Leonie: My Story

As a fitness professional I has always been interested in health and wellbeing. After becoming pregnant my interests naturally went in the direction of pre and postnatal exercise programming and nutrition. Having had a healthy pregnancy, no postnatal issues were foreseen. However, after a long labour and a medically necessary C-section, health issues began to arise. First and foremost there was the recovery from abdominal surgery to deal with, as well as a significant separation of her abdominal muscles (Diastasis recti). While I had put on 4 stone during my pregnancy I went quickly (too quickly) below my pre-pregnancy weight within a number of weeks of birthing her baby. However, two months later my abdominal wall swelled and it appeared 3 months pregnant. I broke out in psoriasis and had shooting pains in my stomach continuously. After numerous visits to the hospital (and after a gastrointestinal endoscopy and a colonoscopy with a diagnosis of hypothyroid and gastroenteritis) and having taken part in a complete elimination diet (no dairy, no grains, no sugar) for 3 months things began to improve.

The 18 months postpartum was a frustrating journey for me. To summarise, the postnatal trauma suffered here was C-section surgery, abdominal surgery that cut through layers of muscle to the uterus, diastasis recti, hypothyroid, psoriasis, leaky gut, and gastroenteritis. Having looked so slim and well after the birth these physical issues really affected my self-esteem and confidence. Searching for information on postnatal recovery in the area of fitness, health and nutrition led to dead end, after dead end. I found a dearth of credible information on postnatal exercise to aid me in my recovery and in relation to the healing of my diastasis recti. I continually found unsafe exercise classes on online, in particular on YouTube. In protest I trained with pre and post natal expert in the UK, Jenny Burrell and signed up for her courses run by Burrell Education in Advanced CPD in Modern Post Natal Assessment, Core Restore & Functional Exercise Programming and Optimal Nutrition for Post Natal Recovery. I see the significant need and consequently feel the desire to provide moms with information on safe exercise and further provide them with the tools they need to manage stress better, and to help them be part of an alternative ideology one that favours ‘PROGESS NOT PERFECTION’.

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