I've been through two pregnancies and two natural childbirths, so I was used to accidentally peeing a little while coughing or sneezing. It was actually a running joke in my house. If I sneezed and went upstairs, my kids would yell, "Hey Daddy! Mommy peed herself again!" My son even offered to let me borrow one of his pull-ups. Um, thank you? Sigh. It's one of those unexpected little joys of motherhood that no one warns you about.
And it doesn't just end with coughing on a full bladder. When I tried jumping on the trampoline with my kids at the gym and pee just fell out of me, I wasn't too psyched, but I thought, "OK, no more trampolines." It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to avoid them for the rest of my life. No problem.
The real issue started when I signed up for CrossFit. Apparently jumping rope is even worse than jumping on a trampoline, and I found out the hard way. I had to do four rounds of three exercises, one of which included 50 single unders (regular jumping rope). I didn't even jump 20 times before I felt pee leaking out of me and into my underwear. I tried doing one massive Kegel to help hold it in, but it did absolutely nothing. I couldn't just stop the workout. I had to keep going. Yeah, I'm pretty sure my entire bladder (although not quite full) emptied and dripped down my inner thighs. All I can say is I'm so glad I was wearing black leggings that day.
Well, crap! Jumping rope was pretty common in CrossFit, so what was I going to do? After that class, I went up to the coach, who thankfully was a woman, and I asked, "Do you have kids?" She replied, "Yes, why?" I whispered "Well, how do you not pee yourself while jumping rope?" She laughed and said, "If you look around the room before a workout that involves jumping rope, you'll see every single mother run to the bathroom."
OK. I could handle that. Our gym posts the workouts online the night before, so I could prepare myself. I wore black leggings, had only a few sips of water before class, and made sure to hit the restroom before the workout. That kind of worked. I peed less, so that was a good thing.
But one day after a few months of CrossFit, I was jumping rope and realized I forgot to pee beforehand. I was floored. I did not pee myself. Not one drop. So what was the cure?
I came from a running and yoga background, but with CrossFit the one thing that was new to me was lifting heavy weights. All those heavy squats and core work are what strengthened my pelvic floor, similar to how Kegels work. My legs, butt, and abs are the strongest they've ever been, and apparently so are my inner lady muscles. It's liberating! Not peeing while exercising makes me so happy, and it's a surprising little reward for all my hard work.
So bring on jumping rope, jumping jacks, and even sneezing while jumping on a trampoline! It's good incentive to keep on lifting heavy, not only to continue getting stronger but to also keep my pee where it belongs.