In the summer of 2009, I finally had something I had never believed was even possible: a relatively normal family. But my tears would not stop. Even as I held my newborn baby girl, our two sons swarming around with jealous interest, I couldn’t stop crying. Help arrived swiftly, as my friends—those with and without children—swooped in, assuring my worried husband that my postpartum depression would pass as soon as my antidepressants kicked in, making me laugh even at my lowest moments, while busying my boys with all kinds of distractions.
My friend, Christina Flach, stared in awe of my tears. “I didn’t even know you had tear ducts!” she joked.
Inspired by the feelings of isolation that postpartum depression brings and the community that surrounded me in my time of need, I realized I wanted to create a vehicle for women to connect and find support in a private place. My husband and I spoke endlessly about how and why this would be an important tool for women. He even wrote an article about it for the San Francisco Chronicle.
During this time, I began researching women’s issues and was surprised to find that my daughter would not be given the same opportunities in this world as my sons. I found that the statistics for women in the upper echelons of power today are as dismal as the statistics for female lawyers and doctors were in the 1950s and 1960s.
I was also baffled by the obvious lack of women in my husband’s field of journalism. Since my research showed that 85 percent of all public opinion is generated by men, I wondered—where were all of the women’s voices? What will be the impact to our society when women no longer feel that their voices matter? I couldn’t stop thinking about these questions.
Around this same time, Christina Flach started calling all of us in her inner circle of women her “wives” because we had been through so many marriages, divorces, births, and deaths together. The word “friend” no longer seemed to capture the depth of our relationships.
So, when I stood in a grocery line reading a magazine article about Ning’s social networking software, I felt that the universe was banging me on the head; God’s message sounded something like: “Enough thinking and talking, Christine! How many signs do you need me to give you?” It was like that bumper sticker that says “I wish somebody would do something about that. Oh right, I am somebody.”
I knew I was somebody and that I could do something about those dismal statistics.
Thus was born the online social network A Band of Wives (ABOW), a private place for all women to connect and flex their voices.
I now believe that if every woman connected with and supported the women in her own backyard, the world would change dramatically. But too often, we women feel isolated in our ever more hectic lives.
Gathering with women and taking care of each other is in our DNA as a gender and it has been shown, in many recent scientific studies, to be the most important thing we can do for our health. Sometimes it is too intimidating, or we are too overwhelmed to know how to do it, but when we decide to do it, to just make it happen, we are damn good at it.
ABOW is a safe place for women to connect both on and offline and the stories that have come up through the connections women have made on the site have been life changing for them … and for me. Through ABOW, I found my voice.
The stories were so profound and such a critical tool for moving beyond feelings of isolation and disconnection that I wanted to create a way for these women to be heard on a larger scale. I felt the world needed something that could illustrate the power of positive female connections. Carol Pott and I started collecting essays and art from wives to create an anthology that would balance out the negative images of women that we’re bombarded with every day. Immediately we knew it could only be Nothing But the Truth. You will not find any hyper-positive, Photoshopped postings here. (Although some names and places have been changed at the demand of our lawyers.)
The raw and real essays made me laugh, feel anger at injustice, and even cry—something I now do very rarely thanks to my Zoloft. They reminded me to appreciate the women in my life, both past and present. These essays are truly stories from the hearts of these women, brave tales of love, death, sexuality, cancer, self-love, motherhood, and many more topics. They are told with breathtaking honesty through the often-disregarded lens of positive female connection.
Some of the women included in this anthology are professional writers, but most are women of all ages and from all walks of life, who know that sharing their story is important. We are all revealing our inner voices, flipping our dresses up for you, showing that we women can be brave, vulnerable, sexy, kind, interesting, entertaining, and most of all, supportive.
We know that women change each other’s lives just by being there for one another and sharing these stories allows us to be more courageous, more authentic, and more loving to ourselves and others.
It is only by supporting one another and by knowing that each of our voices matter that women will, one by one, break through the new, higher, but just as solid glass ceilings that are holding us back.
We hope that you will enjoy these stories and contribute your own by joining us and sharing your story of female connection.
You can join A Band of Wives and connect with all the writers and artists in the book, contribute to our blog, or just share your story personally with a friend. Just keep the movement going and use your voice for positive change in your community!
—Christine Bronstein, August, 2012
Buy Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God: 51 Women Reveal the Power of Positive Female Connection today at: