I didn't even know it was happening. It took a few moments, and then it dawned on me that I was peeing my pants.
And I could do nothing about it.
Well I could...
I could stop jumping on the gigantic trampoline that my daughter and I were on.
As soon as I realized I'd peed myself, I became thankful of two things very quickly.
One: That my accident was not a full emptying of my bladder.
Two: That this field trip was outside and almost over.
Anyone who has had fluid exit their body at an unwanted time knows you can do a lot with toilet paper. Getting to the toilet paper is another matter completely.
I tried to hide what had happened. I really did try to keep it from my daughter.
But, after a round of negotiations which would make the best prosecuting attorney proud, I finally convinced my daughter we needed to leave the biggest trampoline she had ever seen because...
"I had an oopsie."
Which she agreed, was serious business. Enough so that she took my hand the whole way and said, "it's okay mommy. I'll help you."
I refused to freak out or be embarrassed in front of my daughter.
I was VERY aware of her questions and how I answered them because, as my mom would put it, this was a teaching moment.
She followed me to the portable restroom.
She asked again,
"Mommy? Are you okay?"
"Yes, honey. Mommy had an oopsie and I just need a few minutes to take care of it."
"Did you bring extra panties?"
"No I didn't."
"What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to get cleaned up and go back so you can keep jumping on the trampoline!"
I showed my daughter a skill every menstruating person, I'm sure, has come to use at some point: how to make a panty liner out of toilet paper.
This life lesson came much earlier that I had planned.
Afterward, we used the foot-pump hand washing station then passed some goats and an over-sized chair on our way back to the trampoline.
My daughter invited me to join her again, and I said I would love to watch her bounce this time.
She showed me all the big jumps she could.
I stood wide-legged, trying to strike some sort of balance between letting air reach the crotch and seeming not to care that my pants were wet.
And I thought about all the kegels and squats I didn't do. And all the pelvic floor papers I've read looking for resources for my clients.
I just talked with a fellow doula about a physical therapist she recommends specifically for postpartum women needing to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles after child birth.
And even with all that information, reading about strengthening my pelvic floor did very little to actually improve its tone. Go figure. I have to do the work to get the result I want...a lesson my business mentor has shared repeatedly.
I'm 32 and peed my pants on my daughter's field trip. If I was waiting for a sign that I needed to take this part, postpartum incontinence, more seriously, I'd say this is it.
If you need me, I'll be over here doing some deep squats.