I used to have a pretty flat stomach. I’m not saying that I rocked a six pack, but in the early noughties, I was no stranger to the crop top (it was acceptable then, don’t judge) and I didn’t have to breathe in permanently. Funnily enough, growing babies does nothing for your stomach (particularly at the time, but afterwards as well).
The first time round lulled me into a false sense of security. I didn’t exactly ping back into shape, but after the shock of still looking preggers 2 weeks after the birth, the weight began to come off steadily and about 5 months later, I was almost back to where I was before.
Second time, not so much. I didn’t really do anything differently (perhaps put on a little more weight), but when the midwife visited me on the ward shortly after giving birth, she announced I had an abdominal separation, i.e. my stomach muscles had had a falling out and were now about 4 fingers width further apart than they should be (which is no fingers apart). Now, after the initial questions (but won’t my intestines fall out – apparently not), I had a physio appointment and was prescribed a course of daily abdominal exercises and a support bandage (basically a giant tubi-grip) that I had to wear for the next 6 weeks. This was not so bad, kind of like wearing unattractive Spanx. Having had a friend who had needed surgery following a separation, I was pretty disciplined at doing the exercises and at my 6 week check, my GP expressed surprise that I’d ever even had an issue and confirmed that my muscles were once again the best of friends. Aaahhh.
However, things have never been quite the same since. I carry fat more readily on my stomach, and in the plank position, seem to be carrying a low hanging balloon of wrinkly skin. Delightful. It would be nice to once again breathe in for the purposes of oxygen intake rather than to minimise my pot belly. I’ve also suffered from intermittent lower back pain over the years, so having a strong core is important to help relieve back pressure. So it’s not entirely about vanity.
So, in July, I will commit to doing 5 mins of core work a day. There are a lots of little workouts on Pinterest for inspiration, and I’ll include some back exercises too so it’s not just limited to ab work.