Wednesday, March 29, 2017


There is a familiarity about this photo, and it could have been taken in many boardrooms around the world - men gathered around a table making plans and cutting deals.
But the lack of women here, among a group of conservative Republicans discussing their healthcare bill with the vice-president, struck a particular nerve.
That's because one of the points under discussion was whether the new bill should mandate that health insurance plans provide "essential benefits" including maternity services.

Never had a period.
Never scraped together change to get the cheapest pads possible, or just wadded up some tissue and prayed you could make it home before your pants were ruined.
Never sweated that the condom broke, because the majority of the burden would fall on you.
Never worried that their antibiotic might have interfered with their birth control.
Never put shots in their stomach 6 times a day to stimulate their follicles.
Never vomited in the parking lot of HEB.
Never agonized over the decision to end a pregnancy for a wanted child.
Never lost a baby.
Never agonized over the decision to end a pregnancy due to sexual assault.
Never lost more than one baby.
Never birthed a child.
Never birthed a child with complications.
Never had a near death experience during childbirth.
Never died during childbirth.
Never told your breastmilk is helping/hurting/not enough.
Never told your breastmilk is never coming in.
Never pumped in a bathroom stall while people defecate in the next stall.
Never had someone go over their meeting reservation in the only room "set aside" for pumping.
Never had their breasts ache and leak.
Never got a fever or thrush on your nipples from not pumping enough (because you want them to know you are still ambitious).
Never pumped on a client call, holding the attachments with one hand and the phone with the other.
Never cried when you pumped less and less each day in the days after you came back to work.
Never left your baby at 2 days or 2 weeks or 2 months because you are the breadwinner and your family needs you.
Never worked a 14 hour day and only slept in 90 minute increments because baby is going through a growth spurt.
Never woke up with night sweats during the change.
Never had a doctor ask if they had a husband to explain this to?
Never received a mammogram.
Never chewed nails at the prospect of not getting medicaid to cover having that other breast removed because it would be safer that way.
Never cried when they said it was back in the other breast and there was nothing more they could do.
Never wondered if they were a man/white/straight/cisgendered, would their concerns would be taken more seriously? Would they be in charge of their own health?
Never been us.
We are owed representation.