Is posting ultrasound images of your baby on your Facebook TMI? Is talking with a group of friends about the fact that you’ve been so stressed that your body just will not ovulate TMI?
Unfortunately, the answer to both of those seems to be a resounding “YES!”
At least that is what I read this past week.
The first question was brought up in the context of largely pro-choice young women. Most of them bought into the idea that one’s uterus is about the most private thing possible, and no one else should have to know what gross things might be going on inside it!
The second question was suggested by a mother of a large family who asserted that it was improper for grown women to discuss their fertility charts in group settings. This woman teaches that women should have such a reverence for our fertility symptoms that we should be shamed into silence.
While these two discussions probably seem worlds apart to those who started them, it is very clear to me that they are opposite sides of the same rat-poison pellet. Both groups have an emaciated understanding of what it means to be a woman, and both sides suffer because they have so little idea of what is sacred that they resort to taking their personal discomforts and declaring them taboo.
It is challenging to be a woman in a culture which can’t quite make up its mind about what womanhood is, let alone what should be expected of any individual woman. It makes sense that the result is groups of women who are incredibly confused about how to understand their own bodies, and how to relate to the rest of the world based upon their understanding of their bodies. We are left with young women who are appalled at the idea of recognizing the awesomeness of a child within her mother’s womb. And to match these young women are the middle-aged mothers who are horrified at the possibility of understanding their own bodies so completely that it would be absurd to conflate fertility charts with the most intimate of marital acts.
What is the problem with all of this? After all, I could just unfriend those who don’t want to see ultrasound pictures and ignore the pontifications of women who tell me that my charts are sacred and must be hidden.
The problem is that these women are hurting because of their confusion, and that they are in turn wounding others with their views. The young grad student who shudders at the thought of someone putting up a picture of her uterus cannot grasp the meaning of life growing within her. There is no chance of her getting support for motherhood when she cannot even see that the unborn child is indeed a child.
The exhausted mother who is embarrassed by cervical fluid cannot understand her fertility and maturely give herself completely to her husband while understanding the relative likelihood of pregnancy. She cannot ask for help from friends in her mistaken thinking that she is constantly fertile because she cannot even begin to differentiate the sacredness of fertility from the sacredness of sexual activity.
These women then perpetuate their misunderstandings by telling other women to live in the same darkness of fear of the devil of ToooooMuchINFORMATION.
I have some information for all of these women: appreciating the basics of what it means to be a woman is not too much information, it is the most basic of understanding. We should not be ashamed of ultrasound images or our fertility charts. What we should be ashamed of is having bought into the idea that that which makes us women is something to be ashamed of and only whispered behind carefully locked doors.
I am a woman. I have a uterus. I ovulate every four weeks or so. The purpose of my uterus and fertility cycle is to bring new life into this world. That does not define my existence, but it does shape who I am in the most profound of ways. So perhaps, after all, it is my very existence as a woman that is too much information.
Even if I did agree to keep ultrasound images safely tucked away in the doctor’s office and cry alone at home about my confusing fertility charts, it would not protect you from the horrible reality of the most pervasive TMI. Whether you shout it from the rooftops, post it on facebook, or whisper it only to your doctor, there remains the terrible truth of far too much information: I am a woman.
- I am thankful
- NFP Awareness Week