Book illustration question, posture & healing question


Thank you to all of the women who have been answering my many questions. One would think that this is my first baby with all of the questions -- recovering from childbirth feels a lot different this time -- I feel fragile -- which I hate. If you can't tell today was a rough day...on to the questions.

1. Anatomy Book question: Okay I realize now that I know very little about my body. I believe I have a displacement cystocele and a dropped urethra and in the book I am confused about the difference between figures 3-4 and 3-5 in the book. In 3-4 it is the smooth bladder dropping, but what is the dark shaded thing in figure 3-5 the bladder and what -- I wonder because I have what looks like 3-5.

2. Posture: I am having a difficult time knowing if I am doing the posture correctly. I am very worried about making the situation worse and that is the last thing I want. When I am standing in posture should I feel a streth in my lower belly? I am having a difficult time lifting from my lower ribs and relaxing my stomach (although when I lift my ribs I do notice that my lower back has a curve). Is the posture just supposed to relieve temporary discomfort (things do seem higher when I pull my ribs up) or will this strengthen things so that they stay higher?

3. Healing & Reversal: I have scoured this site looking for postpartum women who have healed or talked about a reversal of a cystocele -- I've read a handful about utertine prolapse but less about cystoceles. When women write and say that things are way better a year (or more) after the birth, do they mean just emotionally? Or are you all physically better i.e. as in things have moved semi-permanently into a higher, more comfortable place? I know emotional stability is very important and is a part of healing, but I need to know that I won't always have the sensation of something falling out.

My baby is one month old today, my other baby is 16 months and upset that I can't pick him up and dance, I made dinner and it felt like my insides were falling out. I am having a hard time accepting this all. Thanks for all of your kind words so far and any additional advice you have for me :)

Oh boy! Are you pushed with two babies! No wonder fixing dinner was so hard.

Your little baby is so little. I wouldn't be too worried about your love gear not getting better. It is so early days for you. Of course you will get better, but it will probably get worse for a couple of months first.

Sorry I cannot answer the book question. I am shifting my office at the moment and STWW is hiding underneath something else.

Re posture, if your posture has been very non-Wholewoman it will take a while to retrain it, and the part of your brain that is involved in deciding how you will use your body, so be patient. It may take a while to adjust, just like it does to learn any new body skill. There are a lot of adjustments to balance, so it is fine tuning all the time. Whelewoman posture is so natural once your body attunes to it.

Yes, I do feel a tiny stretch in my lower belly in WW posture, but not much. That's because my rectus abdominus muscles are at their functional length, where they are at a comfortable length, kind of like a rope hanging from the branch of a tree, with the bottom end tied back onto the trunk. There is tension on both ends, that keeps the rope in a gentle curve. If you push your lower belly out you might feel a little tingly sensation. Now stop pushing and allow your belly to find its own place again. Note the sensation. Sensations are a very important part of changing the way you use your body.

This slight tension is why you need to develop the strength of your upper body as well, so that the muscles on the back part of your body can balance the muscles on the front part.

At 4 weeks pp your abdominal muscles are still pretty loose, like old knickers elastic. It is only time that will give them back their resilience after being stretched for so long, so don't judge your present state to be a long term state of floppiness. How do some women do it? Probably a combination of not much additional fat put on during the pregnancy, genes, fitness level before and during pregnancy, who knows? And remember that you were only 6 months pp when you became pregnant, so your body was nowhere near fully reverted after the first pregnancy, so you were behind the eight ball then.

You are obviously doing something right with your ribs if your lower back has a curve! That is exactly what you want! Well done. Be gentle on yourself. It will come. Lifting your ribs (or your boobs or whatever) will move the bottom of your ribcage forwards, and with it the mid-back of your spine, so your spine in WW posture is more J-shaped, rather than S-shaped. Your neck will become more vertical, rather than sloping forwards and you will carry your head further back.

Just wondering if you could do more of your evening meal preparation at an earlier time of the day? All babies and toddlers seem to want attention while Mum is preparing food. I figure it is easier to change food preparation time than to change a baby's or toddler's behaviour. They will both grow out of pre-dinner demandingness eventually. In the meantime you just have to change what you can about your own tasks until they grow up a bit.

