Delilah Dior Dominica
A woman's journey exploring her passion for Faith, fashion and travel.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Whole 30 Recap

Well, friends, we made it to the end of Whole30. I am the type of person that pretty much will not quit something once I've committed to do it, which is why I really have to do my research before starting something. One of the things that most swayed me to dive into Whole30 with my family was the sheer amount of people willing to share their honest opinion and experience. The greatest resource to me besides the Whole30 book itself was the blog world. While I'm aware if you complete Whole30 following the strict guidelines to a "T" you'll see some immediate benefits, I also know if the lifestyle isn't maintained, the weight and cravings and food habits will return pretty quickly. My husband and I are passionate about giving our family the cleanest, most beneficial foods for our bodies as it is, but there are still some struggles woven in there from a carb lover (hi, nice to meet you) and a serious sweet lover (my husband sends his hello's.) We wanted to restructure cravings and also find a blank slate to work from when it comes to our 2 year old son's food aversions, unexplained rashes and tummy troubles. Whole30 looked like the perfect solution for all of us. I hope you find some inspiration and encouragement here to try this awesome commitment out for yourself. 

Overall Experience
 I actually didn't feel that awesome for a large chunk of Whole30. My stomach is pretty sensitive and temperamental and eating things like Ezekiel bread or some gluten free crackers and essentially carbs really calms it. To not have access to any of the things that typically do the trick posed some challenges when I found myself nauseous and cramping. I do always notice the cleaner I eat, the more my body speaks to me about what it does and doesn't want to eat. I remembered the blood work I got done to show what my body doesn't process well a few years ago and both chicken and turkey topped the list. My body "tolerated them" after a while so I reintroduced them in full force, continuing on with random stomach pains and nausea a few times a week. When I was sick every day for the first weeks of Whole30, I stripped everything on my food aversion list out of my diet and after a few days I felt much better. I will admit, I was pretty tired for a good chunk of these 30 days and never experienced the "Tiger Blood" rush of energy the book explained, but I also am a mama to a six month old and a two year old so nothing short of magic was going to fill me to the brim with energy. 

Physical Changes:
 My Diastasis Recti abdominal swelling and "mom pooch" that can't simply be exercised away is probably my biggest postpartum challenge. (read more about it here:) It's posed some new challenges both with confidence and exercise. While diligent physical therapy has helped me bring that gap from a three finger gap down to two, the bulge of those pesky organs between my abdomen is an unwelcome guest that is sticking around for now. Since I eat pretty clean and follow many of the Whole30 guidelines on a regular basis yet hadn't seen too big of a change in the separation area, I was pretty shocked to see the difference between my normal clean diet at 5.5 months postpartum and the Whole30 diet results 30 days later. Some of it is just the magic that happens 6 months postpartum for my body but most of it is this eating style. Trust me, if I planned on ever, EVER sharing these, I would have worn something much less offensive to the eyeballs- but in the spirit of serious vulnerability and full disclosure, here are my progress photos:

Go-To Meals

I cooked eggs and some form of meat every single day for my son and I and made a giant veggie and fruit smoothie for the three of us to share each day as well; mixing it, pouring out two portions and then adding Pea Protein and extra Spinach in for my husband. Some days I made hash browns, some days we had sweet potato, but typically it was eggs, turkey bacon (regular bacon or pork sausage for me) and a smoothie. 

Since O is vegan, I stuck to tons of veggies for him as well as coconut cauliflower rice, hearty salads, potatoes cooked every way imaginable and zucchini pasta ("noodles") with a homemade tomato sauce full of peppers, onions and mushrooms. For Oshiolema and I, we rotated chicken, approved chicken sausages, zucchini pasta with a meaty sauce, fish and burger patties. We ate every vegetable under the sun, frequenting squash, zucchini, asparagus, brussel sprouts, carrots and beets at least three times a week each. O is 100% Nigerian and plantain pretty much runs in his veins so we went through boatloads of plantain as well. For Oshiolema and I, pulled pork made an appearance a couple times and pulled pork with plantain is a whole lot like paradise. Buying Cauliflower Rice already broken down and Zucchini noodles already spiraled really saved me time. Also, the enormous sheet pan veggie roast was a daily lifesaver.  

