For women, the link between female reproductive health and mental health is undeniable. We are, essentially, emotionally ruled by our pussies. It begins at puberty. And then once a month, for essentially our entire lives, our hormones make us angry, sad, tired, hungry, and bizarrely horny all in the same week. The hormonal and emotional implications of trying to get pregnant, becoming pregnant, carrying a child for 9 months, and then giving birth to it? That's something that men will never know. Let's also not forget menopause.
The vagina is a delicate, internal ecosystem (that we are constantly sticking things in) that we have to keep at the perfect Ph or else it becomes a complete, painful mess down there. Yeast infections, UTI's-- it doesn't make you gross if you've had one so don't pretend you haven't.
How important is providing health care for this part of our body that essentially rules our well being? Well, it's critical.
PMS is very real. In high school, I started taking birth control far before I ever had sex just to regulate my hormones because my period, and all the symptoms of it, were so bad. Additionally, just a few weeks ago, I started hysterically crying to the guy I've only been dating for ONE MONTH, telling him I hoped he would never leave me. The next morning I got my period and was like "woops sorry my bad!"
Want some remedies for PMS? These things are known to help the pain but maybe not prevent you from crying in front of your potential new boyfriend:
masturbating & midol (my 2nd favorite m&m, but seriously, orgasms help alleviate pain)
eat a banana (I cannot substantiate said remedy but my grandma used to tell me this)
try birth control
Having an Abortion doesn't harm your mental health, being denied one does
Rumor: having an abortion messes with your emotional well being. Actually this is false. Being restricted from having one does.
"According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who are denied abortion access are more likely to experience anxiety and low self-esteem than women who successfully have the procedure." Denying women their basic health care rights, and forcing them into motherhood, causes severe emotional distress. Allowing them ownership over their own bodies does not.
Antonia Biggs, a social psychologist at UCSF, continues, “We found no evidence that women who have abortions risk developing depression, anxiety or low self-esteem as a result of the abortion, either immediately following, or for up to five years after the abortion.”
Often, unrealistic expectations are placed upon mothers as to what new parenthood is supposed to look like. They're supposed to lose all of their baby weight 5 minutes after leaving the hospital. They're supposed to juggle having a new baby with all the other familial responsibilities, without help or sleep, or else they'll look weak and entitled. They're supposed to get everything perfect on the first try or else they are a bad mom. They are supposed to bond naturally and quickly to a screaming, crying, pooping, ungrateful stranger they've lugged around in their belly for 9 months.
There is nothing scarier for a new mom than saying "this isn't the happiest moment of my life"-- because everything-- TV, movies, interviews, our friends, sisters, parents-- have told us that's what motherhood is. But sometimes it's not. And it is, despite what people say, the most difficult job on earth. I don't have kids, but I'm saying that because frankly, I'm scared shitless of being a parent.
All you mom's out there: I don't know how you guys do what you do.
Yeast Infections, UTI's, BV
If you're a woman, you're probably no stranger to any of the above. Stress, sex, clothing, our periods, soap, laundry detergent, a wet bathing suit, semen, tampons, a Ryan Gosling movie, and really almost anything can upset the delicate pH of our va-gines and lead us to some major discomfort. Vaginal discomfort, similar to chronic pain, can put you in a pretty foul mood, not to mention squash any semblance of a sex drive.
Want some homeopathic remedies? Read more here
Access to Healthcare
Access to mental health care is imperative for women's mental and reproductive health. That's why facilities such as Planned Parenthood are so important. Want to learn more about affordable health care for women? You can read about it here.