Newbie questions


I have a grade 2 rectocele and cystocele - 33 years old, two kids - 3 yo and 10 month old.

I went searching for a holistic approach as soon as I was diagnosed and so glad I came across Christine's work. It intuitively feels so right, makes so much sense and I'm already finding relief after three days of adopting the posture and playing around with some of the options (particularly the rectocele - the cystocele worsened a bit). I'm a yoga teacher and the tummy tuck NEVER felt right in the feminine style of yoga I teach. In addition to that, I'm having all these other benefits like my nervous system feels more regulated/calm and my SI joint pain is massively reduced. I've nearly finished the first aid for prolapse course and have some questions that after looking around on this forum I haven't yet found the answers to - grateful for any help.

1) Since adopting the posture, I've been noticing a sense of fullness in my stomach. Is this because I'm pushing it out too much (definitely did the first day or so, but since have read the advice to focus on the pulling up and chin tuck, which has modified the natural curvature much more effortlessly), or is this a natural side effect of the stomach organ changing places? I'm not sure this is a bad thing at all, because I'm noticing I can't overeat as much. I'm also noticing my digestive symptoms more pronounced, which again isn't a bad thing. I'm just wondering any thoughts on this? I'm going slow - focusing on the posture and exercises at the moment, but addressing my diet (I'm already gluten and dairy free but can definitely cut down grains - I have connective tissue disorder that I put into remission with lifestyle changes 5 years ago).

2) With young kids, the place I'm second guessing myself most is bending over to pick things/kids up. I've watched this a few times on the video but the talk of angles doesn't really help me get it. Should I be limiting how much I bend over to pick up? Things I'm noticing cause discomfort - getting things out of the fridge, nappy changes. Should my legs be hip width apart of wider? Bent at the knees or not?

3) I'm really struggling finding clothes - I still have a fairly substantial postpartum belly - which I'm OK with relaxing .. I actually love the fact I have a bum now that feels like it's getting stronger every day (I know in the posture it doesn't feel super floppy). I've worn high waisted leggings and jeans most of my adult life - the videos show high at the back, low at the front, but what happens with bellies that overhang? Am I destined to look pregnant forever? Anyone have advice?

4) Emotionally the hardest thing I'm dealing with is the knowledge that I might be making it worse with my movements. The unknown of this is tricky because I know that I need to believe that this will help. I have a great meditation practice, soulful work and lots of nature in my life. But I'm in that place of worrying about doing things I previously loved (gardening, walking, hiking) - and whether I'll ever be able to do them again. Any words of comfort about how to navigate this fear?

Thanks so much for the forum and the work - so excited to keep learning and diving deeper. I'll be ordering the book some time soon too.

Hi treechanger and welcome to Whole Woman! You have everything going for you, to have some great success with this work. Remember you are still post-partum and things are still changing. So be patient with yourself and keep us up-to-date with your progress. The book itself is out of print, and may be so for the foreseeable future, as Christine is heavily into other projects these days. If you can find a copy on-line, please be sure to get the 2nd edition (blue cover). I personally love it.

1) You may have already discovered that you shouldn't be pushing your stomach out (or your butt). This natural curve will come on its own when you completely relax the lower belly, and strongly lift the chest. Keeping that chest pulled up strongly, creates that lovely line which, I swear to you, is more attractive and beautiful than what happens when you suck and tuck. I can say this because I have a bit of a belly myself. I too follow a GF/DF diet (and I'm speaking only for myself here) which I have done since my daughter was Dx'd autoimmune several years ago. I have found it quite good for my digestion, weight, and overall well-being.

2) Bending and lifting are perfectly safe when done with some care. Here is a series of photos that may help (click on each of the five links in Christine's post):

3) Give your PP belly a break. You can wear anything you want that doesn't constrict across the belly. Maternity wear probably feels pretty good right about now, but when you go out you should wear whatever makes you feel beautiful and allows you to keep the belly soft. You'll definitely avoid anything cinched at the waist.....but eliminating that category still leaves many, many options.

4) Walking/hiking in strong mindful WW posture is just about the best exercise you can do for prolapse! At the beginning, it didn't seem to me like it was helping. Stick with it, if you feel that way. At a certain point in the 2nd year of this work, I hiked for about 4 hours. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I kept my mind on posture. At the end of this hike, I was the most symptom-free I have ever been!! Gardening of course involves a lot of different moves. Some allow better body position than others. You can't stay in perfect posture 24/7 so you just do the best you can. You will not harm yourself or impede your progress. On the contrary - this will help you learn to read your symptoms better and find the connections between what you do and how you feel. Until you reach that point, it can all seem kind of random.....but it's not, really.

Losing your fear, getting on with the activities of your life that you love, is the biggest gift of the Whole Woman work. Glad you are here and hope you will check back with us! Newbies encouraging other newbies on their journeys, is one of the greatest offerings of this forum. - Surviving

hi treechanger! my kids are 4 and 2 and I'm 2 years into my prolapse journey (cystocele after my 2nd bub and small rectocele which I can see but doesn't seem to be doing anything).

