news item: using the word vagina (among many others!)

If you live in the USA, you have probably heard about the woman who was banned from speaking in the Michigan House of Representatives last week after using the word vagina while making an “impassioned speech” about a woman’s health issue. I was reading this article about it, and it got me thinking about this woman who was silenced for using an anatomically correct term for one of her body parts. In fact, The Detroit News reported that one of her male colleagues went as far as to say this:

What she said was offensive, said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.

He wouldn’t used the word vagina in front of a woman because it’s offensive? Huh? Would he shudder in revulsion at talk about a menstrual cycle – both its duration and color? How would he respond to a lamentation about a lack of desire to *shhhh* have sex(!) because it had been timed for so long to optimize the chances of conception? Don’t even get me started on EWCM (egg white cervical mucous, for any non-TTCer who stops by this post)!

I speak a little in jest, but seriously – as any woman who has had any trouble conceiving knows, it is gravely important to be knowledgeable about your body and to be able to discuss and ask questions about your vagina…your miscarriage…your ovaries…or *gasp*…even your partner (or donor’s) sperm. We are a subset of people who share just about anything and everything about our bodies and experiences in order to ask the right questions and find the best answers that might help us on our journey to become parents. In truth, it is imperative the ALL women have the knowledge and agency to discuss their reproductive health in order to advocate for themselves and their lifelong health. Talking normalizes things that are NORMAL. Words have power.

So my questions are these:

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How did your TTC / IF troubles change what you felt was acceptable to talk about in “mixed company”? Did it change anything?

Are you more open to talking about TTC/conception issues now, or do you consider these to be private issues that are nobody’s business but your own?

Do you use medically correct terminology (e.g. sex) or alternative words (e.g. baby making) when discussing TTC? Why?

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