Eating Out:
There are tons of options for eating our depending on where you go. Just don't make the mistake of guessing that if a place claims to be healthy their food is gluten/dairy/grain free. We didn't eat out much during this time period, but things I would feel safe grabbing are burger patties with greens, roasted chicken, grilled fish and steak. I would always specify that I am dairy and gluten free and requested things to just be cooked in olive oil.

Coconut Oil:
Coconut oil is subtle enough to cook anything with and flavorful enough to add some interest to sweet potatoes, veggies and such. 

Love Beets:
I kind of can't stand beets. They look, and taste, like dirt in my humble opinion. I know how healthy they are and plus my husband and son absolutely love them so I end up over the sink peeling beets in a fuschia mess a few times a week. Enter Love Beets. There are other "flavors" but the general idea is that the peeling, cooking and seasoning is done for you. Plus they're Non GMO Project certified and organic, which ticks off everything on the list. All the other flavors have sugar so they're not Whole30 approved but even I enjoyed the taste of these mild vinegar Beets. We ate them raw sliced up straight from the package and also baked on a big sheet pan roasted with carrots. Biggest time saver of Whole30 for sure!

Epic Jerky: 

Whole30 raves about the Epic brand on their website but I'm not an absolute die hard jerky person so I was a bit skeptical. Also, a picture of a turkey on the turkey jerky pretty much deterred me from ever eating it again, BUT- this sriracha cranberry jerky is incredible. So spicy and so addicting! 

Non-Peanut Nut Butters: 

While peanut butter is certainly the favorite in our house, peanuts aren't allowed on Whole30. I went nearly a year without nuts altogether and Oshiolema is nut intolerant. Sun butter is a life saver in these cases. Thankfully I've introduced nuts back into my diet and our favorite substitutions were the obvious almond butter and the not so obvious cashew butter (my personal favorite.) 

Coconut Water:

 I made a big smoothie every day and used coconut water as the base for its electrolytes and hydrating benefits. We got a huge box of them at Costco weekly. 

RX Bar:

 I'm naming these my Whole30 MVP, no question. I am a bar lover in a big way. At any given time I have one in my purse, two in the diaper bag and some in the car. I cannot be without them. The problem is, even though I eat super clean bars normally, none of them are whole 30 approved. In fact, only two bars are Whole30 approved: Larabar and RX Bar. The approved Larabar flavors tasted like dates and sawdust and feet to me so I was desperate and tried this new-to-me brand instead. I am converted! I don't know if I should admit this, but I had one every single day. Only a couple flavors are approved but the black and white bars are my two favorites. Let me read you the ingredient list: dates, egg whites, cashews, almonds, cacao, cocoa, sea salt. The end. You're welcome. 

Mixed Nuts:

 O and I went through a whole lot of containers of Costco mixed nuts. They're a life saver since there are very few "snack" options outside of raw veggies and raw fruit. A girl needs some crunch every now and then. 

Coconut Milk:

 I added this to cauliflower rice to make a sweet "rice," heated it up to pour over a baked apple with cinnamon and would add the liquid to smoothies for bulk and sweetness. It's definitely an essential.

General Takeaways:
I lost 6lbs with the assistance of exercise and toddler chasing/baby breastfeeding, leaving me 1lb away from my pre-babies weight. While I felt pretty tired and somewhat nauseous for a good chunk of the 30 day experience, the final week was worth the entire process. Yes there were cravings, mostly for french fries and a good bagel, but as I stated before, I regularly give up these foods which I'm certain lessened the blow. The greatest difficulties for me were the challenges of cooking every single meal each day rather than making my son a sandwich or just boiling some oatmeal on the stove in a pinch. The 4-5pm hour was pretty challenging each day with a hungry toddler with lots of questions and energy and willingness to help and a fussy baby that just wants to be veggies that needed peeling and sauce that needed simmering and so on. It taught me discipline and really showed O and I the desires we have for our family as it relates to eating. Prior to Whole30, we had woven in a big weekly dessert and a huge weekly pancake breakfast that really and truly just aren't necessary. We've figured out new ways to incorporate sweets into our lives each month rather than each week since Oshiolema has always been more than satisfied with a bowl of kiwi and sliced banana and coconut for dessert. I've found when we indulge in sweets it's more so for the acceptance and group experience than true personal need, so we're looking forward to eliminating the excess. 

