We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.
- Anaïs Nin
When was the last time you went to your doctor? How about your OBGYN? Did you wonder how this specialty of medicine came into existence? I hadn’t given it much thought until I listened to a program on NPR a few weeks ago about the father of modern gynecology—J. Marion Sims.
But I don’t want to talk about him, at least not directly. February is Black History Month (and March is Women's History Month), so I want to talk about the women who made his discoveries possible. The women he practiced on. The women he studied. And more importantly, I want to talk about the women he exploited to find cures to ailments many of us no longer are at risk of facing.
The summer between my 7th and 8th grade years our golden retriever had puppies. On the last day of school we woke up to eight black lab/golden retriever mix puppies, making that summer one of the most memorable I’ve ever had. We watched Montana go from playful family dog to protective mother literally overnight. She birthed those puppies on her own in her doghouse. She nursed those babies whenever they were hungry. She snapped at my youngest brother when he tried to touch one of them. She never left them in those early days.
And then she weaned them.
I’m not exactly sure how the weaning process goes for dogs, but as quickly as she went from jovial family dog to protective momma dog, she went right back to her former life without batting an eye. We gave away most of the puppies, but kept one for my brother (he loved dogs), and her relationship with that dog was filled with contention. He bothered her. He had more energy than her. In many ways the way she acted around him was like any other dog that invaded her personal space. Sure, she birthed him and nursed him. But once that process was over she forgot it even happened. She forgot he was her son.
Not so with humans, right?
In January 2007 I started a blog. I had been out of college for over half a year and wanted to practice the craft I had gone to college for. So I wrote and wrote and wrote. Here I am nine years later. I'm married. I have kids. I've written a book. And it was time to move my site over to a more permanent and professional place.