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Healing Again

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The Nurtured Mommy

By: Denise E. Bailey   |   April 4, 2024

Each season brings something to be grateful for, and often it also brings something to mourn. I love the cozy fall and winter months. Layers of clothes, fireplaces blazing, the magical (and chaotic) holiday season, back-to-school excitement… for me the list goes on and on. As a teenager, I was always less excited about the spring and summer seasons. Deep down inside I knew why, but it wasn’t until these past few weeks that I dove a little deeper into why I was feeling like I was 13 again.


I have always been a petite woman. My height, and other developments, all peeked around fifth grade. I was the tallest in the class at 5’2” with the biggest shoe size (7.5) and in less than a year most of my classmates surpassed me. Puberty came early for me and it was lonely and scary for a little while. I went from being a girl unaware of the shoulds of my body to a teenager thrust into questioning if my thighs were too big and if anyone could tell how much I suffered from acne. I can remember going to dermatologists and estheticians for facials trying to solve my relentless pubescent acne on my back, chest, and face. So back to the seasons…


In sixth grade I would read Teen magazines (and Bop magazine) whenever I could get my hands on them. Commercials and magazine articles often suggested that acne would go away if I just kept my skin cleaner. So I’d rush home from school and wash off the CoverGirl Powder (the one in the turquoise compact) that I had reapplied all day in a school which didn’t allow makeup. Little did I know back then that my dairy intolerance caused my gut flora to be so off that my body was screaming for me to reduce/eliminate my intake. As the sun came out more and more during the spring months, I felt like everyone could see my acne more clearly. Yep, the seasons meant I couldn’t hide behind layers of clothes or the clouds. It was the beginning of me feeling ashamed for how others might view my physical appearance.


Important to note here that I also inherited a brittle bone disease, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and the early onset of puberty also brought random and very scary fractures to my ever changing body. From the summer going into fourth grade until the summer going into sixth grade, I had over six fractures with over five stays in the hospital for multiple surgeries that involved pins, traction, and even resetting broken bones. Some of the breaks deformed my body, forever. It was hard to get used to everything being different. My childhood ended pretty abruptly.


I don’t know how or when, but sometime during high school I remembered how amazing my body was. Sure, from time to time I still got insecure about my random acne flare ups but overall I learned how to trust and navigate my unique body/physique. I became proud of how I took care of my body, honoring it for all that it was giving me…a fracture free life. I completely changed my rhetoric. I was strong. I wasn’t broken or fragile. I was beautiful in my own ways. And then I started the journey to become a mama.


Against many odds, I carried our oldest for 39.0 weeks and our twins for 36.0 weeks. My body did amazing. I quickly forgot the seven year journey it took to become a mama the moment our oldest was born. But after carrying the twins…my body reminded me of my past. The slipped upper femoral epiphysis from 1991 couldn’t hold any longer. Doctors predicted 10 years before needing a hip replacement, but it lasted 26 years with two pregnancies. The time came for me to go in for surgery. Almost eighteen months after the girls were born, I made it off the waitlist and received my primary hip replacement under the care of Dr. Vail at UCSF. It was a great success and relief. But the renewed feeling of fear and shame didn’t go away.


We can’t run from the work. I believe the universe (or to me God) will keep showing us what we’ve asked to learn in this lifetime. Since my hip replacement in April of 2019, weight and insecurity has slowly crept back into my consciousness. And with the new season change, I find myself nervous to jump back into that bathing suit in the blazing bright sun. Instead of going into another spring feeling weak and disempowered…I have committed myself to slowly healing, again. Over the past six years, I’ve tried jumping on a Pilates Reformer, into barre classes, attending yoga classes, and even multiple at-home pelvic floor exercise programs. The truth is I need an expert to guide and nurture me through this healing phase. My core is so weak, my back aches, and even though I had c-sections…you know what happens when I sneeze.


I recently found Dr. Caitlin Mondt and Marci Silverberg at Pelvic Path PT in San Rafael, and for the first time I feel like it is actually possible. I am in week one of an estimated eight week session. I was told that I can rectify my diastasis recti, stretch my hamstrings, correct my leg length differences, eliminate my back pain, lose unwanted weight, and most importantly gain muscle. I cried in Dr. Mondt’s office and she cried with me. I believe her, and I know I am ready once again to do the hard work just like I did so many times as a young girl in the PTs office.


I am giving myself permission at 43 to heal again. My end goal is to be back on a Pilates Reformer (in a group setting because it is so expensive) moving freely and feeling strong. I want to get off of the floor without rolling over. I want to jump rope with my oldest. I want to go on walks. I want to rock my Target bathing suit with pride for how I am healing my body. So… join me in starting something again with belief, grit, and acceptance. You’re not alone and you can do it, but it’s gonna be hard mentally and physically.


Journal Prompts:

  • What are you ready to heal?
  • What do you need to start again, differently?
  • What do you need to remember about yourself that motherhood may have made you forget?

Denise is a coffee lover, over-sharer, and truth seeker who is dedicated to vulnerably discussing the not so pretty parts of this amazing role. She is inspired by her three daughters to help women manage their expectations, let go of perfectionism, and lean into their enoughness. Denise is working on becoming a published author while simultaneously trying to figure out how to truly nurture herself in the midst of motherhood and beyond.
Read more on her Instagram @thenurturedmommy
More from this issue:

Advertorial: Friendship Explorations—Camp with a Therapeutic Twist or Therapy with a Camp Twist! HERE >> 

Getting Started with Exercise After Giving Birth HERE >> 

Healing Again HERE >> 

Spring Cleaning: Clear Your Home and Your Mind HERE >> 

Why CIO Sleep Methods Do Not Work for Toddlers HERE >>