Blogger Series #2: Health Over Stigma

Continuing our Blogger Series as a part of our Health Over Stigma campaign women from all around India are sharing their stories/experiences related to the stigma we face in regards to our body, sexual health & desires. It is only through starting an open and safe dialogue can we end the stigma and normalize these conversations. Read more about our Week of Action here.

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” I once had a pregnancy scare as my periods were delayed over a week. I did not understand at that time that this could be normal or it could have been just changes in my body due to sexual activity. My mother behaved as if the world had come to an end and wouldn’t stop crying. She introduced herself as my aunt when we when to see the gynaecologist. That really hurt because it came across as if she was so ashamed that she didn’t want to be known as my mother. Was she disowning me? Was it to protect my identity? We used fake names to fill in the form.

The home pregnancy kit we had used earlier had been bought as if it was some terrible, dirty object that would defile us forever.I was clear in my mind that it was my body and my choice and so I was unperturbed to the point of defiance but at the same time I was scared too. I knew little about the procedure and how it would impact me. But the guidance and reassurance I had needed wasn’t available from anywhere.To make matters the gynaecologist wasn’t sympathetic or even concerned at all. In her eyes, I was just one of the many incidents of unwed pregnancies. In hindsight, I now realize she just assumed that. It could have been rape by coercion too but she didn’t bother to probe further at all. Forget counselling, I’d have expected her to treat me with at least some respect and dignity considering we were already shit scared but nope, that was not to be. When I went to the bathroom with the pregnancy kit, I felt a sharp tinge of pain – stomach cramps – a sure sign that I was getting my periods later that day. I still went ahead and gave them the urine sample, confident in the knowledge that I was in the clear. It was only later that I told my mother about the stomach cramps and how sure I was that the test would be negative. I was 24 at this time.” 

 

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