Believe Women

It’s late and I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep.
Somehow I got through clinic today in one piece, precepting a midwifery student for the first time, seeing a few very, very dear postpartum patients for their last visit and trying not to cry, and trying to remain present for 16 more women in clinic after four incredibly busy work days in a row.
All the while I couldn’t stop thinking about Dr. Blasey Ford and her incredible strength and courage.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how how many of my patients this week might have experienced something similar to Dr. Blasey Ford and never told anyone: me as their midwife, their partner, their friends, or family. Statistically speaking, that’s at least nine women that I saw just this week. The weight of those unspoken traumas has felt even heavier in recent weeks.
I couldn’t stop thinking about my friends’ daughters, these young girls growing up in a world that still doesn’t value them equally to my friends’ sons. No matter how hard they try, when it comes down to it, the boys and men always seem to get the last word.
I couldn’t stop thinking about my own son, my sweet, tender, loving, nearly three year-old boy and the burning responsibility I feel to raise him to love and respect and listen to women. I don’t just want him to “help out” at home. I don’t just want him to vote for the “liberals.” I don’t just want him to not be a blatant jerk, a creep, or an arrogant mansplainer.
I want him to see how his own active engagement in the ongoing struggle for reproductive justice is tied to his own capacity for personal liberation and freedom. I want him to understand that anything less than life-long activism for equality means he is complicit in maintaining the status quo of the patriarchy.
I need him to understand that no means no means no means no.
I want him to have the courage to speak up when it’s uncomfortable in the locker room.
I want him to believe that living as a feminist in word and deed is just what a man does, not that it’s somehow extraordinary or deserving of praise.
All I could feel today was this suffocating, generations-old weight. Even if we weren’t talking about it during their clinic visits, every. single. woman I met with today knew what was happening. We were weary. It hung heavy and thick in the air, this dreadful, thousands-year old story. I hugged every patient and felt the hugs linger. Ancient and seemingly never-ending, this awful cycle of misogyny festers: no matter what we say, how eloquent, dignified, articulate, composed we are, still, we are not believed.
I don’t know what else to say, except there is no other option than to keep fighting for what we know is right.
Believe women.
I believe Christine Blasey Ford.
I believe all my patients.
I believe you.

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