The terms “simple” and “easy” are often used synonymously, but I find these two words quite different in actual implementation. Anyone who's tried to simplify her life has probably found the task quite arduous (though freeing and certainly worth it). Most everything has the potential to be simple, but carrying out tasks that are simple in nature doesn't mean they're easy.
In the case of healing a diastasis rectus abdominis (DRA), the guidelines are incredibly simple and can be boiled down to four things:
- Breathe using your diaphragm fully;
- Avoid activities that stress the linea alba;
- Get adjusted;
- Complete exercises daily that retrain your body’s functional patterns.
That's a pretty simple list, but it can admittedly be hard to do.
Breathing is involuntary, so that part is easy, but you've likely trained yourself to breathe up and into your chest rather than down and into your abdomen. This pattern is hard to retrain. Breathing is simple. Breathing correctly is hard.
Activities that stress the linea alba include most everything you think of when thinking about stereotypical ab exercises. As a new mom trying to achieve aesthetic goals following childbirth, it can be hard to forego these activities. Additional activities that can aggravate a DRA include sitting up from lying down (like doing a sit-up) or lying down from a seated position (a reverse sit-up). That can be hard to remember when you peel yourself out of bed to change a diaper or nurse your little one in the middle of the night.
Getting adjusted is pretty simple: go see a great chiropractor! But making appointments when you have no semblance of a schedule or routine can be hard. Sometimes getting out the door is hard enough, let alone trying to get somewhere on time. (It can be even harder if you're back to work full-time.) Or maybe you made the mistake of going your whole pregnancy without ever seeing a chiropractor, and you don't have one. Establishing a new relationship and making appointments can be a daunting for a new mom with an already full plate. (Check our Referrals out to find a BIRTHFIT chiro near you!)
Daily exercises can't get any more simple. Create a habit and stick to it, right? But how hard is it to be truly disciplined enough to stick to a regimen of (simple) exercises, being mindful of completing them perfectly day in and day out? That takes some grit and serious dedication.
These are all simple things to do. That doesn't make it easy, though. At almost four months postpartum with my second child, I am still healing my DRA. I don't know how long it will take to fully heal. But I do know that it won't fully heal if I don't do the hard stuff: complete the simple tasks every damn day.
Lindsay Mumma, DC