here it is my day to write and i still can’t find a clear voice for this topic, which has me scratching my head and kicking my own ass all at once. what does this mean? i am all woman, 100% female. i consider myself independent and forward thinking, but i also love being a SAHM/homemaker too. I used to work full-time and support myself and my first-born daughter all on my own. now many years later, married, 2 more kids, i savor my time at home. i feel like my womanhood is stuck somewhere between rosie the riveter and martha stewart. i think therein lies my problem.
being a “woman” has never come easy to me. when i hit puberty my physical body went full speed ahead. my mom loves to tell the story of 5 year old me throwing a crying fit in a department store dressing room. we were trying on those frilly easter dresses that little girls of my generation were stuffed into, matching straw bonnet of course. why was i crying? because i wanted the dress with the boobs in it. yes, my 5 year old self was already thinking of boobs for some reason assumed that they came with the dress. my mom was very small chested, so this still confuses me to why this happened at all, but it did. fast forward to me now (size G bra) i guess i should have been more careful what i wished for. seems this is the story of womanhood for me. every step of the way i never quite “fit”.
“childbearing hips”, “morning sickness”, here again i never fit in these accepted female boxes thought to be normal. pregnancy (all 3 of them) were absolute horror scenes. i did not glow, i was green. i did not have morning sickness, i had all day sickness. it did not last 3 months, it lasted 9. it did not matter if i gave birth to a boy or a girl, it was always the same. my mom always told me it was the reason i was an only child, she was SO sick she was never doing that again. i guess i thought i would be different. (i now know this is why babies are so darn cute.) i had to be medicated (a huge taboo in pregnancy) but it was that or dehydrate, go to the hospital, be put on iv fluids, leave hospital, repeat. so i took my medication and hoped that i was not damaging that tiny fetus my somehow flawed womanhood was already letting down before they were even born… enter the guilt. i truly felt my womanhood was flawed and therefore broken. this was unacceptable to society, to me. now move onto child birth. again, FAIL. no home births, no water births, none of those blissful scenarios. my first-born i developed preeclampsia. that was a fast and furious delivery as my blood pressure tipped the scales. #2 was the scariest day of my life, with a happy ending. my son was looped twice in his umbilical cord but that was not known until it was almost too late. lets just say he needed to be ripped (literally) out of me to save his life. he lived and so did i, but my insides would never be the same. #3, again 40 weeks of sickness and guilt. breastfeeding, the next step in womanhood wonder and bliss. ugh. my very large boobs (the ones i wished for at 5) only made it near impossible for my babies to latch on. i was engorged and huge and in pain. my nipples cracked and bled. i nursed and cried, pumped and cringed, again feeling nothing but guilt. my brain screaming, “WHY CAN’T YOU DO THIS?!?!” (you being me.) again i was broken, failing at something that others did so naturally and happily.
i could go on, my broken vagina. my inability to go to the bathroom “normally” after birth #2 that continued for 5 years until i succumbed to surgeries required to try and rebuild my broken parts. my flawed uterus, ultimately removed a year ago… i am the lemon on womanhood. i did not feel empowered, i felt defeated. reading my own words, this sounds like a long winded whine, but truly it is not. it is just me saying that we should not buy into all the literature and pressure pumped out into the world on how to do things, and what makes us “womanly”. those lofty ideals breed pressure and guilt. shortly after my hysterectomy, i was connected with a friend of a friend who was having a horror show of her own, all tied into her uterus. surgery would end her painful suffering, yet still she wavered. why? pressure. peer pressure from her own kind, women! women looking down on her for her choice of following through with a hysterectomy. how it was unnatural, how she should continue to fight this beast inside her for the sake of nature. screw that. i totally understood why she was struggling emotionally with it all. she too was carrying this guilt. she, for whatever reason, was born with a malfunctioning uterus, and because of society’s opinions all in her face, she felt like she was failing by having that removed. can we all give ourselves a break please! can we not buy into these grand visions of womanhood. instead can we all agree that we all have our own path, our own parts, and sometimes we just don’t “fit” into any box. being a girl is hard! lets not make it even harder on ourselves.