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Titterton: The Wellness Of Women

Emily McManamy
The joys and challenges of motherhood can be both blissfully simple - and unexpectedly complicated.

Pelvic health is a critical, and underappreciated, component of women’s health. But the pelvis - where our organs of sexuality, procreation, digestion, and elimination converge - is deeply private, and many women endure pain or problems without access to diagnosis or treatment – because nobody wants to admit to dysfunction in any of these systems.
After recently delivering a big baby, I thought I just needed strengthening so I decided to consult a pelvic floor chiropractor – and learned that basically I’d been doing an endless Kegel exercise from the unfounded – but understandable - fear that my organs might just fall out of my body. So my muscles needed to be retrained to relax - with adjustments, stretching, and deep massage.

And when I told the doctor I thought it was funny that I could relax without fear as long as I was lying on the table with legs wide apart, she replied, “Well, when you feel safe, you can do it.” And instantly, I realized that here was a powerful metaphor for the condition of being female in the world.

When you feel safe, you can do it. You can relax. You can live honestly within your body, take chances, speak up, go anywhere and claim your place. You can change things.

Of course, we already try to do those things without feeling, or being, safe. And often, when we do, we make ourselves vulnerable to backlash - ranging from derision to harm.

But when we don’t take risks, we’re not heard, and our needs aren’t understood, acknowledged, or met. So while we should all have the right to feel safe, it’s still risky work to demand the things that make us safe in the first place.

It turns out that even though my health insurance covered regular chiropractic treatment - and even though I’d met my deductible - pelvic floor chiropractic treatment wasn’t covered. I’m lucky I could afford to pay for a drug-free treatment that so effectively improved my health and quality of life. But it’s not okay with me that it comes down to luck.

Because one big measure of safety is having our health needs understood, acknowledged, met – and covered.

Katie Titterton is a freelance writer and communications consultant in Richmond.
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