There’s something decidedly indulgent about kicking back in bed, propped up by a mountain of pillows, favorite beverage on your nightstand, with time for a good book or a few episodes of a favorite show on Netflix. It’s a little escape, even for those of us who aren’t back to traveling just yet. Less luxurious, though: A sudden laugh or sneeze and peeing in the perfectly made bed.
That’s how I started last weekend. Scott! (that’s my husband) Will you bring a fresh sheet? I just peed the bed! It was only a little, but we have an elephantine Serta hybrid mattress that I have trouble changing myself — especially at six months pregnant. I also wanted and needed the moral support, not to be alone with my accident.
I know a lot of women will be nodding along with me at this point in my story. We can experience incontinence at different ages and for different reasons. It’s something I’ve never been shy talking about with other women. I grew up in a family where generations of women have had bladder, prolapse, and other urogynecological issues (some of which are related to a genetic connective tissue disorder). But talking about it hasn’t meant feeling empowered to do something about it — until now.
As Scott and I changed the bed, I gushed about how grateful I was to have my first appointment with a pelvic floor therapist the next morning. Prior to this pregnancy (my first), I’d never heard of pelvic floor PT or a pelvic health therapist. I also didn’t know acupuncture can be used to address incontinence or that urogynecology is an entire branch of allopathic medicine that considers and treats women’s urinary incontinence.
That changed when I got to talk with Leila Brier and Alexandra Fennell of Attn: Grace, a women-led company that not only creates beautiful, eco-conscious incontinence products but is also shedding light on and inviting conversation around women’s health issues with new resources, including a fantastic resource library that lists urologists, urogynecologists, pelvic health therapists, and acupuncturists who can help women address incontinence at any stage in life.
More On Attn: Grace
I first learned about Attn: Grace when I got to edit an interview founders Mia Abbruzzese and Alex Fennel gave TravelAwaits writers Sue Reddel and Diana Laskaris. The four of them talked about how Attn: Grace’s new women’s wellness products are giving women the freedom to explore — and the challenges and joys of traveling with moms who were in their 80s. Then I got to edit Sandi Barrett’s reflection on how the inconvenient truths of aging (urinary incontinence among them) impacted her epic Vermont inn-to-inn hike, and how Attn: Grace’s panty liners, pads, and briefs, plus curated starter kits that come in two travel-ready bundle options, can make getting out there confidently that much easier.
This month, when asked if I’d like to chat with Leila and Alex about how Attn: Grace is going beyond offering incontinence products with their new resource library — and how they’re working to normalize holistic medicine — it was an easy yes.
Why Urology, Urogynecology, Pelvic Floor PT, And Acupuncture?
Attn: Grace started by offering better, cleaner, greener products meant to help manage bladder leaks. Now, Leila and Alex told me taking Attn: Grace’s commitment to a world in which women are seen and celebrated to the next level means helping connect them with treatment options. The Attn: Grace resource library is all about helping women find treatments that work when it comes to bladder leaks, and the company’s commitment to normalizing holistic medicine means the understanding that more than one type of treatment works. That’s why urologists, urogynecologists (specialists I’d never heard of before!), pelvic health therapists, and acupuncturists all make the list. One of my favorite things about this resource is that it lists providers you might not find through your insurance company’s provider directory, including my St. Louis-based pelvic floor therapist (who was recommended by my midwife but unknown to my insurer).
While I’m going the PT route (primarily to prepare for an at-home, vaginal birth and to address my major fears of rectal prolapse as proactively as possible, though one appointment in, I can see that keeping up with my exercises will help with the urinary incontinence I’m experiencing as well), Alex shared that she’s had a lot of personal experience with acupuncture for women’s wellness.
A New Outlook On Incontinence
Alex and Leila told me when it comes to incontinence, so many women think “This is natural” or “It’s so embarrassing” — and that both these mindsets can be big barriers to seeking out and finding treatment. Yes, bladder leaks are very common, but Attn: Grace wants women to know they don’t have to accept them. They can find help in improving their quality of life, and even if a given treatment option can’t “cure” incontinence, “it can be empowering and game-changing.”
One pelvic floor PT appointment in (and with multiple booked out as I approach my third trimester), I can vouch for that. The providers listed in Attn: Grace’s resource library can help women go beyond kegels to expand their definition of wellness, confidence, and agency.
What Else Is Attn: Grace Doing To Support Women?
During our chat, Leila posed a good question: “If stretchy pants can have a place in how we talk about wellness, why are we not talking about literal women’s health issues?” She went on to emphasize how passionate the company is about looking at UI (urinary incontinence) through a wellness lens that factors in the social, the emotional, and treatment options. Their Normalize This series has explored urinary incontinence, sexual wellness, and holistic medicine. Next up: CBD. As someone who’s benefitted tremendously from supplements, herbal medicine, and talking openly (and often!) about my gynecological and proctological health, I was almost overwhelmed by how easy it was to connect with Leila, Alex, and Attn: Grace’s goals.
As I enter this new chapter and find myself connecting with more and more women in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond who’ve had their own unique health and wellness experiences, I appreciate Attn: Grace’s perspective that there’s a lot more that’s relevant and interesting as we age — including potential taboos that are worth addressing — and being invited to do that through their beautiful website, Instagram account, and beyond.
For more on Attn: Grace, see their entire product lineup here, and learn more about a 50+ take on their offerings in Let’s Talk Women’s Wellness: The Inconvenient Truths Of Aging and The New Women’s Wellness Product Giving You The Freedom To Explore.