I went to London last week to attend an event run by Always. Yes, that Always. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what the subject of the evening was going to be, but women’s health is really important, and something I find I’m taking more notice of the older I get.
The event was held at the beautiful London Mondrian Hotel, overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral, and we were ushered downstairs to the secret cinema room – all very exciting.
So here’s the slightly embarrassing bit. We weren’t there to talk about periods, we were there to talk about adult incontinence. (Or AI as it’s also known.) There, I said it. It’s not a particularly sexy subject, it’s something that makes us all feel a little bit … awkward and, even though it’s not something I suffer from now, it’s potentially only a matter of time. Because that’s the thing about getting older, some things happen to your body that you have no control over and you tend to just keep these things to yourself because you feel like you’re the only one going through it.
Well you’re not alone, and this was the whole premise of the evening, to make women feel that they are not alone.
After a glass of champagne to warm us up, we were invited to watch a short film that was directed by Flora, which featured five real-life women (as opposed to actresses) and who all all very bravely shared their stories of how AI had affected their lives. The women were all relatable, warm, funny and beautiful, and you just couldn’t help but like them. I suppose I’m drawn to brave people, and it does take a brave person to stand up and say that they are suffering from something that affects their lives day-to-day, but the overall message was that there are products on the market (of course we were there to learn about Always Discreet), and these women felt that if they helped one person by sharing their story, then it was all worth it.
There was a Q & A after the film with some of the women involved in this project – Asha from Wellbeing of Women, a charity dedicated to womens’ health, a vide from Dr Sarah Jarvis and Anje from Always, whose passion for this project was clear for everyone to see.
One in three women suffer from AI. That statistic might surprise you, but think about the times when, perhaps particularly after having children, you’ve coughed, sneezed or laughed and had a little accident. It’s something you have probably just brushed aside, perhaps laughed about with your friends and forgot about. But imagine if that happened to you more and more, and every day, then it’s a little bit more serious isn’t it?
The point of the evening, and the point I’m trying to make, is a lot of my readers are my age and we should really be talking about things that affect us. There is no stigma attached to what naturally happens to your body as you age – on more than one occasion, I’ve shared how my chin hairs seem to be multiplying and my eyebrows are going grey as we speak. Let’s just make AI one more thing we talk about with each other. And the next time your child invites you to the new trampoline park that’s opened up near you (thanks Dexter), you’ll have the confidence, if not the energy, to say yes.
A big thank you to Always (and Tots100) for inviting me. I’m glad I got to hear these womens’ stories and learn more about something that can affect so many of us.
PS – the main photo (above) is clearly nothing to do with Always, I just happened to find him hiding in the corner and wanted to take advantage!