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I guess it wasn't temporary. I pee my pants all the time since I've had a baby. Yes, it's the sneeze-and-leak variety. But also the "Oops, I completely peed my pants and need to change everything from the waist down" type.
I knew my body wouldn't escape pregnancy unscathed. Varicose veins. My linea nigra never fully disappeared. It's basically part of our family now.
And my poor bladder. With all that added pressure I was peeing frequently and leaking. I expected it to return to normal a few months after my son was born. This was nothing that time and some Kegel exercises couldn’t cure, right? Wrong.
I actually pee my pants. Often. 18 months after my son was born. And it's not showing signs of improvement.
I'm embarrassed, feeling like the only one that still can’t control her bladder. And this far beyond postpartum? It should be under control by now. Can someone tell me when my bladder will stop evacuating itself involuntarily?
The reasons are twofold. Obviously, my bladder just isn't what it used to be. You can’t put one of your body’s organs through what a bladder endures during pregnancy and not expect permanent repercussions.
Secondly, it's due to toddler mom chaos. My time ceases to be my own. I'll need to go, but get busy doing something with or for my son. Before I realize it two hours have passed. Suddenly that feeling is more of an urgent insistence from my bladder. Next thing it's "Oops, I peed my pants."
It makes me laugh, feel gross, want to cry...all of the above.
I've stocked up on panty liners and feminine wipes, which fill a pocket in my diaper bag right next to my son's diaper wipes. I've almost confused the two on occasion.
Fortunately it's not a daily occurrence. In fact, I've actually gone weeks without an accident. Yes, I refer to them as accidents, the same as a potty training tot would say. I hope I can appreciate the irony when the time comes to potty train my own son and we’re both peeing our pants.
The degree of embarrassment is determined by three factors:
- How much I pee
- Where I am when it happens, and
- Who is with me – or who am I unable to hide it from
The light bladder leakage – or LBL as the marketing folks cutely refer to it in ads for liners – is the best scenario. A sneeze or laugh are often the impetus. And it’s handled with a liner. Don't get me wrong, it's still horrible. But if it has to happen, this is how I want it to go down.
Anything beyond LBL can't be sugarcoated. It means I've peed my pants. Hopefully it hasn’t gone beyond my underwear. Sometimes it does. In that case I pray the wet spot can’t be easily seen. Or I grab something to tie around my waist.
Like real estate, location is key in the pants peeing game. If I'm at home it really doesn’t matter if it's LBL or a complete and total urine drench. My son is used to me saying "Mommy's wet her pants...again," before I head to the bathroom to get cleaned up.
Out in the wild it’s another story. It’s not only where, it’s how far I am from home. How many hours into my outing. Did I just leave the house? Or is the day winding down? Either way, I’m hightailing it home. It’s just less frustrating at the end of a dinner out versus the appetizer course.
Then there's the company I'm with. My inner circle knows. Luckily I haven’t had any incidents beyond that. I’ve become more strategic as to when I consume my daily water intake. And carry a spare pair of underwear in my diaper bag (all hail the multipurpose diaper bag).
I’m not accepting defeat. I’m keeping up with the Kegel exercises. Going straight to the bathroom when I feel the need, not hours later. Cutting back on caffeine and eating less spicy or acidic foods.
My ob-gyn is aware, and doesn’t think this will last forever. It just feels that way at times.
On the bright side, my bathroom has never been cleaner. At least I have that.
For more mom moments, follow me on Instagram at Witty Otter.
Have you had bladder problems after the birth of your child? What tips can you share?
French moms don't pee when they sneeze.
Images by Becky Vieira
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.