Once upon a time I was an avid runner. I was very confident in my health. I felt strong and unstoppable.
I waited a long time to have a baby. Life circumstances had put that dream on hold for a while. I later found my wonderful husband and we both decided we wanted to begin having a family. We were thirty-five at this time and we were excited to begin having children.
I had a healthy pregnancy and was very blessed to give birth to a beautiful baby girl. My life was like a dream. I was amazed at my new baby and was excited to bounce back from my pregnancy. Even though my new role as a mother was all encompassing I remember planning my running comeback by placing a big star on the calendar six weeks after my daughters’ birth. My goal was to get back to running as soon as I could.
After six weeks passed I knew something wasn’t quite right. I considered the possibly that something had not healed properly. Was it the stiches? What else other than this could be causing such discomfort?
Months of asking questions led to a diagnosis of a minor form of pelvic organ prolapse called a cystocele. My bladder had herniated. I had never heard of this. At least I wasn’t going crazy. Although it was too minor of a prolapse for surgery I wanted it fixed at this time. I wanted my old body back. It was too uncomfortable to run. I played the waiting game and hoped for the discomfort to go away.
Twenty months later I did feel better. The pinching sensation was less frequent and I was due to have my second daughter. I could never have been prepared for how much worse my prolapse became. I was very aware of my healing during the traditional six week post pregnancy phase. I eased my worry about the symptoms I was experiencing by cloaking the discomfort of my worsened pelvic organ prolapse within the tenderness mothers feel after the birthing process.
Yet, there was no escaping my deteriorating health. Weeks had turned into tedious months as I tried to educate myself about pelvic organ prolapse and wait to visit a urogynocologist. It became increasingly challenging to step away from my discomfort. It was taking over my life. I reached within myself to smile and play with my baby since holding her, walking, excreting, and almost every movement reminded me of the feeling that I was “shredded” inside, a sensation many women with POP can relate too. I lived in fear that my bladder and rectum would fall down even more. I felt betrayed by my body. I felt too young to have this condition.
I was fighting against the reality of having pelvic organ prolapse. The recommendation that I postpone surgery until I no longer needed to carry my children brought me to rock bottom. The night I realized surgery was not going to save me I slowly began my healing journey. I cried so hard I barely recognized my own voice. There were identifiable stages of loss. Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time this was my defining moment of acceptance. I gained a new awareness that I needed to become empowered. With determination and some help along the way I was beginning to create my magical formula of transformation.
My life did not change over night. In fact, it took a long time but change was coming. I surrendered and began asking myself what I really needed on this journey. I committed to myself in a very conscious way. I filled the areas of my life that always called to me but I had put on the backburner. I chose action instead of being stuck. I chose listening to my body. I became an empowered patient who knew how to care for my physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. I am more open to new experiences and I have a passion for life.
No more running for me but riding a bike for the first time since I was eight years old. My husband had to hold the seat and run behind me! I am still afraid of being clipped in the clips but I know I can do it! I will never forget this day. My daughters’ cheered me on from the sidewalk, “Go, Mommy!”
If I could go back and talk to myself in the “darkest time” I would say, “Hold on. You are on this journey and you can help yourself get past this and everything will be okay.”
And it is okay. More than okay. It’s better than ever!