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We need to talk about this unexpected condition women deal with after giving birth

In partnership with our friends at Yarlap


We need to talk about urinary incontinence—a.k.a. peeing when you don't mean to, usually in your pants, often when you jump. Or laugh. Or sneeze. Sigh.

Because here's the deal—it's happening to almost 50% of women—and every single one of those women wants desperately for it to stop.

Let's take a quick look at why it happens.

The pelvic floor is made of a series of muscles, ligaments and tissues that support the organs in your pelvis—your uterus and bladder—as well as your vagina and anus. A number of factors can cause those muscles to become weaker, pregnancy and birth being the primary culprits. But other factors such as genetics, nerve damage or low muscle tone can contribute as well.

As doctor and professor, Linda Brubaker wrote, "No clear single event has been found to be responsible, suggesting that postpartum urinary incontinence arises from a multifactorial physiological insult."

Physiological insult indeed—there is nothing more insulting than stifling a laugh because you're afraid that you are going to pee in your pants if you laugh too hard. And quite frankly, it's insulting that the rates of untreated urinary incontinence are as high as they are. But unfortunately due to the stigma and embarrassment factor, we just don't talk about incontinence enough—and therefore, we are suffering.

We have all been there (even the midwife among us, ahem 🙋):

We're sitting on the exam-table with its cold, worn-out leather unpleasantly sticking to our thighs, stir-ups looming in front of us, while we wear a gown made out of paper towels, and await our friendly but overly-busy and therefore rushed doctor or midwife to come into the room to do our postpartum visit.

They do a quick pelvic exam, tell us "everything looks great, any questions?" But instead of asking the questions that are really bugging us, we just smile say, "I'm good!"

Because I think somewhere along the way we got the idea that this is just how it is: Lady has baby. Lady can't hold her urine anymore. Lady wears pads or diapers for the rest of her life. Then end.

(And as a not-so-side side-note, 25-50% of women who have incontinence also find that their sex lives are negatively impacted, either because they lose the desire to have sex, have difficulty having an orgasm, or because sex hurts.)

Well you know what? No!

Urinary incontinence may not be a life-threatening condition, but it is for sure a life-altering one that can have a profound impact on a woman's quality of life.

Translation: We need to do something about this.

I have spent many hours of my career teaching women how to do Kegels, an exercise meant to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor in order to decrease or stop incontinence, and to improve sexual functioning. Kegels work—when done properly. But that's an issue in and of itself.


Kassandra Dekoning

This is how I, a seasoned midwife, explain Kegels to someone:

"You know when you have to pee really bad but you can't find a bathroom so you have to sort of clench your vagina so you don't pee? That's a Kegel."

Now I am a good midwife, but quite honestly, that explanation stinks. Because how do you really explain a Kegel using words? In fact even women who get really detailed descriptions of how to do Kegels report not understanding, or simply not doing them because it was too confusing, or they forgot, or they got frustrated, or all of the above.

Enter Yarlap… literally.

Yarlap is an AutoKegel® device that provides women an effective, gentle and easy Kegel workout—automatically. (This takes the term set it and forget it to a whole new level.) It is FDA cleared, evidence based, and most important, it works.

Here's how:

You insert a small probe inside your vagina—it's about the size of your thumb. You'll pick the program that's right for you on the control (which fits in your palm)… and that's it. Seriously. Yarlap takes the guessing game out of doing Kegels because it sends little impulses to your vaginal and surrounding muscles that tone and strengthen them.

It takes about 20 minutes, and they recommend you do it three to five times per week. It's really discreet so multitasking is definitely an option—Kegel and video conference ✔️. Kegel and laundry ✔️. Kegel and Netflix ✔️.

You know that at Motherly we don't ever recommend something unless we've tried it ourselves—so I'll just go ahead and say trust me.

It doesn't hurt to use at all—trust me.

And it works—trust me.

Your can order your Yarlap through your healthcare provider OR you can order it totally on your own here (psst: use code MOTHERLY for $25 off!).

And remember that not-so-side side note about sex? Research has found that women who use a transelectical stimulation device (like Yarlap) to treat urinary incontinence overwhelmingly reported a "remarkable improvement in their sexual life." They experienced less pain with sex, more desire to have sex, and enjoyed sex more while having it.

Translation: Get it girl.

Here's the thing.

We've spent our lives living in a society that quietly yet steadfastly engrains in us the notion that we are less than—that women's health issues are not at the forefront, even when they are consuming our time, resources and emotional energy.

I think we are the generation that changes that.

Am I getting all fired up and impassioned about urinary incontinence? Yes, as a matter of fact I am.

Because ultimately it's about more than being able to do jumping jacks again (although hey, that would be nice). It's about feeling comfortable with and in our bodies, having the support and tools to take our health into our own hands, and feeling empowered to focus our attention on the pieces of our lives that we love.

And also trampolines. Because remember how much fun trampolines are?


Yarlap® with AutoKegel® Technology provides women a gentle and effective Kegel workout. With six clinically proven programs, Yarlap® tones your pelvic floor muscles effortlessly. Yarlap® provides you with the control you deserve.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Life

It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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