There is no greater enemy to a mother than a trampoline. Or a sneeze. Or an unexpected cough. Or running. Or jumping jacks. Or sometimes laughing too hard.
I think that about narrows down the enemies that made me pee a little in my pants.
UNTIL LAST WEEK.
Last week, at a work event on the patio at a bar (three cheers for Pub Theology!), I got so excited to see a friend (ahem, Johnna Myers, on Team RESET and just one of the bestest huggers out there!), that I practically jumped into her arms.
Ok, I jumped into her arms.
She gave me one of her classic Johnna squeezes, and literally squeezed the pee out of me. Not just a little, like, dribble of pee that happens when I sneeze. Like, half a bladder’s worth of pee.
And so I stood there on the patio, wild-eyed, frozen with my legs together as I helplessly and impossibly tried to will the urine from streaming down my legs and splashing onto the patio.
Time stood still as the waitress asked me if I needed more water (clearly, I didn’t!). Johnna and her crew started getting settled into their table, and I stood there, not knowing if it was safe to walk to the bathroom. Not knowing how wet the back side of my cute denim romper was. Not knowing if I could ever recover if anyone ever knew that the puddle on the patio wasn’t a spilled drink – it was a spilled bladder. MY spilled bladder.
Panic and shame. Panic and shame. Panic and shame.
Until I just blurted out in classic Lisa fashion – “Oh my gosh, I just peed everywhere!”
I told them everything. Still standing there. Still clenching what’s left of my obviously pathetic pelvic floor muscles. Still deciding how to maneuver my way through a crowd of people to the bathroom.
I laughed it off as my friends checked my back side on the way to assess the damage. I threw my underwear away in the tiny trash can, and I choked out one cleansing sob before, as gracefully as possible, I dried the crotch of my romper under the hand dryer.
You guys, it was embarrassing. But there was something about the exposing the secret – about bringing it to the light that helped me laugh instead of cry. That brought me out of shame and into community. Now, I get that that’s quite the spiritual turn, and over pee nonetheless, but it’s true.
And that’s the hope (and fun) in the I Am Mother of the Yearcommunity. We’ve got a safe place to share it all. And I mean, IT. ALL. Even when I asked other moms for their incontinence stories, I wasn’t surprised that I got them!
Emily (also Team RESET): Shortly after I delivered my first child, the nurse asked if I’d like to get up and go to the bathroom. Sounded easy enough. But the minute I stood up...gravity did it’s thing. It was unstoppable! I left a river behind me all the way to the bathroom. The nurse was unphased: “Happens ALL THE TIME,” she said. I don’t even care whether she was telling the truth or trying to easy my embarrassment.
Sarah: Recently, I ran a 5k (my youngest is 2) and peed myself almost the whole run. I didn't even feel like I had to go, it was just coming out...kinda wished I wasn't wearing leggings.
Amy: I tried to do jumping jacks 6 weeks postpartum to get back into shape. Nope!
Chelsea: Well, as I was pushing for my first baby I hadn’t gone pee in a long time and completely sprayed the doctor in the face like a fire hose, which made for a memorial experience for all.
Danielle: It's been 10 years since my last baby. I still can't sneeze safely.
Amanda: I was at the neighbor’s for a get together, and I thought I would join in the fun on a trampoline with my kids, being the fun mom and all... after about 2 jumps, it just fell out of me. I had to run home and change!
Listen, no matter what you’re going through, you don’t have to go through it alone. Hear me when I say that I hope you can find a safe community to bring even your darkest secrets to light. I don’t recommend you go around sharing all of your bladder control issues, unless oversharing is your thing (this blog is proof that it’s mine!), but please find an audience for your struggles, your guilt, and your shame.
Maybe you’re going through something similar to the story I shared last week on the blog. Please tell someone. Maybe you’re wrestling with pain from your past or anxiety for your future. Maybe you can’t even fathom telling another soul what you’re struggling with, and if that’s the case, I would urge you to speak it out loud to God. Let Him hear you and meet you in the mess.
I know, you probably didn’t expect this big of a turn – from incontinence to secrets and shame. To be honest, neither did I when I started writing the story. Someone must need to hear this. I always do. If it’s you, and you’re not sure where to start with any of it, please reach out to me! I don’t have a lot of answers, but I’ve got two ears!
Don’t believe the lie that you are alone. You are never ever alone, my friend! Now, put on your panty liner and take on the day!
P.S. Hey friend, if you’ve got a minute (or 5), will you do me a huge favor and take this brief survey to help me create more content that will help us all continue to rock motherhood? Pretty please? There’s something in it for you, too! *wink wink