When I first heard there was going to be a Women’s March in Washington, D.C. I wanted to be there, on the National Mall with what would turn out to be a massive crowd of women and men. A women’s strike. A strike against the new administration. A march for so many reasons and causes I care deeply about. I care deeply about reproductive issues. As a doula who works with women every day, I have seen fear in their eyes. I have heard their struggle to rationalize how hatred came into the White House. I hear women who are legal immigrants scared to speak out. I hear LGBT women fear the rights that were hard won may be be taken away. I hear mothers, afraid of what the future will look like for their children. It’s these women I marched for.
In the months leading up to the election, many of the pregnant women I work with were under tremendous amounts more stress than normal. I reached out and held their hands as they cried. I told them I was there with them and they were safe. But are they? I didn’t feel authentic saying they were safe. How could I? The hate and vitriol spewed during this last year has affected every person I know. I have had my own difficulties with family and friends who I could not reason with. I could not reason with myself sometimes. I am white woman, of middle-class upbringing. I am a white woman with a college degree. I am white woman who now lives in poverty, by choice. I choose to live a life of meaning, doing work that fulfills me, not for the money I could otherwise earn in another middle-class job. I struggle with the privilege I know I have. I do not turn a blind eye.
I marched for women. I marched to share the message of body literacy. I have been in deep creation mode with my business partner since the night of the election to create a class for women. It just so happened I was not alone in feeling like it was my turn to stand up for something. We came across the Fifth Vital Sign, I knew of them and heard them on a podcast or two, but when we heard they had a curriculum that they were giving away for free, the light bulb turned on.
I marched to share the news of freedom from reproductive oppression. This oppression is likely very unintentional by care providers talking over options with their patients. But so many women are forced to use birth control options that don’t align with their values or goals. IUDs that are placed incorrectly and cause irreparable damage to their uterus. Birth Control pills that have such devastating side effects. The lack of options for men to play a role in preventing pregnancy. The onerous is on women. But what if girls were told the truth in grade school? What is before menses began, we told girls they were powerful and could know their bodies better than anyone else? What if we taught teenage girls how to track their fertility, not to avoid pregnancy alone, but to know if something were wrong with their cycle? What if we gave adolescent girls the power inherent to them? An essential knowledge that would see them through all phases of their life.
So I marched for reproductive awareness, for bodily autonomy, for informed consent. For all women I have known, for the daughters I hope to know. ~ Marci