I thought learning to sail would be my biggest worry.
At the age of 40, I began a journey to fulfil a dream I’d had since being a little girl. Together with my husband, we enrolled in ‘Basic Cruising’ sailing lessons, and then subsequently completed our ‘Coastal Navigation’ certification with the Canadian Yachting Association. It became something of a competition on the exams, but where I lagged in navigational prowess, I made up for with a natural feel for the wind and comfort with a tiller.
Filled with pride and tenacity, we purchased a boat. Then, I thought owning a boat would be my biggest worry.
In our extensive sailing course, we learned what to do in emergency situations, how to read the clouds, and the meaning of hundreds of marine signals. The course didn’t prepare us for flushing the toilet (‘head’) or turning on the cabin lights. The stove and oven were a greater mystery and I was convinced we would blow up the boat in trying to make bunny pasta for the kids. I watch too many spy films. Each time we headed out on our Dehler, we learned a new skill – none of which had anything to do with sailing. I can now troubleshoot diesel engine problems, use solar power to top up the batteries, and know how to pack a wicked cooler box.
With more confidence, we embarked on a weekend-long journey to a nearby island. Apart from Disney, this would be the most northern ‘Happiest Place on Earth’ for families. Equipped with dock spaces for many boats, huge BBQs, an epic rope swing, composting outhouses, horseshoes, dingys, paddleboards, hiking trails and an apple orchard, it’s like high-octane camping. On arrival, the kids jump off the boat and hit the ground running with a group of no fewer than six other boys.
A dream. But then I realized going away on a boat for a few days was my biggest worry.
Provisioning, preparing and packing is easy – as long as nothing goes wrong. For some, that means a bit of extra food to tide over a family due to engine trouble. For others, it may mean freezing baby food so it stays fresh. For me, it meant more clothes, wipes, and period pads. Using outhouses is fabulous provided there is enough time to make the quick hike up a hill. But no amount of preparation can ever prepare me for light bladder leakage that can occur at any time. Walking past 20 other sailboats and chatty BBQ aficionados with a wet spot smearing down my skirt wasn’t my idea of heaven.
One-in-four Canadian women experience bladder leakage at some point in their lives and of these, almost half (49%) suffer from stress urinary incontinence (SUI) which can be triggered by everyday occurrences like coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting or even exercise.
Being a Tarzan-woman on the rope swing, to chasing the kids on hikes, to giving that extra oomph on a horseshoe toss all have the ability to trigger a leak. And that is neither relaxing nor free from embarrassment. So, for our first weekend in this fairyland, I did nothing. I tried not to laugh. Didn’t play. And most certainly didn’t run.
Something had to give. I learned to sail. I can read a crazy chart and blew guck with my mouth out of diesel engine lines to fix my motor. Surely bladder leaks couldn’t stop me! As with many issues affecting women, however, we have suffered long, and only in the past several years have inspired companies listened and innovated in order to help better manage the issues that nobody ever wanted to discuss.
I can’t stand the bulk and discomfort of using period pads every day, just in case of a little bladder leak. In fact, I learned that there is a big difference between period pads that are made for, well, periods, and products that are designed uniquely to manage leaks! Enter Poise Impressa. Poise has created a way to manage leaks that gets inserted and removed like a tampon. It helps support women in all the right places by placing pressure on the urethra to help stop unexpected leaks before they happen! Once the right size is determined, you simply insert – it’s super comfortable and I don’t feel it at all. You can actually LIVE life. The sizing kit includes size 1, 2 and 3. You start with size 1 and if it is comfortable and prevents leaks, then this is the right size. If not, move on to size 2 and have a few coughs and laughs!
Poise also offers microliners and liners that are thin, absorbent and designed for LBL, or light bladder leakage. When I need extra confidence, or am running a big race, I use these as well. Now that I have discovered Impressa, though, I find that this small tampon-like insert is enough.
So, you jump. And chuck that horseshoe like Wonder Woman. And you don’t worry. I’m not stocking the boat with extra towels, clothes and bulky period pads. These babies are discreet and Impressa can be worn for up to 12-hours in any 24-hour period, though, so you can easily get away all day long.
I thought that learning to sail, buying a boat, and venturing on trips would be a trigger for pride and confidence. Little did I know, that seizing my PoiseMoment would be the icing on the cake. I know this can be an embarrassing topic, and one that etiquette experts wouldn’t approve for dinner table conversation, but it’s important that we do. Of all the women who experience leaks, less than half have spoken about it with their health care professional. Just because it’s a female issue that can be embarrassing doesn’t mean that it’s not worth fixing. We all deserve to thrive.
And just when I thought I had no more worries, I started having so much fun that I wanted a bigger boat.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by my friends at Poise, but all opinions are my own.