I ended yesterday and while all along I was sure I'd be desperate for fries or toast or something, the only thing I indulged in were toasted coconut flakes and a decaf almond milk latte since it'd been four months since I last had a sip of coffee. To be honest, I totally felt (and see) a difference in my body and look forward to eating a mainly Whole30 diet for a very long, long time. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Life Lately

Hello Friends! 

You may have read here that I've given up social media and blogs for Lent. I am here to report this has been a transformative time like none other. While I give up Instagram and Facebook regularly and routinely, I've never actually replaced those things with better things. I made a conscious effort at the start of this just over a month ago that I wanted to use my time wisely. I have read two great books cover to cover, taken classes for illustration and photography, spent more time reflecting on my relationship with the Lord and just plain enjoyed free headspace. I can't recommend an extended break from social media enough. Here's what Team Atogwe has been up to since arriving back home in Virginia three weeks ago:

We're 21 days into Whole 30 in the Atogwe household. This means no grains (rice, bread, quinoa, etc.) no corn, no legumes (beans, peanuts etc.) no dairy, no sugar and so on. Meat. Eggs. Fruit. Vegetables. Cashews. Almonds. Repeat. While healthy eating is super important to my husband and I for both us and our kiddos, we have all had nagging food woes that needed to be addressed. I kind of cringed at the thought of not being able to make Oshiolema a sunbutter and jam sandwich for lunch or just pour a bowl of cereal for breakfast if need be, but I knew this was more than doable and committed to it. If you want to know more about how to succeed at Whole 30 with a 2 year old (or while breastfeeding), let me know and I'll create a post about that. Thankfully he is an incredible eater and doesn't bat an eye at eating beets or brussel sprouts every day. He also is a huge fan of the smoothie-every-single-morning thing. Some days have been harder than other for me personally, but I feel like I had a head start already being dairy and caffeine free for months before beginning. I feel incredible, I notice some of that postpartum mom tummy bearing a cousin-like resemblance of muscle and I am less ravenously hungry than when I began. I certainly wouldn't send a doughnut home right now though, you know what I mean?

We feel a bit of a ticking clock here in Virginia these days. We're not absolutely sure yet how long we'll be here. Because of this, we decided to have Family Day on Saturdays taking full advantage of being so close to D.C. Our first Saturday trip was to celebrate the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and take in all the pink our hearts could manage. Day trips with a six month old and two year old are always interesting, but always worth it.

We came home to a nursery that was fully boy. While I made sure the foundation of the room was neutral (grey, cream, brass) so I wouldn't have to fully change the room much between boy and girl babes, there were transformers and trucks and lots of boy details that quickly needed to change and make way for the princess. I've slowly but surely began moving things from other places in the house and from storage to girl-ify her room. I've enjoyed being able to tell O, "See? Aren't you glad I bought those drapes/that mirror/that artwork? I knew we'd use it someday" He's not as impressed as I imagined.

Keogena started eating solids right when we arrived home three weeks ago. The shift from only breastfeeding to having this little teeny baby sitting at the table with us for breakfast and dinner just makes her seem so much bigger to me. So far she's eaten avocado, zucchini, green beans, prunes, peas and butternut squash. She loves the spoon more than all of those.

Saving the best for last, my little sister Brooke and her husband are expecting their first baby in September!! We were all together the day they found out the news and have been bursting with joy ever since. Baby McReynolds will be exactly one year younger than Keogena, and Brooke will give birth at the same birth center Keogena was born in. Such a sweet, sweet season. Also, how beautiful is she? 

We have almost cleared through the avalanche of cardboard boxes and will soon be fully unpacked. Once I catch my breath, the organizing and deep Spring Cleaning can commence. I'm sending out prayers for a beautiful week wherever you are! Please have a coffee for me. And maybe a little teeny bite of a bagel with cream cheese. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Good Ol' Days

“I wish there was a way of knowing you’re in the good ol’ days before they’re gone.”
-Andy Bernard

I just spent the last eight months in the good old days. I recognized them coming before they began and saw the end approaching long before it came. In the spring of last year, I started to feel a sort of unrest. I was three months pregnant with Kaya, feeling unplugged and disconnected in Virginia and for the first time since moving to our home six years ago, it just wasn't feeling like home. We moved to Virginia when Oshiomogho signed with the Redskins and once he retired we really had no reason to be there anymore, except every time we started talking about moving we stared at our roots there, deep and wide, and realized they were too firmly planted to just yank out. 

