There's not a lot that would rattle the directing staff on SAS Australia. The four men, all elite ex-special forces soldiers, have seen action in some of the most dangerous hot spots in the world, from Afghanistan to Iraq. But they all went to water, so to speak, when Jana Pittman told them she had wet herself during one of the challenges.
In episode three the recruits were sent on a gruelling challenge which involved running, tyre flipping and lifting heavy logs. Pittman wet her pants. Sometimes I wet my pants when I sneeze, or laugh too much at some stupid comment recruit number nine, actor Dan Ewing, makes about visualising how he was going to crawl through a pipe. But this was all too much for Ant Middleton, chief instructor.
"Did anyone piss themselves in the water today?" he asked the recruits. He never asks, he always yells.
Pittman replied, "No but I just pissed myself on that run, so that was embarrassing enough, unintentionally, but women at home need to know that after you have a baby you don't have a good pelvic floor."
Pittman is a mother of four, she had her fourth only six months ago. My baby is 18 and as big as some of the lads on the show and my pelvic floor is still not what it used to be. It's a problem one in three Australian women have faced at some time.
But Middleton was quick to admonish her for oversharing.
"Too much information, I do not want to know about your pelvis movements," he said, showing that many men have little understanding of how it all works "down there". For them, the battlefield is a much safer place to be.
But it's not just Pittman's in-your-face honesty that we're loving. Some have dubbed this season "The Sam Burgess redemption tour". The former NRL player has had his share of scandals, from drugs, to sexting, to marriage breakdown, all the things on the rugby league player checklist of misdemeanours. I've always been a fan of Burgess. And his brothers. I sometimes wish I was their mum watching all my boys, and big boys, play together in a sport they clearly love. I'm here for the redemption tour, and the occasional shot of his bum (you can't miss the uncensored version of SAS which screens on 7plus, it's much better than the regular one), but it's playing second fiddle to the Pittman story.
I liked Pittman when she was an athlete, she was strong and fiery and didn't take a step back. Sometimes people don't like those qualities in women. In episode 11 this week, one titled Pressure, Pittman was called in for a debrief after performing exceptionally well. She spoke of how the media portrayed her early on in her career as "Drama Jana" and how, as she got older, she dealt with that by talking herself down. Middleton told her to stop that.
"You're mixing it at the very top ... you're like a lioness, there's something inside you .. what we see is very impressive," he said, almost fatherly, in the post-challenge debrief. I got a bit teary.
With only Burgess, Ewing, former tennis player Mark Philippoussis and former sprinter John Steffensen left alongside Pittman, I haven't been cheering so hard for her since she made the switch to the bobsleigh at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
In the first season of SAS Australia I was on team Candice Warner. The retired ironwoman found some of that spunk she had as a successful professional athlete before labelling herself as the wife of Australian cricketer David Warner and mother of their children. She made it to episode 10 and hopefully now realises she's so much more than wife and mother.
Pittman's story isn't quite so depressing. Sure, there's still that mother tag. She had her first child with British athlete Chris Rawlinson, who was her coach at the time, before they separated in 2019; her middle two daughters came via anonymous sperm donors; baby Charlie came some months after her wedding to Sydney businessman Paul Gatward. She's studied medicine, now holds a Masters of Reproductive Medicine. Pittman is showing us that no woman should define herself as "just" a mother, or "just" an athlete. Our accomplishments are not who we are.
We're complex, and strong, and outspoken, and proud of how strong our bodies are, even if our pelvic floor is weak. I hope Pittman completes the courses. She is a lioness, listen to her roar.