mom with incontinence hiking
Wonder Women

When Every Day Is A Mix Of Emotions

Here at Lily Bird, we feature personal stories written by smarty pants women from our community. That’s because telling your bladder who’s boss is better as a team sport. These women get you. They’re in your corner. And they’re here to remind you that your body isn’t broken. Hey, bodies age, bladders leak, and movie sequels bomb. Right?

This week our good friend Liz gets real about pelvic prolapse, leaking, and coming to terms with her postpartum body.

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Hi; I’m Liz. The first thing that comes to mind if you were to ask me what I did today would be that I peed myself. Yes, that, over an awesome jog through the park, a visit to the farmer’s market, or story time with my one-year-old. Why with all these awesome Sunday adventures does peeing myself come up first? Because, unfortunately, it is the unifying thread through each activity. Of course that isn’t what I would say to you, but it’s what I would think.

Hello; I am a 35-year-old mother of one. My enemies are jumping jacks (I’ll never be a crossfit girl), sneezes and coughs, all beverages but especially alcohol, baby carriers and backpacks with waist straps, overzealous huggers, heavy objects that need lifting, and funny people, to name a few. My defense – a pessary.

I went through a four-month-long grieving process for my old body.

Hey There. Why yes, I used to define myself as an athlete, but hypermesis during pregnancy and a vigorous vaginal birth caused my bladder and uterus to fall to such an extent that with little effort I can see it hanging out of my vagina. I went through a four-month-long grieving process for my old body, and am mostly mentally recovered. The pessary helps to keep my innards in while jogging, but sometimes… I still pee myself.

Prolapse from pregnancy and childbirth can cause incontinence

Oh hi; you heard about my pelvic prolapse and have some questions? 1) Yes, I pee myself. Not daily, anymore (thank you yoga/Kegels/physical therapy) but weekly, definitely. 2) I use a pessary. I tried out a few different types before settling for one that addresses most issues. 3) Sex post-baby is not the same as pre-baby, but it is still great. I’ve been very open with my partner about my prolapse struggles and he has been 100% supportive. 4) The Urogyn and I have discussed surgery but it is not the right path for me right now. 5) I don’t wear a pantyliner most of the time, and have instead opted for black, athletic leggings that dry quickly. If I don’t have surgery (and maybe even if I do), I may end up in diapers when I can no longer do pelvic floor exercises.

Every day I have to start over with accepting my body and reconciling my expectations with its limitations

I have severe prolapse. I’m super embarrassed about it, but hoping that by being open, others may not feel so isolated. When asked to write about my experience, I wanted to start at the beginning and how my feelings have evolved about my condition, but it seems that everyday I go through a mix of emotions and if four different people were to ask, they may get four different answers. The truth is that every day I have to start over with accepting my body and reconciling my expectations with its limitations. I’m still me, Liz. It’s nice to meet you; just don’t make me laugh.

By Liz H.

Liz H. is a non-profit professional who has been working in solar since 2011, when her passion for the outdoors and climate change fears collided, and she made a personal commitment to do more to protect her playground. When not advocating for solar access, she can be found trying to keep up with her 1-yr-old on the on the soccer field, and her husband on the ski slopes. Hey, it’s harder to run or ski while trying to Kegel.

Want to share your own story about leaky laughs or dribble dilemmas? Give us a shout at hello@mylilybird.com.