I was home alone last night, relaxing in front of the television. Flipping through the channels, I came across a scary movie just in time to see the most terrifying scene I've ever seen on TV. Did I mention I was home alone? I turned off the TV, got up, and noticed that my front door was wide open. I quickly locked the door, and walked through the house to make sure everything was secure (just like one of those women in the spooky flicks who blindly walk into the hiding intruder.) Being alone — combined with my endless imagination — had me needlessly scared silly.
Have you ever done something like that? Somehow it’s easier to handle things that scare you when you aren't alone. I remember years ago running a parenting workshop. A young mom in the group was ready to burst into tears. “What’s going on?” I asked. She hesitated, deciding if it was safe enough to share her scary secret. With tears in her eyes, she said, “I’m a terrible mother.” Why? Because her adorable two-and-a half-year-old little girl who was the center of her universe said, “I hate you Mommy!” I looked at the other parents in the room and said, “Raise your hand if you've ever had your child say something like that to you?” Every hand in the room, including mine, went up. The young mom was shocked to learn that phrases like, “I hate you” and “You’re mean,” are said to parents every where. They are simply early attempts by children to get their way when a parent says “No.” Once others in the group opened up and shared their stories, she realized she wasn't alone…and she certainly wasn't the monster she made herself out to be. The more she learned about managing a tantruming toddler, the stronger and more empowered she felt as a mom.
So what does this have to do with LBL? Think back to how you felt the first time you experienced a little leak. Startled. Scared. Confused. Embarrassed. You had hoped it was a one-time thing, but then … oops. It happened again. And Again. Over time laughing, coughing, or a big sneeze produces a big emotional reaction that flashes across your face for a split second, before you try to hide it. You might feel all alone, afraid to tell anyone for fear of being judged, teased, or embarrassed. LBL doesn’t have to be a skeleton in your closet. It’s so common and there are things you can do to reduce and sometimes even eliminate it. What’s important to know is you’re not alone. One in three women experience it. It’s easy to scare yourself silly when you think you’re the only one. But when it comes to LBL, you’re not. What I’ve discovered is when one woman starts the conversation with her friends, she empowers herself and her girlfriends to learn new ways of managing it so you can get on with your life.
What about you? Do you remember feeling like you were the only one? How did you discover you weren't alone?