|Aged 14, I no longer soiled|
myself, but the feelings of
shame from my childhood
This changed when I happened by chance to see a letter in the problem pages of a magazine which began, ‘my son would be a very nice boy but for one thing. He can't be made not to dirty his pants.’ I couldn't believe it, reading the whole of the letter I could have been reading about myself! The advice given was terrible, suggesting they make the boy wear the same soiled pants day after day, but suddenly I realised I might not have been alone.
I started looking at problem pages more regularly, seeing if there were other children who had similar problems and soon came across a 6 year old girl who had had a bout of illness and ‘ever since then she's messed her knickers’ and a 5 year old boy who hated pooing in the toilet and ‘often soils his pants.’ These were all fairly young children, but then I read a letter from a concerned Mum whose 11 year old daughter regularly soiled herself and ‘when I ask her why she does it she says she doesn't know.’ Like me she had some days when she didn't have accidents and others when she did full bowel movements in her pants. I imagine most readers would condemn her as a lazy child who needed a good talking to and a firm hand, but I felt sorry for her, knowing exactly what she was going through. It was almost like I had found a kindred spirit for my younger self.
Of course, I still wasn't proud of what I had done in my pants as a child or what I'd put my parents through, but at last I started to feel that I wasn't a freak, especially when I discovered that the condition had a name: encopresis. It was an important first step to confronting my past.
|Soiling can be a devastating problem for |
any child and their parents. (c)
And then the internet came along and I discovered just how widespread the problem was. So many children having soiling problems, some of them much worse than me, having accidents every day, sometimes several times a day. Children who were still having problems into their teens or even older, and who were having accidents at school or round the houses of their friends or at family gatherings. I felt so sorry for them, it must be so dreadful to stink of poo around your family or peers, and for their parents who were in some cases at the point of despair, unable to understand why their child couldn't just use the toilet like everybody else.
While I will probably never lose the guilt about how many times my mother had to clean me up and the heartache I put her through, I no longer feel disgusted about soiling myself. It may have started through laziness but it was never deliberate and eventually I was able to overcome it. I only hope that other children can do the same.