“When many little people in many little places
Do many little things, the whole world changes
But sometimes not fast enough for me”
“Gloria,” by Michael Franti & Spearhead
Humanitarian that he is, I hunch that even Michael Franti would be a bit surprised for me to lead off with a quote from his lyrics as inspiration for a female pelvic and maternal health campaign.
The lyrics aren’t part of the Share MayFlowers origin story, but they might as well be. Share MayFlowers is here because – despite the accomplishments and efforts of friends, colleagues, advocates, and strangers in clinics and communities the world over – change was happening in female pelvic and maternal health, but not fast enough for me. Three+ years ago our team of ‘little people’, a group of passionate and committed pelvic and obstetric physical therapists, were working with women in our ‘little places’ (at that time, our four Boston-area PT clinics), and working hard at all our ‘little things’ – educating and providing compassionate care in pelvic and obstetric health. We knew of many others across healthcare and advocacy who were doing much of the same. Yet the sense of embarrassment, stigma, and even ignorance remained. Women asked, “Why didn’t I know about this sooner?”, “I thought this was normal at my stage of life?”, “I thought I just had a small bladder?”, “I was told there was nothing I could do about my pelvic problems.” They wanted answers and information. They wanted care when appropriate and to know how to find it. But this required efforts to elevate the conversation; breaking down barriers and facilitating the language and knowledge to move the conversation forward in the first place.
Language, conversation, symbolism that makes the conversation more accessible, and connecting – connecting healthcare providers, communities, media, organizations, and more – that is why Share MayFlowers launched in 2012 and is here and kicking around for another year. And it’s still not changing the world fast enough for me. I…we…the girls and women you love…need you for that.