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Catherine’s story

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Catherine's Story

Treatment(s): Tummy Tuck
Location: East Sussex

I booked a free consultation with Amir, and he was incredibly friendly and supportive. I felt I could call up anytime and ask questions without being a hassle.”

Catherine, 32 years old from East Sussex, suffered with diastasis recti following her first pregnancy eight years ago. After years of struggling with a separated and weakened abdomen, she came across Amir on TV, and decided to book a consultation for a tummy tuck. Katherine had her surgery in November 2020. Here she talks us through her experience with the hope of helping others suffering with this condition.

After my first pregnancy eight years ago, I suffered with diastasis recti - the separation of my abdominal muscles - and I also had very loose skin on my tummy. I knew, of course, that my body would change after having a baby, but nothing could have prepared me for how dramatic this change was.

I had really bad stretch marks and a pouch where my abs had separated. I’m naturally very slim - I was a petite size six with abs before my first child - so the difference was very noticeable and I looked pregnant long after I’d given birth. Years later, people would still ask me when I was due. I’m quite a strong person and can generally brush things off, but over time it really did start to get to me.

The worst of it wasn’t how it looked, though, but how it felt. My abdominal muscles were no longer supporting and protecting my body as they should be, which meant that my whole abdominal area was extremely sensitive. Without the support of my abs, it was difficult to hold everything in, so I had a pouch that was constantly hanging out.

The worst of it wasn’t how it looked, though, but how it felt. My abdominal muscles were no longer supporting and protecting my body as they should be, which meant that my whole abdominal area was extremely sensitive.

I was scared to do any heavy lifting, worrying that it would strain my diastasis, I couldn’t let my child lay on me or run towards me for a hug out of fear of a knee or elbow to the stomach, and I could no longer practise yoga, which was a big part of my life. I struggled like this for years, including through the birth of my second child two years ago. During that pregnancy, my skin was so thin that you could see my baby’s hands and feet through my stomach.

I was so grateful to have had my children, and I felt guilty for feeling so unhappy with my body, but I really struggled. I wanted to fix my body as much for my children’s sake as for mine, so that I could be more hands-on with them.

Over the years, I tried to research diastasis recti, but I couldn’t find any useful information online. Nobody I knew had ever heard of it, even personal trainers at the gym, which felt really isolating. I went to a physiotherapist for my hips, which were misaligned and in pain as a result of the diastasis, and they were the first person I’d met that was familiar with the condition. They recommended some small exercises which really helped. That’s the strange things about diastasis recti - you can’t do sit-ups or any of the usual exercises you would do to tone your stomach as everything is so loose and fragile. You have to be so gentle with it.

I want to say a huge thank you to Amir and the team. It’s such an emotional and scary experience but I was made to feel so comfortable and cared for, and the whole process felt easy from start to finish.

I then found a post-natal yoga teacher locally, and she completely changed everything for me. She helped me to understand what I should and shouldn’t do, and helped me to build up my core strength even though I had a massive gap in my abdomen.

During this time, I’d been to the NHS to see if they could fix my diastasis. Their only solution was to open it all up and mesh it back together, and they warned me of the scarring and immobility it would cause, which naturally put me off as I wanted to regain control and mobility, not lose it even further.

I then spoke to a private consultant in Brighton, but they were going to charge £150 for an initial consultation, and I felt so fragile and sensitive about the whole situation that I didn’t go through with it.

Part of my research involved joining various Facebook groups, and it was here that I first saw Amir’s name mentioned. I watched some clips of him on the BBC’s Plastic Surgery Undressed, and I understood that he used individual stitches as part of the tummy tuck surgery he offers. Research shows that this process allows you more flexibility post op, which was really important to me as I wanted as much mobility as possible.

I booked a free consultation with Amir, and he was incredibly friendly and supportive. I felt I could call up anytime and ask questions without being a hassle. He seemed to have a lot of knowledge on my condition and I trusted his processes and techniques, so I decided to go ahead with the procedure.

My experience in surgery was as good as could be. I was absolutely terrified, but I was made to feel very supported and reassured, and my room was lovely and comfortable. After the surgery I felt incredibly emotional. My whole body had changed yet again, and even though it’s what I wanted, it was still a huge readjustment after so many years of having diastasis.

I healed well, and just five months on my body does look and feel amazing, both on a superficial level but also in the sense that it has given it structure and strength again. The surgery has healed so many of the other pains that I was experiencing, in my hips and my back, but also in my mind. I feel like I can hold my head up high and like I own my body again.

I’m no longer scared to pick up heavy things, my kids can run at me for a hug as much as they want, and I have my strength back when it comes to practising yoga - something I had really missed. I haven’t got my full range of flexibility back just yet, but hopefully that will come in time.

Your body is your vessel that carries you through life, and mine is finally back to carrying me properly. I hope that by sharing my experience, I’ll help others suffering with diastasis recti who currently feel as lost and as helpless as I did.

I want to say a huge thank you to Amir and the team. It’s such an emotional and scary experience but I was made to feel so comfortable and cared for, and the whole process felt easy from start to finish.

Research shows that this process allows you more flexibility post op, which was really important to me as I wanted as much mobility as possible.

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