3 Days of Giveaways! (Day Three: Fit2B Studios, and the one where I post a photo of my postpartum belly on the internet)

It’s been over five years since I got pregnant with my first. I’ve birthed three babies now and I have the mom-bod to prove it, and that, my friends, is precisely where this post comes in…

I have spent many a rushed ten minutes before leaving the house, frantically trying on eight different outfits before finding one that actually fits and doesn’t make me look 6 months pregnant. I do, you know. Look six months pregnant, that is. Oh yes, I do. You don’t believe me, do you? That’s because I am the suck-it-in expert. It’s true, and it’s exhausting. Allow me to (gulp) prove it to you. Introducing my 7-months-postpartum-for-the-third-time body:

That is my belly at exactly 7 months postpartum after my third child. Standing straight with muscles relaxed, not sucking it in at all. 38 squishy inches around my navel.

Until a few months ago, I believed that this was a relatively normal thing. The postpartum poochy belly that you’ve gotta tuck into your pants. The belly that still looks pregnant. Ugh. It’s embarrassing and shameful, and I am tired of the struggle to love myself and feel sexy and beautiful while also waiting for someone to mistakenly congratulate me on being preggers again.

Don’t get me wrong, I am profoundly grateful to my body. This body has brought forth three brand new sparkling humans with all of the grit and glorious transcendence of birthing and groaning. A body that bears witness to the spiritual event of creation and has been sagged and stretched and marked with silver lines. That is no small thing you know.

All three of them grew in my belly. No wonder it’s a bit worn out.

At the same time I know that I need to be fair to this body of mine. I want to be proud of my marks and lines that give whisper to my role in the co-creation of life, but I also want a flatter tummy and a little less jiggle in my behind. Are you pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down, my friends? I want both, and for the first time ever, I think I can actually have it.

A few months ago I learned about something called diastasis recti: an abdominal injury that causes several symptoms including a poochy belly that won’t go away, lower back pain, and slight urinary incontinence (we all know the pee-a-little-when-you-laugh-or-sneeze jokes among women who have given birth!). This is an actual injury where your abdominal muscles are separated and do not come back together on their own, and it can lead to much more serious health complications including bowel displacement, herniation, and prolapse. Bethany at Fit2B Studio has a video to show you how to check your belly for a diastasis. I checked mine a couple of months ago and found a separation of 3 finger-widths!

photo source

My first two births were attended by doctors, and my third was by a midwife. My doctors didn’t mention a single thing about this issue, my midwife at least checked my abs at my 6-week-postpartum appointment, but it wasn’t until a friend happened to mention diastastis that I googled it and gulped down the information like a thirsty person in the desert. My still-pregnant-looking belly is a medical condition? One that’s not my fault? One that can be healed?! My jaw hung open as I drank in the information I read at Fit2B.

What a lot of people don’t understand about this injury is that the traditional advice to do crunches actually makes things worse! Bethany explains it all on her site. Thankfully there is a way to heal from this injury. There are specific, gentle exercises that you can do to heal a diastastis recti, and I am embarking on a healing journey for myself, beginning today.

I am going to be blogging about my journey over the next few months as I do the exercises and try to heal and flatten my tummy. We’ll find out together if it really is possible!

I’m calling it The Postpartum Body Project, and this is Week One.

(Also, Bethany doesn’t list “de-jigglify your bum” on her list of benefits of using her exercises, but I’m definitely hoping it’ll be a bonus byproduct…)

This is my mission. To love myself, first, no holds barred, no jiggle left behind. Then, to do all that I can to heal my diastasis recti and get in shape (a shape other than round).

I’m going to love myself either way, that’s the non-negotiable here.

I’m inviting you along for the ride, as I blog my way through it. I have no idea what will happen. Maybe my belly will stay just as pregnant-looking as it does now. Maybe I’ll never shed my mom-butt. Maybe I’ll get a hot bod back just in time for beach weather. Maybe.

Either way it’ll be quite the adventure.

Do you think you may have a diastasis? Or are you just interested in gentle exercise that gets you in shape while also being kind to your body? Fit2B offers monthly memberships. It’s completely online so it’s accessible to anyone, anywhere with an internet connection! It’s just $9.99/month or $99/annually but for today’s giveaway you can win a 3-month membership FREE.

Enter using the form below!

I hope you’ll join me on this journey over the next few months as I blog my way through it! For more encouragement and information on healing diastasis, check out two of my blogging mama friends who are also embarking on this journey of diastasis healing. Emily at Live Renewed started hers a few weeks ago, and Erin at The Humbled Homemaker is starting hers today as well.

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I'm Beth. I created Red & Honey because I'm obsessed with the wild art of wellness.

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  1. Melissa says

    My “baby” is almost 7 now, and I still haven’t managed to totally close up my DR. I started at about 2.5″ and am now down to just 0.5″…not sure if I can ever completely close it or if this is as good as it gets!

  2. Lynn says

    I heard about DR a few months ago at my 6-week postpartum check with my midwife after my second baby’s birth. I have been working with a physical therapist to close the gap and strengthen my core. In some ways I am actually grateful for this injury, because in the process I have learned SO MUCH about alignment and pelvic health and how my body works together. I so wish I knew this information before/during/after my first pregnancy. I’m excited to follow this series as well!

