If you are a mama or plan to be a mama this episode is for you. But hey! Wait up! Also if you have a practice where you might come across working with a pregnant or postpartum woman, or if you are interested in a thoughtful discussion about how to address issues holistically rather than via the Band-Aid approach (through the lens of common postpartum issues like diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction)- you've come to the right place. You can listen to episode 2 where I interview Wendy Powell of MuTu System below or...
And I would of course be super grateful if you subscribed or left a review while you're there- thanks!
Wendy talks about her early days working as a personal trainer with hundreds of postpartum women and always hearing the same questions come up. There didn't seem to be any answers out there in the traditional personal trainer education and also in general for these women. So her work began with wanting to find answers to these things for these women.
How she was initially guilty of being "one of those" trainers who- pre-children- felt that if you just do the right work then it will all go fine.
Her "eventful" births with her two children (there is an air lift via medical helicopter, just a heads up...) and how she realized that doing all the right work and being prepared sometimes isn't everything!
Dealing with her own feelings of it not being fair that she did everything right and yet Mother Nature throws at us whatever she throws at us. Then getting to thinking, "However that baby comes out- we did great. "
Defining diastisis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction. Wendy also points out that they are often defined in isolation and they shouldn't be.
What taking a holistic alignment-based approach looks like vs. a work harder/ suffer through it approach.
So often moms jump ahead without building the foundations of a core that basically works because of huge cultural and media pressure to get back in shape as soon as possible. And they then also don't see the reward for all their efforts- the parts they are wanting to change are not changing.
Reconnecting the mind to muscle is the first step.
Often an emotional cutoff is often why our brain isn't talking to the muscles.
There is no worse time in your life than when you are a new mom to grind ourselves down to the nub and burn ourselves out. Yet we wind up doing battle with ourselves, "Damn you body! You leak when I run but I'm going to do it anyway!"
Diastasis programs that utilize splinting or binding: if you take a tube of toothpaste with the lid on and squeeze it hard in the middle you haven't really taken anything away, you just shifted the pressure and organs, etc and shunted it up and down. And if the lid to that toothpaste isn't on tight, then something is going to go and then that's when we wind up with prolapse or hernia issues.
Using a splinting method tends to have the effect of making that woman feel that the binder is doing the job, so instead of doing the reconnecting work there's this feeling of support that comes from something external. It's an Elastoplast (Love those Brit terms- Band-Aid for the Americans...) solution, not a holistic solution.
It also causes us to feel like diastisis recti is the problem and if you put back these two bits of muscle that you're done. But they aren't the problem, they are a symptom of a core that doesn't function well.
Walking more, sitting less, getting out of heels, un-tucking the pelvis- all of these things put us back into a position that allows for a healthy core and pelvic floor. It decreases the pressure that we're applying.
Walking often gets ignored because it's not sexy or new. Walking is the non-negotiable thing in MuTu Systems. From a physiological point of view is that unless we're regularly out walking the practice of alignment doesn't happen.
Also just getting outside and breathing real air is so good for our minds at a really stressful time as well.
My own story of making the robotic decision many years ago to walk on a treadmill in a gym when I gained some weight (instead of out in the California sunshine- yikes!).
Wendy has recently taken up rowing and she loves it but is coming to terms with how to do it without it going against everything she knows. It's been interesting to apply what she knows about alignment to herself and the other women in her rowing crew.
Find something you love- and then the getting fit part is the result, rather than the whole point. Find what you like that moves your body and find a way to make it work well for your body. It's about taking responsibility for your own body.
How much walking do you actually do? Do you do whole body walking or are your hands in your pockets or on your phone or carrying other things? See if you can walk, full body, unburdened, more frequently this week and see what you notice.