The year was 2020.It was a Wednesday, in March. The pandemic was but a whisper on the news, but enough to already have caused a minor panic across the country... particularly in the heart of New York City.
Oh, and that same night - on a street just off of Times Square - we headed into my mom’s book party.
Who is my mom? Well, let me back up…
I am Jamie Hess, health + fitness expert, TV host, podcaster, and a wellness lifestyle blogger known on Instagram as @nycfitfam. I’m also a 40 year old mother of two - aka a former chronic leaker - who first used INNOVO about a year ago.
My mom is TV journalist Joan Lunden. Mama Joanie co-hosted Good Morning America for almost two decades, and has been an advocate and ambassador for all things women’s health for the length of her career, which has spanned my lifetime. I strive every day to follow in her exalted footsteps, including empowering women with carefully curated wellness advice.
So… back to the book party. Launching a book on the precipice of a global pandemic is crummy timing to put it lightly… but even though people were already nervous about traveling the streets, we walked through the front door of the event space and IT. WAS. PACKED.
Why? Because my mom’s last book - “Why Did I Come in This Room? A Candid Conversation About Aging” - resonated with SO MANY PEOPLE. Americans had looked to my mom for decades for advice on career, breaking glass ceilings, parenting, and more recently, cancer awareness & survival, following her own battle with breast cancer.
After years as “America’s Mom,” all of a sudden, she found herself a Grandmother! “When the hell did that happen” she thought?? Although my kids call her “Jojo” (we lovingly dismiss the “G” word around here!), the reality is she has stepped into the beautiful golden age of her life, rounding the corner into her 70s with grace and aplomb. But does that mean she’s immune from the typical aging ailments?? Heck no!
That includes leaking - in fact, she wrote a whole chapter in her book about it! Chapter 14 is titled “Sometimes I Laugh So Hard, Tears Run Down My Leg,” and in it she chronicles the reality that leakage - aka urinary incontinence - affects half of women at some point in their lives. In fact - she coined a fun term which she deems “peezing,” aka sneezing and peeing at the same time.
She also touches on the plight of new moms - aka, me! - and explains the difference between urge incontinence and stress incontinence (my problem). Stress incontinence is what has happened to me ever since delivering two big (beautiful!) baby boys: when I run, sneeze, or strain while working out, it’s possible for small amounts of urine to leak. My biggest problem was always while running - and it plagued me for years until I found INNOVO.
My mom and I both come from the same school of thought: lifestyle changes mixed with medical support equals the healthiest outcome. She makes it a point in her book to mention the critical importance of keeping your body weight managed and sugar/fat intake low so your liver doesn’t suffer undue stress, which can cause an increased urge to urinate. Also, it’s important to be mindful of caffeine intake and reduce certain foods that are spicy or acidic, which can irritate the bladder.
Above all else, Kegels and pelvic floor work are the key to managing this embarrassing problem… so INNOVO to the rescue!
My doctor had told me forever to do Kegels, especially when I was pregnant.. but. I found them so annoying, hard to master, and difficult to keep up with. I love that INNOVO’s Multipath Technology engaged my pelvic floor muscles to deliver 180 precise Kegels per session. And all I had to do was sit back and relax, 30 minutes a day, five days per week. I don’t even need to think since INNOVO does all the work for me. It’s a small slice of self-care I give myself to contribute to a better quality of life for me & my family (and we all know, when mom’s happy, everyone’s happy!).
To conclude - I’m so grateful to my mom for opening up a dialogue about female urinary incontinence, and for encouraging me to be open about it with my audience. Her courage to talk about “tough stuff” is where I get mine from - and I truly believe that by sharing our (sometimes embarrassing!) truth with others, we lessen the shame felt by women everywhere to talk about what’s bothering them.
Because - in the end - we can’t fix what we’re not willing to address… so let’s just normalize talking about our shared troubles out loud, shall we?? The world would be a much better place if we could all come out of the shadows and be proud of our beautiful bodies that give birth to babies and age through our years so gracefully. All our bodies ask of us in return is to give them the support they need as they trudge the path along the way - it’s the least we can do! And with a product like INNOVO, giving ourselves the gift of that support is so much easier.