It has been a long winter across the U.S. I am giddy to feel some warmth from the sun and take in the colorful show evolving each day in my flower garden. But this isn’t a post about flowers. I’m talking about MayFlowers and the pelvic and obstetric health campaign they represent: Share MayFlowers.
I dreamed up this campaign two and a half years ago, while processing the reality that, for many, women’s health = breast health. The breast health movement has been very successful in dispelling stigma while promoting awareness, advocacy and research, but I was left feeling like we had an amputated picture of women’s health. Above the belt, we had great things going on in female mental health, particularly with regard to postpartum, cardiovascular, and breast health. Below the belt…nada. At the same time, it hit me that of the hundreds of women – women of all ages – coming for care to our clinics provided some version of the same statements:
- “I thought it was just me (that had these problems).”
- “I thought this is just what happened when you had sex/had a baby/got older.”
- “I didn’t know there was any help for problems ‘down there’.”
- “I was embarrassed to talk about it with my partner/spouse/friends/physician.”
- “I waited several years before trying to get any help at all.”
- “Why didn’t anyone talk to me about this when I was an adolescent/was pregnant/ever?”
So I thought: “We need a campaign, a rallying month, just like breast health has October and heart health has February. It has to pull together the various and overlapping issues involved in female pelvic and obstetric health, across the lifespan, and truly across the globe. It should provide different perspectives (providers, patients, educators, and more) and by all means, should drop the curtain and help get people talking. They need the language and they need the permission. We also need a symbol. A pink ribbon is ubiquitous, and choosing another ribbon color or rubber bracelet would dilute the concept. A flower is a symbol of femininity and seasonally appropriate for the month that already recognizes National Women’s Health Week and Mother’s Day. Let’s wear flowers.”
So that’s what I, and now many other women and men, are doing in May each year. Blogging daily about various perspectives on female pelvic and obstetric health through Share MayFlowers Blog. Wearing MayFlowers (you can buy MayFlowers here). And spreading the word, grassroots-style.
Will you join us?
Published On: April 30, 2014