May 2, 2020

Sagging is not normal

Testimony of Ellen, mother of 2

My first childbirth was a series of bad decisions and bad luck. My son was finally delivered using epidural anaesthesia, a cut and a vacuum pump. Due to persistent irritation of my urethra, I went for a check-up after two weeks with my gynaecologist, who assured me that this was perfectly normal and that all women have problems after giving birth. However, my symptoms became more prominent; constipation, pain, and a very insecure and weak feeling when coughing, sneezing, but also laughing and walking. The feeling of missing a support at the level of my pelvic floor.

Looking for guidance

My first physiotherapist confirmed this feeling; my passive, ligamentous support system had suffered enormous damage. This cannot be repaired and the support must be taken up entirely by the active system of the pelvic floor muscles. The message I was given was: no pressure, and if you do apply pressure, it must always be actively absorbed.

However, everything is busy; sports, jumping, coughing and sneezing, but also laughing and singing, standing for long periods and sitting for long periods. Although I had never been anxious, all the movements frightened me, felt as if they were potentially harmful and I felt extremely vulnerable. I wanted to move forward, but kept running into a wall of limitations. I stopped working for a while and sought psychological counselling to deal with the trauma of giving birth and to grieve for a healthy pelvic floor and carefree exercise and sport.

Active approach restores damage

I found new courage and consulted other experts. My new pelvic floor physiotherapist helped to reverse this negative spiral. In all honesty, she helps me think about an active approach, possibly with aids, with a great deal of knowledge, skill and passion. The structural damage is there, but she helps to find out whether there are still functional possibilities in terms of comfort, strengthening and possible sporting opportunities.

In the meantime, I have given birth to a second child, completely naturally and under the supervision of a fantastic team of midwives at La Madrugada. Prenatally I really appreciated the guidance of my pelvic floor physiotherapist Hedwig Neels and my gynaecologist Prof. Dr. Jacquemyn to trust my body during my pregnancy and delivery. I have the feeling that I am not experiencing more complaints than before. With external support from knowledgeable professionals who can find you the right information, I can work forward to having the strongest body possible.


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