tummy from hell

in my blog stalking reading, i have been looking and looking for a fellow twin mama who is a runner and has gotten back into shape, without surgery, after having twins. maybe i haven’t looked hard enough, but i haven’t found a soul. i know that comparing myself to others isn’t wise for my “self esteem project: day f’cking 1”, but sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to feel a sense of camaraderie, even if it’s with someone you will never meet.

i’ve read blogs of singleton mamas who have abs of steel and running paces of 7-8 minute miles, but that doesn’t give me that sense of camaraderie. carrying a baby, any baby, whether that be one or two or three or more is a heart-wrenchingly beautiful and difficult thing to do. but singleton pregnancies and postpartum recoveries are absolutely, completely and totally different from a twin mama pregnancy and recovery.

i have what I like to call “TFH”, or, tummy from hell. nash and zeke were yanked from my belly at 38 weeks via c-section at a whopping 8lbs, 2oz and 8lbs, 7oz. this has resulted in what some in the medical industry refer to as a “diastasis recti”, or separation of the abdominal mucles… or, in layman’s terms, “tummy from hell” (TFH). no number of sit ups or crunches (and i’ve done lots) will make the TFH disappear. with the twins now 18 months old, i still get comments of “oh, when are you due?!”.

to paint a picture for you of how this makes me feel, two weekends ago, our post-lady asked me this question. i pointed at nash and zeke on the porch and said “i’m not. i have 18 month old twins who were born at 38 weeks and weighed 8 lbs each…” (details she probably did not care about), and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day in tears. the poor sweet badger bought me flowers and told me ad-nauseum how beautiful i am. although his efforts were sweet, i could not shake the despairing feeling that no matter how hard i have worked, i will never lose the TFH. i have lost 12 lbs since february, but none of that has diminished the TFH. since i do not want to undergo a surgery that is considered by my insurance company a “cosmetic repair” (even though it is not a tummy tuck; that flabby skin would still be hanging around down there post-op), i am left to deal with it. live with it. move on. but i’m having a lot of trouble doing that.

a very good friend of mine who has had two babies in relatively close succession over the past two years came over to my house a few weeks ago. and i could not stop staring at her flat, lovely abdomen.

yes. i realize that this is strange.

she and i began to talk about it, and with tears streaming down my face, i felt that she sort of didn’t understand how the TFH effects everything about how i see myself. but then she said “i suppose this is harder for you, since nash and zeke weren’t exactly planned...”. and that struck a nerve. maybe that’s true. when your pregnancy is a surprise and not something you really ever pictured happening to yourself, i think the postpartum body image struggles are a bit tougher to wrangle with.

back to today - through a series of blog links, i found a mama to twins who runs. she does 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, etc. her twins are two gorgeous 10-month olds. her latest post was a half marathon race recap, and there’s a picture of her at the end pushing her 10 month old twins. she has abs of f’cking steel. srrsly. they are the most amazing abs. no stretch marks. no bulge or protruding abdomen. no mama pouch. just flat, lovely, bounce-a-quarter-off-of-these-go-ahead abs.

so i threw a comment on her blog that said something along the lines of “i’d give anything to have abs like yours…”

but then i kept reading her blog.

… and i cried as i found out that her twins were an emergency c-section at 34 weeks because one of them supposedly wasn’t growing (turned out to be a medical error). the babies came out at 4 lbs each, and spent a handful of weeks in the NICU. her blog talks about how awful it was to go home at night while the twins who had been inseperably connected to her for 8.5 months stayed in the NICU. her latest race ran right past the hospital where those beautiful little babies spent their first weeks of life, and she mentions how difficult that still is for her.

having twins is tough. as. f'cking. hell.

but nash and zeke? they came home three days after their birth, all 16 lbs of them, ready to breastfeed, strong and healthy as any little baby could be, ready to take the world by storm.

so, i guess, just maybe, i wouldn’t really give anything for a flatter stomach. i wouldn’t trade the fact that i had two healthy, albeit gigantic, babies at 38 weeks. i wouldn’t trade for the world that i was able to breastfeed right away, that they were able to be home with me, that they slept and were strong, cried and cooed, and did all the other things a normal, healthy baby does…

i am going to try and remember in my moments of TFH/self-loathing how lucky i am to have abs that have been completely torn asunder because nash and zeke were so big and beautiful and perfect.


  1. lady, you are drop dead f*king gorgeous. i'm so proud of you for running again, for having babies, and for being an amazing mom [the list can go on and on really]. your TFH can suck it - it's got nothing on you. :)

  2. girl... i hear you. august was a c-section at 36 1/2 weeks. he was breech and weighed almost 8 lbs. not twins, but still, c-section recovery is so hard. i still have days where my incision feels sore. ugh. oh, and the TFH thing is hilarious {i can totally relate}. you are inspiring.

  3. Hey, I just found your blog from your comment about having two 8 lb-ers. Mama, you are incredible for keeping them cooking that long.
    I'm a twin mama runner too, looking foward to following you!

  4. I just read the rest of your post- I'm kind of in the middle. I have a flat stomach but the bad "twin-skin". I had NICU babies too, and it's tough.

    Man, the diastis recti repair should be covered under insurance. It might be worth an appeal to your insurance company. I have so much more to say, but I'm already taking over your comment section. :)


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