Professional runner Stephanie Bruce took some time off to have a child and is now training for the Olympics.
But she is speaking out about the “grand canyon in the middle of my stomach” – a disfiguring condition called diastasis recti that occurs when abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy.
“I believe there’s a secret club of women suffering from the same case that I have,” she told INSIDE EDITION. “If you have no one talking about it, you would have no idea why your skin is this loose and why you have back pain.”
To encourage others like her, the Arizona woman runs a blog and posts photos of herself training. She also uploads images of her sagging stomach to Instagram.
She has many fans, and some detractors.
“A lot of the feedback was ‘Why does this stomach look like this? Why can’t she just cover it up?’’’
Her coach, Ben Rosario, says she is an inspiration.
“I’m sure there are other women dealing with the same thing Stephanie is, and not talking about it, so it’s pretty brave of her,” he said.
For Stephanie, “it doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s a matter of how you feel and how strong you are.”