When American long-distance runner Stephanie Bruce took time off her regular training schedule to focus on raising her family, the last thing she expected to happen was to go viral.
It all started when Stephanie gave birth to her two sons only 15 months apart. Naturally, the new mom’s body was no longer the same. The pregnancy not only made her lose her runner’s six-pack but she also developed a deep cavity near her belly button.
Stephanie Bruce: Olympic Hopeful Inspires Women with ‘Real’ Post-Baby Body
A woman goes through drastic changes after she gives birth. Even when the uterus begins to shrink back to its normal size, the abdominal muscles continue to get stretched out. It takes time coupled with the right amount of exercise and diet to really get the body back in shape. On some occasions, women never get that pre-baby body back. Many people may think that this is not exactly a bad thing as the feeling of bringing a human to the world is irreplaceable, but they do not understand how situations like these can sometimes take a toll on one’s self-esteem. For certain cases, getting back in shape is crucial for their career.
No one knows this better than Olympic runner Stephanie Bruce. The 32-year-old mother had been trying to get back in shape, even sharing her post-pregnancy body struggles online. Her Instagram photos and blog posts got the attention of other mothers who have gone through the same thing, and she quickly went viral.
“As a professional runner, not a lot of women take time off in their careers to have a baby, because there’s a lot of fear about getting back to your pre-baby self,” Stephanie wrote. “A lot of us have sponsors. We don’t have maternity leave. We won’t necessarily be getting paid while we’re pregnant.”
Scroll down for the video
Additionally, Stephanie noticed a deep cavity near her belly button. It turned out to be diastasis recti or abdominal separation, a condition commonly observed in pregnant women. Although this is completely treatable, Stephanie continued to struggle with other postpartum condition such as frequent urination and constantly feeling worn out. Still, the new mom wanted to encourage other women that if she could pull through this, so can they.
Today, Stephanie continues to run marathons. She recently completed the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, where she finished 22nd place.