What the fuck are we doing??
Trauma begins at birth and is passed down. We are groomed as little girls to be ‘good’ and not question. Then we’re told that sex, blood and genitals are ‘evil’
We’re shamed for our menstruation (literally the blood of all life) and told to hide it away. Shhh don’t tell.
My husband (who is a teacher) completed his sexual health training recently with the most reputable training organisation in Adelaide. An agency that I have always trusted and even referred to (although it is pretty much all there is when it comes to sexual health for young people). I was actually really envious he was doing the training because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years.
But let me tell you, I am FURIOUS… and so should you be!
56% of girls reported in the study published in the book “About Bloody Time” that they got their information about menstruation from school, so what teachers are being taught is important!!
Unfortunately though it seems that misinformation continues to be rife.
This training taught that the pill is very normal/common and has little to no side effects. So normal in fact that the majority of young women are taking it mostly for ailments OTHER THAN contraception. That it is perfectly healthy for children as young as 12 (or younger if necessary) to be taking it for the majority of their lifetime. Even if it’s not for contraception. They said that doctors will be honest with their patients and always offer informed choice including educating about possible side effects. It’s really nothing to worry about and the positives outweigh the negatives.
A woman in the class reported her dissatisfaction with a Mirena and told of the horrors she experienced but was dismissed that her experience is very very rare. Yet it is sooo easy to find data and countless women’s stories showing the exact opposite.
When it come’s to hormonal contraception we know it is FAR from benign with more side effects than we even yet know that most young people and women are NOT given sufficient information about before they start taking it.
Based on the results in About Bloody Time:
-There has been confirmed a significant link between hormonal contraceptives and depression; the younger they were when they started, the higher the chances and higher again if they used implants and injections.
-That in a number of studies women have reported struggling with side effects but were told they were just imagining it.
We are told about possible ‘mood swings’ and ‘weight disturbances but we’re certainly not told about the long term effects on our body and fertility.
We are not told that these hormones can directly affect the partner we might choose, as well as affecting our libido, even our eyesight!!
There was also a recent study that uncovered a link between hormonal contraceptives and autoimmune disorder.
And, did you know that the Pill is considered a number 1 carcinogen??
How many doctors tell you that?
Contraception is literally the biggest human experiment ever conducted, and we still don’t know enough about their effects on us… because we are still the guinea pigs!
With every side effect, another prescription is often given to mask them… with more side effects… and so on.
This is not to say that contraceptives don’t serve a valuable place but they should only be given with INFORMED CONSENT!
So who funds these so called ‘sexual health agencies that are seeming to reinforce the taboos around menstruation? Who is funding the new corporations that continue to tell us that menstruation is unnecessary and it is far easier to suppress it.
These agencies continue the grooming of our children, instilling that they are somehow broken and need to trust the medical system above all else. Sure seems like big pharma are getting a damn good cut.
The clincher for me in this story though was that not only were hormonal contraceptives were discussed like some sort of saviour with widely known and long term irreversible side effects not mentioned, but there was no mention of how to connect more deeply with this inner power that women hold within them. No mention at all of Fertility Awareness Methods of any form- not even as an option and despite some of the methods such as Creighton Method boasting around 98% effectiveness! It was apparently a dot point in their power-point but was never mentioned. Not once.
At least give women and girls a CHOICE!! At least offer them the option to know that they can find what they are looking for within themselves. That they have everything they need within them, and don’t need to rely on something external that has the potential to do a lot more harm that good!
My husband came home and said if he didn’t know better he would not have blinked an eyelid and taken on board that the pill was just a benign non issue that really helps women from suffering. That periods are an inconvenience that we are be better off suppressing. Like some sort of miracle, curing women’s of their ‘problem’.
Our menstruation and fertility is the ongoing symbol of that which needs to stay in the shadows and be ‘fixed’ by men who know better than us. There couldn’t possibly be a need or desire to actually connect with our cycles.
I am so frustrated, angry and sad that we continue to do such harm to our children by not giving them the gift of honesty. To offer them the necessary information to make their own choice. At least offer the view that their menstrual cycle is indeed the barometer of their wellbeing and that they have so much power and magic inside of them. That they already have everything inside them that they need for this life. That their bodies are fucking powerful but they need to connect with it to see.
Instead we are lying to them, omitting information we KNOW is true to continue an agenda.
Fertility issues are continuing to rise. Endo, PCOS, unexplained infertility, Adneomyosis, estrogen dominance…. And a whole lot of other issues we don’t even know about yet.
The thing is that we KNOW better so we should be DOING better! And women are speaking out. The pill may have been revolutionary for it’s time and we cannot discount that, but we also cannot continue to lie to women about what we know today.
We also cannot discount how this first education and first grooming also sets up these girls and women for how they enter their mother phase.
“What happens at our rites of passage become our rite of passage” – Jane Hardwicke Collings
If they are instilled in the idea of fully trusting their care provider and more importantly that they are somehow lacking/broken, in need of fixing and that they can only get what they need from something external they are setting up their pregnancy, birth and parenting journey to follow in the same way. It is no wonder that we have rates of 1:3 of women reporting birth trauma (and only from those reported). It is no wonder that birth has become incredibly and unnecessarily medicalised and pathologised. It is no wonder that women and birthing people are expressing more disconnection from their bodies and experiencing bonding issues with their children, breastfeeding issues and ongoing medical intervention. Then these babies grow up having started life by experiving massive trauma which only reinforces this disconnection into their own life.
Menstruation matters. Birth Matters. Women and bleeding people matter. This is NOT good enough.