Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 21 ~ Our Bodies Ourselves

Sometimes we don't appreciate how far we've come in women's health awareness. It is hard to believe that just two generations ago, many women had no concept of how their bodies functioned, especially in the reproductive arena.

For example, my mother's generation of mothers was routinely anesthetized during childbirth, and was discouraged from breastfeeding their newborns. But in the next generation backward, female reproduction matters were cloaked in mystery and manners.

Apparently, according to my mother's version of events, she found herself counseling and reassuring her own mother-in-law over my grandmother's impending hysterectomy.

She had taken my grandmother to see a doctor, perhaps a general practitioner, or maybe a gynocologist. There may have been menapausal symptions. In any event, my mother was called back to the doctor's examining room, because my grandmother seemed a bit baffled.

Who's to say how she understood the process by which a woman became pregnant, and subsequently gave birth. Who knows what kind of instruction ("sex education?") she had ever been given as a young woman.  She was probably being introduced to several terms she had never heard before.

As the afternoon following the appointment wore on, the only recourse my mother found was to patiently wait for me to come home from school. Knowing that I would have my Biology textbook packed in my backpack, she explained to my grandmother that it would show her, in pictures and diagrams, what she couldn't possibly imagine back when this picture was taken.

Mattie Leighton Seavey holding my dad as an infant

Lisa Alzo of  The Accidental Genealogist blog is presenting her Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month series in honor of National Women’s History Month.

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