The Post Triplet Tummy

Once you have had triplets, your tummy muscles just aren’t the same as they used to be. I think that is true for a lot of post-pregnant mothers. It certainly was after my first two singletons. But after the triplets. Sigh. I struggle.

I found out, a little bit late, that Style and Shennanigans was having a colour challenge. My friend Belinda from bbeingcool is doing it, and I thought it might be a little bit of fun.

Yesterday was pink. When I went to my wardrobe, I seemed to have a lot less pink then I thought I had! Then I remembered I had a very pink dress! An old favourite from Target, but as much as I love it, it is not good at hiding the post triplet tummy. I had to think twice about putting it on, but decided that I wasn’t feeling particularly fat yesterday, so teamed with my awesome shapewear underneath, I thought I could brave the day. (Motherhood hint: Get yourself some suck-it-in knickers, seriously, you will surprised how much confidence Granny undies can give you…)

The thing is, to a certain extent I have to just acknowledge and move on that my body is the shape it is at the moment. I don’t like it, and I try to hide the protruding tummy as much as I can. The extra unfortunate combination of having a post-triplet tummy is most of us, like me, have diastasis. This is where the abdominal muscles have separated during childbirth – it happens to everyone, although some people’s muscles repair very quickly after birth. However if the separation has been to great, especially after multiple pregnancies or pregnancy with multiples, you need to proceed with caution and know that the road to healed muscles is a long one – as in years, not weeks. It means traditional exercises to tone stomach muscles are out. No crunches or squats for example. They hurt not heal. The other unfortunate combo of having diastasis after multiples is that caring for the multiples can make exercising a lot more challenging.

If you don’t believe me, because I was trying my best to stand at a flattering angle in the first photo, here is a less flattering angle. (Although thankfully for you, I still have granny undies on.) I wish people could only see you at a flattering angle all the day, but the reality is, we can’t stay frozen smiling throughout our days. I know I’m not obese, and I’m certainly not trying to make others feel bad if you are struggling with body image even more than I am. I’m just documenting my feelings at a time that I’m not 100% proud of my body.

And so the fat days are frequent. My awareness of my own body image and is heightened at the moment and the quest to find flattering clothing seems eternal. And even still I constantly have people asking if I am pregnant. It’s always awkward and embarrassing. It started when the triplets were still in the special care nursery. I was travelling up in the lift to visit them and as we pulled up at the maternity ward a lady remarked to me, “It won’t be too long until you will be up here with your new baby.” I just nodded and walked out swallowing hard, not telling her I was heading to feed my babies that were two weeks old.

I’ve had people ask me at church, and then query me further when I said I wasn’t, as though I would be lying. Way to make an awkward situation more awkward. Another elevator experience where an old man kept talking about how sorry he is for ‘you pregnant women’ during the heat. The other day I went to a function for my husband’s work. I bought a new dress, I thought I looked great and that it was very flattering. But then someone came into work and asked Alex when our next baby was due. People in shops ask and my two big boys ask blunt questions like, “Why is your tummy still big Mummy? There’s no baby in it now.” Children of course are the easiest to forgive. Unless a woman is heavily pregnant, I think it just isn’t something you should comment on. But they do, so I just smile and get out of there quickly.

There is no sense beating yourself up about it. Today I’m wearing green. I’m even more aware of my protruding stomach today. I was tossing up whether to wear a vest to cover the muffin tops or a scarf to hide the bulge. I chose the vest, but I’m still not sure it was the right decision.

At the end of the day, I know that I need to work hard to fix this problem. I’m not entirely there yet, it’s a matter of priorities, and right now, I’m just smiling big and hoping people look at my face not my stomach and if all else fails put the triplets in front of me. Another attention diverting strategy.

I need to work my pelvic floor exercises (they are of vital importance to repair the diastisis) and remember to do them more and work them more into my routine. I need to eat better and find ways to do appropriate exercise. And I will. When you are not at your ideal weight, sometimes you need to accept yourself, but not excuse yourself.

And you find out the right way to stand when you take photos. Here’s a more flattering shot of todays green challenge, not to mention a bit of fun. My four year old photographer told me I had to do a silly photo! You can follow the remainder of my involvement in the challenge on my instagram. Feel free to start following! I love new followers! (Including on all social media, click away on the buttons in my sidebar!)

Have you ever been asked if you are pregnant when you are not? What’s your coping skills when you are not at your ideal weight?

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11 Comments

  1. What a great REAL post! I think you are looking fabulous, but I do understand it is hard to accept our post baby bodies and YOUR body sure has been through a lot!

    I love that you have shared your thoughts on this. I am going to share it. We need more REAL on the inter webs. Love the last photo – so YOU!

  2. oh my goodness! Don’t people know the unwritten rule that you don’t comment on a woman’s pregnancy until she says something herself (or until you see a baby coming out of her lady parts…). I had a man stand up for me on the train once. I thought he was just being nice. Afterwards I realised he thought I was pregnant. It wasn’t that awkward though as I didn’t realise until much later and then I could push all the embarrassment away.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Like B said it’s very real. You’re not 100% happy with your body but you know that real life comes first. You’ll get there eventually. I’m in a similar place. I’m currently pregnant with no 2 and haven’t really been watching what I eat. As a result I feel and look enormous. I’m looking forward to being able to exercise properly again but know that it will be a while before I get to do that.

    That pink dress is lovely btw!

  3. I am thrilled to see you join in the Style and Shenanigans 7 Day Colour Challenge. I know a lot of people joining in are Mums who are coming back from pregnancies (I count myself in there as well even though my baby is 2/12). Finding a new groove isn’t easy and experimenting with colour might be part of the journey back. Thank you for sharing your journey, your photos and btw, you look fabulous!

  4. I get asked all the time. I have diastasis too, I had it a little after the first two singletons and have it badly after the twins. People do not hold back on comments and it is so upsetting. My physio told me two years to a flatter tummy. That’s two years of careful and correct exercise. I’d better get started, here’s to 2016!!

  5. 4 months after giving birth to my third baby, I went to get my haircut at a small local hair salon without the kids. When I walked in, the stylist smiled and said, “Wow, you’re really starting to show! Congratulations!” An awkward moment ensued as I explained that she had me confused with my sister who had just announced a pregnancy. I was just starting to get back in shape with a diet and exercise plan when I unexpectedly got pregnant with baby #4. I’m looking forward to having another baby (any day now!), but dreading going through the super fat, is-she-6-months-pregnant, nothing-in-my-closet-fits, phase again. I did get some compression bands and am going to try them out after this birth to see if they help.

  6. I love that last picture. See, a bit of silliness can (hopefully) make all your problems float away!

    But really, it shouldn’t be too much to ask that your body find a way to move on, surely. Come on, body! Caitlin’s done her time, fix those muscles! A girl can love the skin she’s in, whatever the shape, but the social stumbling block must be wearing. I feel for you.

    It’s really late, and I’m probably saying all the wrong things. Can you please just read into my gibberish that you’re awesome, you look happy, and I sympathise? 🙂

    People are nit wits.

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