Ding ding ding went my phone from July 18th through the next few days. "Did you see this article" read most of the posts sent to me including the link to read about birth trauma being reported in Cosmo online. Cosmo? The 'how to give it to HIM real good tonight' magazine was doing an article both real and much needed by women everywhere? Wow, must be a crappy read, I thought... shame on me and my judgement 'cause Cosmo did in fact put out a solid piece for women to acknowledge the best kept secret out there - that so many women are in pain, are feeling broken, are suffering in their "this is what comes with having babies" bullshit silence.
I know this as I spend a lot of time asking women how their vagina feels today.
Have they wet themselves today, yes? how many times? was there fecal incontinence as well?
Did you experience your uterus/bladder/rectum fall out today (prolapse)? were you able to tuck it back in before too long?
Have you tried AGAIN to get help for this? no? why not....
And here is the part where I form steam out my ears and turn a few shades of red.
Most often, women tell me that they stop seeking help for incontinence, for prolapse, for pelvic pain, for diastysis recti (abdominal wall separation), for all matters of unpleasantries in their undies because no one took them seriously or listened to them. Because they were offered the option of surgery or an anti-depressant only (are you kidding me?). Because their mother was told by her mother, who was probably told by her mother, that this is what comes after birth. That it is inevitable to pee a little (or a ton) when you laugh or sneeze or cough. That after a few kids sex feels like nothing, and to get used to it, AND to expect to be ridiculed all over tv, movies, jokes among men, and the internet that you are "cold", "frigid", "not sexy anymore". Or worse, that you "don't want sex like a man does".
Again, ARE YOU F'N KIDDING ME?!
I will not rewrite the article from Cosmo as it stands alone (with only a few corrections I'd like to make), but encourage you to read it for yourself http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/a59626/birth-injuries-postpartum-pain-untreated/ then look upon your sisters in the world with a lot more care and compassion as she may be managing a discomfort so brutal and so embarrassing that her own husband or partner knows not of it.
For almost 4 years I have held a workshop http://www.theinharasystem.com/#!workshop/oxtrz 4 to 6 times a year for these women suffering in silence. I hear stories in these workshops, and in my day-job as an Arvigo Therapist , that bring me to tears and confirm in me that we women are Super Heroes. That we not only can manage childbirth but then stay strong in the face of pain and problems "down there" for perhaps a lifetime.
Women attend these workshops at all ages and stages of their life telling me that they can't take "it" anymore and need another direction to turn besides doing nothing or having a Hysterectomy. (Oh, so much I could write about the origin of the word hysteria and the use of hysterectomies in human history to CONTROL women... but I digress)
These many women long to be among other women talking openly about what is happening (or not happening) in their undies all day and night. They are there because they are suffering and have tried and failed to get help. They have visited the one person who has spread them wide open, inserted a speculum (even the word sounds bad), pushed around their most vulnerable parts, then rendered them fine but told to wear a pad for urine leaks, a diaper for bowel leaks, and to "do some Kegels" for the loose vagina they are complaining about.... Hey doc, care to actually explain HOW to do a Kegel exercise?
Where is the help here? Where is the comfort in knowing that she CAN do something to help herself get better? Where is the doctor that says something to this momma on the day she gives birth to avoid all this mess in the first place? Hello? Is there anyone with a care out there?
Okay, I am not going to doctor bash. But I am going to say that going to an obstetrician for vagina issues is along the same lines as going to a cosmetic surgeon to get a fit body. Wrong person for the job.
But that brings me to my long winded point, who is the person? Who is the MD, PT, OB that a woman who has had a baby goes to in the natural course of her childbearing and post childbearing years? We are so concerned with a healthy pregnancy that an average woman will see her provider on average 20+ times during her 9-10 month pregnancy but only once after the baby emerges. A mother is left on her own for so much post birth. Too much if you ask me. And allow me to insert here that post birth is forever. Not just in the 6-12 weeks postpartum, but for this woman's lifetime.
So where am I going with this? Is this one long ad for my workshop? No. This is not. This is a way for me to stand beside the author of the Cosmo article, Laura Beil, and say ladies of the United States of America! Stand up and say "I am not going to take it anymore!". "I have a broken vagina and I want it fixed. not removed, not wrapped in a plastic diaper, not hidden from the world, but soothed and honored. I want my vagina to be lovely again, strong again, inspiring to my entire existence again. I am worthy of going for a run, dancing at my beloved children's wedding, making love to my partner all without worry, pain, or a mess. And I will hunt down help if it is the last thing I do" (which it won't because if you have a healthy strong vag., you can own this world).
Let's do this together as women of the 21st century. Whether you are 20 or 100, I want to hear from you and hear you stand in your desire to feel whole again. I want to know who you saw, and where you saw them, if you have received real help. I want to know that you saw your worthiness and held your power to help yourself feel sexy and thankful you were born with a VAGINA! I want to hear that you will not tell your daughter that this is what she should expect, but that she should plan for her time to mother and then her time to embrace her whole body for all she wishes it to be. I am spreading this word and hope you will do the same.
As always, I am here for you....