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I have already told you a couple times about The Tummy Team I participated in, and I hinted at a result of the core strengthening that was exciting for me. It begins with a loooooong story. I’d keep it short, but where’s the fun in that?

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When my sixth baby was about three months old, I was doing a Pilates video that had me stick my big toes in my opposite ears while pointing my derriere up to the north star and scratching the back of my knees with my teeth. At least, that’s what it felt like. Something tweaked on my body, so I stopped, because I’m smart like that…but obviously not smart enough to not do the whole toe-in-ear thing in the first place.The next morning, after nursing my baby lying down, I rolled over and a severe pain shot through my ribcage.

I’m not a short term pain wimp, People. I’ve had seven children naturally. I can handle temporary discomfort. This pain was intense! And it was anything but temporary.

I sought chiropractic care. I took refuge in a bottle of Advil ( and I don’t do drugs). I paced the floor every night, unable to rest or get comfortable or control the pain until the medication dulled it enough that I could give into my exhausted stupor for three or four hours. I slept in another room with just baby (instead of the three other people that shared my room at the time) so nobody would touch me. I wouldn’t accept hugs, which, for this mama of seven, was a big deal. I became best buds with ice packs and hot water bottles. I could barely sit down, and lying down was out of the question. I was a mess, a great big in-pain sniveling grumpy mess. I wasn’t really sniveling, but I like that word.

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I couldn’t even let these beautiful babies hug me! I was one miserable mama.

About five weeks later, it gradually went away. The chiropractor said it was likely a dislocated rib. Who knows? The point is that it hurt, and I never wanted to feel like that without getting a baby out of it ever again. Yeah, it was that bad.

It went away, and I never did Pilates again, but it didn’t completely heal. I had to be careful about the angles I nursed lying down, careful not to twist too far, careful to only get up certain ways, careful not to sit wrong in the van. That was five years of being careful and aware—I was on careful and aware overload, People!

I would still feel twinges like those I felt before the big BANG happened in my ribcage. I would feel the warning and I would carefully adjust my position or lie completely still and try to relax while internally freaking out like a crazy mama with no cookies in the cookie jar. I did not wanna go there again!

So here’s the exciting part of this story. I realized five weeks into The Tummy Team that I had shifted my awareness to engaging my abs the way Kelly taught me. I also realized that the warning twinges that had become a part of my life were g-o-n-e, gone! They took a hike to the Himalayas, a trip to Timbuktu, a trek to Tibet. Wherever they were, they were not a part of my life anymore, and that’s exactly how I wanted it.

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Trekking through the national parks with 20 pounds of love strapped to my chest.

It makes sense. Kelly teaches that one of the various sets of abdominal muscles wraps around the ribcage. As you practice with Kelly over the weeks, you start to feel these muscles and control them. They’re like a big ol’ Gramma hug that holds everything together and makes your world feel just right.

I know you’re not as excited about this as I am, but, People, it was like my cookie jar was broken with huge gaping cracks and I was still required to fill it for hungry hands every day. I was holding it together with masking tape, when a perfectionist suddenly grabbed my cookie jar when I wasn’t paying attention and seamlessly gorilla-glued it back together so you can barely if at all see the once-gaping cracks. That’s what it’s like. I can do what needs to be done without the masking tape. It’s wonderful!

I want a cookie.

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This is what my life demands of me, and it helps to have a strong core to live as pain-free and fancy-free as possible. What is fancy-free anyway?

Coming up: what happened when I fell off the wagon, why I’m gorilla-gluing myself back on the wagon, and a special surprise for you!

To hear more of my thoughts on The Tummy Team, check out these posts:

Click here to learn more about The Tummy Team from Kelly. Just do it.