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An Open Letter From A Pregnant Woman's Bladder To Every Pregnant Woman Ever

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Dear Pregnant Women Everywhere,

I am your finicky new bladder and we need to talk. Are you sitting down? Well don’t, because you’re just going to have to get up in a minute to empty me. The funny part? I barely have one ounce of that flavored water-with-electrolytes you’re convinced you need to drink. Yet the urge to go, as a pregnant woman, is so real. This is your new normal, so let me lay some knowledge down about how we’re going to be working together for the next nine months (and then forever).

First of all, I am not getting smaller, I am getting squished. While your uterus has the amazing ability to expand in accommodation to a growing human, I do not. Typically, I can hold about 16 ounces of liquid before I send the “gotta go” signal; a signal you and I know rather well. However, as that entitled womb grows, it starts appropriating my internal real estate. Suddenly, I’m left with a whole lot less room to do my thing. And by "thing," I think we both know what that is: hold a grande half-decaf cappuccino through a staff meeting with your legs uncrossed, possibly bouncing in your seat, to no ill effect. Those days are over, babe.

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Look, I don’t mean to sound bitter about my new, limited, capacity. I get that what I sacrifice in space, the rest of you makes up for with an adorable baby. It’s just that I haven’t felt this small, insignificant and, most importantly, bad at my job since that time in second grade when I failed you and your Wonder Woman underwear during an intense spelling quiz.

To help you prepare for life with pea-sized pee tank, here’s a handy list of activities that are off-limits if you don’t want them constantly interrupted by my fullness:

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  • Going to the movies
  • Intercourse that occurs beyond a reasonable walking distance to a bathroom (go before and after to avoid leakage during)
  • Guzzling water (fitness articles aimed at women love to use the word “guzzle” but what goes in, must come out, and the faster you drink, the less time I waste making waste)
  • Sitting in anything other than an aisle seat (you may not take airplanes to make friends, but you’ll be sure to make some enemies if you’re climbing over them to pee every hour)
  • Commuting longer than 45 minutes (more than that, and you’re just tempting fate)
  • A meal at a fast casual eating establishment (it will never be fast enough with your tiny bladder, and do you really want to wait in line to use the restroom at Chipotle?)
  • Waiting in line anywhere

Just accept the fact that I’m going to be a little needier now. Even though we both used to pride ourselves on my ironclad holding power, especially at all those Phish concerts, your priorities have shifted. I’ll always remember (and rather fondly, as I've grown used to your demands over the years and find them endearing) how you used to test us both, seeing how long you could go at a party without breaking the seal. In fact, I’ll cling to the memories of those amusement park rides, holding in that Big Gulp like my life, and your pants, depended on it. It will serve me well, when I nudge you at three, four, and five in the morning to take me to the bathroom, even though you haven’t drank a damn thing since dinner. I’m sorry. Please don’t be angry.

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Because while my reduced size makes your life that much more annoying, there is a very good reason for it, beyond the technical logistics of my inelasticity. The constant interruptions, the middle-of-the-night wake-ups, the uncomfortable pressure — these are all aspects of parenthood that we’re training for. Once that baby shows up, a full-feeling bladder will be laughingly insignificant to what now demands your time, attention, and loyalty.

Courtesy of Liza Wyles

After you give birth, and especially if you have more than one kid, I’ll be the same size I’ve always been, but I may not be tucked in quite as tightly. See, your pelvic floor muscles, on which I’ve built my house, will have been through a lot; supporting me as I took on the pressure of your gigantic uterus (sorry, it’s true), and they don’t always spring back, even if your uterus does. If you don’t do those Kegel exercises, I’ll be playing it a little fast and loose with the urine. Even if you do the exercises, there is no guarantee I can keep everything in when you hit me with a laugh, or a cough, or a sneeze. However, and this is important so please pay attention through the "cute kick and punch" combo your growing baby is throwing right now: there is no shame in this. It’s what an entire incontinence solutions industry depends on. (Get it?)

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I will always be here to receive whatever you throw down your gullet: coconut water, tea that enhances breast milk production, and those spinach smoothies people seem to hate themselves enough to drink. I’m good with it all (unlike your picky pal, the stomach). Just take small sips, spaced out over a few hours, and we’ll be able to navigate motherhood just fine.

Unless you’re going on a road trip.

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Yours In Dryness,

A Pregnant Woman's Bladder

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