Mia kept her head down and walked as fast she could to the nearest bathroom. By the time she reached the stall and locked herself in, tears were streaming down her burning cheeks. Before she even looked, she knew she was soaked through. Mia breathed in deeply, her lips trembling as she tried to calm herself. She finally looked down. Her light denim jeans had large wet patches around the top of her thighs. A sob escaped as Mia tried to think of how she could get through the shopping centre back to her car without anybody noticing. She pulled her jumper off, despite the freezing weather and tied it tightly around her waist. Then she wiped her face, blew her nose and collected herself. As she walked briskly through the busy shops, abandoning the groceries she had come for, she was aware of the smell of urine lingering around her. Mia wondered, for possibly the millionth time, how she could be a fifty-year-old woman, yet feel like a toddler not quite grasping the skill of toilet training. Once safely inside her car, she placed her head down on her steering wheel and questioned how life had suddenly become so hard.
Angela stared at her baby, sleeping peacefully in his cot. She leaned over and gently ran her finger over his pink cheek. He was a good baby. A perfect one when compared to the struggles some of her friends were going through. Angela sighed and went to the living room to sit on the couch. She didn’t know what else to do. Her days were all the same, stuck inside the four walls of her home. Her mother thought she was depressed and kept encouraging her to go for long walks. One of her friends had suggested she join a mother’s group for company. Her husband wondered if she should make some coffee dates, after all, the baby was well behaved and would most likely sleep in his pram. But they didn’t understand. Angela had almost gone out that very morning. The sun was shining and she’d felt particularly cheerful. But then she’d sneezed. Her bladder had emptied, right there on the carpet of her bedroom and she’d spent the next half an hour cleaning urine from the floor. She couldn’t go anywhere. The thought sat like led in her stomach, all the time. Was this what life would be like forever? Angela wondered, yet again.
Beth had raised five children and helped in the raising of twelve grandchildren. She was a woman with a solution for everything, nothing could phase her. But as she purchased the packet of adult nappies, she felt defeated for the first time in her life. After months of accidents though, she couldn’t put it off any longer. Sometimes, it would be just a trickle of urine, when she laughed particularly hard. But then there were the times she’d cough or sneeze and there was no stopping the flow. That very morning had been the worst. Beth’s daughter came over for tea, and as Beth took a bite of her cake, a little caught in her throat, causing a coughing fit. Beth still felt the deep shame in seeing her daughter staring, open-mouthed, at the small puddle gathering beneath her feet. She couldn’t let that happen again, even if it meant feeling as though she were losing her dignity.
Incontinence is not a life sentence. Women can regain their freedom and confidence by seeking treatment.
Do you relate to one of these women? Incontinence affects one in three women at some point in their life and many do not seek treatment. Women often endure the stigma associated with incontinence in private, feeling shame and humiliation. However, it does not need to be this way. Urine leakage does not have to be a permanent condition. By seeking help from health professionals or by using a product such as Carin Wear, women can discover the empowerment of taking control over their recovery and regaining their life. As women, let’s support each other by sharing our experiences and spreading the hope that seeking treatment offers.
Karyn Sepulveda is an Australian author of Women’s Fiction and host of the podcast ‘Letters To Our Yesterday’. Check out her work at: www.karynsepulveda.com