I showed up to my recent gynecologist appointment actually looking forward to it. My husband and I were trying to have a baby and I thought there could be a slight chance I was pregnant, despite the negative home pregnancy tests. Sure, the tests are something like 99% percent accurate but I can manifest every pregnancy symptom when I try.
I recently moved from New York City to the South, so this was my first visit to this office and my first visit to the gyno since resuming a normal period cycle. Earlier this year, I had a miscarriage that required surgery and about five months to get back to normal. I had gone through physical hell, but I was excited about finally feeling great again and was looking forward to talking to the nurse practitioner.
When the NP came into the office, she planted herself on the seat next to me and cozied up. She had great energy, she was warm, and she wasn't in a rush. I was loving her vibe and knew we were meant to be.
After a brief exam, I told her I had gotten my period but would still love a blood test to make sure I wasn't pregnant. I said that I couldn't be sure, but my period might have been lighter than normal and I had pregnancy symptoms. It was wishful thinking, but I was excited.
She responded with, "We need to figure out what's going on with your body."
Huh? That's not what I expected.
Then she said, "If you guys are really serious about getting pregnant, we should talk fertility treatments."
My blood started boiling. I glanced at my husband. We were both confused.
"I just got pregnant this year, though," I told her. "I don't have fertility issues."
"Well, because of your age, it might be harder for you to get pregnant."
Aha! I should have known by the office full of 20-year-olds that my age would be brought up. I'm 35.
There's this great little French study from the 1600s that says women from 35 to 39 years old have a significantly reduced chance of getting pregnant. Dr. Drew perpetuates pregnancy hysterics by mentioning the study as fact on his podcast. Adding fuel to the fire, it seems every other day a celeb, like Maria Menounos, is talking about freezing her eggs. But we've come a long way since the 1600s, don't you think? In New York City, I was used hearing about women planning their pregnancies into their forties; there, getting pregnant in your twenties is considered kind of weird.
The nurse went on about every single fertility treatment under the sun all the while my husband and I were exchanging looks.
I cut in, "We're not even worried. Fertility treatments are not something that we feel we need or want. We've only just started trying because I was just pregnant."
She continued, "Well then, let's do a few blood tests to see if we can figure out why you aren't getting pregnant now."
She ordered tests galore to check my hormones, my blood sugar, and a few others that would determine what my "problem" was for not getting pregnant a MONTH AND A HALF into trying again.
I went into her office for a routine checkup and a blood test and it turned into a fertility intervention. If I thought I might be pregnant, that was a sign I that wasn't even worried about getting pregnant. I was happy, excited even, and she didn't see any of that. How insensitive could she be to plow through her fertility monologue given my circumstances? Was this a money making scheme? In the same way some dentist offices push their whitening procedure or fancy toothbrushes? Or was this based on a 300-year-old study of women who didn't even have proper nutrition or electricity.
How did this happen?
Obviously, she chooses to ignore more recent studies showing there's only a five-percent difference in decline of fertility from women 27 to 34 years old. But why? I believe stereotypes of women's roles, especially here in the South, perpetuate the ignorance. And it pushes young women to get pregnant before they are ready and makes women in their thirties live in a constant state of panic.
For the record, I did take the blood tests, which were all normal — something I already suspected. And no, I wasn't pregnant (obviously) but I am excited about it happening soon. But I'm choosing a path to pregnancy that doesn't include worry or stress. And the next time I come across a doctor or nurse like this one, I'll run like hell.