On a quick business trip to Dallas years before, O looked at me and said "I think we're gonna live here one day.” Two years later my parents and three of my siblings moved to Dallas. Fast forward to now- My parents, my sister and brothe-in-law live in Dallas and I have three siblings, a nice and two cousins just two hours away in Waco. The statement made by my husband four years ago rings in my head on the regular, because how strange is it that the worlds most calculated man decides he wants to live in a place he's never been (outside of the football stadium) after one day of visiting? And how much stranger, even, does that become when said worlds most calculated man's in-laws move to said city out of nowhere? Taking cues from the sudden gaping hole in Virginia and stronger urge than ever to raise my babies surrounded by family, a highly unlikely idea formed in my heart, was approved by my mind and blurted out of my mouth. When Oshiomogho and I finished working out in our basement one night and we're stretching (a.k.a. panting in exhaustion on my part).. I placed a hand on my pregnant belly, looked at him and said “Can I ask you something? I know this is crazy and unnecessary and completely unrealistic but what do you think about moving to Dallas to have the baby?”

Worlds most calculated man looked at me with a smile and said, "I've actually been thinking the same thing." I was absolutely shocked, but you know when a plan that had about a .06% of success gets confirmed? It's just too good. I knew at this point the Lord had set this time apart for us to have a once in a lifetime chance. There were plenty of times between that day and the day we would make the temporary move five months later where we doubted our decision. We started focusing on things like not having a pediatrician or a midwife or any of those super important and pretty standard necessities when you’re 8 months pregnant. When my dad got a coaching job for the L.A. Rams and we realized my parents would be out of there home for the majority of football season it was confirmation again. We’d move in their house, have the baby, look after the home while they were away and soak up as much family time as possible until football season ended. My mom would fly back home at least every other week to help with the babies and just be the best mom in the world. It also gave us an opportunity to “try out” a city that was put on our hearts all those years ago. 

We moved and settled in, the Lord was so kind and so gracious to us, leading us every step of the way to a new birthing center and midwife, a new doula, a wonderful homeopathic pediatrician and an awesome children’s dentist. My siblings came up from Waco often and we saw my sister Brooke and her husband “Uncle Ice” (Oshiolema’s favorite person on the planet outside of his baby sister) at least three times a week. We were all on baby watch come September as Oshiolema was 2 weeks early and this baby had beens sitting low low loowww for months. My mom was only in Dallas for a few days and precisely two days before her flight back to L.A. and exactly one week before my due date, standing in church on Sunday, I knew today was the day. I labored slowly and quietly for the evening, watching football with family and being weepy about how life was about to change. Full on labor came on fast and furious, much unlike my 24 hour equally slow and intense labor last time around. My husband sent out the “it’s time” text to our family and everyone made their way to the birth center, including my baby sister who drove at lightning speed from Waco at 3am. I realized something while sitting in that birthing tub leaning over the edge. Two of my sisters were in the room giving me sips of ginger-ale and putting a cool rag on my forehead, my brother in law was downstairs patiently and anxiously waiting, my mom was home caring for my son and this was everything I dreamed it’d be. God led us to Dallas, God was faithful. 

Our children were so blessed by our time in Texas, from the endless spring weather allowing us to play outside every single day to the gift of a house full of people just about every weekend, abundant laughter and new experiences that have forever formed our little family. While it’s not time yet to stay, it couldn’t have been harder to go. Sometimes home doesn’t feel like home anymore after you leave the good ol’ days.

We spent three days last week journeying home and let me tell you, with a three day road trip with a toddler and a nursing infant BOTH with yucky colds-the cards were stacked against us. There were some get-me-out-of-here-this-second moments due to Keogena just plain despising her car seat most of the time, but it actually was wonderful. Looking in the backseat to see my toddler playing with his stickers, a truck and a slinky simultaneously and my baby girl happily sucking on a teething toy just about pushed me to my max capacity of love and contentment. (also, Oshiolema saying "It's okay, Princess, don't cry, just be happy!" Will never, ever get old.) Our time in Dallas shaped us, but no matter where we are, this is it. This is our team. And these are the days.

