Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Stigma:: Number 2

Ages ago I said I'd write about subjects that have stigmas growing all over them. I've been avoiding them myself. These stigmas, they're shunted into the corner and left to thrive with other stigmas sprouting all over them. I've dragged this one out into the sunshine. Hosed it down, given it a scrub, dried it, and now here it is. Especially, sparkly and delightful, for you to enjoy.

You can cover your ears, look away, sing loudly, whatever you like, but here it is - I'm never going to run around and
desert you.

During my pregnancy with Tiny, in the latter stages, I noticed a wee bit of.. er.. wee. A little bit leaky if you will. So during a meeting with my midwife I told her. I had visions of the above happening to me.

She referred me to a physiotherapist, and I was scheduled for some appointments. And boy was I in for a surprise. I never knew physiotherapists dealt with such matters as weak pelvic floors. Lucky them!

My physiotherapist had a, I'm not sure what it's actually called, but I guess it looks a.. It looks like a dildo ok?

Yep. That was a surprise. Surprise PMM! Look what I have here.

Let's fast forward because:

a) this was a wee bit humiliating

b) my parents are reading this

c) I don't wish to revisit this series of appointments whereby the physiotherapist gauged my pelvic floor muscle condition by squeeeeeeezing the probe.

Needless to say, exercising your pelvic floor is important for both men and women.

I won't go on with any medical jargon (because I have none), but I do know after my sessions that exercising your pelvic floor is integral to not weeing all over the floor. And for after hours interludes. And for your own self-esteem. And for childbirth.

Regardless of whether you've had a baby or not, but particularly if you have given birth, those muscles are streeetched and need tightening pronto!

After my first physio session I set my alarm clock on my phone four times a day to remind me to exercise. This was known by rote in my family. Even my Dad would say 'PMM time for pelvic floor exercises.'

I don't do my exercises while I am driving because I can't focus on either thing. I need to be doing something such as folding washing, or watching TV, that doesn't require another part of my brain.

Anyway - ladies, if this post acts as a reminder, I will be chuffed, because the world around us will not only enjoy stronger pelvic floors, but it will not be flooded by wee. And that my friends is a good thing. Yes?

As is the mantra in the totally ace film 'Away We Go' - 'don't reach for another bagel, do another Kegel'.

There ends my first stigma post. I have more up my sleeve. Promise.


Miss E said...

I was doing them as I read your post. Coincidentally, last night I was reading the book Mama Mia, by Mia Freedman and she was reminding me to do them also! Its a happy day for pfms.

Mon Alisa Design said...

lol, Its probably the only excercise I get! x

A said...

When waiting for #1 I used to commute and do them everytime the train stopped at a station. Now with #2 I drive everywhere so do them at the traffic lights. So far so good here on the wee front! Let's hope it stays that way. *and one, and two, and three and four* (That's me exercising....)

jodi said...

Australia has the worst rate of menopausal incontinence in the world and apparently it's due to women thinking they don't need to do their pelic floor exercises after a cesarean birth. But as you know it's the weight of pregnancy and not necessarily a vaginal birth that weakens the muscles.

There's a local OB who tells his patients they don't need to do their pelvic floor exercises until they have had all their babies otherwise the muscles can be too tight and it's difficult to deliver babies then. Ahem & sheesh. I so hope women don't take his advice!

Ps. there's also an amazing workshop you can do in Sydney called "discreetly fit" Highly recommended by lots of people I know.

Jessi said...

this is so funny! how embarrassing when you wee yourself when pregnant!!!

anyway thank you for the reminder miss lexi!

i NEVER do them!

Oooooops! And as for the other lady thing I am almost 4 yrs overdue! agh!

eek urrr agh eek!


Jessi said...

and i don't mean YOU, I mean me. I use to do lots of little wees in my undies when i was pregnant!

Shhh don't tell!

Michelle said...

What a coincidence! I was just jumping on the trampoline at kindergym thinking "sheesh I need to do some serious work on my pelvic floor."

Actually, I don't think the floor is there anymore, all the struts need replacing....

Ammie said...

Marvelous first post in a series of stigmas. I will look up how to do these correctly. (I didn't find out until my birthing class that I was doing them the easy-cheaty way. I'm with you--my brain power can't be split between too many tasks.)

Michele said...

yay for getting that one out in the open. I was blessed with a super dooper pelvic floor thankfully (terrible first labour so great candidate for it but no got by just fine) but know A LOT of women friends/family who really struggle (had to laugh at the trampoline story not in a mean way but in recognition as one of my auntys could never sneeze or laugh or jump on the trampoline....but only found out that last one the hard way much to the embarrassment of her children my cousins at a family do when we were kids - poor woman...we all laughed about it and teased her then but now we are the generation becoming mothers and having our nethers torn usunder and I am sure her 2 grown girls dont think its that funny now)and have everything from no help at all to great help from awesome physios that specialise in this sort of treatment. There is a great one who has a book/website but I cant think of her name right now I will come back and post it here for anyone who wants to know once i look it up.

LuluRedstar said...

such a good post for so many reasons

Jasmine said...

