I currently have two best friends who are pregnant. I also have a handful of friends who have had babies in the last couple years. And if I understand correctly, this whole creating a human being from scratch business isn’t a walk in the park on the female body.
There are things that… happen. In fact, I remember being at a baby shower when I was 23, surrounded by my co-worker and all her friends (most of whom were already mothers), choking on my Chardonnay as they told her she should prepare to poop in front of her husband during birth and that her tits were going to resemble deflated balloons by the time her kids were through with her. That is one party I definitely left early.
Side-note: that party was the most effective birth control on the planet. THAT’S what we should be doing for high school kids. Forget these bullshit abstinence programs or just teaching them the practical need for contraceptives. Make these kids sit through a few baby showers. They’ll think twice before getting it on in the bathroom at prom if they know they’ll never be able to sneeze again without peeing their pants.
That actually brings me to my point. I have decided to share a story today as an ode to my pregnant friends and friends with babies. Since I’ll never experience the things you’re going through (not a sad moment, it’s totally by choice), I won’t be able to empathize completely, and I probably won’t be the first person you go to when you want to talk about how your body is betraying you.
But, I have been there on some level. My body has betrayed me too. And today, my procreating friends, I’m going to tell you about it. To level the playing field in a sense, so that if you want to talk to me about something your body is going through, you’ll know I’ve experienced at least a sliver of what you have, and I didn’t even have pregnancy or a baby as an excuse.
It all started when my heels tried to kill me. That’s a story for another day, but the important part of the story is that I shattered my ankle, and required major surgery and more metal than I like to think about to put it all back together. At the time, I was living in my condo alone (this was pre-lumberjack) and so for the first few weeks following surgery I couldn’t stay there. I was on so many pain-killers, and wasn’t even supposed to be up on crutches for the first week.
So, I moved in with my parents (who are completely awesome) and slept in the reclining sofa downstairs. I work in sales, so although I took sick days for that first week, it was the end of the quarter and I had a bunch of contracts I needed to bring in to make my commission. So I worked from home, and got on the phone to try to guilt my customers into getting their contracts all completed on time.
I basically lived in the recliner in my parents’ family room for a couple weeks. I could set up my computer on the couch and talk to customers, and the one downstairs bathroom was literally right behind me. OK. So here’s the thing… when you’re on a couch all day, and you sleep in that reclining couch, you get REALLY tired of it. And it starts to get uncomfortable… you just want to stretch out. So one day while I was working at home alone, I decided to slide off the couch and lay on the carpet to so I could work from there. Much better – mission accomplished. I stretched out like a giant starfish and was generally pretty pleased with myself.
Until about an hour later, when I encountered a slight problem. I had to pee. It was then that I realized the fatal flaw in my plan. I slid off the couch with my freshly butchered ankle elevated no problem, but getting UP without putting any kind of pressure on it wasn’t a trick I had practiced yet.
But no one told my bladder that. NO ONE. I was clutching the arm of the couch on my knees, trying to remember the physics formula from high school that would give me the answer to this…. what leverage point was going to let me do this without putting myself back in the hospital. Nothing… I couldn’t think of anything. I probably should have been paying more attention in class. But in this moment in time, there was nothing I could do about that. All I could do was desperately start to crawl toward the bathroom and hope I’d figure something out.
I realized in horror I was fighting a losing battle. The sheer panic and humiliation of the situation granted me some superhuman strength, and somehow I was able to use one last burst of energy to pull myself up. And as I did… I peed. I peed my pants. In my parents’ house. Pants I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get off by myself because of the huge cast on my ankle. Pants I couldn’t put in the laundry because I couldn’t get into the garage on crutches. Pants that sat on the bathroom floor in a ball of shame, mocking me. I totally and completely peed my pants.
So, my pregnant and mommy friends… if you ever want to share any mortifying stories or talk about the things your body is going through, just remember that time I peed myself while trying to crawl to the bathroom in my parents’ house, and know that I will never judge you.