Ladies, we need to talk.
And I don’t mean that in the sense of “come here, I’m going to tell you something.” Not the way it’s usually meant, when someone says “we need to talk” and then proceeds to berate you for something that you’ve done, or sits down and tells you horrible news.
I mean that in a whole other sense, with emphasis on the “we” and the “talk” part. Emphasis on the communication. Emphasis on our voices, and our ears, and our minds.
We need to talk. We need to talk to each other, to ourselves, to our children and our partners and the world. Despite that old commonplace about how much women talk, our voices are being lost and our words are being twisted and we are growing up ashamed and ignorant and wounded, so many of us. Our bodies are cultural battlegrounds, and we know so little about them.
I tried to make a list, earlier, of all the things no one told me about my body until they thought I needed to know. Things about menstruation that I didn’t learn until after I’d started having a period; things about pregnancy and childbirth that I didn’t learn until I bought a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting during my 2nd trimester; things about being a girl, being a woman, having a body. I was overwhelmed by how many, how very many things, I didn’t know.
- I didn’t know that it might not hurt, and I might not bleed, when I lost my virginity.
- I didn’t know that more than 7 days of bleeding during a period was outside the norm.
- I didn’t know that my extreme mood swings were more than PMS.
- I didn’t know that I had more options than Tampons and pads.
- I didn’t know how birth control worked.
- I didn’t know that periods weren’t actually gross.
- I didn’t know I would bleed for 6 weeks after childbirth.
- I didn’t know anything about breastfeeding beyond that breasts supply milk and babies drink it.
- On and on, so many things I didn’t know.
Talking about the messier parts of our bodies and our lives isn’t something that we like to do. And if talking about it is difficult, than conversing about it is virtually impossible.
But we need to talk, and we need to talk loudly.