I like to think of myself as a pretty “easy going” person. I mean, I love schedules and routines, and I love being productive and getting things done, but I don’t get easily worked up. But I can tell you that there are a few things that will get me worked up every time. Let me explain.
When I was pregnant with my oldest, I was running, A LOT. It was pretty well know to my classmates (PT school), my friends, and basically anyone who spent more than 5 minutes talking to me that I was a runner. With this came so many comments about how running “would never be the same” after having a baby. Or how they “wish” (don’t get me started in wishing, another day, another time) they could still run but their body just couldn’t do it. Or my favorite, when someone told me I should invest in panty liners because that was the only way they could run without having to change their pants since having a baby. (Like really? Can you say chaffing?) All of these comments were pointing to the same thing, having a baby equals loss of bladder control and that is NORMAL. I am here to tell you that just because something is COMMON, does not mean that it is NORMAL.
Things that are common:
The common cold
Neck pain, especially if you work at a desk job or have poor posture
Back pain after standing in one place for too long
Diaper rash on a newborn baby
HAVING A WEAK PELVIC FLOOR AFTER PREGNANCY AND DELIVERY
I could go on, but I hope we are seeing a trend, just because something is COMMON does not mean that it is NORMAL. Just because something is COMMON, does not mean we have to accept that “things are just different and there is nothing we can do about it”. When we have a cold, we try to help our bodies heal and take whatever medication will help us sleep and feel better.
When we have neck or back pain, we stretch, move, massage, take a hot shower, etc. To try and help alleviate that pain.
When we have a newborn with a diaper rash, we Google every possible solution and try just about anything to get the poor kid some relief.
Why, then do we not try to do this for ourselves? Why have we all accepted that motherhood equals wetting your pants when you cough or sneeze? Or when you jump? Or run?
We don’t and shouldn’t have to accept this as our “new normal” once we have little ones in our lives. Wetting your pants when you sneeze, cough, jump, exercise, etc actually has a name, it is called Stress Incontinence. It’s a condition, it’s treatable if you know what to do and who to talk to.
Pelvic floor recovery is so often overlooked during postpartum recovery and it really is a huge disservice to the women who struggle to regain some sense of normalcy and activity routine post baby. We tend to feel that we need to bounce back to our exercise routine that we forget what our body just went through and that it needs time to heal and recover. I can confidently say that when we take time to heal, recovery, and strength those muscles that just went through hell, we recovery faster, better, and feel much more confident.
So what do I recommend? Hands down, my recommendation to EVERYONE who has had a baby is to to see a physical therapist that specializes in the pelvic floor or women’s health. Didn’t know that was a thing? Well, it is and these people are amazing. Most of the time, it is a simple matter of learning which muscles you need to strengthen and how to do that properly. And another little secret, “kegals” are not always the answer. Most people actually don’t do kegals correctly anyways, which is why seeing someone that is trained in this area is so important.
I have found, in talking with friends and coworkers, that this is something that most of us moms experience but are too embarrassed to talk about, which is often why we don’t seek help. I’ve made it a goal of mine to bring it up and make it a discussion because it isn’t something to be embarrassed about, it just happens and we need to know how to address it so we can help our bodies recover adequate and return to our activities/exercise/life without having to worry about if we are going to sneeze and wet our pants (I mean, I have enough to worry about without that).
Now, let me just add, once we are postpartum, we are always postpartum. It doesn’t matter if we have a teenager or a newborn, once a baby exits your body, you are postpartum. It is never too late to start taking care of bodies and helping them recovery from bringing little people into the world.
So, if you find yourself needing to change your pants after you workout, crossing your legs when you sneeze, avoiding jumping, or something along those lines, know you are not alone. You don’t have to accept that “this is just your life now”, because you deserve more than that. Please reach out if you are unsure of where to go and I would love to help, because mom life is awesome, crazy, and busy, and the only wet pants you should need to worry about are the ones on your kids!