I have a couple of rules about kids.

"Pick your fights". It is not worth making a big deal out of changing their behaviour when it is only a temporary stage. You will have different challenges in a couple of months because they will both be at different growth and development stages. The fast changes happen while they are very young, and your babies are quite close together so they will both be changing quickly for a while. Picking your fights now is good practice for when they are teenagers!

"Does it really matter?" When you are trying to get through your day in certain ways, like doing daily tasks in a certain order, or at a certain time, think about whether there might be a less stony path to the end of the day, eg don't do tasks that require 2 hands, or a sharp knife at a time of the day when two babies will be clamouring for your attention. If somebody visits, they have two hands too. Get them to help by slicing veges, hanging out washing, or washing dishes while you attend to babies, or get them to play with babies while you dash around for 15 minutes doing all your 2-handed jobs and put the kettle on for a shared cuppa afterwards. If visitors won't help, they are not very good friends. I am sure you will pay them back with help when your littlies are a little more independent. That's how villages work, and will do so until somebody figures out a way to grow more arms.

"Keep food basic". Cook up some big dishes that are very basic, but can have different seasonings or extra ingredients added to change them into entirely different dishes. My son has a cookbook designed for young people leaving home. It has one recipe called Backbone. It is basically chopped or minced meat, onions, tomatoes, garlic, maybe celery and carrots, with a bit of stock or wine, and that's about it. Many recipes for main dishes and soups in the book are based on Backbone. You just add a couple of extra ingredients to a pan of it each night for a diffeent dish. You can freeze it in meal-sized portions. It cuts down the chopping time for meal preparation. Try and keep a complete meal or two in the freezer so you can just raid the freezer on particularly 'non-harmonious' nights. If DH is not a cook by nature, walk him through a couple of simple signature dishes that you and he knows he can whip up quickly for evening meals when all is bedlam at 6pm. Or if he enjoys cooking, put him in charge of evening meals. Then every night, express your deepest love and gratitude for having such a thoughtful and helpful husband. He will feel very loved!

"Do lots of stuff at floor level." The toddler can't fall far. The flipside of this is that the toddler won't feel left out when he cannot see what you are doing, and won't try to climb up and risk falls and the resulting tears. For me this included having a nap during the day. If we were reading together on a mattress on the floor with the baby, and he fell asleep I could just get up with baby and leave him there, knowing he wouldn't fall far when he got up; or else if baby fell asleep too I would close my eyes and have a nap as well. Some people think that is a cheats way of getting toddlers to have a sleep. Call me a cheat. I call it cunning mothering. It worked well for our three! Good for literacy, good for avoiding sleep deprivation, and good for toddlers who are feeling a little displaced by a new sibling.

"Work out what hygiene and safety really means." At the moment it probably means cleanish floors so your toddler doesn't ingest something he shouldn't. Closing the bathroom door avoids all sorts of risks. Safe play space is important. Bin unwashable toys. Refrigerate food promptly. Keep sharp kitchen tools in a safe place. Allocate the toddler a cupboard in the kitchen with safe kitchen stuff in it. Put the kitchen rubbish bin in a safe place. Expect mess for several years. All cleaning above waist high can be put off until next year, or the year after. Then it will be worth cleaning!

Anyone else got practical tips?


Just a quick add -- try doing your "cooking" in the a.m. when POP is less by using a crock pot/slow cooker. There isn't anything you can't make in one of these! There are lots of great cookbooks out there for them, too. By the time evening rolls around, dinner is done.

I don't know how you missed "success" stories regarding pp cystocele! Alemama's went away and has not returned, Kiki's went from stage 3 to "mild," Granolamom's is smaller and higher, Lyricmama can no longer see hers exteriorly, and mine is now almost undetectable. Judy and Stella, who are not pp, also saw dramatic reversal in their cystoceles. It does take a very long time, but it does get better. Maybe not to as you were before babies, but better, so much better than now.

Mine is gone 90% of the time @ 11 months post partum. Hope it encourages you!

I'll go through and look for their stories specifically -- thanks for the names. I did read one of their stories in some past forums, don't remember whose. Thanks for reminding me. This is just something that I am still wrapping my head around.


