After I had my first baby, I was not only deeply overwhelmed at the new role of being a mom, disoriented from a 32 hour labor, and drowning in depression — but in utter shock and disbelief how my body looked and felt both physically and mentally.
Nothing felt good, and in my eyes, nothing looked good. I was thrilled to have a little person that was mine and healthy, but I was terrified how to raise her and have a continued growing relationship with my husband when I felt that I had suddenly lost all of who I was. How do you give when you yourself are so depleted? All the ways I'd learned over the years to cope with anxiety and depression — tangible things that grounded and lifted my heart— were currently unattainable with a new, sleepless infant.
I felt vastly underprepared, which only fed my intense postpartum anxiety and depression.
I also felt like my body would never recover. I watched so many new moms around me float through happy pregnancies, and sleepless, but happy, weeks with their new babies. I watched as their bodies returned to a shape they recognized, while I steadily gained weight— reaching 52 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight. I cried a lot, felt really broken, and like a "big baby" for how unstable I was mentally.
Everything felt so wrong, even after I had longed for this new little person.
I hated my body for a difficult pregnancy and labor, I hated my mind for how weak it felt. I hated my judgement on myself and the constant swirl of anxious thoughts that my baby wouldn't be OK. And I hated my lack of gratitude and joy for a time that I thought my entire life would be so joyful.
I couldn't sit or stand without extreme pain. I felt like my insides were flopping all over the place. I had an intense desire to be an amazing mom for this new little girl, split with the innate need to heal myself of all these patterns and thoughts I knew to be unhealthy. For her, I pushed on.
I tried running stairs — but my flopping belly was uncomfortable and I felt silly. My knees ached and during workouts I would sob in the basement, alone, seeing no way forward if I couldn't make it through. My body was not responding. The harder I pushed my body for weightless, the more weight I gained, and the more intense the pain was. I lied in bed at night crying because my entire being — body, mind and soul— hurt.
In infrequent moments of a sound mind, my brain went to work scouring all the information I could about my symptoms and I discovered diastasis recti. I did a few simple tests on myself and collapsed inwardly with the feeling of being broken forever.
I turned the program on, filled with doubt, but also hope. There was Wendy Powell, the creator of MuTu talking directly to me — holding my pain in the most knowing, and no-nonsense way. There was FINALLY someone that was telling me what I needed to hear, and explaining to me what was going on with my body, what caused it, and how to fix it.
I kept going with MuTu — even with movements that felt silly. I began seeing results. I began to reconnect with my body in a way I never had before. I began feeling better about my body. My mind started to begin to believe that I was OK. That I wasn't alone. That I wasn't failing. That my body wasn't broken. I gained enough energy to keep digging into my health and discovered I had a thyroid issue— another reason weight loss was slow and exhaustion was BIG.
I felt anger at so many things, including my 6-week postpartum check-up. Why didn't the midwives tell me not to run right away? Why did they say I could resume normal exercise? Why did they say I was fine, and encourage me to get back to having sex?
This anger fueled a healthy passion for women's health. It became a mission for me to learn the MuTu System, and to teach other women. It kept me going when everything felt too hard. I didn't want anyone else to go through that period feeling such a lack of hope and helplessness and brokenness.
I came across MuTu Pro and my entire being leapt with joy — and if I'm honest tears. THESE are the amazing people I wanted to learn from. To glean and soak in all they knew about women's postpartum bodies and safe, effective movements.
I applied and was accepted to the program — pending I have other credentials. I studied, and passed my NASM Certified Personal Trainer Certificate, CPR/AED — and a few weeks later I flew to England and became a certified MuTu Pro. It felt so surreal to see Wendy in person, teaching me, instead of on my computer screen.
With MuTu I've lost 35 pounds, closed my gap on the top and bottom, and learned more about my body than I ever knew possible. I've become obsessed with pelvic health and movement systems. I've gained a healthier mindset.
I am on a journey I never imagined I would be on right now, and it's one that I'm filled with overflowing gratitude to be walking. I'm grateful that out of pain, disorientation, sadness, depression, anxiety, and brokenness, that I'm coming to a place of healing. Not only for myself, but wanting to share that with others.
Being a woman can sometimes be overwhelming to me. It's a lot to carry a life. It's a lot to birth a human. It's a lot to "get back to regular life" with a happy smile slapped on your face, and photos taken in white flowy gowns while you're bleeding for six weeks. It's a lot to walk through the passage of "maiden" to "mother" in a culture that doesn't honor — or acknowledge that.
But being a woman is also incredible. And if I can help make anyone else's journey a little more bright through reconnecting, healing, and growing stronger post-baby, then that's a pretty incredible thing too.
If you're struggling in postpartum, or confused why so many things are happening with your body your doctor or midwife never talked about with you, check out "10 Things Your Doctor Didn't Tell You", check out MuTu — and above all don't lose hope. Know that you are doing a great job, that your body is amazing, and that healing is possible.