The Near Miss Enema: A Postpartum Warning

Do you know what an enema is? It’s basically a flush for your bum-hole. Its entire purpose is to drive the constipated crap out of your bowels by forcing water up in there when you aren’t able to excrete it yourself.

enema cartoon explain

It doesn’t sound pleasant at all, and it most definitely leaves you feeling unsexy when you have to ask your spouse to administer it on you. But when you reach the point where pushing on the potty makes your soul leave your body, it may be time to accept your fate.

This was a fate I once came dangerously close to.

The year was 2014. I was nine days postpartum from delivering our first baby. She was absolutely perfect. My going-on ninth day of having not passed a bowel movement was not perfect. It’s no secret that constipation is a common symptom most postnatal mothers face. But being a first time mom, I was over confident and underprepared for reality.

Here, we arrive at the infamous and dreaded first postpartum poop.

I had gotten into the habit of giving myself a pep talk every time I’d walk to the bathroom:

“I can do this. I just pushed an entire human out one delicate hole. How hard can it be to push something smaller out my other delicate hole?”

Because of these verbal pep talks, it became common knowledge to my husband and my brother (who had surprised us with a visit) that I still hadn’t dropped a log yet. It was so bad that even these men, who would never experience this type of postpartum induced constipation, understood that something needed to be done. After having tried everything else, my husband politely offered to pick up an enema for me from our local CVS.

“No way.” I panicked. “My mom had to give me one of those when I was like, five years old. It was awful. Scarred for life.”

And the thought of my husband buying me an enema and knowing that’s what I was administering to myself behind the closed bathroom door had me so embarrassed. I still wouldn’t let him see me pee, so there was no way in hell I was going to admit I needed a medicine that would go up my butt and flush out my 9-day-old stool. He had just seen my torn, stretched lady bits during labor—I didn’t need another gross image of me in his head. Preserve the romance a little, right?

But when day ten was threatening on the horizon with no promises of relieved bowels, I finally gave in. He bought me an enema and I retreated to the only bathroom our little apartment had. There was no secrecy in what I was about to do.

Grumbling, I read the instructions and let my mind exaggerate how awful this was going to be. “Take the stool softeners,” they said. “It’ll be fine,” they said.

Lies.

I drank all the water. I swallowed all my pills dutifully. So why did I still find myself in the fetal position, hovering a tube next to my bum with my intestines feeling like they might explode?

After 20 minutes of my hesitation, hubby knocked on the door to see if the deed had been done. I emerged, determined to accept surgery over an enema. Though they should have laughed, I remember how supportive my husband and brother were to my plight. So supportive, that my husband then, very seriously, told me he would administer the enema to me.

HA! And I thought I was already embarrassed enough with him just knowing that I needed one. To let him administer it? Heaven help me. I had heard stories about enemas working so quickly that you wouldn’t even have time to reach the toilet! I know they say for better or for worse but did I really have to let him get a front row seat to my anus?

Now, you may be sitting there wondering what the big deal was. I know NOW that I was being ridiculous. But you’ve got to remember those post-delivery hormones wreak havoc on your emotions, and remember that we were the type of couple that didn’t really use a toilet in front of each other still. I felt like a part of our marriage was dying and a new, smellier part was emerging. (Or not emerging, since the chocolate hostage hadn’t been released yet.)

But I was finally to a point where I couldn’t deny I needed help any longer. I tearfully accepted his offer of help and resumed the position, butt in the air, sure this would kill our sex life more than what he had seen nine days prior.

enema positions

But at the last second, as my husband was asking me to “stop clenching,” I chickened out.

“Wait! One more attempt on the toilet to do this the ‘natural’ way, please!” I begged.

I guess my determination to keep from possibly pooping on my husband was enough motivation for me because… well… you can predict the outcome.

And that’s my story of the near-miss enema.

The takeaway? Ladies, drink TONS of water, take your stool softeners religiously, eat healthy, convince yourself that you’ll have an easier experience, then do a lot of praying and your first postpartum poop will be easier than mine.

Use my advice and you’ll avoid having to find out how much your husband still loves you during your “for worse” moment on the bathroom floor.

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Heather lives with her husband, daughter and son and has learned to accept that Utah is now her permanent home. Before becoming a stay at home mom, she taught elementary school and loves to use that background to create fun activities to entertain her children. Though staying home with the kids is great, Heather has always enjoyed finding more ways she can keep herself sane, including elaborate cross stitch designs and playing with any puppy she can find. She particularly loves to read and write and prides herself in always remaining honest in her posts about life as a wife and mother, even when the truth is sometimes embarrassing.

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