My abdomen spills out over the top of my jeans despite the exercises I'm doing (and despite the precautions I've taken due to my abdominal separation). I'm down to a size 6, and the pregnancy weight is receding from the rest of my body. But this potbelly shows no signs of shrinkingthe skin alone creates an impressive muffin top no matter what I do.
And, unfortunately, you can't exercise your way back to a flat stomach.
"Once the rectus muscles move laterally to the side, they have no mechanical ability to come back together. It's a kinetic fact. The only way to move them is surgically," says Grant Stevens, MD, the medical director of Marina Plastic Surgery Associates.
He coined the term "Mommy Makeover" to describe the combination boob job-tummy tuck he performs on postpartum women. In addition to breast surgery (this can include a breast reduction or augmentation and may include a breast lift), the Dr. Stevens' Mommy Makeover includes an abdominoplasty.
"Abdominoplasty is the removal of skin, the removal of fat, and the tightening of the abdominal musculature," he explained. The surgery reestablishes the abdominal wall, removes skin that accommodated the spread, and removes fat through liposuction.
As Dr. Stevens described how the muscles are sewn together in an internal "girdle" to flatten the belly, I began dreaming of donning a bikini once again, and wearing fashionable pantsnot just the high rise "Mom Jeans" that hide my gut.
So I visited a local surgeon, Dr. Eric Mariotti. Once we finished discussing my imminently deflating breasts, I showed him my belly.
He wrote down his observations: "(Erica's) abdomen reveals changes consistent with her prior three pregnancies. She also has a rather impressive umbilical hernia. She has a loss of skin elasticity in the mid abdomen and overall decreased tone of the rectus muscles of the mid and lower abdomen... (her) skin hangs over (the C-section scar) to some degree."
Yep, that's me.