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Monday motivation – The importance of solid foundations for life.

Gold Medal

As you know, I was on my soapbox last Friday and I did promise to tell you about how I went from ‘Oops’ to ‘solid core confidence’. Before I go on, here’s a potted history of I ended up in the oops situation in the first place. It’s a common story. Nothing out of the ordinary here.

Cost Centre 1 was born 21 years ago, with Cost Centre 2 appearing 15 months later. Both of them received excellent postnatal care as well as early years care. I can’t say the same about my own postpartum care. Like many women, I tried for years to lose the baby weight but always looked pregnant no matter how much weight I lost. And to make matters worse, I was quietly suffering from stress incontinence. Running after the kids, coughing, sneezing – all common activities, lead to embarrassment. My self-confidence was at an all-time low. I felt fat, frumpy, and had a dampness problem.

At every well woman check-up I would ask if anything could be done, only to be fobbed off the usual statement “What do you expect? You had two babies back to back.”In other words, pad up and shut up!

Not willing to give in so easily, I tried kegel exercises. No improvement.

I spent a huge sum of money on a battery-operated kegel machine. No improvement.

I spent even more money going to legs, bums, and tums exercise classes. No improvement.

And then menopause appeared on the horizon and things got worse. I couldn’t go running anymore as it made the whole situation worse. Dancing? Forget it. And as for the hay fever season, I lived in fear of the next sneeze. If I was lucky, I’d feel a sneeze coming on, be able to stop whatever I was doing, cross my legs (and fingers) and brace myself for the oncoming explosion.

Sometimes I was not in a position to brace myself and the inevitable happened. I’d beat a hasty retreat to the nearest ladies loo and do as much damage limitation as possible. Damn it! Was I that old accident-prone woman already?

And then a chance comment from friend lead to a hushed conversation with her. She’d been in the same boat. Note the word “been”, past tense. She had regained control and was now on her own personal fitness mission now that she had a functioning core. I wanted this for myself.

Armed with the contact details of the women’s healthcare coach, I filled in the short on-line form and waited for the initial phone consultation. Looking back, this was one of the most important calls I’ve ever had. It was a life-changer. We agreed to proceed and meet in person to benchmark my current fitness levels, posture, abdominals etc.

After checking over my tummy and posture I discovered the reason why I always looked pregnant. I had spent the past twenty odd years with separated abdominals, diastasis recti to give it its posh name. Mine was five fingers wide, i.e. about 3″ (7.5cm) at my belly button! No wonder none of the exercises and machines worked!

With little core stability, the pelvic floor muscles had no solid foundation to anchor onto, hence the stress incontinence. And it can be reversed. As with anything in life, there are no 100% guarantees but with carefully planned exercises and an adjustment of food intake, improvements will happen.

After 6 weekly visits with my coach, and some homework, we measured the belly gap and it had closed to a smidge of a finger width. And my oops moments? They are in the past. The biggest revelation happened when I was asked to provide a midstream urine sample for the doc and managed it effortlessly. It wasn’t until I marched back triumphantly into the consulting room, that I truly realised what I’d been able to do. I don’t think the doc has ever seen such a happy patient, proudly proffering up a neat, tidy and more to the point, dry sample bottle. I felt like I’d won a medal.

So now you know why I am so happy to be able to run, dance, and chase my pup, and why a stable core is key to resolving the embarrassing moments for millions of women.

So if any of you reading this are facing similar issues or know someone who is, have courage. Find a women’s healthcare physio/coach and take back control of your core.

incidentally, I have some lovely healing smoothie recipes to share. They make getting your daily fruit and veg intake really simple and tasty.

Happy Monday everyone xx

Blog Posts

My conscious life blueprint – Intimate relationships…


Here we are at the third section of my life blueprint. Intimate relationships! Hmmm. That’s quite an interesting subject to write about without blushing and flushing! My husband must be wondering what I’m writing about, if the subject elicits such a response!

Fortunately, the Journal has a number of guiding questions to help fill out this section. Reading though the list, you’ll see it’s not focussed on sex at all. Was that where your mind jumped to? It’s exactly where mine went. Mmmm. Fancy that!!

Back to some of the questions.

What are three things that I most appreciate about my partner?

Easy. He is my absolute rock. Whenever I get my knickers in a knot over something, he’s the one calming me down. He is the most optimistic person I know. And finally (well not really finally… there’s loads more) he makes me feel cherished and safe.

How can I be more open-minded and accepting of my partner?

Ooooo! I think I have open-minded nailed. However, ‘accepting’ might be a little bit of a challenge. Sometimes hubby is so driven to complete DIY jobs around the house, he will prioritise this over taking time to rest up and enjoy what he’s achieved so far. He believes in finishing a job as soon as possible, whereas I will tackle the big jobs in bite size chunks. He just can’t sit still and chill. Perhaps it would be an idea for me to accept that this is what makes him tick instead of trying to force him into relaxing. Accepting that he ‘needs’ to complete the job for his own gratification will stop us from being at loggerheads over it. I admit to getting quite cross when he’s still painting at 9:00pm. Instead, I will accept that this is ‘fun’ for him, and do something else, or grab a paint brush and join him.

What are my partner’s dreams?

I think he dreams of saving up a decent sized pension pot as soon as we can to enable us to stop working for ‘the man’, and go exploring the world. He doesn’t have a bucket list, but if he did, I bet a trip to New Zealand, visiting Hobbiton would be right at the top. Closer to home, he would move to Cornwall in a heartbeat if possible. Me too for that matter. We pisceans love being near the sea.

And you thought it was going to be about keeping things hot in the bedroom!

Although the questions for the blueprint section do not specifically address libido and sex, there’s no doubt they play a part in an intimate relationship. I’ve experienced many a waxing and waning of both during perimenopause. I think my beliefs and expectations played a part, as well as a not-so-strong pelvic floor.

My beliefs were that we women waved goodbye to our libidos at this point, that everything ‘down there’ simply dried up and stopped working as well. It’s common knowledge, after all. You only have to switch on the television and within the first set of adverts, there will be one for incontinence products for those inevitable oops moments.

Apparently this is a common problem for us ladies. Yes, well just because something is common, does not make it normal. Most of us have fully functioning pelvic floors before pregnancy and childbirth so why can’t we have that function back again? I know every time I mentioned it at my well-women check-ups I was told the lie.

“It’s to be expected after having babies.”

My babies are grown up now so why was I reduced to randomly stopping, crossing my legs and holding on for dear life every time I wanted to sneeze or cough. And as for running, jumping or dancing, forget it unless the bladder was empty. Hayfever season was the worst!

However, I have since discovered that we can do something about those oops moments. We do not have to line the already fat coffers of the Tena Lady company. We can save our money and invest it more wisely in ourselves. There is an army of unsung heroines out there, specialists in women’s health and physiology. Quite by chance I met one at the beginning of this year. She gave me a thorough check up (nothing invasive) and we discovered I had a diastasis, and a pretty big one too. I’d never heard of this and had to have it explained. It turns out that my abdominal muscles, which separated in the middle when I was pregnant, never rejoined. In fact the gap was big enough to get five fingers in it.

That explained why running, jumping, sneezing etc were troublesome and also why, even though I lost a heap of weight, I still looked pregnant! Six weeks later, following weekly exercise sessions and some homework, the gap closed and I could sneeze and cough safely and dryly. There was an unexpected bonus too, and this links to the topic of today’s post, the old libido came out of retirement, much to hubby’s surprise (and mine too!).

So here’s my advice to any woman suffering from oops moments, find a fitness coach who specialises in women’s health and reclaim your pelvic floor function. It’s never too late and no, you are never too old!