INTERVIEW EIGHTEEN: BRONTË
Brontë brought up various topics under the umbrella of women’s health to our attention like ‘period’ education and the importance of debunking its stigma to her experience with being diagnosed and persisting through endometriosis.
Question One: Hello, Brontë! It’s such a delight to be able to speak with you on various topics surrounding female empowerment, especially women’s health, as you’d worded it! Could you provide us some background on how this subject stood out to you as important? Was there a defining moment in your lifetime?
Hi! I’m so glad to be involved with this and seeing people do amazing things. For me, I’ve always grown up in a household where female issues were celebrated and talked about openly, but growing up when I started to have reproductive issues I realised that not everyone had the same sort of views as me. Getting diagnosed with endometriosis one February of this year really made me feel a draw towards the cause, it took me 7 years to get a diagnosis and I know it can take many longer.
Question Two: Something you’d mentioned beforehand was the personal experience you’ve had in navigating your reproductive system. If comfortable sharing, what specific issues have you persisted through, and what has been your biggest takeaway so far?
Yeah! So I got my period around 11, however I had been dealing with monthly cramps for about 3 years prior. I’d consistently ask for answers from doctors as I was missing school because of my cramps but I was told I was too young to get an answer. Through all this I tried every type of painkiller and birth control possible and nothing worked so finally at the end of 2019 my doctor referred me to a gynaecologist. This gynaecologist took one appointment of me telling her all the horrid details and booked me into get a laparoscopy and scrape. Through that they had found a significant amount of endometriosis which had to be cut out.
Question Three: What types of resources have you found to be helpful for learning about health in relation to women?
A lot of my resources come from online! I follow a lot of instagram accounts which are documenting their experiences with endometriosis and a range of other reproductive issues, through this I’ve really tried to engage myself within the community by doing focus groups with university professors and doing my own research for school. Some highlights for accounts on instagram would be, @endogram, @theendojournal, @endo_graphics and @qendoau
Question Four: Is there a sufficient amount of information in the school curriculum systems around you about the matters you’re discussing?
No not at all, from my experience anyway. I’m Australian and I come from quite a close-minded community, no shade at all there, it’s just the realism of it. This meant that at school, when we first started discussing sexual education and what was happening in our bodies, sexes were divided and as we got older and started this discussion amongst sexes began, it was more about preventing pregnancies than anything else. In fact, I only knew what endometriosis was because it runs in my family. Since getting diagnosed, I’ve had so many people approach me saying that me speaking so openly on the topic was what made them realise something wasn’t right. We definitely need a change so that people with female sex organs aren’t relying on a person who they might know to understand their possible reproductive issues.
Question Five: Who have you looked up to as a role-model when first beginning to navigate the nuances of reproduction, periods, adolescence, etc.?
I think in the beginning it was really hard to look up to anyone if I’m being completely honest, it was the norm for me and I didn’t know that anyone felt different to me. After I got diagnosed I didn’t feel like I looked up to anyone, we were all in the same boat, but I really hope that people who might be experiencing the same thing as me can find something in the resources I listed or even me, myself.
Question Six: What advice would you give to younger girls who are passionate about female history and health?
Keep talking about it! Do you research and constantly be opening the discussion and educating people! I think that’s the absolute best piece of advice I can give, just don’t let anyone shut you up.
Question Seven: Is there anything else you’d like to address before we wrap up? If not, I’d love to thank you for being interested in our mission and expanding the circle of young advocates! We’re wishing you the best of luck in your projects and future endeavours.
That’s it! It was lovely speaking with you! So proud of you both!!