Last month, I was in my doctor's office for my annual exam. Just a routine physical and some catching up on my chart, since she'd been on leave for quite a while. She jumped back into the swing of things as if she'd never been gone. I was actually happy to have her back, since I had been seeing various practitioners in her absence. All was going well until that fateful conversation that we always seem to have during our visits. The one where she tries to pressure me into returning to a birth control method, other than condom use. Over the years, we'd come to an understanding that she'll ask, I'll say thanks but no thanks, and we'll leave it at that. Because, as an educated adult woman, and mother of one, I have the right to choose whether or not I'd like to be on birth control, and more importantly, I have the right to choose whether or not I'd like to be pregnant. In a nutshell, I'm well versed on how to control my ability to reproduce.
During this visit, my doctor seemed to be attempting to lightly "lay it on thick" by not dropping the birth control issue. I decline, and she gives me a mini lecture about the failure rate of condoms. I decline once more, and she suggests that we discuss the issue again at our next visit in a few months, and then IUD falls from her lips. And just to be 100% sure that I got the message, her last words to me on my way out the door were, "don't get pregnant."
Ummmm... excuse me??? I was completely shocked that she'd said those words to me. I would have rather her made a comment about my vagina than make an oppressive statement such as that. It hit me with such force that I went to my car and cried. Cried because it genuinely hurt me. Cried because I felt like I was being judged for being a single mother, with less money than I'd like to have, and a mental illness. Cried because I'd like nothing more than to complete my family with the addition of another little one. Cried because I'm tired of being robbed of the joy of my own desires by comments and thinking like her's.
I'm not naive enough to not understand where she was coming from, but I'm intelligent enough to know when I'm being placed in a box and omitted from certain paths and avenues based solely on my socioeconomic and mental health standing. Bottom line - she was out of line. Now that I've had time to fully process what took place, I will be able to better assert my rights and be present enough in the moment to make it aware to her that I, and I alone, at damn near 30 years of age, have complete agency when it comes to my body.