1) I too feel fullness in my lower belly doing this work - meaning, my belly protrudes and part of it is fat, and part is hard belly underneath. By pulling up my chest, the belly under there is taut, but out. I would be ok with it if the fat layer was gone lol but that's down to diet and exercise which I contantly struggle with. I figure the hard round belly is where my organs live, and actually, I used to be super flat under my ribcage with a round lower belly, now it's more of a gentle curve that actually is biggest above my belly button. I would say just work on losing fat overall through exercise (ww style) and diet.... that will help with the pregnancy look...

2) i remember i had a few month period where I was obsessed with bending and lifting. I felt like any wrong move would mess everything up... guess what? one false move won't undo all the good work... just plant your legs out, turn out your toes, and bend at the waist keeping long line from tailbone to neck. pick up lots of small things by getting on hands and knees.... or if I'm doing stuff that requires obtuse angles (like wiping counters, cleaning the toilet etc) I get in my position (almost like a downhill skier? but legs wide and turned out) relax my belly and stay in that position while I do what I have to do.

3) maternity clothes! like surviving said... there are so many cute jeans and pants now that have a belly panel, I still wear my maternity jeans with long shirts and a sweater or jacket and no ones the wiser. I do wear high waisted leggings as long as they're not tight... also, jeggings... i have 3 or 4 pairs of jeggings that are like denim look but totally stretchable. also, i'll roll down leggings to below my belly when I'm home and let it all hang out - i find it easy to relax the stomach when I have that bit of support at the pubic bone.

4) and this is the worst one - the fear! i was paralyzed with fear for many many months... and then, the more I read, the more I did, I realized I was going to be ok. There are soooo many wise words in these pages - how this isn't life threatening, or painful (i guess it could be if stuff was external) but there's really nothing to be afraid of... like you, I saw pretty quick results having the benefit of post partum healing to ride on.... it really is a blessing to have our eyes opened to this at our age (altho I'm 40 now) but to have these tools to use going forward is such an amazing gift, I'm so thankful for Christine and this site. And - not that I think you shouldn't research as much as you can - but I personally stopped going on other sites. When I read about surgery after surgery, and so much bad information, I really start getting into a dark place again when my reality is, I'm ok. reading about all the what ifs gets me into a worry that I don't need to be in - I try to stay focused on my reality, not someone else's worst case scenario.
every day it'll get easier to deal with, talk about, think about... just know you're in the right place with the right tools.

Thanks Surviving and Typicalme - that's really great advice and support.

Now about 6 weeks in and have had ups and downs. Currently in a down ... but trying to focus on the long game!

Firebreathing and nauli seem to work really well for me - as well as anterior vaginal lifts. But here's where I'm struggling -

1) Driving - absolutely the worst. Any advice on a pillow type device to help tilt my pelvis forward?
2) I find everything worse when I've been sitting lots - and I struggle to get right on my sit bones when my hamstrings are tight. I wonder whether their tight because of the pelvic instability?
3) related to number three - I cannot do belly toss in the position that Christine does it in the video - on all fours and on elbows. This and Childs pose seem to create pressure on the perineum and I feel a pulling/tugging inside. It feels like my tailbone - maybe from years of being squished from sitting- can't get out of the way and so is causing a squishing effect. Afterwards, my symptoms are always worse. Any advice on this?
4) Because of these tight hamstrings, bending is still such a problem for me. I just cannot find a way to do it comfortably. When my feet are pointed outward I feel my uterus is about to fall out of me, when I try and hinge forward with relaxed bellow, my lower back kills. And picking up my baby from the kind of squat that Christine does in the video I still feel a bulging and intra-abdominal pressure. I'll keep persisting...

Today my symptoms are worse than they've probably ever been despite 6 weeks of this work. I'm hoping for improvement because I'm really uncomfortable and believe that in addition to my cystocele and rectocele, My uterus is very vulnerable right now.

Any advice so welcome.

Hi treechanger - I have no recollection of where I was six weeks into this work, because I started slowly and intermittently and only later on did I really engage fully with the work. I do know that I had my biggest breakthroughs in the second year. Unlike you, I wasn't trying to throw all possible ammunition at the problem all at once. I concentrated on simply learning to keep my belly soft and my chest lifted as I went through my day, and worked hard on just walking, which didn't feel good at first. Eventually I found that a long, mindful posture walk was the best thing I could do when I was feeling really bulgy, but this did not happen right away. I didn't tackle firebreathing until the second year. Even today, I cannot do belly toss very well (I have trouble coordinating my movements, but I can see how this will benefit me if I just make up my mind to do it).

I started this work a decade ago when there was only the book and original FAFP dvd to work with. Christine's tools and resources have grown so exponentially since then, I can see how newbies can be overwhelmed with choices and decisions on what to do and when and how. Relax and continue to take it more slowly and don't stress out over your symptoms. This is not a cure; it's maintenance. It's learning to live well with prolapse, without the fear.

Yes, driving is a killer and the best thing I can advise is to experiment with seat adjustments and learn to keep something behind your lower back for support. A rolled up towel or sweatshirt works fine. Try to take plenty of breaks during long drives. - Surviving