I had an appointment with my gynecologist yesterday.
There was a time that the very notion of having to go to the gyno would fill me with dread. I shudder now to think of how often that dread kept me from making or keeping yearly appointments. Like many other fat women, I didn't want the LECTURE.
For a long time, I didn't believe I deserved any better. I was a fatty. I had eaten myself fat and if I'd exercised some self-control I wouldn't be in this position. If only I lost weight, I wouldn't have these problems. If I wasn't fat, I would be treated with respect.
What a crock of shit!
The final straw was when a doctor who was supposed to be helping me told me I needed to lose 100 pounds in order to become pregnant. At first I was shocked and hurt. I cried. Then I got angry. People of all sizes have been having babies since the beginning of time. Who was he to tell me that a pregnancy would not be "beautiful" or "natural" at my size?
Out of my anger came the realization that I had to be my own best advocate. I had to push past the "I'm not worthy" feelings and ask some very simple (but difficult) questions of prospective doctors. Despite my resolve, this was one of the scariest things I've ever done. Looking at a doctor and saying, "How do you feel about working with me at my current weight?" caused my heart to race and my knees to turn to jelly. But if I didn't ask... how would I know?
I was lucky on the first try for my reproductive endocrinologist. When I asked the "question" he chuckled and assured me that many of his patients were larger women. He also indicated that he had helped women much larger than me become pregnant. And he was true to his word - never once did he talk to me about my weight or try to convince me I needed to slim down in order to achieve my goal.
When we found out we were pregnant, it was time to find an ob/gyn. I asked my RE for a recommendation, reminding him of my desire to find a doctor who was willing to work with me at my current size. He recommended a doctor and I set up an interview to ask the same questions.
Little did I know that I probably could have just walked into the office and been immediately reassured. The first thing I noticed was the size positive magazines (Mode) in the waiting room right along side all of the pregnancy magazines. Then I noticed the office staff were different shapes and sizes, with the head nurse being a larger woman who was about my size. I went ahead with the questioning anyway - not wanting to make assumptions. I also talked to the office and nursing staff. I was determined to spend my pregnancy feeling beautiful and supported by my medical team. And I was - I am forever grateful to the RE for helping me find, quite literally, the ob/gyn of my dreams.
My point is this - it's possible to find doctors who treat you with respect but it doesn't happen by accident or chance. We have to remember that we, the patients, are the customers. We have the right to ask questions and are not obligated to select a doctor who we feel will not give us the highest quality medical care. We deserve it!