One of my most favorite things about being a military spouse is the instant connection I have made with some of the most amazing women I have ever met in my life. From speaking each other’s language with all the acronyms, to the lifelong friendships with people who come from a completely different world. From neighbors willing to watch your kids while you sneak away for an emergency appendectomy while hubby was in Afghanistan, to sharing the holidays and favorite recipes. These bonds are indescribable, but if you have lived this life and have walked a mile in my shoes, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
MISSION TO IMPROVE WOMEN’S HEALTH
Being a military spouse for the last fourteen years and having three girls is what drives not only my passion but my mission. My mission is to ensure that every single woman in the military community is empowered with education, resources, and tools on pelvic floor and core health. You deserve that and no matter what your journey looks like, we’ve got your back.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH PELVIC FLOOR DYSFUNCTION
I look back on my journey and it now empowers me. To be able to share my personal story is literally changing lives and that is why I was able to become so vulnerable and share so much. I suffered with pelvic floor dysfunction for six long years before finding any answers, so when I found them, I was determined to share them. The story of being a military spouse is not unique to you. The military spouses next to you share part of that story. My journey and my story through suffering for so long isn’t unique either. So many women are going through exactly what I went through. So many women are suffering in silence and scared or embarrassed to talk about it. So many women are peeing their pants and holding their breath through painful sex because they have all been told that this is normal. Well I’m here to change that! I’m here to tell you that this is not and will never be normal. Your body is amazing and you deserve to feel amazing in it. This is why M.O.M.S. (Military Outreach MUTU System) was born and why we are on a mission to support our brave military women across the globe.
One-hundred percent of women get some form of diastasis recti during the third trimester of pregnancy. I like to look at this as your body being super amazing and smart. If the rectus abdominis muscles didn’t separate, your baby wouldn’t have room to grow. This is something all women should be aware of, have a professional check postpartum, and then have some resources to strengthen those weak muscles.
4 DISTURBING STATISTICS ABOUT PELVIC FLOOR HEALTH
Next I want to share with you some of the disturbing statistics:
One in four women experience leaking urine involuntarily.
Women typically live with this symptom for six-and-a-half-years before they seek medical attention.
Women on average spend $1,400 a year on pads for leaking.
Sexual dissatisfaction/painful sex can be related to pelvic floor dysfunction.
Statistics from “A Woman’s Guide to Pelvic Health” by Elizabeth E Houser, M.D. and Stephanie Riley Hahn, P.T.
Studies claim that the numbers are probably much higher, but since women are often feeling ashamed or embarrassed, they lie on the questionnaires. This is why I want to create a safe space and tribe for military mamas to be able to openly talk about their symptoms, and then take them to the next step with credible resources. I want their journeys to be as simple as possible and always in the right direction. This is affecting lives, and the lives of military spouses are already hard enough.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
So, now I need you! I need you to step up to the plate and help me spread this mission far and wide. I want you to take a minute to think about the friendships you have formed over the years—the women you have let into your life and shared everything with. I want you to think about all of your friends. Now imagine that half of them are suffering with pelvic floor dysfunction and most of them are doing so in silence. Our friendships are solid and our bonds are strong, but I promise you that your friend is not telling you these things. She isn’t telling you that she pees herself or that sex is painful. We have somehow made this area of women’s health a taboo topic and there is only one way to change that. We have to start talking to our friends and connecting about women’s health issues.
Ashley Gammon is the community manager for M.O.M.S. and the PR executive for MUTU USA. She has made it her mission to bring awareness of pelvic floor and core health to military spouses and female service members across the globe. Her personal journey with MUTU and healing her postpartum body inspired her to bring awareness to military communities. Ashley and her husband have three girls all named after presidents, Mckinley, Madison, and Monroe. Ashley and her family reside in Michigan in their “forever” home after retiring from the Army after 20 years in October 2019.