Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Diastasis recti- "bumps" in the road

I feel that I've reached somewhat of a plateau in my healing from diastasis recti. There is definitely a difference from when I first started working on it, but I haven't seen significant improvement in a while. I can't say that I've kept up well with the exercises, though. I think it's just going to take a lot of hard work to keep seeing improvement.

Here are a few factors and strategies I've been pondering:

Diet/Weight Control

I hesitate to make a complete assessment of my stomach situation while still breastfeeding, as I've still got some "extra love" that my body may need in order to make up for losing all those calories. I know I could be eating healthier, but I am trying not to be too hard on myself during this season. I'm looking forward to summer when fresh produce will be more readily available and I'll be more tempted to eat fruits and veggies.

Physical Therapy

This is a hard one because it needs to be someone who has experience in treating diastasis recti, but it still might be worth it to be evaluated in person as opposed to over the Internet. I know that the way I carry myself plays a large role in pain management. Speaking of which...

Chronic Pain Issues

About a month or so ago I had a lower back episode, and I've had to limit myself since then. It has slowly gotten better but I'm staying away from things like vacuuming. When I go out with David I don't attempt the stairs with him in the stroller. It seems like that is what threw out my back this time, but trying really hard to clench my stomach muscles probably doesn't help either. Anyway, it feels like anytime something like that happens, I feel like I need to just stop and take it easy and only do very gentle movements. Having a normal-looking stomach isn't the number one priority. I have some stretching movements that I do in addition to the strengthening ones, and I try to really shake everything out and "reset" my posture a lot.

More Intense Exercise

It feels kind of funny to write this after the above section, but I've been considering either signing up for a more intense rehab program or just writing out my own exercise schedule for a certain time period and trying to stick to it more faithfully. It's something I want to plan for and take on, maybe in the next 6 months. I know I could just jump in and start tomorrow and maybe have results by summer, but I would rather think about it a little more.

As I've mentioned, I'm trying to be really forgiving towards my body and take my time while I'm still breastfeeding and getting used to other aspects of motherhood. Managing pain and learning how to use muscles correctly are priorities too, while self-confidence doesn't necessarily need to be excluded. Results come and go because of the seasons we have: sickness and health; differing schedules from week-to-week, changing weather patterns; more and less discipline; high and low energy. Life is full of interruptions, so healing happens that way too.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Communal Easter

Christ is Risen!

Our church did something different this year and joined with another church to celebrate the Resurrection. I thought it was a strange idea at first. I'm still not really sure why it was decided to do things this way; I guess an attempt to unite in friendship and love for a special holiday.

Our two congregations are VERY similar. Almost like twins. The only difference is that they got first dibs on the bigger auditorium. Heh. Heh. So it was nice to be in a real auditorium this once instead of a teeny classroom. The funny thing is that they meet one hour before us on Sundays (and leave while we're still in session), so we don't tend to bump into each other even though our rented meeting rooms are in the same compound.

(Photo credit: Daniel Chersunov) I bet you can't find me! It's only a partial view...try looking for Andrei first. ;)

It's nice that our churches are similar because I didn't really feel like everything was shockingly different. A few of our members helped with worship and our pastor gave a mini-sermon and our Sunday school teachers taught all the kids together. The other worship and leading and preaching were done by our hosts. Oh, and I almost forgot the performance that their kids put on: Resurrection verse recitations. So ridiculously adorable.

Even though I like to observe meaningful holidays with people I'm close to, it's also nice to be in a big, excited group to celebrate something joyful. The more people that I meet who share my sentiments on such a day, the more it lifts my spirits.

(intermission here; big Easter lunch/dinner with Nina and Vladimir)

ALL the animals must EAT! 

Evening thoughts after celebrating the Resurrection

It always kind of confuses me when I see people going about their regular life on Easter Sunday. Not that I expect everyone to celebrate Easter, but in the culture I grew up in it was a family day even for non-religious people. Most people I knew at least did the whole Easter basket thing, church or not. In Russian Orthodox Christianity though there is a night vigil and then early morning service, so maybe that is the culmination and people go home and wind down after that.

I saw a lot of people going grocery shopping and walking their dogs and whatnot. And I wanted to ask them if they knew what day it was!

Then again, it's almost midnight and I'm catching up on dishes and laundry myself. (how dare you change out of your Easter outfit already, Elizabeth!) Life must go on, and our faith is merely the driving force, not an event that happens periodically. Still, I'm glad we have holidays that make us stop and contemplate.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Having People Over

Here is a little bit about a gathering that we had-wow, a week ago already.

Andrei and I had some of his "former students" (from the SPB Christian University) over for dinner and fellowship. I always find it funny when he calls them that because most of them attend our church and are friends of ours. Many of them were even in our small group at one point; not so much anymore.

Andrei gets the discussion going

Admittedly they're not really plain old "friends" though either, because they have that comradery of a group who has been through stuff together; shared classes and dorm chats and life-changing decisions. It's fun to see that kind of closeness.

Talking and toys
After eating, we migrated to the living room where the discussions could continue while the two toddlers played. You might still call some of those present young adults, but I felt a difference even from just a few years ago.

There was kind of a heaviness-not in a depressed way, just demonstrating new levels of challenge and burden. Marriage for some; work, missionary work, teaching, a baby, housing conflicts.We talked about questions that relate more to being leaders in the church, not just members. How do you prepare a Sunday school lessons for the kids who've heard it all? How do you prepare a sermon for ADULTS who've heard it all?

It would be fun to form another small group and meet regularly! As it was though two people were skipping worship rehearsal to be there...oops! ;) And another two people needed to be put to bed pronto.

Bonus photo with my little munchkin....(who is very good at "sharing" toys, by the way...although I think he is just too young to really understand what's going on)

"Hmmm...here's a toy cabinet that hasn't been emptied out yet..."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

She's a little older...

Walked into the living room while friends were visiting to find this cute scene!