Shani is a Melbourne mum who is on a mission to spread body love and body positivity – she’s learnt to embrace her changing body post birth and appreciate all that it can do for her and her daughter. One of the new changes that she has been experiencing is bladder leaks.
“After giving birth to my daughter I felt so disconnected to my body – I didn’t ‘bounce back’ – I looked in the mirror one day and I said ‘I hate my body’ – then I turned and my daughter was looking at me, listening to me. I knew right then that I had to start accepting my new body, for me and for her.
“If I’d had Modibodi at that time, I’d have been in a different state about my body, dealing with my bladder leaks in public would have been one less thing on my mind.”
Shani did discover Modibodi about 3 years ago and loves how she can wear them all day and how they have given her dignity back, we reached out earlier this year to be a part of our Real Life, Real Bodies campaign – you might have seen her on some billboards around Australia! For Continence Week this year we’ve asked her to share a bit about her experience and how Modibodi has helped her with those leaks.
What was your first experience with bladder leaks?
My first experience with bladder leakage was a few days after giving birth to my daughter. The doctors came around to see how I was recovering after a traumatic birth. Nothing went to plan and sadly I had a tear during birth. They asked me if I was able to go to the toilet yet, my response “well I can’t feel when I need to go to the toilet at all”. I’d been wetting myself for days and not realising because I’d lost all sensation to needing to go to the toilet.
Did you know what products were on the market? How did you manage it initially?
I had no idea there were any products on the market to help with managing this. I was so clueless and so were the nurses as they had no solutions to offer other than to monitor how it went and then the advice I received was “just wear pads”. The answers I kept getting that week was, you will have to double up on maternity pads or adult diapers. For months I wore maternity pads. It was so deeply frustrating. It caused me extreme thrush on top of the pain I was already in because the pads didn’t allow any air flow and where continuously wet. It’s was such a sad time. I felt so alone and embarrassed. I felt unprepared for the worst. Shameful was a word I used countless amounts of times.
Could you ask your friends or family for help?
I remember speaking to my mum about it. She had suffered for years upon years with incontinence after birthing 3 children. She spoke openly and encouraged me to call the health nurse to the house to check on my bladder issues. Other than my mum’s advice I was vulnerable and clueless what to do. Of course, there were many options, but I didn’t know where to turn feeling so vulnerable and finding the time with a newborn to seek help felt impossible.
Did you feel embarrassed or shamed?
Shameful was one way of putting it. It was scarier than anything because I wasn’t sure if I’d ever gain my sensation back again. I felt deeply sad that if I laughed too hard in public, I’d find myself with a stream of wetness down my legs – or even if I coughed or sneezed. I remember almost feeling some type of anger because there was no other option; I had to live my life in maternity pads. I felt deeply sad that I didn’t know anyone that was like me or if there were any other options out there. I felt a deep sense of unsureness as to why all the baby books I read, all the articles I took information from, mummy shows and documentaries spoke very little on leakage and what to do.
How did you find out about Modibodi?
Modibodi came up on a social media add 3 years later on my Instagram. I remember my super open friends’ I’d met recently talking about period undies and Modibodi being one of the most comfortable investments EVER!
Do you feel like you have more dignity wearing Modibodi?
Modibodi have given me many things and dignity is most definitely one of the feelings they have helped me give back to myself. I remember the first time I slipped into them, one foot after the other. I smiled like a kid in a candy store. I cried soon after. It was mixed emotions that I could wear jeans again without the major bump in my pants. Modibodi took a major part in giving me my sexy back. I no longer was wearing large over-sized undies in a beige colour with a pad! I went from those undies to my Modi’s and the rest was history. The colours bought back fun to my ‘under armour’ as I like to call it. I ventured out on walks and runs more, I took longer drives with my daughter knowing my Modi’s had my back. I started to laugh harder like I use to and I no longer had to worry about not knowing when I was having leakage. Modibodi gave me my mojo and flow of life back literally. I can’t imagine life without them really!
What would you say to women who are also experiences bladder leaks?
You don’t deserve to suffer, you’re not alone and there are brands like Modibodi that feel our shame and pain. Understand that this is a really vulnerable topic and be gentle with yourself about it. There is no shame in something that is out of your control. You’re not the only one, and you deserve to feel secure and safe through everyday life in your body as you are. There is help, there are brands that are doing all they can to support you. Seek support, you deserve comfort.
You matter and your leakage matters. You are never alone!
Thank you for being so open and sharing your story Shani!
If you are someone that also experiences incontinence and want help please speak to a doctor or specialist. We have also interviewed Mai Vu, a pelvic floor physio who works at a major maternity hospital in Melbourne, to get some of her top tips she gives to her patients - read here!