Don’t make me laugh… I might wet myself!!
I was recently out for drinks with a bunch of mums from my sons school class, after a few, (possibly too many), one mum burst out laughing, then, trying to hold back, she blurted ‘don’t make me laugh so hard… I’m going to wet myself’!
That comment opened the flood-gates (pardon the pun)! And one by one everyone started admitting they too might leak if they laughed too hard, another claimed she also worries if she sneezes and then another shared her fear of being asked by her daughter to bounce on her trampoline as she’s sure to have an accident then, which incidentally would do little to help potty train her toddler, wanting to lead by example and all that!…. this lead to more raucous laughter… with legs tightly crossed!
Some of them didn’t realise that I am a women’s health physiotherapist and needless to say we spent the next part of the evening with me collectively teaching pelvic floor exercises and offering group sessions to be held at the school gates promising to get those mums back on the trampoline!
The sad reality is that this seems to be one of those things that no one really talks about – we might meet up with our mummy mates and have a natter about the baby’s ‘incontinence’ but wouldn’t dream of broaching the subject of our own. We might laugh along with jokes that, as mums of little’uns, were never ‘up for it’ at bed time, but would we really share that the real reason might also, in part be, because the scars from delivery feel like they’ re going to split open, still hurt or I’m actually worried they sewed me up too tight or not tight enough and I feel like I’m massive ‘down there’, or ‘I’ve simply never quite felt the same since childbirth’. Who do you dare share that information with?
The truth is, I hadn’t realised how many of my friends actually thought, that even and odd leak, was normal and part of life post birth.
Well no, it’s not true, it’s not normal and you don’t have to live with it because there is something you can do about it.
I know what its like – I’m a mum of two small (and gorgeous) boys. The day we leave hospital with our precious new borns we are handed a bag full of leaflets, one of them tells you about pelvic floor exercises and to practice them everyday. Who has the time between feeding, changing nappies, constant loads of washing and relentless sleep deprivation to sift through the mountain of literature, let alone read it and actually take any of the information in. It’s no wonder that most of us don’t realise the importance of this ‘tiny’ exercise.
Our bodies change incredibly during pregnancy to accommodate the developing new life inside us, but what about after? Our tummy muscles and pelvic floor muscles are weakened and stretched. And what about returning to exercise and feeling ‘normal’ again? Actually, not everyone recovers perfectly from pregnancy and childbirth. Some are left with urinary incontinence, difficulty controlling wind, prolapse, tummy muscle separation and weakness, back pain, pelvic pain and pain during intercourse.
I want to shout from the rooftops – ‘you’re not on your own’!
In France, all new mums are given a course of 10 sessions of postnatal physiotherapy. How about that? Here most women don’t even know such a service exists!
GP’s in the UK, even with the best will in the world, simply don’t have the time to give every new mum a full and comprehensive body check but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t benefit from it and some careful after care. After all, if you don’t look after yourself, how can you look after your family?
The Mummy MOT is a service designed specifically to assess every new mum and enabling us to identify and treat all of these conditions or simply help you recover fully from pregnancy and childbirth. There are over 80 specially trained registered ‘Mummy MOT’ practitioners in the country, (check out: themummymot.com), and we are all passionate about helping mums to fully restore their bodies post birth. Women are given a personalised rehabilitation programme specially tailored for them.
One of the first ladies I treated after specialising in women’s health physiotherapy had been unable to have sex since the delivery of her daughter two years earlier because of painful perineal scar tissue. However understanding your partner is, that is bound to cause a strain on your relationship. After a course of treatment she came for a check up six weeks later and was pregnant – that was definitely one great success story!
And it’s not just for new mums, its never too late, it just saves a lot of suffering to catch it earlier or better still, prevent problems arrising. I really believe it’s about looking after the whole person; body, mind and emotions. A holistic, mindful approach allows us to explore and look after every part of our being.
My professional goal has become to make sure that every woman, whatever your age, can go ahead and laugh as hard as you like!