‘All things considered, your lack of boy bits is only a tiny hiccup’
2005. Chloe’s great. It’s Christmas, she’s thirteen years old and has just woken up to a searing pain and what seems like a crustier version of the Red Sea sticking her legs together beneath the duvet.
2010. Jamie’s worried. In her experience, throwing up from pain straight after sex is (thankfully) pretty damn unusual - so why does her little sister breezily chat about it like it’s a perfectly normal reaction?
Baby Box is a frank and darkly comic exploration of the wonderfully dysfunctional relationship between siblings, complete with all the ins and outs that come with having a vagina. One of these ins and outs is Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a painful, debilitating, frequently life changing, condition affecting 1 in 10 women so why do most people know nothing about it? The easiest explanation for this is the way we, ‘the world’ deals with female pain. Women are told things like “it’s all in your head”, “all women get periods and you don’t see them making as much fuss as you”, even doctors are sceptical and rebuff women when they go to them for help. One endometriosis sufferer we spoke to when developing Baby Box said a memorable moment, before she was diagnosed was a doctor telling her, “One day you’ll grow up and have children, then you’ll be too busy to be in pain.”
Baby Box follows the story of two sisters through the hallmarks of a girls growing up; from getting your period, to first boyfriends, to first times, right up to their late 20s. Alongside this blissfully normal narrative lurks something darker. Chloe is struggling. She’s experiencing chronic pain, fatigue and struggles through daily life on a cocktail of paracetamol, ibuprofen and a cocktail of strange home remedies her sisters researched on the internet. She collapsed at school and ended up in hospital, the doctors say nothings wrong and it happened during a mock exam. Her parents are furious. Why does no-one believe her?
Unfortunately it takes on average a staggering seven to eight years to get diagnosed with Endometriosis and stories like Chloe’s are all too common. That’s why undertakings such as Sleepless Theatre Company’s ‘Baby Box’ are so important. They help by spreading awareness of this relatively unknown disease. They help women realise that they shouldn’t accept pain as normal. It helps the families of the sufferers understand what their loved ones are going through. No woman should be told that it’s ok for her to suffer pain, just because her reproductive system works differently to that of a man. No woman should feel it’s ok for her to be in pain because she’s a woman. Awareness is everything. And if you’re a sufferer, remember, you’re not alone.
Baby Box will be performed from the 1-6 May as part of the Who Runs the World? Season. Tickets
Playwright: Laura McGrady
Cast: Laura McGrady and Sarah Cullum
Director: Helena Jackson
Producer: Josephine Shipp
Stage Manager: Matthew Gardner
Lighting Design: Simisola Majekodunmi