Today is International Women’s Day. It is an important day to remember women. While I think abstaining from work might be in poor form, I think we can still celebrate women and their contributions to society. Honoring women begins with how we speak about them. Women, it begins with how we speak about ourselves.
For as long as I can remember I have been a self-deprecating female. My self-esteem is often quite low. I grew up around weight talk. Aesthetic beauty included the bodily frame of a human. Being mocked for height or pinched around the waist I began the path towards loathing my body.
When I grew up and got married I had the dream of becoming a mother. My husband and I set out to have kids about 6 months into our marriage. We tried and we tried and we tried. After four years of anxiety, testing, and sadness, we conceived! I was pregnant. My gut plumped. Then after 5 short weeks, we lost the baby we had prayed so hard for.
My body was broken. Why couldn’t I, or rather, this body do what it was supposed to do?
Thankfully, God blessed us with another pregnancy. I carried to term and on March 24, 2015, after a 13+ hour labor, Willow Christine Eisbacher entered this world. Not even 2 years later, on August 3, 2016, after an arduous 7 hour or so labor, Fiona Joy Eisbacher made her debut. My body finally did what countless women before me had done.
My friend, Kate Pare, had used midwives for her children, children older than mine. I was born by C-section. My parents are firm advocates for medicinal care rather than natural care. They see the degree and trust the doctors’ advice rather than research for themselves, more often than not. I had learned through Kate to ask questions, especially when it came to my care. Only I can be an advocate for the care I, and subsequently my body, receives.
I learned that the health care system is saturated with male opinion. Most obstetrics and gynecology professionals I knew were men. Why are men running a field that a woman can solely perform? Women are being told that they can’t do labor themselves. Labor is portrayed as painful. If you don’t take medicine, you are weird, crazy. We are told to numb ourselves from the pain. Women are not told the benefits of Oxycontin that is released after a natural labor , a chemical that assists in mother-child bonding.
Please understand, there is a time and place for intervention. C-sections have been used to save the lives of mothers and babies. Epidurals have assisted women to deliver a baby when the pain was too unbearable to persist. Pitocin has been used to augment contractions when labor stalled and wasn’t progressing. There are benefits to medicine. It has its time and place. The problem arises when we use it too often, when we are sending a message that women are inadequate to deliver babies naturally, the way women have delivered babies for centuries.
I was glad I had midwives. I had women cheering me on. These women were skilled in their profession. If I needed emergency care, they were equipped to deliver it or place me in the hands of someone who could perform necessary surgeries. The problem isn’t emergency care itself, but rather treating everyday occurrence as an emergency, telling women they are less than worthy. Sadly, this is a message we hear too often. We are told we aren’t as strong as men, we aren’t as smart. Women are meant to be quiet and in the home watching children. This is what we have heard for years.
While men do have more testosterone and this does make them physically stronger typically, there are women who are more physically fit than some men. Women can be just as smart as a male. We might be more emotional due to estrogen levels in our system, but this does not impede our ability to contribute to highly intellectual fields like those found in STEM professions.
Women are not beautiful because of their physical body. They can be. Also, women come in all different shapes and sizes. All women are beautiful in their own way. Women have much to offer. They are wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters. We are an array of contributors to society to…in politics, science, art, economics, etc. It is time we give women a voice. Over the years we’ve started to give women platforms, greater influence in society, but we still have a long way to go, especially in countries like India and China, countries that abort babies simply because they are female.
I am glad to have had women by my side while I labored. I’m grateful to God for blessing me with children and the ability to deliver them naturally, without medication. I had hated my body for so long. In labor and delivery, I found strength and power. Labor empowered me and for the first time, I loved my body. I was amazed at what I was able to do, awed by God’s intricate design of the human body.
This is a sentiment of gratitude for women that used their education and experiences to give me a voice. A voice to speak for other women and to finally be able to speak well about myself and my body. Thank you Midwives of NJ. May I help be an advocate for female care as you were for me. I know your presence was incalculable in healing my self-esteem and recognizing my worth as a woman and more importantly, a daughter of God.
FYI: There is a March for birth practices coming up. Check the Midwives of NJ website.