I started unconsciously squeezing my pf muscles as soon as I realised the topic of your post. As usual will probably forget to continue until the next time someone reminds me...
As an aside, pelvic floor muscles make me shiver. Anyone else experience this?

the textured leaf said...

After you mentioned the weeing all over the floor bit I started doing them along with Miss E.
Great reminder, er thanks!

teddybearswednesday said...

gold Lexi, pure gold. LOL! But very important's um a good thing to for um other reaons, how to say or put it delicately to increase pleasure lets say....

mama bear said...

Thanks for the reminder.

I never wee'd myself when pregnant, but lately if I laugh too hard or sneeze, I'm sure there's a slight leakage. Ahem. Enough said.

Stacey said...

I asked by ObGyn about this very issue and he told me I should be doing the exercises daily until I'm 80. Great.
I can't hang on any more. I need to know where the nearest toilet is at all times. Sometimes I have to improvise. Let's leave it at that shall we?
Love that weeing woman on Little Britian.

Christina said...

Thank goodness, I not partial to a world covered in wee!

I had to go to the physio too, my muscles separated and I had a third degree tear. I did not get the probe treatment! Only an ultrasound on my tummy to see the muscles.

Thanks for the reminder. Intrigued as to the nature of the other stigmas, but if you cover depression and anxiety I can contribute! :)

Veggie Mama said...

I had been studiously ignoring my little pink post-it on my computer monitor reminding me to do them for oh, about four weeks.

I shall dutifully get started now.

Leonie said...

After number three I also had cause to visit the Women's health physio local to me in Melbourne, fortunately not due to leakage, but unfortunately due to wall prolapse which was making other loo visits uncomfortable and troubling. She was brilliant and I actually own one of those contraptions now, and like most of your commenters have been forgetting to do those lovely exercises, especially once my symptoms disappeared, although yes I should also get back to doing them. One more for the list of PF challenges is star jumps.
Thanks for posting this topic it's amazing how many of us are affected and just don't realise how many others out there are as well.

Anonymous said...

I must do mine pretty routinely because just a few days ago Little Tuesday came up to me and said "MamaMummy have you done your Pelvics?" then followed by "I mus'na done mine yet - I wee'd my pants". It doesn't sound that funny here, but it was then.

Nycole said...

wow, it's a whole 'nother world out there - I don't have kids yet but it seems like you certainly earn your entry into the club, in so many ways!

Nycole said...

btw, stigma is a great idea for a series, looking forward to the next one.

Georgie Love said...

Oh man, I wanted to do a post like this a few months ago, because I was having a freak out about "HOW THINGS CHANGE" after a baby and how having a second baby (not yet) frightens me, since things changed so much after the first and I wanted to ask people how much worse was the second to the first. However, family who aren't in my life any more read my journal as well as people from work and friendships that ended badly, so things are sometimes less candid as I want to be (by the way, I resent this).

I do 150+ every evening while the kid is in bed and we are drinking tea and watching trash. It's the only time I remember.

I was OBSESSIVE about them when I was pregnant and credit an awkward natural birth with an 8 pound baby and no tearing to a good pelvic floor. Man. Birth. You start from zero after though.

I realise I made no comment of value here! Just thanks PMM

Georgie Love said...

Oh and a note for the ladiez I think these are the cheapest and best and for people who forget to do their exercises - you put them in and go about your day to day(start with the one if you haven't done exercises before and build up to the two) and your body uses the muscles to hold them in place, you don't have to think about it. Good if you forget to do them usually!

Anna said...

thanks i'm doing them now.. i think i need to do the phone alarm thing cause i just had the physio visit me in hospital a few days ago and i still forget!

and just reading the egg thing made me vom in the mouth. ewwww.

thanks about polly too! little bundle.

Lindy in Brisbane said...

I think it's really great you posted about this. There are so many stigmas in our society, and people really do suffer because of that. I am a urology nurse, and we see some horrendous things that people put up with unnecessarily. (and some rather odd things that people do to themselves...)Things that can often be quite easily fixed, but because "women's troubles" and "men's problems" have been taboo subjects, they often don't even know that they are any different to everyone else. So it's a really important message to be educated about our bodies, and good on you for touching on a stigmatised subject.

flossy-p said...

Good reminder. Thanks for the public service announcement. I'm doing some now ;)

Corrie said...

oh this is so funny! never did them and never do them but yes I need to as in hello 4th-baby-on- the-way and I better get my act together pronto!!!!!!!!!!!

jodi has summed it up because I have c/s's so I pretty much thought I was ok...till I get pregnant and sneeze ........ see you share, I share :)

thanks for sharing, it does have stigma attached! enjoy your new home, nothing like being in your own place and sending your hubby out to mow the lawns!


Margaret @ Konstant Kaos said...

When I started training for the Mothers Day classic Fun run I learnt that my pelvic floor was not as strong as I thought it was. When I asked friends, they said "oh that happens to me, so I just don't run". Which makes me think that there are many women out there that resist exercise just because of a wee problem. After visiting physio, I learnt that I wasn't even doing them correctly and she taught me about placing my fingers into my hip joint so that I could feel on the outside, how the muscles were reacting on the inside.

But yes, every day, 4 times a day is the only way.