The movers arrived two days after us and just unloaded our last box, adding far too many boxes to the overstuffed to-do list. I need to Spring Clean. I need to move all my son’s things from the nursery to his new big boy room and make the nursery baby-girl acceptable. When we left home in July, I was eight months pregnant with an 18 month old baby boy and a mystery new baby distracting me from being fully present here. We opened the door with an incredibly grown up two year old and a daughter that had never been here before. It was equal parts surreal and beautiful. 

If you need us, we will be unpacking. And decorating. And running to Target and Whole Foods over.and.over. And whimpering because Whole 30 is kind of a bummer and I just really want a cookie. Though it’s time to move on and start a whole new chapter, that last one was pretty stinkin’ great. Thanks for the memories, Dallas. 

And who would I be if I didn't leave you with way too many photos? Let's watch my babies grow up, and cry together, shall we? Let's start with July and end with March...get a cup of coffee or something. It's a doozy.

One week before moving to Dallas

Moving Day! After 30 flights, somebody finally got his first pair of wings! (He was so proud. Also, look how little and precious he is!)

the day we found our birth center..the porch swings really sealed the deal.

 happy halloween!

my sleepy two month old baby girl

are you so impressed by our self timer christmas morning photo? such high quality. so professional. 

this kid had his heart set on being potty trained before his second birthday- probably because he saw one too many "baby" diapers and wanted to be a big kid. 
what a champ.

 big brother turned 2 January 14th! I went to town with the moon theme.

 (my sister brooke made this goodbye cake for us...vegan and all.)

and this was taken yesterday, so we have reached the end. p.s.those matching sweatshirts are the type of thing that my mama heart finds most precious in the world. 

these are the days.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Why I'm giving up Social Media for Lent

My phone was packed to the brim with birth videos, screenshots of dream bathrooms and toddler voice videos that hadn't been backed up for nearly nine months. It finally waved the white flag and for whatever reason, I had peace. I was devastated when the sweet teenager at Apple told me there was nothing he could do to recover anything from the device, but instead of questioning his effort and skill (not my proudest attributes) I kindly accepted the news and believed wholeheartedly I'd get those images back. Much to my surprise, though, I didn't miss the actual phone itself one single bit. 

In that moment I trusted the Lord was showing me something. It has been 8 days since I've had a phone to carry around and I have experienced unrivaled freedom and contentment. I still can access social media on my iPad but there has been a literal weight lifted just from being "off the grid." When I'm outside playing with my babes, I'm present. When I'm on a walk, I'm present. When I'm driving or at the store or on a date, I'm present. And it hit me somewhere between day one and day eight that I was way more distracted than I thought. I admire my friends that can not look at their phone for days. So many people don't struggle with this whatsoever. And while with a toddler and infant I certainly am slower to return texts, emails and phone calls but somehow I seem to have no problem at all checking Instagram and Pinterest far too many times a day. Social Media presents us with so many wonderful things from inspiration to connection and while it isn't inherently bad, it does have the potential to bring about jealousy, false connection, covetous hearts, distraction, deception, pride and all those other buzz words in me that just aren't lovely. 

My two greatest personal challenges with social media and blogs are: One, at the end of the day, I don't like the way they me feel. Distracted from what really matters and laser focused on what doesn't, filled with pride and yet filled with insecurity and in a constant state of comparison... it's self promotion at its core. I want to be seen as funny and beautiful and such a great homemaker and the best mom and a hot caring wife but those should all be inward goals lifted up to the Lord not outward goals lifted up to "followers."  TwoI don't use the word hate often, it's harsh and gritty but I can honestly say I hate looking up from scrolling or typing on my phone to see my son had been trying to get my attention. I feel like a fraud when I ruin a moment to setup a photo shoot in hopes of recreating something genuine to post a photo of it and caption it for Instagram. I realize and ignore far too often the fact that I'm missing it sometimes. I am missing genuine authentic moments and opportunities to grow with my husband and friends and oh man, my sweet babies. If you have kids, like me, you see the daily tug of war between wanting to completely check out in front of a screen of any kind (or all kinds thankyouverymuch) and wanting to put it away because you want to be equal parts present and a good example. It's hard not to want to zone out at times on a job as all-encompassing as motherhood! But the best way I know how to make decisions is to treat others the way I want to be treated, and since becoming a Mama the best way I know how to parent is to live the life I want my babies to live

