Okay, so now that I got the Spiritual Midwifery
thing out of the way, let me say this. I have been on MDC for over ten years. Believe me, this is not the first time this conversation has come up, nor will it be the last. The arguments made here, on all sides of the fence, have been made and will be made again.
This is one of those personal decisions that seems to carry some weight, and it is easy to argue about personal decisions that seem to carry some weight. I think if done in a civil manner, this back-and-forth that seems so much like running around in circles actually can help us as individuals to clarify our personal thinking and values so we can make our own individual decisions thoughtfully.
I am proof. Watching a few of these conversations over the years, I reconsidered my continuation of the term "vagina" as my "catch-all" (how it was used when I was a kid). With dfd, I use "vulva." When I first thought of using that term, it just did not feel right to me. It felt so clinical and un-natural. But I did it because I had thought it out and really clarified my values. It turns out it only felt un-natural to say because I wasn't used to saying it. Now that I have a two year old who throws it about as naturally as "elbow" or "abdomen" or "knee" or "little toe," (and a three year old boy who also has been known to say it), it suddenly feels like the most natural thing in the world.
With all these terms, we each are going to have some initial, gut reactions. It is easy to judge and listen impatiently to one another. It is easy to react off-handedly with words chosen without thought ("eewww") and without consideration for those they may hurt. That may be the nature of the beast, but even if it makes me a hopeless optimist, I think we can do better. If there is more to say, let it be said as respectfully as possible.
One final note:
Originally Posted by brookie514
Doctors and social workers know what the cute or silly names mean, but a defense lawyer will rip it to shreds. "It can mean anything! That could be the name for your big toe!"
So we use only correct names, just in case.
Yes, I do think this can have an influence, even now in these fairly "enlightened times." Court is an unforgiving place (I know because my family's life is largely a court-determined life due to being a foster family). The job of the defense attorney will be to rip to shreds any weakness, no matter how impartial the investigations have been. Not too many years ago, there was a situation right here on MDC where a mama discovered her child was being abused by the child's father. Her ability to protect her daughter *was* limited by the use of a cute nickname for "vulva." She eventually was able to ensure her child's protection, but it was a painful, awful saga. The rest of us wanted to leap through our computer screens and grab this mama and her children and RUN!
On the other hand, I think the person who is involved in investigations of child sexual abuse who pointed out that at least in terms of interviewing children there is always a chance to code the body according to the child's language before the interview really starts is an important one. I think a lot of progress has been made even since the publication of Protecting the Gift
. Depending on where you live, your child may experience some protection because of that, regardless of what you call the vulva and its parts.