The day I realised I had a prolapse, I had a sinking feeling. As women who have a prolapse would know, the feeling was literal. I felt like everything in my body was, well, sinking down to where it didn’t belong.
I did what any self-respecting woman with an uncertain health concern would do: I turned to Doctor Google.
There it was in black and white. A word to describe the feeling: Prolapse.
I made an appointment with a women’s health physio who, when asking her many and varied but all intensely personal questions (is there no end to the indignity of having a baby?), initially buoyed me. I didn’t have many of the awful-sounding symptoms. In fact, other than the sinking feeling, which she called ‘dragging’, I had none. Maybe I didn’t have a prolapse after all! But I did. Bladder and bowel. Mild, but still there. Oh, and a nice friendly bit of nerve damage to go along with it.
I was devastated.
I hadn’t had difficulty losing my baby weight. My friends were being very kind and commenting on how well and how quickly I had ‘recovered’ after having my baby. But on the inside, I felt as though my body was ruined forever. I felt as though I would be uncomfortable for the rest of my life. I’ll admit it: at times, I would look at my newborn son and think, “Are you worth it?”
When I was pregnant and in the weeks following the birth, I had medical advice from a GP, two midwives, a student midwife, an obstetrician and a gynaecologist. I also did an extra birth course. Not one person mentioned the word prolapse to me.
I had never heard of it. I was in possession of a vague idea that women of a certain age sometimes have issues with incontinence because I have seen ads for incontinence sanitary wear on TV, but that was it. The word ‘prolapse’ was a new one.
Why? Why? Why? Sometimes I feel like screaming this. I certainly said it a lot to my husband (with tears running down my face) in the weeks after my diagnosis.
When you are about to undergo any other medical procedure or operation, the risks are discussed in detail with you. In fact, doctors have a duty to warn patients about potential risks. So why not when it comes to labour?