Women are not just small men. Aristotle was wrong.
All the books and articles and research into health care and practices over centuries focused on men.
There is still so little we know about women and our anatomy and all the experiences surrounding women’s experiences with adolescence, fertility, menstruation, breast health, childbearing, menopause.
We are constantly ridiculed in doctor’s offices. Our pain is waved away. It’s all in our heads. Are we overweight? Are we imagining it? We’re told to take ibuprofen, try a warm bath, don’t stress.
Our symptoms don’t exhibit the same way for the same conditions as men’s symptoms are more well-known.
I had an abortion when I was 22.
I was a different person then – scared, poor and in debt, no insurance, newly married and separated from an abusive man I would later divorce, shamed by evangelicals, finishing my master’s degree, and in line for my first real job.
I wrote about my abortion here. I’m tired of editing that article, so I’m writing this one from a different place. I think the trajectory of my life would be drastically different if I had not had that abortion. I certainly don’t think my life would be better. It was a difficult choice, but I still think it was the right choice despite all the trauma it caused.
My parents kind of forced me into it like I was a young shamed teenager. They convinced me I would be ruined for life, saddled with a child too young and unable to really care for it properly. In a way, they were right, but they were not very helpful, caring, or supportive.
My parents never spoke to me about it again after that day.
Not talking about it is worse.
My first husband told me to tell his family that I had a miscarriage due to the stress of our separation, and I stupidly went back to him out of guilt or something. But that’s another story.
The evangelical Christian church shamed me. They told me that my baby or baby’s soul would look down on me from heaven in disgust. I would never deserve to have more children. I was unfit to be a mother. I was a murderer. I was a sinner beyond forgiveness. They wanted me to be haunted and scared forever. They relished my discomfort.
This is control.
But those lies still live in me – the patriarchy, the spiritual abuse, the hatred and disdain.
All four of my childbirth experiences were traumatic. Medicalized childbirth is dangerous and I was treated like a thing and condescended to by all the medical professionals and my own family members.
I have three teens who were born with uteruses and my fourth child is a boy. I am 46 and haven’t reached menopause yet.
It’s taken me this long to be able to come to terms with all the problems I have faced with my health. And I am a very healthy person. I cannot even imagine what other women face with their health if they have chronic pain or illness or weight.
And if I, a WHITE WOMAN with wealth, health, and great insurance experience so many issues with receiving good health care, what in the world is happening to poor women? to women of color? to women who are seen as other? Women are often left without care, with less than stellar care, with little or no pain management, ridiculed and humiliated.
Women are DYING.
I am beyond devastated that states are enacting forced birth laws and government-mandated childbirth.
I’m concerned about what could happen to my children or even myself if there were unwanted pregnancies from rape or complications with wanted pregnancies. So many news articles discuss doctors unable to perform necessary procedures to save a mother’s life during ectopic or miscarriage.
In August 2022, a pregnant Missouri woman named Mylissa Farmer suddenly needed an abortion, just over a month after her state enacted its near-total abortion ban. Her water had broken 17 weeks into her pregnancy, and her medical records indicated a number of health factors placing her at greater risk of pregnancy-related complications, including increased risk of sepsis, loss of her uterus, and even death. Farmer is also 41-years-old. Doctors treating her recommended an abortion, but, of course, couldn’t provide her one under state law. Source: Jezebel
When one side of the “discussion” decides that the other side is murdering babies, there isn’t a discussion anymore – there’s a war.
I don’t want to hear your arguments for overturning Roe v. Wade. I don’t want to hear your pro-life praise.
At six weeks, it is “cardiac activity” (no organ has formed) in an embryo that is smaller than a grain of rice. It is not a “fetal heartbeat.”
Most of us love life and babies. Babies are a miracle. I do NOT support forcing pregnancy or childbirth on anyone who doesn’t want it.
Forcing sterilization on anyone is eugenics.
The pro-forced birthers are really good at marketing.
Pro-life is a misnomer. It’s simple politics. Pro-lifers only care about white men who are valuable to the capitalist machine. Children, disabled, poor people…these are not valuable. Women are not valuable. People of color are not valuable; they are seen as a threat.
