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Addressing Stigmas and the Lack of Female Reproductive Education

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

Calling for transparency is not asking too much.

I know this may be controversial, but I physically reject the thought of having a child with every fiber of my being. My best friend jokes that I’m tokophobic (the irrational fear of becoming pregnant), but the sad part is, he’s not wrong. In fact, it’s definitely not a joke. When I even imagine myself carrying a pregnancy, I have a full-body, visceral, negative reaction to it. I’m not sure why this is, but I would have to guess that it’s part personality, part growing up around horror stories and part lack of general knowledge/education available to people. 

If I’m being perfectly frank, since so much about the female body in general remains a mystery, I’ve unfortunately been turned off of many of the processes specific to the female body—processes that my own body undergoes. I’ll never understand what the hesitation is to share education with people; after all, every single person walking around on this planet had to have been born, so the fact that there’s so much secrecy and taboo feelings is baffling. 

When admitted to the hospital, you often deal with a lot of intense medical jargon thrown at you. I can only imagine that it’s much more frustrating and scary when not only are you confused about what’s going on with your own health, but you’re also worried for the wellbeing of your infant. That’s why I think it’s beyond amazing that people who have access to that knowledge and have a large capacity for empathy, like the labor and delivery (L&D) nurse in this video, are joining forces with a large social media audience to create a community where people can ask questions and share opinions without judgment (Ezagui 2023). Now, of course, this is still the internet in 2023, so there’s bound to be someone who doesn’t follow the Golden Rule online. But having a space where anything and everything is up for discussion is still a much better alternative than undergoing bodily trauma in the dark. The way Miriam uses her class to serve others is exactly what the healthcare industry could use more of, and I commend Miriam for marrying the two things that make her passionate.

Despite my status as a person who has not given birth nor plans to, I believe that birth, an act quite literally being among the most natural things a body could do, does not need to be medicalized in the way that it is. Yes, things can go wrong, so it’s important that qualified people are on hand to redirect the process if necessary, but as I mentioned before, there is a fine line between intervening for the greater good and causing undue stress. 

I blame the culture of hustle and bustle we’ve created; it’s detrimental to us in countless ways. As feminist author Sandra Lee Bartky writes in her piece “Foucault, Femininity and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power,” “more is required of the body than mere political allegiance or the appropriation of the products of its labor: the discipline invades the body and seeks to regulate its very focus and operations, the economy and efficiency of its movements.” The latter half of that quote is incredibly powerful, especially when we contextualize it and relate it to birthing people. Any birth is a good birth, no matter the route the parent(s) chooses to go, and certain stigmatizations are harmful. If a hospital or birthing center is the way to go after proper research, then wonderful. However, I fully understand why a pregnant person may choose to have a home birth with an emphasis on centering, calm and holistic ritual. This approach brings humanity back to the center of the experience, instead of a very matter-of-fact procedure. 

We could all use a little more genuine human connection in our lives, and in my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful ways a family could welcome a new person into the world. At the end of the day, all is well so long as the family is informed on how to proceed on their unique journey into parenthood and the child is safe and cared for.

Sophia Thomas

Wisconsin '26

Sophia is a current first-year student at UW-Madison and couldn't be more excited to be a baby Badger! She's a Wisco girl born and raised, so the way to her heart is any cheesy meal or dessert that involves ice cream/custard. In her spare time, Sophia enjoys hosting friends for dinner, trying out new cafés, rewatching all of her favorite shows, and, of course, coming up with fresh article ideas for Her Campus!