This morning, my Facebook feed was flooded with “Me Too” posts. Women (and some men) were sharing publicly the fact that they have experienced sexual harassment or assault. This is following many people being “shocked” or “surprised” about the growing number of stories detailing abuse Harvey Weinstein inflicted on women over the years. “How was this happening?” they wondered. “How could so many women experience abuse and no one knew?”
I also just read an article yesterday titled “The Husband Stitch.” It is about an essay on the barbaric practice of women getting an extra stitch while having tears from childbirth repaired. This happens. I pray that it doesn’t happen often, but I really have no idea. The essay isn’t only about the practice of altering a woman’s body without her knowledge or consent in order to give additional “pleasure” to a man – it is also about the fact that women are not believed when they speak about, well, anything. We don’t talk about these practices in society. But if a woman brought it up, would she be believed?
I say, let’s just start talking and not stop. If the world isn’t ready to hear us, let’s talk anyway. The more we share, the more likely someone else will feel comfortable sharing her story. And the more the rest of the world hears what women experience, the more likely bystanders will be to step in. That’s my hope, at least.
There is a lot of processing that often needs to happen surrounding birth. Even the most uncomplicated and straightforward births have parts that women would like to talk about. When we share our stories, they leave the confines of our bodies and enter into the listener as well. The joy, the pain, the sorrow all get shared. It is easier to think about these big events when you’re not carrying all the weight yourself.
That’s why we host birth story sharing events. Because those are your stories and they’re important stories. Let’s share them together and hold onto them as a community of women. There is no judgment and there is no disbelief. We come together with love and open hearts. And, most especially, with listening ears.
My hope is that as women become more comfortable sharing their stories, the world will start to understand what it is to be a woman. The world will become a safer place for women. They will be considered as humans first and not just bodies. It might be a bit idealistic, but I really think our stories can change the world.
New Day Doula
Rainbow and Mary share thoughts on pregnancy, birth, and the parenting journey.