Women’s Health Changing Patriarchal System Series: The Landscape

It’s shame, not rage that destroys us. I have noticed in my work and personal life, what neuroscientist Antonio Damasio discusses as a split between emotion from reason and mind over body, can prevent us from registering our own experiences which leads us to lose touch with our own voice to then become influenced by a false authority. This occurs through shame. When a false authority, such as our healthcare system, challenges the personal experience we know to be true, such as disregarding bleeding and pain during ovulation, we are injected with shame and disconnect from trusting ourselves. Women are now beginning to follow our hearts more than societies terms of a good women and, in my work, I’m observing more women standing up for their hormonal health by questioning the pill and demanding better care for their hormonal health. As a woman and educator for women’s health, I want to highlight the importance of women’s healthcare, including the lack of research, supportive endocrinology lifestyle, and education (most women don’t know what the follicular phase is, which is pointing to were we are in relationship with our bodies!) I believe shame is one root case of our silence.  To me, our shame roots in a patriarchy landscape. The current shifts in political and social climate define movements in varies ways. It’s dependent on who is speaking and to whom. In this essay, I speak of feminism as the framework that separates democracy (ideals and values) from patriarchy (privilege and power.)  I am not implying that matriarchy is an answer since it is a hierarchy that places women on top of men. However, a democracy that places everyone as equal.

I’ve come to notice that the initiations of silence that we personally experience are the social “rules” we become habituated towards in our public lives. We silence our voices in order to have relationships. This act then creates a traumatized split in our psyche by categorizing us into good girls or bad girls verses a woman with healthy resistance to dishonesty, and with a voice to freely state her experience, trust herself and have the capacity to join reason with emotion. Patriarchy’s division between mind and body, and reason and emotion has created an unsafe space for a woman to trust her body, to be relaxed and to heal. We don’t have the proper medical care for women’s hormonal health. Countless of ladies tell me that they come see me and don’t want to go to an OB/GYN because the only remedy is birth control. It is becoming more ethically important to create a way to resist this injury that has impaired our ability to love and engage in relationship with our bodies, and medical professionals.

I speak with women that do not want to go to an OB/GYN due to the fear of this split – the split of body and mind. We go to the physicians office with the hope of advice and encouragement. But, we are left with the false remedy of birth control pill that only cover-up are health imbalances, and told that our symptoms are in our head, as if we are not allowed to trust our bodies. Another human-being can be grown within us, and they tell us not to trust the messages we are receiving from our bodies. Research has only begun to include women’s bodies. Our cyclic cycle was too challenging and mysterious for researchers and physicians to quantitatively analyze in the models they claimed as norms which were tested on by white male research participants. Most OB/GYN’s do not provide sound advice for hormonal imbalances. It’s scary to know T3/T4 (thyroid hormones) are not routine testing for hormonal imbalances since they can a root cause for many dysregulations in hormones. Physicians can passively and lazily blame it on insurance companies, or they can take an ethics of care route by use their authoritative voice to help clients and feminism. If you aren’t pushing back with the insurance companies, at least recommend your patients to women’s food, herb and relaxation specialists before prescribing the pill or surgery. We are here to join forces and work with you to support women’s endocrine system. We give life and would like to make it a successful and healthy experience for each woman, child and family.

As, we, women are un-silencing ourselves, patriarchy is being uncovered.  As women, our silence is the initiation and compromise towards patriarchy. We act as if we do not know what we know. We see this rampart as clients at the OB/GYN. We go in timidly, knowing that our hormones and emotions are off, but compromising our needs that allows for the neglect of OB/GYN. We are left with taking a pill that covers our symptoms, as it covers our voice, and doesn’t get to the root cause. Further, it messes up our hormones, ovary’s and can complicate later-on pregnancy.

There has been a shattering of trust from a patriarchy system of healthcare. Our hormonal health is a high stakes situation. Not only are our hormones sensitive to external and internal stimulus (food, conversation and exercise) but we contain life within us so our endocrine system reacts accordingly, not like men. The survival of our species is dependent in a woman’s mental, physical and spiritual health. This makes our health as a high stakes situation. When our rights are betrayed then we stop trusting ourselves. When the stakes are high, betrayal is authorized by someone in authority. Culturally, authority is doctors. By providing this false authority of our bodies over to the medical system, we have lost trust within our bodies. Women are less frequently able to state what they know. We don’t trust what we know. We lose connection with ourselves, thus instilling the responsibility of our health onto the doctors. I’m not proposing that we are our own doctors. Rather, we get back into connection with the sensations within our bodies, know how hormones work and be in an equal conversation with doctors. You know your body better than the doctor. If your doctor doesn’t want to have a conversation, then find one that does. Learn what is going on in each stage of your cycle, put away the app so you can feel the hormone fluctuations in each stage of your cycle, and learn to eat and exercise to maintain hormonal health.  When we experience betrayal in relationships, then we experience it as a moral betrayal of what is right. The way our hormones and bodies are being treated in the medical field is a betrayal – and it’s wrong. We don’t have to accept it. In this high stakes situation, don’t be selfless. The doctors aren’t the authority of your body. We can turn our healthcare into a democracy of care – where we, as women, trust our bodies. We can have a relationship with doctors that includes mutual sharing of knowledge. I work with countless women that are main work is to slowly have them trust their bodies. This is the work of healing our hormones. This is the work of being more relaxed and centered. This is healing. We have erased what we have once known. Sorry – let me re-write that ‘we have barried deep inside what we have once know.’ We can’t erase what is the innate part of us. We were asked to not know what we had loved, our bodies. We have muted the voice of our own experience. We had to rewrite history by giving the responsibility and care of our bodies to the medical field. This was an initiation we all compromised and it has become like nature.

Once I start working with women, self-love becomes the driving force. The mention of the silences that we have compromised strikes a match in women I work with. I never have to mention much about this patriarchy framework, since it resonates so deeply in women. Once a woman has permission to love and trust herself in this manner, hierarchy has no chance. Love is the base of equality and freedom. It’s the ethics of care we treat ourselves and others with.

Questions do remain. How do we resist our splits so we can speak about the our bodies at the OB/GYN office? How will we care for our hormones? What is a democratic healthcare for women? How do we resist?

This essay is my first attempted drop in the ocean. There is a lot to share in this topic. Please email me your thoughts and look out for mor