Bedwetting is not the end of the world but when you are dealing with it in the deepest, darkest hours of the night you tend to think it is. Sometimes things are tough to cope with at that time.
We have “a person” in our family who isn’t quite ready to talk about this issue. They accept what happened and why but they don’t wish to share the details just yet. They need to put a few more decades in between.
And that’s fine.
I’m going to discuss how this affected me as a mother. How I spent over a decade dealing with the stress of bedwetting from the middle of a vortex of self-doubt, blame, anger, frustration and parental angst. How this completely normal and blameless event was a long and educational journey full of societal judgment and misunderstanding. I think it affected me so much because I was an occasional bed wetter until I was a teenager. They say it is hereditary.
But first, you must understand that as a parent or caregiver you are not alone in dealing with this.
There are many amazing resources available these days that will give you the information you need such as the GoodNites website found here: Goodnites Bedwetting Education.
The medical community has the knowledge it needs now to thoroughly investigate your child’s individual situation and confirm whether or not there is anything that can be done to help while you wait out the natural changes that will occur in your child’s body.
Trust me when I tell you that everyone has some experience in this area with their own kids, siblings or selves. It is that common. (But you wouldn’t guess that from the stigma attached to bedwetting right?). It is a private issue, like many others, but it isn’t something to be ashamed of. It is something we need to be educated about.
In my family, it began with very successful daytime toilet training. No problem at all. Naps were fine too. I expected nighttimes to take longer than daytime. And they did. Over ten years longer. Clearly this wasn’t a toilet training issue.
Tests, pills, frustration, devices, reduced liquid intake, yelling, and middle of the night bathroom trips didn’t help.
Bullying, hypnotizing and bribing wasn’t going to make a difference either.
Our family doctor spoke to me about it and explained that it was something called enuresis. This apparently occurs in almost 1 in 4 kids. It’s a very common issue! My husband was uncomfortable with the whole situation and I had to book an appointment for him to discuss it with our doctor too. It was a difficult idea to get your head around.
We were sent to a paediatrician to rule out any other issues that may be contributing. There were none. The specialist explained to us that the problem wasn’t that the child was being lazy, it was that their body wasn’t ready. He said, in child terms, that the “guards” that keep everything in the bladder when we sleep, weren’t able to do their job yet. We did try the medication but we saw no change except our child was somewhat dehydrated the next morning.
The paediatrician constantly reassured us that our child was developing normally and he guaranteed that by their wedding night, our child would not be wetting the bed.
For a decade the nightly routine was that we’d be called in to change sheets, pj’s etc. Sometimes it was more than once.
It usually happened in the middle of the night at the half-way point between when you just go to bed, and are going to wake up. Why do things seem so bleak then?
One time I woke up around 2am and realized I hadn’t heard the usual call. I went to check and found my child curled up in a ball on the bedroom floor. New pj’s were on with a small dry blanket over top. How heartbreaking that was since they felt “bad” and they didn’t want to wake us up. It was very cold that night.
Many doctors appointments later we confirmed it wasn’t a training issue at all – the child’s body just wasn’t physically ready.
I felt terrible for my child.
I understood by this point that it wasn’t anyone’s fault but you see your child suffer and you want to fix it.
For the most part we didn’t make a big deal out of it. It was important to us as parents to NOT make the child feel guilty about what was happening.
This was the norm in our family. Sleepovers were tricky though. We learned to cope. Close friends and family knew about it. The same-aged friends accepted it but it was still taboo to discuss it. Why is that? If this is something the child can’t control then they shouldn’t be judged or made to feel bad. Who wants that?
I’m hoping that by sharing this story other parents will see that bedwetting isn’t something that can always be controlled at will. Give your kid and yourself a break and find coping methods like disposable nighttime underwear, bed pads and a routine to get through it.
This is not the end of the world and BELIEVE ME when I tell you it won’t go on forever. (Although it might feel like that at 2am!)
Check out the resources, talk to your doctor, and just accept it as the way things are – for now.#AllGoodNites
Disclosure: I was financially compensated for writing about this topic. However, all opinions and experiences I mention are honest and 100% my own.