I am fiercely protective over my son only watching one program a day after breakfast and not letting him have any other screen time. Why? Because when an episode of his beloved Bubble Guppies used to end he would cry. Like, bawl his eyes out. Because of the full blown earth-shattering tantrum that played out after a YouTube video of row row row your boat was over. And because I know ever since I got that Motorola brick phone in seventh grade just for emergencies, It had a hold on me. Like a gravitational pull. I couldn't text, had no internet and had to keep it on a basket on the countertop whenever I walked through the front door of our house but I could play snake and stare at that screen long and hard, obsessing over nothing. I felt instantly that I needed it. I went twelve years without it and within a month of having it, that phone was part of me. When I look around at my peers I'm faced with the fact that we are a generation of screen addicts. If our kids start as young as the age of one  needing a screen for entertainment/pacifying/distraction, we are giving them no chance. They won't know how to use their imagination to pass time, how to process emotions through conversations with mommy and daddy and Jesus or how to learn the discipline and self control it takes to just have to sit still sometimes. I can't teach my babies what I haven't mastered in myself, so I'm on a mission to master this.

The same day my phone died a sad death, I ordered a book called "Hands Free Mama" and I've enjoyed every word so far. Truth be told, for nearly a year I only went on social media on the weekends. It was wonderful. Before that I had given up social media, blogs and online shopping for chunks of time pretty regularly. Then my second pregnancy happened and I needed a distraction during those long hard days. Then newborn-hood happened and I needed entertainment while nursing. Then life happened and I'm on my phone more than I'd like to be and I wrestle with it on the regular because while everyone has different calling and convictions, I know the Lord is calling me to find quiet, to be present and be intentional with my time. (I often realize this as I'm holding my iPad in my hand, my laptop in my lap while staring at the TV.)  So when it came time to decide what I wanted to offer up to the Lord for Lent, the phone that had already imploded popped into my mind. Honestly, I thought "no, that's too hard. Too much. I'm rebranding my blog, I need to be posting great photos and liking photos and growing my following! " And that, friends, is exactly how you know you've chosen the right thing to give up for Lent. That thing that is too hard and too much with too great a hold on you is usually precisely what needs to be let go. And so I'm letting it go. 

I'll still be posting here so check back periodically, but in the meantime I'd love to know, what are you planning on giving up for Lent tomorrow? Is anyone else feeling too strong of a pull to their phones? I plan on diving into His Word in a new, rich way during this time. My goal is to read more books, spend more time playing on the floor with my babies and and writing. I pray these 40 days teach me to dedicate my days to the Lord and offer up those moments where I'm seeking approval or affirmation or distraction to Him and find all that He has for me instead. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Diastasis Recti

At my final postpartum check I explained I was having significantly more back pain than my usual herniated disc related pain and somehow felt my workouts were making me look pregnant rather than fit. My midwife had me lay on my back and felt around my abdomen and told me I have a significant separation at 2+ inches apart called Diastasis Recti.  I learned this is what "mom pooch" is- abs muscles separated and literally creating a bulge of tissue between them. I was healthy and active during my pregnany, but I had no idea many of the exercises I was doing actually made me more susceptible to abdominal separation after I had the baby. The most likely cause in my situation, however, was getting pregnant after having my first baby before my abdominal muscles had time to heal and fully come back together. 

Every postpartum exercise I had been doing was on the no-no list (like push, ups, burpees, planks and such) and I am re-learning how to exercise, stand, carry my babies and sit in hopes of bringing them as close as possible before the next pregnancy.  I'm bummed to say the least, but this is my reality. To be honest, my most whiny inner self is just really frustrated about not being able to do what I want to do. I like to lift heavy. I like to sprint. I like throwing weight around. I've always had to be cautious with my back but in these past three years of growing and nursing babies have been such a challenge for my physical make up. 

I've gained about 40lbs with both pregnancies and while I'm a few pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, I just knew something was off with my core. Thankfully I have a dear friend who had twins and was pregnant again when they were just 8 months old. She also has Diastasis Recti and has given me hope as well as advice for maintaining healing. So, Who shares this same struggle with me? What physical therapy/exercise/stretches do you find helpful? How did you close the gap? I know the only way to permanently close it is plastic surgery but that is strictly after the last baby and frankly, at 26 years old I just want to be strong without waiting for the growing babies season of my life to be over to walk in confidence. Please share your story with me!