September 3rd, 2020 will forever be a day that is etched in my brain. I had an appointment with a new OBGYN to discuss my PCOS & get some advice or guidance on what my next course of action should be. I did all the normal things. Checked into the facility, paid my copay & found my seat next to a young Caucasian woman. Me being the extrovert that I am started a conversation with her. We started discussing why we were there and learned we were both there for PCOS reasons and were seeing the same doctor. We ended our conversation politely when she was called back. I waited around and saw a few more women that came in after me being called back. After about 15 minutes past my appointment time I went to ask when I would go back and the front desk lady told me not much longer. I brushed it off to them just being busy and sat back down. Finally I was called back & went to strip down and change into the robe they offer you.
The nurse comes in and ask a few basic questions, nothing about previous history, if i’m possibly pregnant, no urine sample…. nothing. She tells be the doctor will be in shortly and to just wait in the room. I sit for what feels like forever and the doctor comes in. A Caucasian woman, which I have no problem with, she introduces herself and admires my shirt, compliments it and then does not look me directly in the eye the rest of the time she is in the room. I noticed she kept patting my knee while talking to me and it began to irritate me, but I chalked it up to being nervous about my appointment. Then the OBGYN does the horrible PAP Smear that every woman despises, still silent, no conversation & finishes. She pats my knee again & says, “okay, I can’t help you right now. There is a fertility clinic downstairs that can help women like you and I’ll see you back when you are about 10 to 12 weeks pregnant”. Then she was gone. I sat in disbelief, no questions of medical history no questions about why I’m wanting to get pregnant or if I’m married or anything.
I was walking out of my room when I noticed the same doctor walking into the previous girls room that I talked to in the lobby. I paused so the doctor couldn’t see me. That same doctor went into the room sat on the chair and started discussing her history and asking questions as the nurse closed the door to the room. I felt worthless, short changed, unimportant. The remainder of the week and the week after I was a mess to say the least. I cried to my mother in law. Talked with my aunt and my mom and tried my best to be in a better mood.
Five Things I Learned from the Experience
1. Indirect/Direct Racism is still Real… Even in the Healthcare System
I’m blessed to have grown up in a multi-cultural home and know that everyone should be treated equal no matter the color of their skin. All too often though we see doctor who will pass us off to other doctors and say they “specialize” in whatever is going on in us when really it is becaue they “specialize” in our skin color.
2. Taking a Break from Social Media is a Must!
I took some time away from Instagram and Facebook to let myself heal mentally and emotionally. After that appointment it felt like social media was mocking me, ever 3 pictures was someone announcing their pregnancy and saying it was a “covid baby” or “oops we couldn’t stay apart baby”. Viewing these photos hurt the more I looked at them & the internet making it seem like getting pregnant is so easy when 1 in 10 women suffer from PCOS and are trying their darnest to either have a baby or have their rainbow baby. So I took a break and focused on being present with my husband & spent much needed TLC with our friends.
3. Giving Myself Room to Cry is Okay
Women, especially Women of Color, are raised to not show sad emotions. It’s not lady like, it will make you look weak, you must be strong all the time. It took counseling and guidance to realize that it’s okay for me to cry. I mean full on give me my Oscar award crying. It was needed. The relief of bearing it all and letting it out is so liberating. I encourage women to feel all their emotions and never hold back as the only one that harms is our-self.
4. Fill My Space with what I Love helps
I needed love after that horrific experience. I told my husband I needed love. I’m a type 2 ennegram and I thrive on self care, but it’s hard sometimes for me to put myself above others. My husband locked me away in our house and told me to only worry about myself for the time being. I took bubble baths all weekend, watched Netflix, cuddled with my fur babies and had amazing food with my hubby and our friends. All while taking time for myself and putting me first.
5. Prayer will see you through
I sit in silence, taking deep breaths with my diffuser going in my room as I pray and I mean pray for anything. I sat there just talking with God about how I felt. That I needed healing. I wanted peace in knowing that my time would come, that our Godly seed will one day join us and be the greatest gift of all. It doesn’t have to be some long 2 hour prayer, but long enough for you to feel at peace, like you’ve said all that you need to say and feel a real connection.
Finding Hope Even in Darkness
This experience has reminded me that I must do my part in being active for my own health. I have since the incident made a report against the doctor only, not the facility as the facility was great. I plan to look for another OBGYN while also working with the wonderful Houston Fertility Institute in helping us with our process to our rainbow baby.
If you have even had an experience such as mine or dealt with racism indirect or direct, please share your story here. This is a place of healing and openness with no judgement. I pray that one day we can all live among each other in peace and harmony, but we must do our part to make that happen!