Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Mum attempts ballet leap, wets self

Sometimes when days get crazy-making I get a bit cuckoo myself. On this day in question, Mr B was home from school due to a ‘sore tummy’ and so the five of us had been indoors all afternoon and things were starting to get a bit hairy. In a bid to change the mood, I switched off the TV and hunted for some soothing music, which turned out to be Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, the only classical music I own and really love. 
The Nutcracker had the desired effect, and, buoyed by the relaxed atmosphere, I decided to try some comedic ballet moves that I'd seen Emma Wiggle do in her little show 'Emma!', which we'd watched about 7 billion times that day.
'Look at me! I'm Emma Wiggle!' I said to the kids, as I spun around, pointing my toes this way and that, my arms flinging around in what I believed to be graceful gestures. I've never done a ballet class in my life. But now I have Emma Wiggle to teach me. 'Wheeeeeeee!' I called out as I took a running jump and tried to twist around mid-air. I was about as limber as a giant panda bear.

With a weak pelvic floor, as it turned out.
I didn't exactly leak, but let me tell you: as I lurched into the air, I felt another undeniable lurch occur inside me that was very suggestive. Frighteningly so. I abruptly finished my dance and sat down, trying to remember how to do those pelvic floor exercises I should have been doing all this time.
I realised then that although me and my pelvic floor get on ok in most departments - I'm fine with laughing, mostly fine with sneezing (as long as I concentrate) and I can always hold on when I'm busting - it's certainly not what it used to be, thanks to the years I've spent pregnant.
So I added dancing to my list of Things I Can No Longer Do Because I Might Wee Myself. This list is based on harsh experience and educated judgement based on said experiences.

Here is what I have so far:
  • Play netball - thinking of all that twisting and leaping makes me shudder
  • Throw balls - it takes a fair lurch to send a ball though the air (or a toy up the stairs, as it was in this case)
  • Bounce on trampolines - this one's an educated guess. My bladder has virtually sent me a text message about this and told me not to attempt it
  • Run - small running spurts have proved an uncomfortable point
  • Martial arts - all those high kicks? I don't think so
  • Drink too much and fall about laughing - a certain hen's night springs to mind here
  • Sneeze without concentrating - way too many lessons have been had
  • Dancing that involves leaps - added to the list
Now in all honesty, I don't care much for running in the jogging sense, and I don't mind missing out on the martial arts or the trampoline bouncing. But I'd like to think I can play netball again someday, and I sure as hell don't want to say no to a few drinks and a belly laugh in the future.
So it's time to hit the pelvic floor exercises for me again. I've done them half-heartedly for years but as it turns out this is pretty ineffective when it comes to being physically active. And if I'm going to be running around after four kids for the next few years, it's time I paid better attention in this area. I want to be able to play tip with them, or a game of football. I want to beat their arses in running races ( I am VERY fast). These activities seems like a convenient way to get some decent exercise in the future as well as spend quality time with the kids. I'd hate to have sit these times out because...mummy has a headache (or some other made-up excuse because I'd be mortified to tell them the truth).
For those of you in the same boat as me, here is what we need to know (courtesy of www.continence.org.au):
  1. The pelvic floor muscle layer is like a muscular trampoline that stretches from our tailbone to our pubic bone. These muscles support the organs that rest on it, like the bladder, bowel and uterus.
  2. After pregnancy and childbirth, this muscular area can become weakened, but the pelvic floor can be trained, much like our arm or leg muscles.
  3. The pelvic floor muscles work in conjunction with the abdominal and back muscles to support your spine - so strengthening the floor will help your back and posture.
  4. The easiest way to find your pelvic floor is to attempt to stop the flow of urine when you're having a wee. You shouldn't do this too often, it's just an exercise to help you identify your pelvic floor muscles.
  5. Now that you know what you're supposed to be lifting and squeezing, it's time to put it in to practice! Lift and squeeze the muscles around your vagina and back passage (like you're trying to hold in wind and wee at the same time!). But don't squeeze your buttocks.
  6. Hold the 'lift' position for up to 8 seconds. Repeat this 8-12 times.
  7. Repeat this set 3 times a day.  
TIP: If you struggle to remember to do these sets, put up post-it notes or some of your kids stickers in places that you're always busy around, to remind you to do them - like the microwave or on the bathroom mirror. That way you can quickly do your set while you re-heat food or brush your teeth.
If you're not sure about what you're doing, or if your symptoms don't improve, see your GP or contact your physiotherapist for some more specific help. You don't have to put up with the problem, and you shouldn't feel embarrassed about it. 
We should all be able to dance for our kids without fear of wetting ourselves!

How about you? Are you way too acquainted with Emma Wiggle for your liking? Any activities that are 'off-bound' since you had kids?

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