Tuesday, March 23, 2010

This too shall pass...

When was the last time you peed yourself?

As you stretch your mind back to a time when you would perhaps find yourself standing on a towel, while the school nurse rummages through the lost property for a pair of navy blue PE knickers, let me share with you a more recent memory...say yesterday.

Yesterday I realized that I was a woman. Now, I know the breasts, childbirth, vagina thing should have been a giveaway but what I mean is that yesterday I moved from being a normal woman to a bit of a weirdo woman/grown up.

I went to the gym and in a bout of unexplained bravery opted to take a class...because somehow after you have a baby you care a whole lot less what people think about you. You care what they think about your child and what they think about you as a parent, but in terms of your general appearance (did I shower this week?) and trying out new things - it's as though you download the independence app on the iPhone of life. It's simply a case of - I've had a baby and I don't care if people laugh at me. Yep - that's it - after flapping your legs open at anyone that even walked past your hospital room it now takes a lot to cause a mother honest embarrassment. Or so I told myself...

I arrived a haggard mess - rushing from work, sipping an iced coffee...because that's what I used to do in New York and somehow I thought I looked cool sipping a drink as I walked in, clutching my gym kit. After rummaging around in my bag for my ID huffing and sighing, the receptionist offered to look me up in the system. She smacked of pity...but it's okay because I've had a baby and it doesn't matter if people laugh at me. I try to redeem myself by striking up conversation with the young girl. I ask about the class "Turbo Kick" that I plan on taking. "Is it suitable for beginners?", and then I sort of pulled my lower lip down in a mock nervous pose. She smiles and tells me that she doesn't know, she has never taken the class. Fifty percent of my brain gets the hint that she doesn't want to talk - the remaining 50% has a stroke and I find myself winking at the girl before adding, "I'm sure I'll be fine". Erm, am I Magnum PI? Am I an Internet web cam pervert? I shake my head and hurry to get changed. Good lord - who am I? I hate strangers and small talk yet just found myself being a complete weirdo.

I have birthed a child...it doesn't matter if people laugh at me.

I pull on my sports bra from 2003 and some old capri pants and a tank top that I usually sleep in/slept in last night and just threw in my bag. My bra has lost all elasticity so my fish head breasts are set to swing in the wind. However, I'm excited.

Knowing that my bladder is unstable I rush to the loo to squeeze out anything that might be there before the ice coffee trickles through. Trying to do two things at once I hover over the loo, (but give up mid stream - weak thighs), then drop my hairtie on the pee encrusted floor as I try to tie up my hair. I lean down and as I reach for my elastic band my head rests on the side of the cubicle. Then I realise that my head/hair is actually resting on that vile swing bin where people discard their tampons. Deep breath. Onwards.
I wipe, wipe again. Pull up my scrag pants and then reach down and give an extra wipe for security.

I pushed for 32 hours...it doesn't matter if people laugh at me.

I rush upstairs and (deep breath) enter the room. I know I'm in trouble because all the people that look like me, in old gym clothes, are flanking the walls. I am forced to take a somewhat central position surrounded by women that have been poured into their workout gear. POURED. They are wearing Tour De France pants and I am not even in a spinning class. Their calf muscles are pronounced and they are not even on their toes. There are towels and water bottles everywhere. I put my half empty grande cup of ice coffee to the back of the room and wished I was wearing something that said New York or Brooklyn on it so I could feel a little cool. God, even typing that sentence is a travesty.

The woman walked in. I think she was a woman. She looked around the room and asked if this was anyone's first time. I hate this sort of thing. I hate it in church. I hate it anywhere. Why does anyone need to know? I just give a lips together smile and look around the room. I have done a TaeBo DVD with Billy Blank - I can do this.

And so it began...

Now, try to imagine a really embarrassing moment. Perhaps when your OBGYN checked you for hemorrhoids in front of your partner? Perhaps pooping your pants whilst making a daisy chain at lower school? Then mix it with say the memory of kissing someone whose lips were so dry they were flaking off into your mouth. That was the first 30 minutes of that class. I felt like I was in Cocoon but I was the geriatric that hadn't yet swum in the pool. These people were serious punch, skip, ski, kickers. I just knew how to do that speed bag move and that was covered in the warm up.

To be fair, there was a guy in the front row that was clearly insane and was just jumping around doing his own routine. People were no doubt switching their disbelief between the two of us. I kept checking the clock. This too will pass.

Forty minutes of sheer cringing pass and then I just let go. I became a crazy, grown up weirdo. I started whooping. Yes, I started whooping. And then, in one of the bits the instructor started slapping her bum (punch, punch, ski, ski, slap bum). It was just her - nobody else was doing it but I was delirious. I had no water, no towel, I had drained my ice coffee, and was just sucking the ice dregs. I was reminded of a homeless lady on new years eve 1999, kicking a receipt down Exeter High Street. I started slapping my butt too. And then I started laughing. Not like the clown in poltergeist, more like the drunk person on the subway that is laughing at their own joke. I was officially giddy and the more I looked at my Ribena face the more I found myself hilarious.

And that is when I peed myself.

She said "jumping jack" and between a giggle and an arm flap I just dribbled. What's worse is that made me giggle/dribble more. I stopped the jump out part, squeezed my kegels for dear life and conspicuously tried to rub my legs together. Thank God my legs were hairy - that was bound to slow the flow. The class ended at some point after that. To be fair I was so sweaty that one could be forgiven for thinking that the wet between my legs was just some deep thigh perspiration. Right?

