Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Fear of Doctors and HAES

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a doctor.  It will be like many doctor's appointments I've had over the past two years, since my husband and I decided to try to get pregnant.  The doctor will tell me that she would really like to see me lose some weight before I get pregnant.  "It doesn't have to be a lot," she'll say.  "You don't have to get skinny!"  She will be the third doctor I've seen in my attempt to get pregnant.

I have polycystic ovary syndrome, and so I'm at elevated risk for gestational diabetes.  Ok.  I get that.  Reducing my weight will get me ovulating "naturally."  Great.  That would be awesome.  Right now I get one period a year.  So yeah, getting regular would be amazing for my overall health.

I will tell her that I have been trying to lose weight for the past two years.  I am down 5% from my starting weight, and the doctors want me to lose 10%.  She will ask if I have done Weight Watchers (I haven't) or if I got a gym membership (I haven't) or if I've seen the nutritionist (I haven't).

Then I'll tell her what I have done.  Incorporated walking and light exercise into my daily routine.  Added a green vegetable to every dinner.  Reduced portion sizes.  Starting eating breakfast.  Cut down on between-meal snacking.  Worked to incorporate mindful eating and movement into my life.  But no, I don't count calories.

She will not think that this is enough.  Or she will not believe me.  I will ask for a prescription that will help me lose weight, or will help get my cycles back on track (this is a pretty common thing prescribed to women with PCOS).  She will tell me she'd rather I keep trying, and do it "naturally," or that she thinks it would be healthier for me to wait to get pregnant.  "You're still young!" she'll say.  Again.

Tomorrow, I'm going to have another doctor tell me I'm too fat to have a baby.

That's not how they phrase it, of course.   But they never believe me when I say what I have been doing to lose weight.  Or they won't believe that maybe this is a healthy weight for me.  Or they'll ignore the fact that women with PCOS often have this kind of struggle with weight that ends up needing medication.  They will ignore me when I say that I had rare, irregular periods even when I was thin.  At the end of the day, I have been unable to get pregnant for the past two years, and no doctor I've met has done anything--ANYTHING--other than tell me to lose weight.

This will crush me.  I will call my husband, and I will hold back tears.  I will feel incredibly guilty, like there is something wrong with my body, and my willpower.  The authority we inevitably invest in doctors will undermine my belief in HAES, and my faith in myself and my knowledge of my own body.  My husband will tell me that he still loves me, and we can find another doctor.

Another doctor.

And then we'll start all over again.