Apparently, despite reading Dr Google for everything there is to know about pregnancy, labour, birth and newborns, I somehow missed the bit about prolapse.
Just ask me, I knew EVERYTHING (at least I thought I did…..)
A pregnancy is considered full term from 37-42 weeks.
Yep, knew that.
There are three stages of labour, pain, pushing and placenta.
Ok, I can handle that.
Some women will experience the ‘ring of fire’ when bub is crowning.
Are we talking Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” or the belt of volcanoes around the Pacific?
Infants will often experience unexplained periods of fussiness.
No problem! As long as there’s coffee and chocolate, I’ll be right!
There is a chance that your vagina fall out, irrespective of vaginal or cesarean delivery.
Ah, excuse me?
There’s an even better chance your prolapse will mean you will wee or poo yourself on one or more occasions in the first six months.
Often at the end of a completely normal day looking after your new precious bundle, the belt around your pelvic area will ache, sometimes as much as it did when you were in labour.
I’m sorry, can we just go back to the one about my vagina falling out…..?
Feelings of complete fatigue, elation, fear, indescribable love and confusion that are completely normal when a mother is born may have the company of feelings of complete failure, self loathing, anger and grief when you discover your prolapse.
So, were these chapters next to each other? Because I seem to have missed this second bit.
Almost half of the women at your local mother’s group/workplace/gym will be in the exact same boat as you (but may not realize it).
So why didn’t anyone tell me this?!
Exactly. Why aren’t we talking about prolapse?
We aren’t talking about this because our all-important, wise and supportive tribe of women who KNEW that prolapses are quite normal does not exist anymore.
We aren’t talking about this because as women of the 21st century, we are used to being in control of our careers, feelings, relationships and bodies.
In fact, the magazine covers tell us we HAVE to be in command of our bodies by whipping, banishing and taking control of our shape and size. We are even encouraged to take control of the most primal experience of pregnancy, labour and delivery.
So when we discover that despite working hard ensure the best labour and delivery we could hope for (given our personal circumstances) we have ended up with a prolapse. It’s absolutely devastating. Please be assured, your anger and grief is VERY real.
Because your prolapse means that your life WILL change…
- You won’t be able to lift heavy things anymore (which may include your children);
- You won’t be able to do the full drive down to the parents without having to take a toilet break (for you, not the kids);
- You won’t be able to jump and run and burpee like you used to.
But, please, while you are grieving, please, please don’t call yourself a failure, and don’t hate your body for letting you down! Let me tell you why:
- Look at that beautiful baby/babies you have grown, carried, birthed and nourished. Look at this little person who thinks, feels, sees, hears, tastes and smells. Look at their perfect little body, home to 300 bones and 100 billion neurons. Your body has not failed you, my friend. Your body has grown and birthed a complete human being. Your body has given life.
- Look at your children. Statistically, at least one of them (more if you have three or more children) will have first hand experience of prolapse if they have children (your boys will be supportive of the mothers of their children). You would never want your children to believe they have failed, or their body is failing them. Give yourself a little bit of that love you give your child – you are not a failure.
- Considering one in two women who have delivered a baby (vaginally or by cesarean) experience prolapse to some degree, and considering that there is a good chance your prolapse was unavoidable due to previous exercise/lifestyle choices/health issues/genes, your prolapse is normal. You are not a failure.
I know it’s not going to be as easy as flicking the switch-your feelings are very real and very normal. My ‘middle of the road’ prolapse was diagnosed five years ago between baby one and two.
I know for a fact my prolapse was a contributing factor to Post Natal Depression.
Only in the last six months have I been able to move beyond the anger and despair and accept that I am not broken. There are still some days however when I catch a glimpse of that familiar foe frustration, especially when it revolves around joining in on my children’s fun of trampolining or hopscotch or skipping ropes or when I see other women running.
The days of a new mum being nurtured by her village have been replaced by independent, isolated lifestyles. With very few opportunities afforded to us these days to seek deep, honest and supportive relationships with other mothers, we need to give ourselves just that little bit more patience and love. Having a prolapse does not mean the end to life, love and all in between; it just means some adjustments need to be made.
In the meantime, be kind to yourself.
You are an amazing, beautiful woman who has done incredible things with her amazing, beautiful body.
About the Author – Debbie
Debbie is a beautiful, honest, talented and loving mother of three young children. Debbie has written this true personal account to help support other women struggling with prolapse issues after childbirth and beyond.
We thank you for sharing this with us Debbie ~ your sisterhood