“How to tone a mushy mommy tummy”
“Fixing mommy tummy without surgery”
“Flattening the mommy tummy with 1 exercise”
“5 steps to get rid of your mommy tummy”
See the trend?
When did having a tummy after kids, become synonymous with needing fixing? Or needing 8,246,304 way to make it better, lose it and get rid of any sign that we created life and were blessed with the most important title and role EVER? Mommy.
Do our kids think less of us because we don’t have a six pack? No.
Does having a tummy impact our ability to be a wonderful wife, partner, friend, sister, co-worker, anything? No.
Will we look back when we are old and grey and think “wow, I wish I had less of a mommy tummy. I could have done so much better.” Hell no.
When I made the (bad) decision to look up the definition of Mommy Tummy, here is what Urban Dictionary gives us (I hope you’re ready for it)
The stomach a future mom gets when she's pregnant. Usually used when trying to decide if a woman is pregnant or not.
1. James: Hey Bill, Did You See Cathy?
Bill: Yeah She Got Big Didn't She?
James: Naw I Think That's A Mummy Tummy
2. "Excuse me, are you fat or is that just a mummy tummy?"
I warned you.
Regardless of where you look, what you read or who you ask, mommy tummy is seen as a BAD thing. It should be avoided, eliminated and feared. Societal expectations are that a woman, regardless of the fact she’s a child or multiple children, REQUIRES a flat, tight, toned midsection. It’s also a great way for fitness pros to trick moms with false promises that prey on insecurities. So.Wrong.
Here are some typical belly goings on during & after pregnancy:
- An average mom will gain approx. 30-40lbs in only 9 months. That is just related to the baby, fluids, tissue, etc. Then you have one two many grilled peanut butter sandwiches in those 9 months (which is totally worth it BTW) and now it’s closer to 50lbs. That’s a lot of grow in a short amount of time! And it’s almost all in the tummy area.
- The tissue down the centre of the abdominals (linea alba) stretches and thins to allow room for the growing baby. After delivery, it requires time to heal, regain strength & tension just like any other muscle or tissue in the body. Without the proper attention to detail, this can cause a doming/tenting/bulging appearance in the belly.
- Much of the weight is lost rapidly after pregnancy (many will experience a 15-20# loss in the first week) These rapid changes can leave us with the appearance of sagging skin, which will usually decrease when given time.
- The uterus does not return to normal size for at least 2 months postpartum (which can feel like forever to a new mom)
No matter what our bellies look like on the outside, can we just marvel for a moment about what actually occurred on the inside?
WE GREW A HUMAN. We created life. We made magic happen.
And THAT should be the real definition of a mommy tummy. Without our mommy tummy, we would not BE mommies! Sure it’s tough being a mom sometimes, but would you give it all up for a six pack? Of course not! (Although certain days it may be tempting!)
I’m certainly not going to tell you that you can’t train for or desire a flatter stomach or smaller waistline. But let’s steer the conversation in a different direction and talk real, educated talk about what is going on with our bellies after babies.
Diastasis is a hot topic right now with a lot of poor information and advice being given.
It’s a completely normal piece of pregnancy and postpartum, and should not be feared. Instead, I want to empower you with a few knowledge bits that can help you manage your diastasis during and after pregnancy.
- Diastasis can be and is typically exasperated by unmanaged intra-abdominal pressure (IAP)
- You can learn to manage and control this pressure by learning the piston breath technique found in my free Moms Return To Training playbook HERE
- Much of the healing in the linea alba is done in the first 8 weeks postpartum, so you want to maximize that time by resting and practicing this breathing technique and avoiding strenuous lifting, etc.
- If your children are older and you are still struggling with diastasis, there IS hope! You can improve it and live a perfectly wonderful life with a “functional” diastasis. (Meaning you can have a gap, but manage and control how the tissue responds)
There is much to consider and learn about diastasis during pregnancy and postpartum, and by enlisting the support of a Womens health PT or an (educated) postnatal coach, you will see that mommy tummy is nothing to be afraid of. And the power is in your hands to not only change the aesthetics you want, but to improve your overall bodily function at the same time. And that’s what I call, #winnerwinnerchickendinner ;)
Till next time xo