I started this post weeks ago, but was nervous about sharing it. Often, when I see blog posts floating around Facebook claiming to tell women how child birth “really is,” there’s tremendous backlash. One newlywed woman, a friend on FaceBook, posted one of these blog posts with the comment, “I’m never having children!” The point of sharing the whole truth is to ensure that women experiencing postpartum issues realize that they’re not alone, and that much of what they’re experiencing is normal. However, these stories can be disconcerting to those who haven’t had the experience of pregnancy and childbirth. Because I feel it’s more important to be honest about our experience training for the marathon, and because I feel committed to providing an accurate account for other new (or not so new) moms out there … I’m willing to boldly move (publicly!) to the topic of post-partum woes. Specifically, bathroom functions. (Photo from www.biffsinc.com).
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I met a woman recently who told me that ever since having her baby, she pees uncontrollably when running. “By the end, my socks are soaked!” she lamented.
So far, the issues and concerns I’ve shared regarding training for my first marathon postpartum have related to breast-feeding and child care. Today, we’re going to keep it real.
Have I peed my pants like the woman I recently met? Well, no. But I did have a coughing fit while running one time, and I had a little dribble. The remainder of the run, I felt like I had to go pee. I was so paranoid I was going to pee my pants that I took an extra long walking break.
When out running in the city, we have a general idea of where public bathrooms and water stops are located along our usual routes. Early in the season, you can’t count on public restrooms being open for the season yet, so we rely on the dreaded port-a-potty. I’m sure I speak for most of us — it’s a love/hate relationship. We’re thankful that they’re there, but — you know — they’re smelly, dark, and (hopefully this is perception rather than reality) dirty. It used to be that I could forgo peeing in a port-a-potty and wait until I got home. Post-baby? I don’t want to chance it.
And I’m going to have to take this a step further. I have a hemorrhoid. Usually it doesn’t give me much pain or cause issues. But, occasionally when inflamed, running will cause chafing and eventually bleeding. It’s no fun and can take a couple of days to heal.
I do my best to keep mine at bay — use wet wipes in addition to toilet paper, and medication when there’s pain or swelling. But it’s an issue, and running exacerbates it.
I know it’s not fun to talk about bladder control or hemorrhoids, but many women have these issues. And many doctors don’t recommend doing anything corrective about either issue until the woman is done having children (as the issues typically recur with subsequent pregnancies/births).
My goal in sharing? I want other women to see that these issues are common, and that it doesn’t mean you can’t run. Yes, it may mean wearing a pad or carrying wet wipes in our fanny packs, but we can still get back into shape and back to our pre-pregnancy mileage. Perhaps just knowing you’re not alone will make all the difference.
In the grand scheme of things, these are minor issues. Women have dealt with much worse postpartum. Ladies, we are remarkable. We gained and lost the baby weight — in my case, nearly 50 pounds. We went from marathon training shape to pregnant, nursing, and ramped back into marathon shape within two years! So, I’m not back to my most recent marathon pace — It’s a process. So, I’ve got a hemorrhoid — many people do. It’s pretty amazing what the body can do — and this is in addition to caring for a little one, maintaining relationships with my husband, family and friends and holding down my daytime employment. There’s a lot to be thankful for.