I’ve just taught my Pelvic Floor Health and Wellbeing course at Market Studios in Greenwich. It’s my favourite course to teach – and today there was a teeny weeny 10-week old baby there, which is always the best part of my job, soaking up the baby cuddles.
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com
One of the mamas there was talking to me about her pelvic floor situation. Her baby is nearly a year. She’s been going to physio for 6 months, she’s downloaded the Squeezy app, she’s been doing everything right…. “but I’m still leaking when I run so I feel like my healing has flatlined”.
So, you’re still leaking when you run? Yes.
Did you stop running at any point in your recovery or have you run from pretty much since you could strap on your trainers since having your baby? I’ve run since I first had the energy to, yes.
But you’re still leaking? Yes.
And running anyway? Yes.
And feeling frustrated? Yes.
Have you considered that although you’re doing all the right exercises to build your strength, you’re also simultaneously running to challenge that fledgling strength at its most highest impact, which may be akin to re-plastering a wall in your house but then trying to wallpaper it before the plaster is dry?
I really get, I SO understand, how much we want to “get back to normal” post-baby. So much of our identity is intertwined in our looks and how we FEEL inside. And if you’re a runner, running is in your legs and in your heart and it can feel totally alien to consider not running. BUT. But. You must build the appropriate strength to withstand the force of running. Otherwise any good that you’re doing will be chipped away as soon as soon as you can say Kegel.
Patience is so tricky in our world of immediate instant gratification and of the Bounce Back, and pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge looking immaculate hours after having her baby (was her hair being blow dried actually while she was still in labour, I wonder??) don’t help our feeling of not being good enough, not healing fast enough, not being enough.
But believe me when I say that slow and steady really does win this race. And better still, don’t see it as a race but a lifelong meander. Your long term pelvic floor health will appreciate the extra month or so you took to look before you leap forward. To hesitate before you HIIT. Breathe before you burpee.
Breathe. Be kind to yourself. Honour your long-term healing. Stop running if you’re weeing. You’ve knocked down a supporting wall in your house. You need to build that back up before you build on the loft extension. It will happen, but it takes time, love, patience and commitment.
And I’m here with you all the way.
How is/was your postnatal healing? I’d love to hear your stories. We need to smash the stigma of pelvic floor dysfunction. Let’s keep the conversation going.