Yay! So good to hear. Thank you, thank you.

How could I forget Liv in that list? Yay! Also, I just reread my post, and I think I may have sounded a little terse with the "I don't know how . . . " sorry -- early a.m. post and doing too many things at once! I know that I ate those stories up, reading them over and over and over when I was trying to wrap my head around this too. Best wishes!

can't comment on the anatomy ? right now, my book is in the bedroom and dh is asleep so I don't want to go looking for it now.

but the posture not only relieves discomfort temporarily but the main goal is to reposition your pelvic organs along with their structural supports. of course, the goal is to stay in the posture so its not like you do it a few times a day and then things stay where they should the rest of the time. however, after staying in posture most of the time, I will say that when I am temporarily out of posture, nothing drops.

healing & reversal: I have a cystocele, not sure if it officially qualifies as a 'pp cystocele' because I didn't find it until my then-youngest was 18 mo (though I am sure it began years before that, I just didn't pay attention). mine is smaller and higher than it was when I found it. I will say 'permanently' even though it does change depending on where I am in my menstrual cycle and what I've been doing, but its been consistently better than in my early days. I do not have the sensation of anything falling out. not even on my 'bad' days. well, maybe I did after my last baby for a bit, I honestly don't even remember. emotionally, things got better much more quickly than physically. but I totally understand that you need both.

cooking dinner pp is my most dreaded task. always always do the little ones need you the minute you start slicing that first onion. louise's tips are good ones, but my reality is that its just plain hard with a newborn and a toddler. I did things in short spurts, it could take me all day to put together a meal, but I found that I could manage 5 min of dicing vegetables and put 'em in the fridge until later when I could sautee them, put 'em back in the fridge until I could put together the rest of the dish. takes planning and organization, but that you can do while you're sitting and feeding the baby or building block towers. and while avoiding excessive generation of garbage is important to me, I use lots of paper goods in the early days pp. still better than take-out food, imo.

and about the dancing with your toddler, now that I'm pg and exhausted, my little guy (he's older than yours, he's 2.5 yo) has learned to be happy running around me in circles. I sit and sing/clap and he runs around me. every few rounds I grab him into a bear hug and its oh-so-fun. he did tantrum a few times 'till he realized its this or nothing, but that's life with kids.

and I just remembered another one... since finding my prolapse I do alot of things on the floor with the kids while on my hands and knees. believe it or not, I have no problem giving 'rides' to my 2 yo on my back while I crawl around. maybe 16 mo is too young, I guess it depends if he can hold on. at that age my son would lay flat on my back, now he sits up like a pro, lol. doesn't even bother me at 32 weeks pg.
he likes when I crawl around and 'chase' him, and sometimes he crawls with me like a baby cub. its actually kinda fun : )

right now you might not be dancing with your babies, but you can find replacements. know that until I got pg (and this has nothing to do with my POP but rather pg in general) I WAS lifting my kids and dancing with them. prolapse and all. you can get there. but it takes time and one month pp is too soon.

Thank you Granolamom (& others) for those kind, empathetic words-- right now I love you :) I have made a list of all the tips you ladies gave me. Right now I feel like I am on an emotional roller-coaster. Having things that I can do to improve the situation is empowering. I'm sure eventually all of this angst will be a thing of the past and I will be the one telling the newbies that things will get better and that everything will be okay. I can't wait to share my "healing" story.


Hi Bad-Mirror

Totally agree with you re slow cooker, everything turns out edible. I found that with small children I sometimes had to lower my culinary high standards eg slow cooking works out best if you saute veg/meat first but it's not a disaster if you just bung it all in unsauted. I also used to sometimes just put dinner in a very low oven all day, well-covered, same thing. And yes, usually had to chop veg in fits and starts. If you cook double you can freeze half (well, unless you're greedy like us and just eat double in one go).

BTW what are the user names of Judy and Stella, I'd quite like to read their posts. I think Judy may be Clonmacnoise, lady in her fifties with arthritis who runs a small school, is that right? I can't place Stella though. Judith

Yes, Judy is Clonmacnoise and Stella is just Stella.


Thanks for that Louise, Judith