Having an occasional accident must be more stressful than chronic bedwetting.

I wear protection every night. I don’t worry about the risk of an accident. I don’t wake up in a puddle thinking, “Damn. Not again.” I don’t worry about J waking up in my puddle thinking, “Damn. Not again.”

In my late teens, I only had occasional accidents. I didn’t wear protection at home or (after my first semester) at college. An occasional accident didn’t bother me, probably because (after years of chronic bedwetting) it was a relief that it was so rare. I could get up, change the sheets, get the wet things going in the washer, shower and be back in bed in a few minutes. I barely even noticed I was wet.

But I could see that, for someone who’s been dry since early childhood, an occasional wet bed could be unnerving. Do I really want to wear something every night? If not, do I really want to wake up in a wet bed?

Stress incontinence is common after childbirth. Moms know where the nearest bathroom is, potty-stop every hour when driving and worry about sneezing or laughing with a full bladder.

I assume that happens to some of us while asleep. One of my closest friends stays with us when she’s in town. She has been bringing a bed pad and a Depend since her second was born.

For my kids, too, an isolated accident seems more stressful. A wet bed after a dry month or two is more disheartening than a nightly parade of wet pullups. “I thought I was through with this!” Reset the days-without-an-accident clock to zero. Keep packing pullups for sleepovers and trips to Gran’s.


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