Last week, I read a horrible story about an OB-GYN being sued for molesting his patients. In passing, I mentioned this to my friend. "And this is why I would never see a male doctor..." I concluded, assuming she felt the same. She didn't.
"My sons were delivered by a male doctor," she told me. She had liked this doctor enough to go to him twice and found his manner soothing before and after delivery. I am happy for her that she found what she liked. But I would never, in a million years, make that same decision.
Does this sound sexist? Fine. In this one instance, I am happy to be so.
Don't get me wrong. I love men. I love my husband and son and father and grandfathers. I have had great men in my life who have been kind and supportive and loving toward me. But when it comes to my physical and mental health, there are about 10,000 things men simply can't get about female bodies.
I have seen male doctors for a host of things, from a burst ovarian cyst to a concern in my early pregnancy. In each case, they were kind and thorough and reassuring. But it was not my preference. And in a non-emergency situation, I would (and will) choose a female doctor any time. This is especially true when it comes to any kind of medicine involving my reproductive parts. Truthfully, I saw midwives with all three of my children, and the level of care I received was far superior to the male doctor who kept busting in during my second labor thanks to strict hospital rules about midwife-assisted births. When he was there, I was uncomfortable and tense. When he left, I was able to have my baby. And yes, I know he was just one man. And I know there are lovely male OB-GYNs (not Cliff Huxtable, though). But there are certain things only a woman can get.
Who else would understand how the cold speculum feels. Or how my breasts feel like time bombs thanks to a history of breast cancer in my family? Who else could possibly get pregnancy or the way contractions feel like my body is being torn apart? It might be controversial to say, but it's the truth. And I hope my daughters will only see women as well.
When I was younger, I was even more adamant about this. There was no way I would feel comfortable discussing the ins and outs of my burgeoning sex life with a man. There is just a comfort that women bring to the table that no man, no matter how capable and experienced, could help me with.
Obviously there are exceptions and female doctors that are cold with no bedside manner. I saw a woman OB-GYN before I switched to a midwife with my first and she was not my favorite person in the world. Just because you share the same body parts doesn't always mean you will get along. But you are a lot more likely to find someone with empathy when they have a good idea what you are going through.
I am sure there are capable men who can deliver babies with empathy and care. But I will never know. Because I would never choose to see them. Female doctors matter. And I will give them all my business.
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