A Wise Mother's Story
When my daughter left home for university I started writing a life-guide book to help her avoid some of the pitfalls of teenage years. Unfortunately it was neglected and never completed! Several years ago when she started talking about having a baby, I decided to write a book and share some of my women’s health physiotherapy and mother’s wisdom with her. So my lovely daughter Lizzy was the initial impetus for writing my latest book, Hold It Mama.
Last August Lizzy sat me down and silently placed an ultrasound card in my hand. I was so overcome with emotion that I missed seeing two embryos on the ultrasound! At this stage I was half way through writing and returned home with new determination to finish the book well before my granddaughters were due. To be able to guide my daughter with practical advice during her pregnancy, labour, birth and post baby recovery was the rocket fuel this writer needed!
Lizzy soaked up the advice and during pregnancy started prenatal yoga and walked daily. At 24 weeks she ran to catch a bus and developed lower abdominal ligament pain, which eased significantly when she wore the pregnancy Recovery Shorts. She has great posture and carried her twin girls without any abdominal muscle splitting. She also avoided any abdominal curling exercises or similar yoga poses and reported minimal low back pain. Of course, she received practical instruction in pelvic floor strengthening exercises!
In preparation for birth she was preparing to do perineal massage after 34 weeks and considered using the Epino to decrease the risk of perineal tearing. Her lower twin settled bottom down at 32 weeks and refused to move so the twin specialist performed a caesarean birth at 38 weeks.
Lizzy birthed in Manhattan but I wasn’t worried about her recovery as she packed Hold It Mama in her hospital bag. She followed the caesarean post birth suggestions and was guided with scar care, easy exercises and followed the time frame for return to activity. With the nurses help she was able to wear the post baby Recovery Shorts on day 2 and swears they shrank her tummy quickly.
When I visited 8 weeks post birth, her scar was beautifully healed into a fine pink line. We walked daily and had fun doing the Shrink the jellybelly program of exercises. At 12 weeks she felt ready to start baby yoga classes, which I adored as we each had a baby during class (and the teacher thought I was an older mum!).
By 16 weeks the surgeon was happy with scar healing and we started scar mobilization to break down internal adhesions forming after the surgery.
We spent last Mothers Day at her cousin’s house in Connecticut and I was astounded to see Lizzy jumping on the back yard trampoline. All the women laughed and expected her to come in saying ‘that was a bad idea’. She wondered what we were laughing about and was surprised to hear that we all thought we would leak a bit with trampoline jumping. After all, rates of post baby bladder leaks are similar between caesarean and vaginal birth mums.
I am so proud of her intelligent approach to motherhood and delighted to know how useful the practical information in Hold it Mama as to Lizzy. Now I have two yummy baby granddaughters and Lizzy is a fit, slim, always on the go new mother.
Written by Mary O'Dwyer, Women's Health Physiotherapist