Begin conversation I had with a doctor this week:
Dr: Is this your first child?
Me: No, he’s my second.
Dr: Wow, you look like you’ve barely broken 20 years old, good for you momma. So you’re a very young momma then?!
Me: *laughs* I’m 27 and we have a third one on the way!
Dr: Oh wow! How many do you plan on having, momma?
Me: All of them
Dr: *starts and double-takes, laughs* Ahh, funny. Really though, how many…?
Me: All of them.
Dr: *chuckles again, shakes head* I mean, do you have a goal?
Me: Every child that we are given, I will have.
Dr: OH. So…10, 15, even 20 kids… you’ll have them?
Me: Well, doctor, I’m 27 years old, do the math. Even if I have one baby at every possible fertile moment until menopause, it’s hardly biologically, physically possible for me to have even 12 kids… unless I have multiple, multiples.
Dr: How do you figure that?
Me: Well, I can’t get pregnant for 10 months while I’m already pregnant… I also breastfeed, so that adds at least another year of infertility…
Dr: Oh, WOW! So you’ve thought this out very carefully! Okay let’s see… so if you had a kid every 15 months… *he does the math, incorrectly, and telling me that I’m 26, even though I’d already told him twice that I am 27* … well it’s possible that you might have 12 kids, at least.
Me: Yes, it IS possible. And if I have 12 kids, I have 12 kids.
Dr: Oh… so you’re very religious then…?
Me: It’s not so much religion. It’s more from a scientific, metaphysical perspective that I cannot, as a woman, agree that chemical contraceptives are in any way healthy for me or any human life that may be formed in my uterus.
Dr: Oh… So you’re an earthy child then!
Me: …Earthy child?
Dr: Did you go to college?
Dr: What did you study?
Me: French language and culture, and fine arts.
Dr: Ah ha! Yes, you’re an earthy child indeed. What does your husband do?
Me: He’s an executive logistics coordinator at […]
Dr: So there’s you’re counterpart- you’re perfect for each other!
*end inappropriately motivated conversation*
And that is how, within minutes, this doctor was able to presume his prejudices about me, a “young”, white, “momma” (as he continually called me).
Never mind the fact that I was not there for MYSELF. I was at the Ear Nose and Throat Specialist for my youngest boy’s recent ear infection.
So this ENT had the audacity to ask me questions that did not pertain in any way whatsoever to the well-being of my little boy, and to draw assumptions on my views about health based off of what I looked like, what my religion is, and whether or not I had an education.
At any moment, if I had said to the doctor, “Oh… so you like to go to clubs and enthusiastically dance on any women standing alone?” He might’ve been offended.
And then, if I had justified my question in the way he did, I would have said, “oh, well you are wearing a dark purple and black striped, open neck, shirt with your chest hair hanging out and a shiny flat gold chain… I mean your hair is greased back too.”
I also could have pointed out his ethnicity and made assumptions based on that as well.
But I didn’t. Those thoughts didn’t even cross my mind until I left the medical center and realized I had just been subjected to prejudice and quite possibly blatant bigotry by a doctor.
Why did this doctor, who had no business asking me about my family planning methods, feel like he was entitled to do just that? Was it because he owns the title “DOCTOR” that makes him some all-knowing, all powerful force of the high inquisitor?
What was the point of him even asking how many children I plan on having? Mere conversation? I doubt that. I don’t off-handedly ask my acquaintances how many children they plan to have. It’s a very personal matter that is decided between a married couple and hopefully, God.
And then to jump to the conclusion that I MUST only be religious in order to believe that I would actually elect to have “ALL the children given to me” Is flat-out absurd and bigoted.
And because I didn’t give him an absolute answer on my religious beliefs, he calls me earthy, and asks about my education credentials. Hmm.
If he REALLY wanted to know the motive behind why I believe the way I do, why didn’t this doctor ask me to explain why I think contraceptives are unhealthy for women?
WHY DIDN’T HE?
He skirted right over that topic and tried to scare me into thinking I shall be subject to the “pains” of carrying 20 pregnancies.
You don’t agree that he tried to scare me?
If he was any sort of thinking, logical individual, he couldn’t have used that tactic because he would have known for a likely fact that it couldn’t be true. I had told him my age, twice.
But no, this DOCTOR had clearly never thought about it. Apparently, scaring women in this way works. And sadly, many women don’t know how to answer it, or else, that kind of question wouldn’t have been brought up to me.
So, Mr. DOCTOR, again, did not ask me what my reasons were for not taking contraceptives. After he tried to scare me and I debunked his attempt, he was not given a satisfying answer that I must be a religious, ignorant zealot who only does what THE POPE says because “that’s just what the Church’s stance is”. He then proceeded to wonder if I was educated.
We already know, based off of this conversation, that education and credentials bear no significant weight if you’re already a bigot; that education, science and logic can be thrown aside if you’re a prejudiced chauvinist. And when Mr. Doctor was not satisfied in knowing that I was uneducated, he affirmed that I must be an “Earthy child”.
Earthy? Meaning: au naturel? Like I’m a flower child? A hippie? Is that how he was able to discredit me in his mind?
Isn’t that kind of a dated thought? We now know more and more that natural medicines, organic, unprocessed foods and homeopathic remedies are better for us than many of the marketed chemicals today which are associated with cancer. So I am failing to see how being an “earthy child” might’ve satisfied him, but apparently it did because he asked me no further questions on the subject.
What is disturbing is that clearly, this doctor looks at children as objects to acquire: he looks at life as a dispensable, un-valuable commodity to have or dispose of at convenience.
Which only means, that if I want to have my child seen by someone who will take all means necessary to cure and heal him, because he believes that each and every human life on this earth is deserving of dignity and equal value, I DO NOT want to continue seeing this doctor.
Parents and prospective “mommas”, it is important that you ask your doctors what the value of a human life is to them. The answer should be a simple one: All life is infinitely valuable.
If the doctor can’t answer you directly, or has to give long drawn out explanations, I’d seek another doctor because you can probably safely assume that the doctor won’t fight for your life, or that of anyone you love.
A doctor is supposed to value human life. A doctor is supposed to want to save human life, preserve human life, and encourage a human’s well-being. A doctor is supposed to be able to put prejudice aside -if he/she has any- in order to focus on the care for the patient. But apparently, not all of them do. Beware, do your research, and most importantly, ASK QUESTIONS.
I’ll end asking the prayerful to pray for all doctors (because I MUST be very religious) and for their increased awareness of the intrinsic value of all human life.