When I look around me, I see a society in which women’s health is not in women’s hands. My work is to reconnect women to their intuitions and to each other.
Let me explain: I had three babies in three years. Each pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience was far out of the medical, male-centered norm. Like many mothers, I felt alone, navigating my health and my child’s. My mission is to unify women through storytelling and understanding.
During my first pregnancy, I bled heavily for 10 days straight. Naturally, I thought I was miscarrying. I totally freaked out. No one I spoke to in person or online could relate. So I was led to believe women never bleed during pregnancy!
In reality, 20% of women experience bleeding. Some even experience monthly bleeding, and it’s perfectly healthy and normal.
I experienced heavy bleeding throughout all of my pregnancies without problem. The real problem I experienced during my first pregnancy was lack of information and conversation about what really happens to women’s bodies during pregnancy.
My second two pregnancies didn’t show up in any tests. I knew what it felt like to be pregnant, so the negative tests didn’t fool me. But they did fool my doctors. In both cases, ultrasounds miscalculated my babies ages (by 6 weeks and 10 weeks).
A midwife confirmed my third pregnancy in a physical exam. When the baby didn’t show up in the ultrasound, she denied having felt a pregnancy to save her job. I know I am not alone in these experiences.
1 out of every 450 women experience “elusive or cryptic pregnancy.”
One more story: I gave birth to my second two children beyond 43 weeks gestation, both healthy, unmedicated, spontaneous labors. Most women are scared into thinking their baby won’t survive beyond 42 weeks. This isn’t always the case. And it would have been nice to know that!
If it wasn’t for a few amazing women and my husband who supported me, I would have felt so isolated. Many women in this country have unique experiences with pregnancy and childbirth. Not talking about them leaves us feeling alone.
I want to restore the lost and broken legacy of women’s health, empowerment, community, ancient wisdom, and trust. That’s why I started the Intuitive Health Women’s Movement, or what I call the #WorldWideMamaTribe.
My experience becoming a woman was that of having my body image attacked, my menstrual cycles deemed a hassle rather than an honor, my sexual health treated like a man’s, and my initiation rights lost in my culture.
I went through hell to claim power over my body and find tools that honor it. Now, it’s my job and my pleasure to share those tools with the world.
I started an online community on Facebook to connect with other women who want to be grounded to the earth and to their bodies. Intuitive Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum is an encouraging space for women to share their raw experiences with their bodies before, during and after pregnancy. I hope you’ll join us.
I am also building a network of moms and health professionals who who are familiar with Cryptic or Elusive Pregnancy who can offer their support and services. You can find us in the group, Midwives and Friends of Cryptic Pregnancy Network on Facebook.
My heart goes to you and connects to you in the woman tribe.
Much love and light, Anshin Kelly
Anshin Kelly is a mama of three, wife, condom carrier, alternative practitioner, doula, DE midwife in training, pregnancy/birth/postpartum consultant, woman/birth/body rights activist and Co-Founder of Intuitive Health. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.