  3. says

    I have know about DR for about 16 years, haivng gotten one with the birth of our oldest child. Fit2b is such an amazing resource! I am grateful that more info is getting out about this issue.

  4. Katrina says

    I’m a 47 yr old mom of 2, 19 & 22. I always wondered about my belly, but never knew it to have a reason besides FAT… Thank you for the information. I will stat this journey also!!

  5. Rachel says

    I first learned about it 2 years ago right before our second baby was born. A friend was dealing with it. Baby #3 is due in a few weeks so I’m excited to put a lot of these things into practice! :)

  6. summer says

    i just gave birth to baby number 2 and will def be working on this problem. I had seperation with myfirst but got pregnant pretty quickly. hopefully i can salvage my stomach this time around.

  7. Vanessa Fritzsche says

    Wow…this sounds like me, only I’m seven years postpartum! Still struggling to find a way to make my lower back feel better and my belly look flat. I just figured I was stuck this way! Love the info!

  8. Angeline says

    I had my diastasis repaired 9 years, one c/s and a VBA3C ago! I am an RN, LLL-L, and IBCLC now and I tell anyone I can about the condition. I am sick and tired of women beating themselves up about something the medical community is keeping secret. Thank you for helping to get the word out!

    • says

      Amen!!!! To me it seems odd that this condition is heralded as “normal” but yet surgeons will happily “fix it” to the tune of thousands!!! Conspiracy theory or truth? I’m not sure, but I’m trying to get as much info out as possible, and I’d love to connect with you in real time, Angeline!

  9. Kelly says

    Just found out about this today and it really explains some of my symptoms that my mom said I would just get use to. Not anymore Mom ! If this works we’ll both be happy.

  10. Ceara says

    Thank you for this information! I had no idea- my midwife checked me at my 6 week post-partum visit but I have a gap now. The first workout was awesome too! I’ll have to find a way to budget it in :)

  11. Joanne says

    I have 5 kids and was never told about this. I will definately have to change what I am doing to get rid of my floppy tummy issue.

  12. Kate says

    I love that MY huge pregnant belly is one of the “you might be interested” thumbnails at the bottom of this post. :) I learned about diastasis forever ago – I don’t remember when. Maybe in school? Anyway, I’ve had one since post Maren, and it’s only gotten worse as we go. I blame the 4 finger-width separation for the fact that people were commenting on my most recent pregnancy, saying that I had “really popped!” at a mere 6/7 weeks gestation! My midwife with M and my ob with N both said “it just happens, you can’t do anything about it”, but that’s never really made a whole lot of sense to me. Would love to see these exercises!

  13. says

    I’m like Lola, had DR after each pregnancy but didn’t get it healed before I was pregnant again…I’m going to work on it for real now because the thing that is so hard for me is the lack of core strength that I now have. After my first pregnancy, I did regular core strength work because I didn’t know that it was actually strengthening my muscles while keeping them from going back together so I have a bit of work to do because of that too.
    You go! Looking forward to hearing about your journey!

  14. Annaleah says

    I had the same problem after having three kids in 2 1/2 years. I, too, know the feeling of waiting for that awkward “When are you due?” My midwife told me about my diastasis after having my third and referred me to physical therapy, which helped but didn’t completely fix the problem. Then I found out about Fit2B studios (from the Humbled Homemaker) and I tried it out and it helped a lot! Then I found out I was expecting #4, so now I’m doing Bethany’s pregnancy workouts in hopes that it will keep the damage to a minimum this time around! =)

  15. says

    I will definitely be coming back to check out these links once I have this baby and get cleared to work out! And I’m excited to follow your journey :)

  16. Naomi says

    I am a little worried about DR since I was doing ab workouts up into my second trimester until my midwife suggested I stop immediately. Now I am doing a prenantal workout (FitMom) that has exercises especially designed to prevent DR…but I am a little afraid that the damage is done thanks to my stupidity….and I have body issues galore…I don’t need to add pooch belly to the list!

  17. Stephanie says

    I just found out about it today, and I’m looking forward to following your journey! I’m just now starting to get ready to try conceiving my first, so I’m glad I found out about this condition ahead of time. :)

  18. says

    Yep, I’ve had it after every baby. Right now it’s about three fingers width. MIne has always remedied itself to about a two fingers width on it’s own and then I’ve gotten pregnant again. I hope to heal mine this time though.

  19. says

    Of course I’ve got workouts that help de-jigglify your booty! Check out Backside Burner I & II and you’ll see my own progress made between filming those two workouts. I can’t wait to watch your progress. I rarely get to see blogged photos of my members! As for p90x, it’s a good program for those without diastasis, but if you have one, many p90x moves will make it worse :(

  20. Teri Morrison says

    Just heard about it today! After 4 kids and a preventative bilateral mastectomy with TRAM repair and a ventral hernia that needed surgical repair, NO ONE has mentioned this to me. Hmmm…may have to try measuring to see what I can find out. Thanks for the info!

  21. Andrea says

    I learned about it earlier. I have lost all my baby weight, but my tummy is not where it was before. I’m hoping that p90x will help…if not, I will explore the medical route with D.R>…

  22. says

    My stomach muscles separated to four finger-widths during my first pregnancy [with twins] and have done so for each pregnancy since. I’ve done Pilates [inner core strength exercises] afterwards and that has solved the issue. Wishing you success in your exercising to “close the gap”!!:)

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