Tight equals strong, right?
That is just not true when it comes to the most important muscle groups in the female body: Your pelvic floor. In fact, a too toned and too tight pelvic floor is actually a very, very weak and vulnerable pelvic floor. I would say that most, if not all, of the women who come to me for incontinence, prolapse, diastasis recti, back pain, and so many other issues are there because they have hypertonicity in their pelvic floor. This basically means that they’ve been kegeling the bejeezus out of their hoohas in an effort to tighten things up down there and instead of making things better, they’ve made things worse.
Along with that, traditional ways of strengthening our bodies and holding our bodies all lead to hypertonicity as well. So, let’s say you enjoyed decades of Pilates classes and boot camps and you kept on squeezing when they said squeeze and then you felt the burn, well … I hate to...
Ever since I was a kid, there was one main thing I thought to be true about life: Work hard so that you can get “there.” In fact, if I were to be honest, I would say that drudgery, determination, and deprivation were core values to what I thought was the meaning of life. I believed - and was told through coaches and teachers and every grown up around me - that if I put my nose to the ground for as long as I could, that it would pay off.
There was no one around me saying, slow down, sweet girl. Take a deep breath and take a load off. And I don’t remember that being modeled in front of me in any real way, and if it were it was immediately deemed as lazy or entitled. By middle school, I was doing competitive kayaking at 4:30am, followed by a full day of school in which "straight As" was the only goal, followed by at least 3 hours of ballet class, followed by a quick dinner, followed by homework, followed by falling asleep in my...
I’ve learned a lot in the 6.5 years I’ve been at it here with MommaStrong. I’ve learned that mothers are the most tough of all humans. I’ve learned that our society neglects the female body. I’ve learned that everyone has crappy posture. I’ve learned that a lot of women pee on themselves and it took until 2018 to really start talking about that. I’ve learned that your butt muscles matter more than your core. I’ve learned that showing up every day for exercise is actually possible and entirely brilliant. I’ve learned that you can’t do anything alone. I’ve learned that groups of women are literally the most healing quality of modern civilization.
And I’ve also learned that mothers are tired as fuck.
I get tons of emails from incredible women all around the world and, I kid you not, the main underlying theme in them all is: ...
We are 38 years old. We’ve been through a lot together. Like, a lot. A LOT. I’m writing to you today because I know without a doubt that though all of that “a lotness,” you have been primarily focused on my survival. Even when I beat you up, didn’t feed you enough, overfed you, treated you like a trashcan, exhausted you, asked you to perform on two hours of sleep, ignored your pleas for rest or attention, grew and birthed babies inside you, and bartered your value for the pressure to be attractive … even in light of all this, you woke up and said, “How am I going to serve this human today?”
I’d like to think that on bad days, when I felt like shit or when you felt sluggish or when you caused me to feel pain, that it was all your fault, that maybe you were out to destroy me. But, the truth all along has been that you were simply weeding through the muck and the mud to find...
When I was in high school, I weighed maybe 90 pounds sopping wet, wore gigantic bifocal glasses, had shiny braces bigger than my face, and was called “chicken legs” every day at P.E. This was how I had been my whole life, even as a young girl my knees were always scabbed over, my hair was never brushed, and when my mom would put me in something nice to wear, within a mere instant, it was covered in mud or bird poop or _________. I probably heard her say daily that she was going to have to “Scotch Guard” my wedding dress someday, while my dad nicknamed me the Muck Monster.
The benefit of this was that I was never treated like a pretty object as a kid. No one ever walked up to me and said, “Oh my gosh, you look so nice today.” I was a do-er and an impressive athlete, and my sense of identity truly did form from my function and not from appearance. I don’t even remember feeling badly about how I looked, except...
There was a point in my life about 16 years ago when I was spending $900 a month - without permission - on my dad’s credit card, buying vitamins and the latest cure-alls from Whole Foods. I spent every dollar of my own on yet another naturopath visit, acupuncture session, or detox guru. I had massages with crystals and I did coffee enemas during 14 day liquid detoxes (before it was cool). I saw energy workers and nutritionists. I ate an insanely isolating raw diet, bringing my own food to social events and using words like “safe” and “contaminated” whenever questioned. I even refused to swim in swimming pools because of the chlorine.
To my credit, I was super sick and no traditional doctor I went to could help me find what was happening. I couldn’t leave my house without charting where available bathrooms were along my route, as I rarely made it minutes without needing one desperately. I had lost my...
No one knows about stretching more than a former professional ballet dancer. Oh, the things I used to do to stretch myself to unnatural degrees. For instance, I used to stick my pre-teen feet underneath the edge of the piano and then try to straighten my legs. Oh my lawd. I did that. I also used to watch TV upside down, with my legs on a wall in a V position, hanging open with hopes they would one day go touch the ground.
Those are just two of the weird things I used to do to my body before it knew better than to bark back. Ha. But, the reason I bring them up is because for as much as we think we know about stretching, we actually know very little. We basically all think: Stretching equals flexibility. The truth? Stretching won’t do anything for flexibility unless you have strength first. So, strength actually equals flexibility.
Let’s take my pre-teen foot stretching theory. What I was...
I am not MommaStrong.
I work for MommaStrong.
The statement above might look like a simple shift in perspective, but the truth is that it took a long long long time to get here. In fact, I read recently that it takes on average of ten years to get to the one year that changes your life. This couldn’t be more true for me. And I have experienced that the start of that life-changing year usually begins with a painful sledgehammer to all the unmanageable bits of your seemingly secure life.
I learned so many profound things over the last year thanks to that sledgehammer, but I’m here today to quickly suggest that the most profound thing was (and will always be) this: The quality of my life is directly connected to my willingness to connect, be transparent, receive, and give of myself to a safe and steady crew of other people.
For lots of reasons personal to me, this was not a simple task. Letting down my guard, having discernment about...
As most lasting love stories go, I met you exactly when I needed you. I wasn’t looking for you. In fact, I had completely given up on fitness in general. Because of my incredibly suffocating back pain and my invisible autoimmune diseases, it became clear to me that I ought to just give up. I didn’t want to spend another penny on golden carrots dangled in front of me by well-meaning healers, doctors, and trainers. So, right before I met you, I decided that that was that. I was just going to quit.
What people around didn’t know is that along with quitting my job and quitting my healing, I wanted to quit life too. And I spent much of my days planning how to do this in a way that no one would know was purposeful, so that my daughters wouldn’t have thatstory.
This is what depression looks like. This is how we suffer.
How could I tell anyone, though? There was no hotline or resource...