Within the first few pages of Misconceptions you will find what most books about women’s health lack – honesty.
As a female author (and one who has been pregnant herself), Wolf validates pregnancy as an experience that is more than just a reproductive process. She validates pregnancy by citing it as a transformative event for women that strengthens them, shapes their personality and evidently the path they will walk on for the rest of their lives.
I am just starting the chapter entitled Loses and up to now, I am stunned by how little I know about women and their bodies during pregnancy. Many will say that “you learn it as you go”, but like we have learned from menstruation, the lessons we do “learn” are often painful (or embarrassing) and likewise are voiced by the wrong authority with misguided information.
As I thought about this phrase “learning it as you go” I wondered, should we settle to learn it as we go?
On some matters, yes.
But on matters dealing with women’s health, issues that have existed forever, whether it be menstruation, pregnancy or menopause, is it really necessary that we continue to learn it as we go?
A common phrase I hear from many women in my circle is: “I wish I had known…”. These five words lead to the detrimental and harmful truths women have had to learn along the way. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead we heard: “I am so glad I knew…”?
One of the things I enjoy most about Misconceptions is how Wolf re-examines her conscience as various debates and unknowns are brought to her attention. She struggles through debates such as the pro-choice/pro-life debate, whether or not to get screening tests or amniocentesis done during pregnancy and through all this she discovers that theses issues are not the black and white issues people make them out to be.
To explain this uncertainty, Wolf (2001) poetically states that her “politics were rebalancing around [her] belly” (p. 52).
Before reading Misconceptions, I had my mind made up about many matters dealing with pregnancy. However, the stories Wolf shares in the first few chapters of her book have caught my conscience by surprise. Just as Wolf’s politics are rebalancing around her belly, mine are rebalancing around the testimonials of women found in Misconceptions.
I think it is important that women are informed when pregnant, but at the same time we need to ensure we are being informed by other women who have experienced pregnancy and motherhood. In order for this to happen we need to talk more openly about women’s health issues, not through a voice of authority, but a voice full of real life experiences by real, honest women.