In France, pelvic floor physiotherapy is a standard part of care after women give birth. Apparently, the French believe that women should be able to enjoy sex and not pee themselves after having babies! Revolutionary.
Most North American mothers take it for granted that once you have something the size of a bowling ball pass through your wherever, things will never be the same again. Vulvas are superstars of stretch, but you can take a good thing too far. Peeing our pants when we laugh or sneeze is basically just the secret handshake of the Mom Club.
A month after my second baby was born, my midwife asked me about peeing my pants. “It should resolve as you heal,” she said, CASUALLY, “and if it doesn’t, here’s a number to call. This clinic has great pelvic floor physiotherapists.”
I’m not doomed to peeing my pants a little for the rest of my life??!!!!!
This woman was blowing my mind. Totally relaxed, sipping her tea and knitting socks (not really, but she may as well have been), and dropping bombs. Acting like it was nothing. I felt my heart leap, and my whole body exhale. I couldn’t believe that there existed an entire group of specialists dedicated to helping women repair the damage caused by childbirth, and I’d never heard of it. I didn’t have to resign myself to all the clichés of post baby body betrayal. I was going to get better.
You better believe that I was not going to lose that number. It took me six more months to make time for that phone call, and in the end it wasn’t the dribbling that put me over the edge, even though the dribbling SUCKS. Picture this: you sit down to pee, you wipe as normal. Good to go. But no, because the instant you stand up from wiping, 20 stealth drops are squeezed out – on your underwear, your leggings, even on the bathroom floor. Whatever. Your pelvic floor muscles are just too weak to care.
Like I said, it sucks, but you can find a workaround and something sucky just becomes the new normal. There are so many other things that need your attention more urgently in life with an infant. What put me over the edge was the change in my sex life. Ain’t nobody gonna mess with Mama’s orgasms! Four times as long for something half as intense? That shit will not fly.
I’m not saying that everything can, or should, go back to the way it was pre-baby. I love what Beth Berry says in her piece “Dear Mothers: We’re Not Meant to ‘Bounce Back’” – “Not physically, not emotionally, and definitely not spiritually. We’re meant to step forward into more awakened, more attuned, and more powerful versions of ourselves. Motherhood is a sacred, beautiful, honorable evolution, not the shameful shift into a lesser-than state of being that our society makes it seem.”
Beth’s words resonate for me. I’m excited by them. AND, I want my body to be as strong as it can be. I want to unlock all the pleasure I can in all the years I still have. I’m only 41. I bet I’ll live to be at least twice that. And I want to have a lot of fun before I go.
I got me an appointment with a pelvic floor Physio. More on that soon…