Me and my bladder had a slightly dysfunctional relationship even before the children desecrated my lady garden. We rushed to hospital when I was 37 weeks pregnant only to discover that it was not in fact my waters that had broken, but more my pride. We left the maternity ward with my husband belly laughing and asking me if we had genuinely raced all the way here because I’d pissed myself in the hallway. Sadly this was the case, and I shamefacedly left for home, overnight bag in hand – (well husband’s hand, despite the laughing, he is a Gent)
And really from here, it was downhill all the way. The midwives tell you all about your pelvic floor, they talk you through the exercises. I sort of paid attention, but much like when people warned me that it would soon happily leave the house without brushing my hair, I kind of assumed that it wouldn’t happen to me. I hadn’t really realised that after childbirth, the following situations would be like playing Russian roulette with my continence:
- Running – I don’t mean actual organised running. I mean the kind of random bursts of activity with are generated by a toddler who thinks he’s spiderman. The 10 meter dash you do from one child to the other across the playground as you spot the toddler hanging upside down from a swing (how?). The school run sprint when you realise you didn’t set the cooker clock properly after the clocks went back and you’re actually late to pick up. This is ill advised. Running is not my friend.
- The Hokey Cokey. This seems like safe ground. Who would suspect such a family friendly dance was actually so dangerous? Your left leg and your right arm go in and out with no problems, all is well. The baby is having a nap and the 2 year old Diva is in hysterics, she can’t wait to shake it all about, you dance and sing together. You feel delighted to be bonding over your love of crap party songs. But when its time to put your whole self in, take my advice, don’t bother. That jump, that jump is dangerous. That jump might leave you running upstairs to get changed, shouting Mummy’s just doing a wee, back soon. The accuracy of this statement was frankly shameful.
- The trampoline. This is well known for being dangerous. It’s often discussed that many Mummies struggle on a trampoline. My kids know that before we go in, we all have to go for a wee. I say it’s because the Diva might wet herself. She might, (like mother like daughter) however the bladder most likely to be completely voided, sadly isn’t hers.
- The kids. Those crazy little human beings are frankly hilarious. I have been known to laugh until a tiny bit of wee came out, while my naked daughter does an unexpected Morris-Dance with two pairs of her pants as hankies. I have sat with tightly crossed legs as my son runs laps of the house with a small plastic boat, shouting “shit, shit” (I was laughing so much I couldn’t even correct him.)
So if you’re reading this and you haven’t yet had a baby, for the love of God, do your pelvic floor exercises. If you’ve had some kids and your pelvic floor has done you proud, go you! Feel glorious. And if you’ve ever had to reach for the Tena-Lady, treat yourself to a metaphorical hug from me (and maybe a little slice of Swiss-roll), you are not alone. However if you’re a smug faced, dry panted man, be grateful. In the wise words of that bloke in Braveheart, They can take your sex life, they can take your sleep, but they’ll never take your continence! (well he said something like that anyway).
PS – Did you manage to get to the end of this post without feeling compelled to do your pelvic-floor exercises??