Thursday, June 5, 2014

I, Gynecologist...You, Jane

'Cause I'm just a girl, little 'ol me
Don't let me out of your sight
I'm just a girl, all pretty and petite
So don't let me have any rights
                                      No Doubt

I'm not usually one to write "angry posts," but I'm so annoyed right now, I have no choice.

About an hour ago, I called my gynecologist's office to schedule a tubal ligation. Before the receptionist would even grant me an appointment for a consultation, she asked me if they'd delivered a baby for me--the answer is yes, thirteen years ago--and how old I am. She then told me I'd need to schedule an appointment to see the doctor to figure out whether I'm a candidate or not. When I told her that I have two children, am almost forty, and have been married for over sixteen years, she said she couldn't just schedule me for surgery over the phone without coming in to see the doctor, despite the fact that I had my well woman check at their office not even a month ago.

At first I didn't know what was going on. When she first asked me if they'd delivered a baby for me, I didn't see it; when, however, she asked me my age, I realized she was checking to see if I was "tube tie-able." And I was outraged.

Okay. Not scheduling me for surgery (albeit a super minor surgery) without me coming in to see the doctor (remember, despite my having just been in not even a month ago), I could semi-understand. Asking me if they'd delivered a baby for me (which is, I guess, really asking if I've had babies because I can't see them only being willing to perform tubal ligations on people who they've personally delivered children for) and how old I am is, to me, an outrage.

It shouldn't matter if I'm thirty-nine or twenty-nine or even nineteen. If I, as a woman, have decided I don't want (more) children, that should be my choice.

And it shouldn't be questioned.

The nurse doesn't know this, but before I made this phone call, I did a tremendous amount of research. Having been on the pill for the last twelve years constantly and off and on for about ten years between thirteen and twenty-three (for acne, people! Please), I felt it was time to switch birth control methods. Not only am I the worst pill taker in the world, forgetting my pill one, two, even sometimes three days in a row, but the dangers of taking the pill after thirty-five are no joke. Neither is the fact that my insurance stopped paying for my pills, so I had to switch to generic, or the weight I've gained since switching. So after a lot of thought, once I finished my pills last month, I didn't fill my prescription and am now extra hormone--as well as birth control--free.

When I decided to stop taking the pill, I continued the off and on research I'd been doing for years on the IUD. Lots of pros but too many cons convinced me it wasn't the method for me. The NuvaRing and patch both seem to be no picnic, and even skinny people I knew who took Depo-Provera ended up fat.

And that really leaves only one thing, which is how I ended up on the phone with the receptionist who felt she had the right to question the appropriateness of the birth control method I wish to use.

Can I just say, Bitch, whatever birth control method I wish to use is the right one?

In my opinion, that phone call and the subsequent appointment I have coming up aren't much better than the forced "counseling sessions" women have to sit through before being granted an abortion.

And these things are not okay. 

These things are not okay because who has the right to tell a woman what she can or can't do with her own body? Who has the right to tell a woman maybe one day she'll want kids, so for now she should pump her body full of hormones if she doesn't want to get pregnant or just not have sex? Who has the right to assume they know better for a woman than she knows for herself? Who is so self-righteous they think they know what's better for us than we do?

You think I'm going to say men, don't you? Well, I'm not.

What I'm going to say is going to make most of you think I'm extreme and insane, but my answer is everybody. Everybody and everything.

Men, other women, society. It's all built around demeaning and controlling women's lives, from the language to the expectations to the regulations to the stipulations.

And it's fucking disgusting.

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