What Dr Google Never told me about Prolapse after Childbirth

prolapse after childbirthApparently, 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.

What, unintentionally?

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?

Weight loss after childbirthWe 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:

  • Love yourselfLook 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

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  1. Thank you for sharing some positivity. Prolapse has caused the end of our 16 year relationship. I have spent the past 4 years since the birth of our son feeling like half a person because of prolapse, and my husband leaving me has sort of confirmed my reasons for self loathing. Your post has made me realise I need to focus on my son and just be a good Mama to him, that’s the most I can hope for now. It’s true, this is almost taboo, there’s literally no one I can speak to about this. This needs to change

  2. I too wish I knew this earlier – I had no idea this could happen post childbirth and affect women the way that it has affected me. I am 33 and am devastated about my rectocele prolapse. It has taken me 6 months post the birth of my first child to even have the courage to see my gynecologist and finally get assessed. I too have felt isolated and have been on the verge of depression. But I have been fighting my demons for my son’s sake. I will not allow myself to fall into depression. I look at him and thank God everyday that he is alive and healthy despite suffering inside and grieving for my own loss – the body I will never get back. Thank you for such an honest article. I needed to hear this.

  3. Thanks for sharing… It’s nice to not feel alone=} I bad major surgery over 1 year ago (age54) to pull my bladder up and attach the end of my vagina to my tail bone since it was turning inside out since I had a hysterectomy at age 34.. My bladder is sill falling out!! Thanks for this newsletter and support group.

  4. Thanks Deb, very clever :). As you know, I too am in the ‘sisterhood’ lets keep supporting each other and the other ‘sisters’ in our community…. Kate xx

  5. In the same shoes …. and still wondering for almost a year now how come Dr Google, and more importantly, none of the pregnancy books, your pre-natal kiné or your gyneco for that matter ever mentioned that chilbirth can bring you also a nice prolapse??? And why girls obsessed with flat bellies never warned about the risks of excessive traditional abdominal exercises….???

    I felt devastated when 10 months ago my doc told me i had a bladder prolapse. Felt it was unfair – and spoiled my otherwise perfect life with my perfect husband, perfect baby, perfect happiness. I’ve tried several ways to improve the situation, also following the suggestions from Michelle (most thankful for your site, the best!) and now seem to have found a combination of hypopressive exercises (thanks to my kiné) and Kegels (against resistance) that bear results. I also try to think in the long term, my objective is to feel nothing ‘down there’ say in a year (or six month once I will have stopped breastfeeding) so that I would not panic when my little one will start to run and I’d need to run after him. I’m fighting prolapse as my personal challenge and hope soon I can see a woman running by without thinking, damn, for sure she has no prolapse. I also try to encourage all my fellow flat-belly-worshiper female friends to skip the crunches from their workout :).

    • Hi Monika, sorry to be replying to you so late, I’ve finally got a chance to sit down and read everything properly :) I have a slight bladder and cervical prolapse from giving birth and have mentioned on Michelle’s site before that no one told me anything about that being an option after child birth! It certainly was a nasty and surprising discovery! I know exactly what you mean about seeing other women running! :) I have already had so many of them ask me to join their fitness groups, mud runs and go to the gym etc and have found it difficult to explain why I can’t go (well at least do the running, sit-ups, etc)….and you know, half of them would be in the same boat as me and not even realise! It’s such a shame that we can’t feel comfortable talking about prolapse to other women. I’ve told quite a few of my friends and so many of them looked at me like I had two heads! At the start I actually felt quite inferior to them, but as the months have gone by I have found my confidence and like you, learnt how to work with it and soon realised that life does go on!
      I recently visited my gyno and she informed me that everything looks just like any woman who’s given birth (maybe a little worse) and I know things definitely do not look and feel like they used to, but it is just something that happens with pregnancy/child birth! Yes some woman end up worse than others, but the fact is we just can’t go through all of that and not have things change…

      Your objective to feel ‘nothing down there’ is a terrific one and something you can definitely achieve! I recently stopped breastfeeding and have noticed a huge difference and while I still feel it occasionaly (mainly after a big day), it has improved out of sight compared to where I was 7mths ago.

      I also want to thank you Debbie for writing the above article, it is comforting, funny and positive! :)

      Sending love to all of you ‘amazing beautiful women’ :)
      Kayla xxx

      p.s Part of our discussion last year was about horse riding with prolapse, I have since ridden and it did not make it worse and my gyno said it’s actually good for your pelvic floor muscles! yay! :)

  6. My mother talked about wearing binders after she had her children. She had seven and has never had a problem with prolapse!

  7. I was sitting crying,after a morning of discomfort , i have had a bladder prolapse repaired when i was 34 , followed by a hysterectomy when i was 35, then a rectal prolapse repair at 42, checked my email and there was this email, prolapse can make you feel so isolated people just don’t talk about it.i am going to doctors next week and am worried sick am going to need further surgery.

    • Trisha, you are my age and I’ve just had my repair again. I had cystocyle and rectocyle repair jan 8th in California. I live in GA. My Dr is the best. I’ve had a total of 9 surgeries. It can be depressing however, if it needs to be done, go, there is a reason that you have not gotten the right dr. I have been through a lot. I believe I have finally gotten my healing from GOD. You can email me at [email protected]. Hang in there. GOD bless you

  8. Excellent reading, I have two grown up daughters ,am 66 and had prolapse caused hysterectomy 3 years ago. I am active and till recently have always enjoyed Badminton,Tennis and swimming but not obviously paid enough attention to the importance of my “Mum” inners!
    Take Heed you much younger Mums…. spread the information that sites like this great one offers. 45 years ago …. no Dr Google !

  9. Thanks Debbie for your honest account of prolapse. I knew nothing about it until it happened to me. It can be very depressing thinking its changed your life forever. But we all have to go on and make the most of life, just not the way we used to.

  10. Thank you Debbie for your honest account of a prolapse. Its a topic that women [ including myself] are embarrassed to talk about, yet it is so very common. I felt quite deceived by the female race that this was never really mentioned in all my research on child birth and motherhood also. It ruined my life for years, but after a very long debate with myself, I finally had a hysterectomy and am so thankful now.
    Thank you Michelle also for your helpful and informative videos and book, its been a godsend.

  11. Thank you Debbie. Your article is perfect, just perfect.

  12. This has deeply touched me. It means a lot, thank you Debbie!

  13. Thankyou Debbie for this beautiful post!

  14. Oh, thank you so much for writing this Debbie ~ welcome to the prolapse sisterhood ;). I totally needed to hear this, after having five children! Beautifully written. Well done.