During my first bounce on the trampoline, I felt it. A squirt. I was already back up in the air and couldn’t stop my second bounce. Squirt. There was no holding it back as I slowed my bounces — squirt, squirt, squirt.
It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I’d gone to the indoor trampoline park in my husband’s hometown with his siblings and our kids. As I walked (quickly) off the trampoline, I could feel that my jeans were wet from my butt down the backs of my thighs. Yep. I had peed my pants. I went to the bathroom to empty my bladder and survey the damage. I contemplated taking my jeans off and holding them under the hand dryer but opted against it. How do you explain that to someone walking in? Instead, I hung out in the empty game area while my toddler pretended to play driving games and my pants dried out.
I was totally humiliated.
I don’t know if anyone else noticed the wetness on my pants, but I knew. And it ruined my night. Not only was I embarrassed, but I couldn’t jump any more after “the incident.” I didn’t get to join in on the fun being had by the rest of my family.
The medical term for this bladder leakage is “stress incontinence.”
When extra pressure on the bladder overwhelms the muscles that control the flow of urine — the pelvic floor and the “bladder sphincter” — it causes leaking of urine. Childbirth weakens both of these muscles; thus, stress incontinence is extremely prevalent among mothers. Especially those who are over 35 (check) and have had a vaginal delivery (check — twice!). To add insult to injury, the “extra pressure” takes many forms — laughing, coughing, sneezing, jumping, running, lifting weights, etc. All things that mothers are doing all the time!
So what’s the solution? Adult diapers?
Naturally, I turned to the internet to try to solve my problem. I could wear a pad every day, but I could also get to work on my Kegels to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles. For more persistent leakage, a woman can be fitted for something called a pessary, which is a ring similar to the outer ring of a diaphragm. It supports the bladder and can be used all the time, or only during physical activity. Last, there is the surgical option for those with serious incontinence issues. A doctor inserts a u-shaped mesh sling that permanently supports the urethra and helps keep it closed, stopping leakage.
My daughter is going to a birthday party at the trampoline park this weekend, so I’m off to do my Kegels! And I’ll make sure to hit the bathroom before my feet hit that trampoline.