One Woman’s Fight Against Stigma


My Story – Submitted by: Reina

One night, a couple of months back, I was watching Jon and Kate Plus Eight. I love that show and think it is fascinating to folow the lives of that family. I also love the way they do things together. Their family is so precious. They are so lucky. However, one particular episode struck a nerve but inspired me at the same time. And, I thank the family’s show prefusely for getting the fire ignited that is responsible for getting the ball rolling.

It was a particular episode when the three year olds were being potty trained. One little boy was the last to catch on as he was being stubborn about the whole thing. Kate asked the child something like, “Do you want to be the last one in diapers and be a little baby?” Those were not the exact words; but, you get my drift. Infuriated that a show with so many viewers would use such phraises [sic] to keep stigma alive and burning but inspired at the same time, i leapt from my couch with an idea. Needless to say, i never finished watching that episode, as I sat at my computer to compose an article regarding the connection between orthodox potty training practices, stigma, and self esteem issues in people living with incontinence. I also wrote a letter thanking Jon and Kate for inspiring me to stand up and fight firmly for this condition so many more will not have to hide away and cheat themselves out of living because this condition is taboo.

The letter to them was as follows (I wanted to share this with you all.);

Dear Jon and Kate;

I am writing you just to let you know that your show, in particular, has helped me to stand up and be a firm fighter for a life long condition that I must contend with. You see, I suffer from urinary incontinence and must depend on wearing diapers on a twenty-four/seven basis, which you could imagine can be a major inconvenience as well as a terrible humiliation. You may wonder why I’m telling you this and what it has to do with your show, but read on and I’ll explain.

Why do I say that your show has helped me so much? It is because when you were potty training the children, I had heard you say what most people would say that diapers are for babies and that big people use the potty. You told your little boy this who was being stubborn and was the last one in diapers while everyone else was moving along steadily. I can’t remember his name: but I remember you asking him something like, “Do you want to be a little baby and be the only one still left in diapers.” He responded by saying, “No.” That ignited the fire within me, and i jumped to my feet from my couch with an idea. I felt that this was it and that I had to get rid of the stigma once and for all.

I’m not at all mad at you for saying this, as it is widely used in society to motivate a child to use the toilet: however, at the same time, these very phrases is what exacerbates feelings of despair, hopelessness, and doubt in people who have no control of such faculties such as their bladder and bowels. Honestly, I wish people would stop saying that altogether because saying that diapers are for babies is not accurate, as I’m a very successful, intelligent, blind, 23-year-old business owner who far from displays the characteristics of an infant. The only reason I use diapers is so I do not cause myself embarrassment of ruining my close for the world to see. It is not babyish, as I’m being responsible by handling my problems as an adult.

Sorry I went on so much about that. It is just a sensitive issue for me. But what you should know is that you really inspired me to write an article on how to potty train children without telling them diapers are for babies so as to keep the facts accurate so as to eliminate teasing among school aged children living with incontinence whether it is bladder or bowel. I tell my own personal story and how using such phrases as, “Wow! You will be a big kid when you use the potty.” “Don’t you want to make Mommy and Daddy proud of you when you do not wear diapers anymore?” “Diapers are for babies and you are not a baby, so you should be using the potty like a big kid.” Actually hurts people with such problems and lowers their self esteem significantly. What’s more, as parents continue to tell their children these things, it keeps the stigma towards diapers and those needing them burning hot and strong. I live everyday in a society that stigmatizes incontinence making the issue taboo. It is my fantasy that one day, this problem will be easy enough to discuss just the same as allergies, a common cold, or a broken leg. I hope that it is in your best interest to help with this endeavor since your show has many viewers and it was the very source that has inspired me to stand firm for myself and millions of others who hide away cheating themselves out of living due to fear and embarrassment. Thank God though for my strength in our creator who gets me through each day living with this horrific, inconveniencing, embarrassing condition, and thanks so much to my parents who never scolded me for losing control and having accidents but always being there and being extremely supportive, which I cannot say has been the situation for others who suffer from and live with this condition.

Warm regards,

PS. I’d like to conclude by telling you that I’m sorry that people would like to spread lies about a family as good as yours. It’s one thing to be a Hollywood star that has done something horrible to end up in the tabloids and such: but, you all have done nothing of the sort. You all are a good and Godly family minding your business and doing whatever you can to ensure your kids develop into productive, self sufficient adults in our society. Keep up the good work, and you all will be in my prayers. God exposes the liars in time. Read Ephesians chapter 5 all the way up to verse 14. Never lose hope.

I’m not sure what you think of this letter or my story: however, i hope my efforts pay off. Since these people say they are Godly and clearly display this in their actions, deeds, and their way of life, it is my hope they will support these efforts in curving the stigma towards us since they are well known and respected people in our society. I will be praying every night that this happens.


Posted in Shared Stories from People with Incontinence and tagged , , , , , .