I’ve seen hundreds of tweets about telling women to stop having sex if they don’t want to get pregnant but I’ve seen few calls for men to become celibate or sterile. It will never cease to amaze me how little men are blamed for getting someone pregnant. This is about control and patriarchy.
Men don’t suffer in childbirth; there is no risk involved for men. So many mothers forced into motherhood and risking their lives to give birth. Where will all the unwanted babies go? We already have overwhelming numbers of children in foster care.
My eldest and I have Mirena IUDs, supposedly to regulate and reduce our periods, which doesn’t always work.
My husband had a vasectomy after our fourth child (a boy) was born, and no one asked for my consent!
I’ve read some politicians are wanting to limit contraceptive devices. This is a frightening misuse of power that will endanger so many lives.
Some states are enacting obscenity laws about gendered clothing, or rules for girls playing sports that require menstruation tracking.
Anyone can have an opinion. Your opinion should only govern you. Celebrating policy that revokes the rights of millions is not an opinion; it’s bad politics. No one cares about your opinion. It’s your politics that’s a problem.
Women in Pain
It is ridiculous that I tell my kids to exaggerate and I also have to exaggerate my symptoms or pain levels to be taken seriously. I have often sent my kids to the ER or a regular doctor appointment with my husband, their father, to ensure they receive better care. I often have my husband accompany me to appointments like I am an inept child because I have received poor care in the past and the medical professionals will often talk to him about me like I’m not even in the room.
Also, women should be able to be sedated during IUD explant and implantation. It’s a very painful procedure, even after childbirth. The medical community doesn’t care about women’s discomfort. We can get more help from dentists for procedures than we can for procedures involving women’s parts.
Women can’t get labs when we want to know why we have symptoms. See this thread.
I know I have been dismissed many times when suffering from “women’s problems.” I suffered for years with incontinence and fibroids. I have seen the other women in my family suffer with urinary and gyno issues and receive no care.
Out of desperation, women turn to dangerous supplements and herbs, trying to relieve pain and discomfort and symptoms.
There is no such thing as hormonal balance and no herb/plant can change hormone levels.Dr. Jennifer Gunter
Women can’t request sterilization. So many doctors refuse elective procedures like tubal ligations or hysterectomies during child-bearing years. These doctors require waiting periods, spousal consent, and other demeaning concepts (like questioning “what if something happens to your living children?” or “what if you change your mind?” or “surely you want to try for another child of the other gender?”) because women do not have bodily autonomy.
Also, insurance often does not cover elective or preventive procedures like pelvic floor therapy.
A little over a year ago, I had surgery to remove two uterine fibroids. They really wanted to just remove all my parts because that’s easier for the doctors. I am mid-40s and it’s a military hospital. The language was so demeaning. There was no follow-up or recovery care.
Not enough people are talking about consent and rape culture. We need to teach all genders consent from a very early age, practicing with babies even! We need to change how we view bodies and autonomy. Most of us were taught sex ed from a high school sports coach and that’s tragic.
I constantly see articles in the news and on social media protecting abusers and hushing victims of abuse and assault. The pastors are transferred to another church and the women are told to keep quiet, pray more, forgive. Comedians are not really cancelled and are selling out auditoriums while the abused women are silenced and suffer. The #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements did some to help, but it’s not enough and there are still rape apologists who make the road harder.
And for the people who claim they would never get an abortion, great! But you don’t get to decide for everyone. You never know the circumstances and decisions others must make for themselves.
Also, period products should be FREE.
- The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina: Separating the Myth from the Medicine by Dr. Jen Gunter
- The Menopause Manifesto: Own Your Health with Facts and Feminism by Dr. Jen Gunter
- I’m So Effing Tired: A Proven Plan to Beat Burnout, Boost Your Energy, and Reclaim Your Life by Dr. Amy Shah
- Sex Ed Booklist
- Why I Don’t Teach Purity
- 10 Things I Want to Tell My Children
- My Laparoscopic Myomectomy
- I Tried Therapy
- Choices Matter in Pain Management
- No More Incontinence
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