There are so many new things to deal with once you’ve just had a baby – not even including all the changes to your body.
And we loved it Loose Women panellist Nadia Sawalha opened up about one post-baby body issue in particular that still seems to be a source of embarrassment for many of us.
“There’s so much after giving birth – you’re putting up with so much, aren’t you?” she says.
“The stretch marks, the weight, the exhaustion, the total shock – the ‘what the hell have I done and why am I so in love with this being that’s causing me so much misery?’ and all that confusion – and then you wet yourself too [laughs].”
Yep. She’s talking about one of those we-all-know-it-happens-but-don’t-really-talk-about taboos: incontinence 😬
After giving birth to her 1st child (now 16-year-old daughter Maddie), the 54-year-old said she started noticing signs of bladder leakage, which only got worse after her 2nd pregnancy and hitting menopause.
“It was definitely after my pregnancy that it started,” she admits. “When you have a baby and they start talking to you about pelvic floor exercises, you think ‘you’re talking about SEX, I’m never gonna have sex again anyway.’
“But because I didn’t do those, I now have what you’d call stress incontinence.
“When we did the trampolining on Loose Women, I did wet myself. Just a bit. But I was wearing black trousers.”
It all came to a head after she experienced a leak while running a marathon – which made her decide to pack in running altogether.
“For my 2nd marathon, I had a full-on gush and that was definitely the epitome of stress incontinence… it was really embarrassing, just awful. You’ve got no choice, there’s nowhere you can go, you just have to keep running.
“Then, without really realising, I stopped running. Why should I not bloody run anymore? Just because I’ve had two babies doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to do the things I wanna do.”
And even though Nadia’s a “professional oversharer… paid to spill my guts” – she still found it difficult to talk to anyone about what she was experiencing, even fibbing about why she’d quit.
“I always say I don’t run anymore because of my knees.”
“It’s certainly the case with my friends that we can do the ‘hahaha, don’t make me laugh, I’m gonna wet myself, cross your legs’ joke but what I’ve found is that, really, women aren’t going much further than that.”
So true. With everything else we have to navigate as brand new mums: do we reaaaally need to have yet another thing to internalise and worry about?
We reckon not!