Fear of being misunderstood:
That was a big one for me.
My kids were four and a half and nearly two when I had surgery. I remember laying on the couch next to my husband, six months prior. It had been a long day, my back hurt and my core was in pain from lifting my son in and out of the cart at Costco that night.
After the birth of my second, I was left with a 7 cm gap between my abdominal walls. Diastasis Recti is a common symptom of pregnancy caused by weak connective tissue and a mix of bad genes. I had healed from a 3 finger gap after my daughter, but things were surprisingly different this time around.
Laundry, dishes, and helping my husband with projects around the house left me swollen, sore, dependent on a binder, and hyper focused on my core. I always felt bad sharing frustrations about looking five months pregnant with my friends, because who wants to listen to body image stories from a girl who wore size four?
I fought hard. I worked out. I ate as perfect as I could. I gave up family time for physical therapy, and although I did make significant improvements, most days still ended in fatigue and emotional defeat.
I opened a new tab on my computer.
I had been blogging my story on social media for the last year and a half.
I figured if I was going to fight this battle, I might as well get over some of my fear,
and help others along the way.
“Mary Bower….. she’s that “diastasis recti girl,” they’d say.
“You should check her stuff out! She’s got two kids at home, a typical crazy mom-life,
but she’s determined and working hard to heal her core.”
The thoughts of what they were going to think kept spinning in my head as I wiped away a tear and nervously began a search for plastic surgeons in my area.
Had I really done enough?
Maybe if I worked harder, tried longer?
How am I going to explain this to my kids?
Did I really deserve this?
The voices were loud, but my choice to fight bravely was louder.
In the words of Austin Kleon….
“Not everybody will get it. People will misinterpret you and what you do. They might even call you names. So get comfortable with being misunderstood, disparaged, or ignored – the trick is to be too busy doing your work to care.”
It’s been 15 months since surgery. Those first 3 were some of the hardest moments of my life. Recovery took over a year and truth be told, I got a few misguided remarks from strangers who found my story online. But you know what? For every negative, there were at least 20 messages of gratitude and hope from women who felt just like me.
Sister… listen up!
Yeah it’s not going away.
Unknown situations, opinions of others, worry, doubt, judgement…..they will always be there knocking at the door of your heart, waiting to steal your joy.
But it’s on you, whether or not you let them in.
Not everyone will connect with your story. Not everyone will understand, support, relate to what you are going through; but don’t let that stop you from doing it anyways.
Our world, our kids, our husbands, don’t need more women crippled and frozen by fear. What we need is authenticity. Women committed to unapologetically being themselves, openly sharing stories of our scars, imperfections, and dreams. Women who let go of fear and fully embrace their journey as their own.
Choosing authenticity; not only usher in freedom, but inspire others to do the same.
Does this hit home with you? Do you let others opinions have more pull than your own? Or are you learning to be brave?
NOTE: If you struggle with diastasis recti or have considered a tummy tuck surgery and have questions, feel free to reach out to Mary by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on IG at fit_happy_momma.