My boys have a lot to answer for!
As this post goes on, you ladies out there will no doubt feel my pain, and appreciate the efforts we go to for our children. My warning to any men who may be reading this is to stop now. In fact, ladies without children should read this with caution too – however it may one day be useful to you.
This post is an overshare! I get that. I sort of wish on this occasion I was blogging anonymously, under some pseudo-name, where no one knows who I am. This post is one of those where many of you will read it and say to yourself ‘Why would she share that?’
But I am sharing, because I feel it is my female duty. It is my duty, as a mum of three big baby boys, to share my experience, in the hope that it may help one of you avoid my current ‘situation’.
Tomorrow I have a physio appointment. It is an appointment that has come about as a result of having three boys. Well – sort of…
Let’s take a moment to think about what sort of physio might be required as a result of having children. Have I done my back in, from lifting big babies over the years? (Or even recently, as Boy 2 loves to launch himself at me for a cuddle) No – my back has escaped this fate. Have I pulled a muscle in my shoulder from carrying too many bags from my boys’ Christmas shopping? No – online shopping has helped to avoid this, although the postman’s shoulder wasn’t looking too hot. Have I hurt my leg, playing football in the garden with Boy 2, by having to go in goal while he hoofs balls at me? No – although there were a few bruises.
Those sorts of physio appointments, whilst not nice, would be manageable. They would not be worthy of blogging about. They would not require men and squeamish women to look away now. They would not have me dreading 10.30am tomorrow.
My physio appointment is for my lady bits!
I know! Who even knew you could have physio there? Certainly not me!
You see, after three big babies and ‘natural’ deliveries (there is NOTHING ‘natural’ about something that big coming out of that hole!), there are some particular muscles that take a battering.
The pelvic floor muscles!
That’s right – those are the ones that you are told to exercise during pregnancy and let’s be honest, none of us really do, do we? Occasionally, when we remembered, perhaps once a week or so, we may have done a few squeezes whilst washing up, but it wasn’t a regular exercise regime.
And it’s a shame really, because in theory this should be the easiest exercise regime ever. It’s not like going to the gym. You don’t have to put on different clothes and make a concerted effort to brave the dark and cold this time of year. You don’t need to battle with yourself mentally because the warm, toasty fire in your lounge is more appealing than the smelly and quite frankly tiring gym class. All you have to do is take 10 minutes to concentrate, do a bit of squeezing, and the job is done.
So why didn’t I do them? That is a very good question, but unfortunately not one I can answer easily. From my point of view, I think it is because they took such little time and effort, they were easily forgotten. And I wasn’t really aware of the consequences.
But boy I wish I hadn’t been so blasé about them!
Because now, my lackadaisical attitude to pelvic floor exercises has finally caught up with me. Boy 3 put the nail in my lady-bits-coffin and things sort of went south! They call it a prolapse. (Dictionary.com defines a prolapse as follows: a falling down of an organ or part, as the uterus, from its normal position, in case you were wondering!)
Luckily for me (I think I am lucky – I keep telling myself this could have been worse) I only have a mild prolapse. But it still means I need physio, and you can only imagine how unpleasant that sort of physio is. Ironically, the physio exercises required to help to fix the prolapse are pelvic floor exercises! So by forgetting to do my pelvic floor exercises over the years, and three boys later, I now have to do the most humiliating pelvic floor exercises of my life, under the watchful eye of my physio. And not just under her watchful eye, but also under her’ touchful hand’ while she feels to check they are being done right! I know – how embarrassing is that!
Apparently the prolapse will get better, with regular pelvic floor exercises, three times a day (5 slow ones and 5 quick ones) for the rest of my life! But I am hoping that the physio appointments will stop sooner than that. I am hoping that tomorrow may be the last one, although it is unlikely this early on. I am hoping that I will no longer have to dread such an embarrassing and invasive physio appointment. Because whilst you think you have lost all your dignity during the actual childbirth, that is not really true. In the absence of a good pelvic floor exercise regime, the dignity is not regained after birth. The mortification continues…
I could now spend some time explaining medically why and how to do your pelvic floor exercises, but you can google that yourself. I will instead just offer this advice to all you lovely ladies out there:
DO YOUR PELVIC FLOOR EXERCISES!
Don’t do them because your midwife said you should. Don’t do them because your ‘What to Expect When You Are Expecting’ book said you should. Don’t do them because your friend, who post-baby cannot bounce on a trampoline, said you should (although, she sounds like she may have suffered at the hand of her pelvic floor muscles too!)
Take it from one who has learnt the hard way.
Do them because you feel sorry and embarrassed for me. Do them because you want to avoid the worst sort of physio possible. Do them because you have read this post!
(And let’s spare a thought for the poor lady whose job it is to be ‘that sort’ of physio – I bet that wasn’t what she had in mind at university!)