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The not so secret business of being a woman.

"Battle of the Sexes" sourced from Google Images.

It is the subject of a recurring debate in our house. My contention – women suffer more just because they are women, than men ever have to go through.

Chris valiantly tries to disagree and uphold the banner for men-kind.

But really, what hope has he of winning this particular argument?

Let’s take a brief look at some of the facts.

Firstly, women endure what can at best be described as monthly discomfort, and at worst is painful menstruation that can interfere with daily life.

This joy begins for most of us around the start of our teenage years and can last, at least in my natural family, up until one’s late 50’s.

Along with the obvious signs of having a period one may also suffer from a range of side effects including bloating and hormone-induced mood swings.

"hormone-crazed" sourced from google images

Throughout our life we may run into a number of gynecological difficulties, some of which may require medication or surgery, or both.

I have had five gynecological surgical procedures including two children born by caesarean section, and a laparoscopy on the weekend just gone. Basically holes were cut in my abdomen so instruments could be inserted and procedures carried out.

Now I’m walking round hunched over like an old woman and with a stomach swollen as if I am five months pregnant.

I once heard a story claiming pregnancy was the most beautiful blessing a woman could ever receive, but because Eve tempted Adam in the Garden of Eden, women must also be punished for this blessing. This is supposedly why we have periods.

Pregnancy can be another source of hardship for women. It might be the drugs we take for years on end so as to prevent unwanted pregnancies, or the harrowing measures some women endure in an attempt to become pregnant.

Pregnant for the second time - notice the stretch marks

And once we become pregnant a multitude of changes occur within our body. There is the obvious physical changes, some which we may have for life.

There is also the mental changes. As my GP said to me when I was first pregnant – “Your start to lose your brain when you become pregnant, and you never really get it back as it was beforehand”. Lastly, there is the emotional changes. You’ve heard of ‘mother guilt’.

But have you ever heard of ‘father guilt’ or it’s equivalent?  Or any other equivalent hardship for men?

Yes, I’m sure shaving every day is annoying – it annoys me having to do it weekly. But can any man really claim brushing the razor across the stubble is as hard for them as all that women have to go through?

I haven’t even mentioned menopause. Mainly because I am so frightened by its very existence, I refuse to acknowledge it. Even when viewed with humour like this YouTube clip.

Chloe’s Grade 6 class have just started Sex Education at school. Yesterday she interviewed me about ‘puberty’ as part of her studies.  Asking questions about when did I start puberty, and my memories of how it affected me.

As I sat hunched in pain, dosed up on meds from my latest female operation, it crossed my mind to lie to her. To tell her some  fairytale about how wonderful all the aspects of being a woman are.

In the end I compromised. I didn’t want to horrify her, but I also don’t want her to be unprepared for what she will soon experience.

So I explained to her that yes puberty is hard , especially for girls. And yes, some of those difficulties are with us all our life.

What I forgot to tell her was despite all we go through as women, I think we are lucky to have been born female. And that is a secret worth sharing.

Cheers from the couch,

Ali.

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