I’m Jacquie, founder and creator of About That Core.
I’m a wife to a lovely man, Al, and mum to two bouncy boys, ages 6 and 2. I’m a retired paediatric nurse, a doula, and a pregnancy yoga teacher. I also facilitate baby & toddler massage and yoga classes. Plus, I’ll soon be a certified hula hoop teacher. Basically, I’m a collector of diplomas and certificates for activities that I love.
This site was created following my own personal experiences, along with the realization that there’s a need for awareness, information, and specialist solutions about how women’s bodily functions change after pregnancy and birth.
Of course, this site isn’t just geared towards mothers. The unfortunate fact is that anyone can suffer from a dysfunctional core – women who have never been pregnant, even men and children. Oh yes, core dysfunction does not choose! And it comes in many guises… Diastasis Recti, Abdominal Hernia, Pelvic Organ Prolapse, etc.
As you might expect, I suffer from core dysfunction. This condition was caused by Diastasis Recti, which I am still working to resolve. It was sheer happenstance that I discovered I had Diastasis Recti two years after giving birth to my first child. I had no obvious health issues associated with it, and accordingly, I thought I’d ‘bounced back’ really well after giving birth.
My finding out came after joining a local fitness class run especially for mothers – a class I joined to tackle my stubborn ‘mummy tummy’, which wouldn’t budge no matter what I tried. (Oh, by the way, sit-ups and planks are horrendous for a dysfunctional core – so don’t do them, unless you’re under specialist care!)
At the time, I had no real understanding of what Diastasis Recti was. Looking back, I think I was in denial, as I’d always had awesome abdomen muscles. Months later, I got pregnant with my second child, did some research, reassured myself that I’d think of this as a clean slate, and planned to fix the Diastasis Recti after the baby was born. Meanwhile, I had terrible backache and pelvic girdle pain through my pregnancy. As for fixing the Diastasis immediately after birth? Yeah, well, that didn’t happen. I waited and waited to recover from the pregnancy and birth, but it just never came. I constantly felt like I was newly post-natal, with chronic low-grade pelvic and back pain. I even had abdominal wall pain when my children pressed against my abdomen. I was at my weakest, physically, and I didn’t know what to do to get stronger. I bought a couple of specialist online exercise programs to help, but felt overwhelmed, so initially I did nothing. Had I known better, I would have started a program during pregnancy.
But all is now good, and here I am curating this site because of how things happened!
Back in those dark days, the pain caused by my weak core was often intolerable. Physical exertion, even simple things like playing with my children, would cause terrible pelvic pain. My back ‘went’ at least three times, where I suffered acute back pain – even taking a shallow breath was almost unbearable. Vacuum cleaning and basic housework were enough to set things off. And with two small children and a home to look after, I got fed up of it happening.
I saw my doctor and got referred to physiotherapists, who prescribed some back-strengthening exercises – but it didn’t help. I saw an osteopath and a chiropractor… No joy. I had massages, but while they felt nice, my back didn’t sustain the feeling of relief.
Finally, I decided enough was enough. My back felt so fragile, and on a few occasions, I stopped it ‘going’ by consciously restricting certain movements, which helped me arrest more acute episodes that might have happened.
In addition to the above, I had also lost control of my bladder. So, running around with the kids not only hurt my hips and pelvis, but also led to me uncontrollably wetting my pants. It was awful! Urinary stress incontinence, unfortunately, is kept secret and hush. Many women accept it as ‘the new normal’ after childbirth (alongside the mummy tummy bulge). Normalising dysfunction. But I could not accept it. Many women may joke about peeing themselves when they laugh hard, cough, sneeze, bounce on trampolines, etc. But this has always seemed wrong to me. Needing incontinence pads as part of a woman’s daily life is not normal, and should not be accepted as such.
And so, I took the plunge. I bolstered my resolve and tentatively started one of my programs, which involved dynamic low impact exercises. (It’s a twelve-week long program, but I have lifetime access, so I’ve been going at my own pace.) That first week was hard, but I persevered. Three weeks into the program, and I could walk decent distances without crippling pelvic pain – it was bliss! I also dipped into my other program. (This one is a subscription membership – the price equivalent of a weekly yoga class for a month.) Both programs came with online forum support and excellent resources, as well as access to mummy fitness and wellness experts, who were well versed in issues of the core, from diaphragm to pelvic floor, hernias, prolapses, Diastasis Recti and more. I felt I was in good company.
I have since immersed myself in researching, reading, and understanding what is going on with my core. I’ve become intimate with my middle. And I believe strongly that every single woman should have easy access to these same resources, and take control of their core health.
And that’s why this space has come into being. It’s an online hub, a library of resources, a supportive community of women raising awareness about core health and sharing experiences. A space where nothing is taboo or ‘too much information’ (TMI).
Expectant mothers can learn how to care for their core so it can support them during pregnancy and birth, and then stay strong post-natal. First-time mothers can benefit from being aware – and getting a proper core assessment and a core repair plan put into place before it’s too late. Then there’s those mothers that suffer from stress urinary incontinence. And those suffering chronic back or hip pain, especially after pregnancy and birth, even many years after they’ve had their last child. Even those that feel like something has changed ‘down below’, but are embarrassed to ask because it’s ‘private’…
And we are all inclusive! Men are welcome here too. If you’ve been feeling unsure of a gap or a bulge in the abdomen during exertion that keeps getting worse, then please seek help. Have a look at our resources page. It is ever evolving, with new information and links added regularly. You’re sure to find something suitable there, to help you take that initial step.
In addition to what I’ve said above, I wanted a space that would keep me accountable in my journey to core health, while sharing with others what we have available to us so that no one is suffering in silence. I look forward to interacting with each of you, hearing your stories, and learning how you are balancing family, work, and play on a daily basis.
Thank you for visiting. My site is constantly developing – so please visit often, leave comments, ask questions, and get involved. You can also shoot me an email, if preferred, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your friend in core health,