So now, I just laugh at myself. I encourage Depends, Tena lady, full bottom knickers, black pants. I heavily promote kegel muscle exercises whilst pregnant. I now totally understand why celebrities have C-sections. Can you imagine them getting snapped by the pap with wee stains post workout or strutting their stuff on the red carpet and suddenly realizing that their pee is streaking their fake tan legs? And,think of that poor Duggar lady (and her husband) with 19 children - she must permanenetly smell like a park toilet.

Now, don't worry I'm not incontinent. You could hang out with me without wondering if you were wearing damp clothing or sitting near a wet dog. I'm just a little less wink happy and more understanding to the people browsing the fragranced panty liner aisle.

** The writer of this blog would like it to be noted that she had a vaginal delivery of an 8lb 11oz baby.


  1. That is freakin' hilarious. This blog entry has single handedly kept me from slitting my wrists at work today. You are hilarious...and your writing always brings a smile to my face.

  2. I love your blogs. It happens to me all the time! Sneeze...Pee...laugh..pee...jump...Pee....
    We suffer from the same condition..vaginal deliver of an 8 pound 11oz. baby girl! Right on! Noella is 3 (going on 4) and I still can't hold on to it for the life of me!!! OY!

  3. Ha! You are so funny. I can totally picture this whole scene and I love it. Also, now I know that when we work out your "sweat" might actually be...something else. These are good things to know...

  4. Gotta love that post-baby pee... Especially when it strikes in already awkward situations. I once slid five feet on an icy sidewalk and the shock of it led to a dribble. Because flailing around on ice in front of my co-workers wasn't clumsy enough... Although, I managed to stay on my feet, looking like I was being electrocuted instead of crashing to the pavement like a sack of potatoes.

  5. Your writing makes my day. I love everything you have to say and this post made me nearly pee myself. :-) I'm lovin' it so much I'm about to read it aloud to my husband who's been on the phone while I giggle at your post and totally ignore him. :-)

  6. Paula you are so funny!! I am sat at my desk in London laughing out loud! You have cheered up my day massively! xxx

  7. I love your mantra. Maybe I should start saying the same to myself. I might try a whule lot more new things if I did
    Well, I was totally upset by having c-sections with my 4 kids, but I guess there is that one perk. I don't trickle when I giggle. .

  8. Fab Paula, I couldn't stop laughing because I can, with so many other women, identify with this. While standing at the sink, just keep squeezing and the muscles get stronger, until of course you reach that dreaded age when your whole body lets you down!
    I hope you are going back next week for another session, but don't take coffee!!

  9. I have sneezed and peed myself-Im far from just having a baby too. lol Commenting from comment club-hope to see you soon!

  10. OMG Paul. Like I totally soiled myself while reading this. Like 8 times or so. Okay maybe 9. You are a riot. I love you.

  11. This was hilarious! There is something so powerful about being able to write candidly about the most embarrassing moments that so many women understand...but to do it in a way where you make everyone so comfortable laughing at you (because you're thirty)...that is a gift. I am thrilled to have found your blog.

  12. Too funny! I love the way you write. It is very real & sometimes very funny!

  13. You are hilarious!! "Am I Magnum PI?" Oh, I love a woman who can laugh at herself. I aim to laugh at myself every day, and am trying to teach my kids to do the same so they don't have to reach my advanced old age (of even more than 30) to learn it!

  14. Oh that is such a great post - such a classic (every mom should get a copy of it when leaving the hospital with a baby!).

    I love the whole weirdo episode too - you're right, have of your brain just goes dead or something even though you can totally tell the other person wants to flee!!

    Thanks for the laugh - Swati

  15. Isn't 30 good!

    Hey, do you think you might have something to contribute to the anthology I'm editing? You are such a gifted writer, and possess a voice worth hearing.


  16. HAHAHA....so funny! I'm laughing with you, not at you girl!

  17. Wow, this definitely made me laugh! I understand though, I think almost all women know how this feels - like when you are about to pop when you are pregnant and you laugh and slightly pee.. Ugh.

    I just began following your blog! I love it!

  18. First of all, your blog is my favorite. And I mean FAVORITE. Period. Second of all, if these are signs of things to come then BRING IT because any excuse I can use NOT to go to the gym...I'll take it. Hilarious. Lastly, your wise words of wisdom have been taken into serious account as I am now the proud owner of a Sophie (as I'm sure Megan told you) and the soon to be proud owner of the awesome diaper bag you suggested. So thank YOU for helping out an extremely clueless first time mom. Happy weekend! :)

  19. Hey .. send me your address and I will send you those bklyn/ny shirts asap.. along with a catheter for your excersize class :)

    your a writing wizard.. miss you lots

  20. Thanks for sharing Paula! You definitely got a chuckle out of me.

    My kids love to tell everyone that mommy needs to cross her legs when she sneezes. They think that's hilarious.

    Just wait until you hit forty and take hip hop classes!

  21. I am just popping in to let you know I have a blog award for you!! You can come over and pick it up here:


    Keep up the great work :O)


  22. You are hilarious! I love your writing and I agree whole-heartedly. Happened to me this morning, although, that is why I was exercising at home. I used to tease my mom for not jumping on the trampoline with us. Now, I know why! Geez!


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