Monday, January 23, 2012

"Don't Get Pregnant"

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.


  1. That there is bullshit. How dare she say that to you?! It takes me back to when I had my fibroids removed the NP had the nerve to "recommend" that I get my tubes tied while there. "It just makes sense...", she told me. This while I'm being prepped and getting my IV put in and all that shit. In the moment as I was, I managed to ask her, "would you be making the same suggestion to a woman that is of non-black ethnicity, and who the world is not so worried about procreating?" I guess my sarcasm never dies - especially, when I 'm feeling disrespected. I couldn't believe that shit. I don't know what the reasons were that she felt she could approach me with that, but I was not feeling the comment. She was, as you said about your doctor, out of line. She'll know better next time...I hope. The next one might not let her off with a smart ass comment.

    Don't let her (though I know you won't) dictate what you do with YOUR body because that is NOT her place. Wow. I just can't believe she brought it home with, "don't get pregnant". Really?!

  2. That's horrible! I feel outraged for you. I'd like to say I can't believe she would say such a thing, but I know better from my own experience with our health care system. Gah! Such a thoughtless thing to say!

  3. @Traci: Wow! What the hell does having fibroids removed have to do with getting your tubes tied?? Generally, you would be there getting your fibroids removed in the hopes of being able to carry a baby should you choose to have another. That is just insanity and completely disrespectful. Its like they pick the most vulnerable moments to hit you on your blind side. I'll never forget how this woman came into my room in the hospital while I was recovering from a c-section, picked up my baby and practically forced me to get up and attend a "class" on "taking care of babies". I was in so much pain, and she held my infant while she was "teaching" this class, IN THE HOSPITAL. It makes me so angry to be so caught of guard in that way. I'm glad that you're quick Sis. I need to get quicker, lol.

    @Deb: Thank you. I couldn't believe it either. It was completely thoughtless. I felt like I was being scolded by a disappointed parent. That's just NOT ok. I wish that I had been in a stronger emotional state that day so that I could have verbally responded instead of emotionally responding.

  4. I sat in a doctors office married at the age of 24 (looking like a teenager), and I told the doctor that my husband and I decided to use condoms. She said"is your husband a doctor?" I just replied "no, but we are using condoms." Some people use their power way too inappropriately.

    If another baby chose to come through you, it would just as blessed as the first one. That's it and that's all.