Monday, July 11, 2011

TMI Confessions: Just Get Me to the Bathroom On Time

incontinence following birth

Ever wonder why, as soon as you see that plus line on a pee stick, every woman you know who has had a bad pregnancy or a bad labor and delivery will simply not stop regaling you with tales of their trauma? It may be that they are secretly hoping that the same thing happens to you because they feel all alone in "throwing up all day, every day for nine months" or "tearing from here to here" or "pushing for thirty-six hours straight". Or maybe, just maybe, they are trying to warn you! (Maybe both.)

Honestly, I have no reason at all for sharing today's TMI confession, other than that I figure ladies without babies ought to know about one of the most common consequences of carrying an infant to term and then giving birth the old fashioned way. That would be INCONTINENCE, for those not in the know. Polls show that twenty-one percent of women who give birth vaginally report bladder leakage to some degree. And that's apparently right away. Wait twelve years and ask women again, and just over half of women reported urinary incontinence.

Oh, maybe I should actually lay out my TMI confession, which is this... Following pregnancy and birth, yours truly joined that twenty-one percent of ladies. I can just hear you now: GROSSSSSSSSSSS! Yeah, well, that's the human body for you. Mama Nature is nothing if not disgusting! And it's not like I'm sitting here wearing a pair of Depends undergarments as I write this. Urine is not spraying out of me at all times. 

Do I pee when I lift heavy boxes?

Do I let loose a stream when I giggle?
Also no.

But I'll be darned if I can make it to the bathroom in the middle of the night when Nature's Call is particularly urgent without getting just a little leaky.

Grosssssssss, right? 

But more common than you might think! Remember, twelve years after having a baby via the vagina, half of all mamas report some degree of incontinence. It wasn't always an issue for me. Once upon a time, my bedroom was right next to the bathroom. All I had to do was roll out of bed and stumble over to the toilet. In the dark? Not a problem. Worst that ever happened was that I found myself with a wad of cat puke under my heel. Now, I have to deal with the occasional 2 a.m. wardrobe change because getting to the toilet involves sprinting down stairs, opening a baby gate latch, and even sometimes undoing a baby safety toilet latch thing.

Aren't you glad you read this post? Ha ha, not.

Does this problem affect all mamas? Nope - not the exclusive c-section mamas who've never once pushed (since if you've done any pushing at all you're still at risk) or the lucky half who just happen to avoid the curse in the long term - but lots of 'em! Maybe someday science will figure out a way to repair or avoid pelvic floor trauma that does not involve a 100% c-section rate.

Until then, I'll be over here at my desk, doing my Kegels like a boss and crossing my fingers.


  1. C-section elite here, but I feel for you, I really do! My best friend is having the same problem as you. Pregnancy, with any kind of delivery, does some wacky things to our bods. Hang in there!

  2. Thanks, Saretta! It's amazing how bodies change after having babies, even with c-sections and awesome pre-natal care. As natural as I try to be in my personal care, it makes me glad I live in a technological time!

  3. Also, P.S. - I am extremely jealous of your geographical location! :)

  4. i did not pee a little while dancing to fatboy slim in a crowded club a few weeks ago. nope, uh-uh. *hides*

  5. Four years on, and only after pushing an itty-bitty baby out, and suddenly I start leaking with sneezes. Maybe 1 in 20? I am the Kegel QUEEN and it still happens. Argh.


    E.H.: Indeed, I believe my Babby was roughly the same size, and this whole BATHROOMINEEDBATHROOM thing only began fairly recently. I thought I'd escaped this one, but apparently I only dodged it a few years.

  7. This is the only time I have been glad to have had a C-Section. There was a time when I had winters full of a really bad respiratory thing and the coughing often brought on a little leaking. So, it's not just you "pushers". thanks for bringing a sensitive subject to light :)

  8. thank god it is only ever a tiny bit and not at all noticeable by the general public. but still odd nonetheless!

  9. Sometimes truth is ugly! LOL - I have a bladder of steal until I walk through the door of my house - then it is a major sprint to the bathroom! LOL

    BTW - Thanks so much for your comment at SITS on my SITS Day! All those words of encouragement amazed me. SITS made a tiny-weeney mistake - my name is Maryleigh, not Melissa! Just thought I'd pass that along! Again, thanks for the sweet words!

  10. I'm in your camp and I hate it the 2 am nature calls.

  11. *raising hand as part of the 21%* *sigh* Sneezing has become my worst enemy. lol
    I am new follower, found you via Gin after reading and loving "how-blogging-has-changed-both". I look forward to more!

  12. Oh God. You know, when mothers are begging for grandkids, they leave all this stuff out. THANK YOU FOR THE HEADS UP. lol. And thanks for visiting me on my SITS day. I am beyond late in returning the favour but I also really love your blog and I am now following.

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