Heart-wrenching challenges of a modern mum
If you’re facing challenges with your pelvic floor, this blog will resonate with you. If you've been in my world for a while, you will know that I reached out to Rachel Horne when I heard how badly she was suffering with urinary incontinence brought on by pelvic floor trauma. It was only recently, though, that I heard her back story and I have to confess it had me in bits. I know only too well the mental effect this can have to a woman's well-being.
I wanted to share her story with you to open up the conversation and potentially help you, or even friends of yours who, I believe, you will talk to you about this once you've listened.
Postnatal urinary incontinence
Don't we, as women, think about pregnancy as bringing this little bundle of joy into our lives? Along the way we get busy thinking about the mountains of baby stuff to buy ….. strollers, car seats, cribs, decorating the nursery and all whilst moving forward in our careers. It's an upheaval few of us are prepared for. Do we believe our already- parenting friends? We generally think they are exaggerating about the sleepless nights and how little time they have but very little thought is given to our own health and well-being.
Rachel Horne is Mum of three and had 3 vaginal births in only 3 years! Her first one being a 27-hour long labour and resulting in a third degree tear, her second birth tore her again in the same place and her third birth found her meeting a midwife who was determined the same didn't happen again. Escaping with a second degree tear seemed like a triumph!
With all that trauma you wouldn't be surprised to find that there was some damage to contend with. Coupled with the everyday activities that go along with looking after three little ones there was little time for Rachel to think about herself, let alone look after herself. As Mums everywhere know, your children inevitably come first. Finding herself using pads most days, Rachel had got into a pattern of coping. She was back at work and accepted this was how it was now.
Rachel recalls her distress and embarrassment
Then she recalls the most distressing day. Her eldest was now at school and due to perform in a music recital (he had been practising on his saxophone), Rachel had persuaded the teachers to let him go on last as she couldn't get away from her job at the BBC any earlier. On leaving work, she rushed to the tube, rushed to the train, rushed to her car, struggled to park and she ran into the school. She felt the dread as her pelvic floor let her down. Can you imagine the distress she must have felt? Rachel choked up as she remembered the pain of how embarrassed she was and how she used her bag to cover her dress that looked as though she’d thrown a pint of water over herself. But she got there in time to see her son play. That was the most important thing to her as she was so, so proud of him. I think we can all empathise with Rachel's situation and she inevitably turned to pads because they are easy, and if you don't know what else is out there, don't think you've got the time to research you tend to put up with things.
So you can see how easy it is to fall into this routine of accepting pelvic floor weakness but it doesn't stop there. A little leakage is the first sign of a prolapse. Leave it untreated and it only gets worse, as Rachel experienced. So it's vital that we raise awareness of these issues we're so embarrassed to talk about. Talking openly is the only way to break this taboo. It’s just a muscle like any other and we must talk about it.
Rachel addressed her incontinence issues with a few health professionals but it wasn't until she started working at Virgin Radio with Chris Evans and the team that the idea of tackling the London Marathon came up which made her realise she had to try and fix her pelvic floor issues.
Pelvic floor trauma described as an injury
I heard Rachel talking on the radio about her issues and sent her a Secret Whispers® Kegel Weight Kit and around the same time she had been introduced to Emma James, the physio I mentioned in an earlier blog. Between my Kegel Kit and the other options, Emma suggested, Rachel is now on a journey of recovery. She has accepted that her pelvic floor weakness is down to an injury - this is a major psychological step forward. If your ankle is broken you put a cast on it - you have to accept if your pelvic floor is not working as it should you need to take action to fix it.
If you’re struggling and this story resonates with you, or someone you know, remember to put yourself first, look for information, try to fix what is not working, get support and aim for progress.
Is pelvic floor damage preventing you from running?
With the London Marathon postponed, Rachel is now training for a half marathon but appreciates that it is still putting a massive load on her body. She has achieved 3 miles running dry after 6 weeks of active pelvic floor exercises and I'm so proud that Secret Whispers have been a part of her recovery journey. Rachel’s goal is to run 5 miles drive by September “that would be magical” she says, “I'd be really proud of my body if I could do that”.
What are your goals?
Do you need help achieving them?
Could a Secret Whispers® Kegel Weight Kit be the solution for your challenges?
If you’ve tried one, I'd love to hear how you're progressing so please leave a comment below and if you have any questions either comment or jump on over to my closed Facebook group where you'll find a supportive community going through similar issues to you.
Pelvic floor toner
There is an exercise plan to follow that comes with the kit to keep you on track and accountable.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask about my Secret Whispers® Kegel Kit please comment below.You can hear the Podcast here.