedly broke up with her. "I just want to get over it," she sobbed. Let me tell you what I told her: I know you want to just get over it and for everything to get better NOW, but there's a healing process that's vital to your getting & keeping the life & love you're looking for. Don't skip steps, even if they're painful. 

My friends, God has you on a journey, a journey that will unfold in a way that looks differently than others. Don't compare yourself, get rid of perfectionism, and go through the process. There's something good for you on the other side. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's article. Please share them in a comment below!