The time I peed myself
I still remember the first time I peed myself. It was when I was 6 months pregnant with my first kid. We were walking back to the car after a night out with friends and as I was coming up to our vehicle, I coughed hard and I felt it. I wasn’t sure what exactly had happened but I definitely knew that this was something that I wouldn’t be sharing with my spouse. I was embarrassed. I was disgusted. I was worried.
When I got home and had some time, I did the same thing that I’m sure most first time moms do…I Dr. Googled it. What I found was that so many other moms experienced peeing themselves (or incontinence) too and so it was no big deal, almost a rite of passage. So I continued on thinking that this was ok and peeing myself almost every time I coughed for the remainder of my pregnancy.
Fast forward to after I gave birth. About 6 weeks or so after I had my little one friends of mine asked me if I could sub in for a volleyball game. I love playing volleyball and although I hadn’t played since high school, have always secretly wished that I could play every week on a team. I jumped at the chance and was excited to get back to being active. I mean I had been active after having my kid. I went for walks almost the next day and thought it was a good thing to get back to it. I had my 6-week check and was cleared to be as active as I wanted. (Let’s be honest, I had my doctor ask me how I felt, he looked at my baby, and then proceeded to ask me about my contraceptive choice. Not once did he take a look down there, even though I had stiches, and just cleared me. But that’s another conversation for another day). So, off I went, ready to relive my high school glory days.
I was about half way through the first set when I went up to block at the net. I jumped, I landed, and I peed. I was confused, worried, and unsure what to do. The set finished and I ran to the bathroom. Luckily I had a panty liner in my bag so I grabbed that and stuck it in my underwear and debated what to do. My mind raced…do I just leave, do I continue playing pretending all is good, do I not play full out??? So many questions ran through my mind but I couldn’t give up. I ended up playing the rest of the game, ignoring the peeing that happened every time I jumped, and left there in tears, crying almost the whole way home. I didn’t know what to do. Here I was, a fitness professional, a person with knowledge of the body and how it moves and yet where I thought to start will make you laugh. I knew about Kegel muscle exercises and thought that since I had already been doing those, I had to up my game. Enter the Kegel balls. Yup, Kegel balls. I rushed online and bought these balls from a sex toy website and prayed that they got to my house fast enough to solve this problem I had ASAP.
By this point I had to tell my hubby about my embarrassing volleyball story in case he looked at the credit card statement and thought we were buying a sex swing or something. I shrugged it off, laughing that it was just so silly so as to not make him feel uncomfortable but inside I was dying. I felt so scared that I would pee myself forever.
A week or so later, the balls came in the mail in a discrete package. I was ready to try them out and when I had a moment to myself, I put them in. It felt weird. I thought I’d wear them around the house, like a boss, and did so for about 15 minutes until my nether regions were tired. I took them out and went about the rest of my day feeling like I had my solution. Time lapse to later that night when I got, for the second time ever (first being right after pushing my kid out) a hemorrhoid. It was the most uncomfortable, deflating thing ever. My solution came at a price and that price was almost worse than the problem. I never ended up using the balls again and they still sit in a drawer collecting dust.
I still needed a solution. I remembered a friend of a friend coming over to my house when I was pregnant and telling me about how bad her nether regions had been since having her little one. She had stopped over on her way to a physiotherapist appointment at a local clinic. She told me about how there were specialized PTs who dealt with womanly problems post baby who worked at the clinic. At the time I probably looked at her like she was an alien and I’m ashamed to say that I thought she probably didn’t do her Kegel exercises during pregnancy and that’s why she was having problems. In my mind there was no way that I would need help like she was getting since I squeezed them pretty faithfully. Thinking about this now gives me the worst feeling in my gut that I was so wrong, and I wish I could have taken the time to listen more and be more open to what she was saying.
Anyways, after this hemorrhoid ordeal, I ended up calling that clinic. I got in with a pelvic health physiotherapist and was amazed at what she told me. I personally didn’t have a problem with engaging those darn Kegel muscles. I actually had NO CLUE how to relax them. My mind was BLOWN. Relax them? No one ever told me about relaxing those muscles, or that there is so much more to it than doing Kegel exercises!
Looking back on it now, it seems like a DUH moment. As an exercise professional and former athletic therapist, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it. Actually, that’s a lie. I do. I didn’t ever think about it because no one EVER talks about it. No one talks about peeing yourself, about pelvic pain with sex, about feeling like your inners are falling out of your vagina whether with pregnancy or not. Heck, even saying the word vagina can make you feel dirty!
Through all this, I’m here to say that you can talk about all of these things. Openly, honestly, and I will be here to listen. And if you’re at the point where I was when I first heard about pelvic health PTs and not ready to talk about this, whenever you need to, I’ll still be here. The stigma behind pelvic health needs to end. I know it won’t end soon, but I hope that by sharing my story you might feel more empowered to do something about it. You don’t need to pee yourself. You don’t need to have pelvic pain. You don’t need to live with these things happening to you because there is help. And it’s not a bad thing to ask for it.
P.S. I also know some pretty great pelvic health physiotherapists!
Here’s a few in case you need:
Mandy @core.believers (instagram), www.nurtureher.ca
Kristen @mother.nurture.physio (instagram), www.mothernurturephysio.com