Getting to the bottom of things

Getting to the bottom of things
Getting to the bottom of things

When I fell pregnant around 17 years ago, I expected to be tired once our little bundle of joy arrived. 

I expected to have to change nappies, be responsible for another life and to figure out the strange concept of breastfeeding.  But I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the journey that lay ahead. 

You see, I instantly fell in love with Sarah.  It was the most amazing experience to become a mum.  And it was because of that love, that it absolutely broke my heart that I couldn’t stop her from being in pain.

I didn’t know it at the time, but she was born with a condition now becoming known as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).  

It meant that from day one, she reacted to just about everything, including breast milk and everything I was ingesting in my diet being transferred into my milk.  

Her poor little body didn’t know what to do.  She would cry for hours, vomit from reflux, and bring up her legs with horrendous colic for hours on end.  When she did sleep, it took a long time to settle and it only lasted for short bursts, both day and night.  

I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong.  I started to notice that maybe the things that I was eating would change her levels of discomfort and her bowel motions.  

So, I began cutting things out of my diet and analysing the effect.  

To cut a very long story short, we found working with an amazing dietitian was key, who taught me a lot about bowel motions and the information they could give you about what was happening in your body.  

With the arrival of a baby brother for Sarah, who also had the very same difficulties, my search for answers continued.  

So, the days merged into months and years of food trials and over-analysing bowel motions.  Even when they were both toilet-trained, they were accustomed to reporting back to mum how the trip to the bathroom had gone, so I could document and discuss any changes with our health team.  

Sometimes, now they are both teenagers, I will ask them how the trip to the bathroom was…just to get an eyeroll and an exasperated “muuuuum!” out of them.  At least I think I’m funny.

I am so very grateful to them now, to have been on this journey with them.  

It has taught me so much about my own body and there are certainly no problems chatting to my clients about their bowel motions, which is an important part of a pelvic health consult. 

Food is not the only thing that can affect our bowel habits. Everyone is a little different, but if there are other difficulties arising in our bodies, one of the first places to look are our bowel habits.  

Believe it or not, there is even a special picture diagram called “The Bristol Stool Chart” that helps determine what’s normal and what’s not.  

The biggest thing I learnt from my babies, is to be in tune with your own body.  

Just because something has always been a certain way, does not necessarily mean that it is normal.  

Hopefully, it won’t be quite as cryptic as their journey, but if there has been a change recently, or things have never been “quite right” it is worth chatting to a health professional, such as one of the pelvic health physiotherapists at Physique.  

Be your own advocate for your health and keep going until you find the right people to help you on your journey.