I want to write about something that has been on my mind lately. I actually had a conversation with my sister about this that provoked more thought on the topic. And that is women advocating for themselves, particularly within the healthcare system.
I think there is a misconception that you should just know a lot of things about your body and reproductive system. Either that you should know or that everyone else knows and you’re just in the dark. Here’s what I mean. About a year and a half ago, I had my yearly checkup and I told my doctor that I wanted to change the birth control that I was using. She then went on to tell me about the depo-provera shot and how I would only have to get it every three months and just wouldn’t that be wonderful?! Of course, this did sound wonderful to me – it would be great to be able to be on a birth control that I only had to think about once every three months. When my doctor told me about this, I had never heard of it – but I assumed that everyone knew about it and I was just stupid. So, I didn’t want to ask questions and seem like I didn’t know what she was talking about and I agreed to it.
There was no discussion of possible side effects. There was no discussion about impact on my hormones. There was no discussion on how it could affect my ability to get pregnant should I want to in the future. Little did I know the havoc that birth control would wreak on my body. My last depo shot was in February of 2020 and my period didn’t come back until November of 2020.
A lot of other things happened for me in 2020. I left an abusive marriage - I stood up for myself. I learned a lot about advocating for myself in leaving that marriage. And I’ve learned a lot about advocating for myself through therapy. Therapy has helped me learn so much about who I am and what I need. And that it’s OK to ask for what I need.
If there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article, it’s that no one expects you to know everything. Doctors, therapists, care givers – they are all there to provide you with answers. If ever you feel like you are not being heard or properly cared for, it’s time for a new practitioner. Please don’t ever be afraid to ask questions. Please don’t ever be afraid to ask for what you want.
Don’t settle for a substandard level of care for yourself. You deserve the best.