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The search for an ideal gynaecologist is to create and have a safe space for women where they can freely articulate thoughts and concerns about their bodies.
My thoughts today have been triggered by my latest visit to a gynaecologist, and are also a summation of my umpteen consultations with other gynaecs over the years.
By no means do I intend to paint all the OBGYNs with the same brush, but somehow, in my experience, most of my sessions have turned out to be lessons rooted in Indian culture and morality, with very little actual conversations about my health.
So, in case, you are on a lookout, be sure to spot these in your ideal gynaec –
The last thing I want my doc to do is slut-shame me for having an active sexual life, but that is easier said than done.
Exploring sexuality is very often tied to my marital status, and that’s something I am deeply uncomfortable with. When I visit a doctor, I need some carefully researched information on my options as an adult, and not a moral lecture on how physical intimacy is to be reserved for marriage.
Many young girls, starved of sex-ed and out of embarrassment, often make uninformed decisions because it’s never easy confiding in parents or doctors. What we as girls and women want is an open conversation about the physical and emotional aspects associated with intercourse, and how consent and age-related maturity are a pivotal part of this entire experience.
I don’t know if this is limited to just India, but I have heard many gynaecs say that my body issues will get sorted after marriage. Like will they serve some magical potion during the ceremony that will cure it all?
It still bewilders me how the skewed assumption of me marrying and having kids will somehow make me fitter. Well, I am not aware if there is any science associated with having a child sorting your hormonal issues, but even if there is, I want the doctor to ask me about my future plans. As a woman, I am not obliged to enter the institution of marriage or have a child within or out of wedlock. These are deeply personal choices and the medicines I need should have nothing to do with the arrival of a partner or a child.
While there is a host of data out there that classifies a woman’s fertile period to be within early 20s and 30s, there is no reason I should be pushed to have a child till I am biologically and psychologically ready.
The birth of a child comes with a truckload of responsibility that not only includes physical readiness but also emotional and financial capability. While my body may be mature enough to produce a child, I may not be in a mental space to take on motherhood, or maybe my partner and I are not on the same page, or maybe am in the nascent stages of my career…the list could go on and on. There could be gazillion reasons for me to not plan a baby. I expect my doc to be empathetic and help chart out the available treatment options, instead of questioning my lifestyle.
TRAIT #4 – Informs you about regular check-ups to detect early signs of cancer/illness
For all the talk about routine breast exams and vaginal screenings in media, I rarely come across gynaecs who talk about regularly checking the body for any alarming signs. Much to my surprise, all the information I have today on breast or cervical cancer is from the internet and not because of a sit-down with my doc. I firmly believe that from very early on, we need to educate girls about reproductive health and teach them to reach out to their gynaecs about unusual symptoms within the body whether it’s changes in the breast, vaginal discharge or any other query you may have about getting to know your body.
I have been perennially in search of gynaec I can make friends with. I want a doc-friend who can shed light on how PMS affects us emotionally, if having chocolate relieves cramps, or where do they stand on companies offering period leaves. On a lighter note, it would be great to meet a woke gynaec over a cup of coffee to understand how deeply the fluctuations in our hormones affect our mood or state of mind. While this last trait may not be a necessity, it definitely will be a cherry on the cake, in case we find it in one.
While some of you may dub this as a tirade against gynaecologists, I would like to reiterate that the intent here is to not call out gynaecs but work together to create a safe space for women where they can freely articulate thoughts and concerns about their bodies. From puberty to menopause, there are several occasions in a woman’s life where she needs medical guidance about decisions that could, perhaps, be life-altering. In such scenarios, friendly advice from her gynaec could possibly shape the rest of her life.
As always, please feel free to tell me your thoughts in the comments below. Would love to know how the date was with your gynaecologist!
First published here.
Image source: Ijubaphoto from Getty Images Signature Free for Canva Pro
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A perennial misfit, my opinions have always been at odds with the mainstream society. So with all my WHYs & HOWs and a never-ending curiosity about the life choices we make, I started writing to read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
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