What Pelvic Floor?
My pelvic floor. Not something I thought about much or really, ever, until after I delivered my second child. Yes, I knew a bit about pelvic floor health. Sure, I had heard of kegels. But did I know how important they were to do before, during, and after pregnancy? According to a brochure I picked up recently from my OB/GYN’s office, one out of two women experience bladder issues at some point in their lives. So why aren’t we talking more about this?
When I was pregnant with my first child, I signed up for and took all the recommended courses:: labor and delivery, breastfeeding, how to care for a newborn, CPR, and first aid. There wasn’t a single class, however, that prepared me for how to take care of my own body post-delivery. Sure, I had read the books and knew that it would take at least 6 weeks for everything to, well, shift back into place. And for the most part, after I had my babies, everything did.
Except, after I had my second child, I started experiencing something that is not uncommon for many women:: I was leaking urine whenever I tried to exercise. It was absolutely mortifying and completely humiliating. Terrified that I would have an “accident”, I had to say no when my toddler asked me to jump on the giant bouncy pillow during her friend’s third birthday party at Wonderwild. Instead, I told her that Mommy was tired and sent my husband over instead. Another time, she asked me to play hopscotch with her in our backyard. I grabbed some sidewalk chalk and offered to draw pictures with her in lieu of jumping. I was devastated that I couldn’t do the things that I used to do with my sweet girl… and I was also feeling super embarrassed.
One Sunday morning a few months after these incidents, I was chatting with a good friend in our church’s mothers’ room. We had bonded over many mornings of nursing and rocking our babies together during service and our conversations were always open and free of judgment. Somehow we got on the topic of postpartum health, and she confided in me that she had also experienced bladder incontinence issues following the birth of her second child. She asked me if I had thought about going to pelvic floor physical therapy for help. I remember feeling taken aback… I had thought my only option was mesh bladder sling surgery!
She gave me the number to her urologist and also told me to check out her pelvic floor physical therapist Instagram. I made an appointment the next day after spending the evening reading through all of her posts. Finally, I felt hope. It was time to stop suffering in silence and to ask for help.
It’s Never Too Late!
Today, I have an amazing physical therapist who has helped me tremendously in my journey to re-strengthen my pelvic floor. I was almost in tears after my first session with her because she helped me see that I didn’t have to live like this anymore… and that things could and would get better. So, mama, if you’re reading this now and wondering- am I alone in this? Will things ever get better? No, you are not, and yes- they will!
- “Rethinking Postpartum Care” TED Talk
- The Vagina Whisperer
- Pelvic rehabilitation support locator
- Pelvic floor physical therapist locator
- Leva, an at home digital pelvic floor strengthening device
- Easy Kegel (KPFE), a free tracking app available via the App Store