Pregnancy/Parenting Notes

Empowered to Advocate for Myself

March 5, 2024
It's been a long journey but it's taught me to advocate for myself.

A still from our maternity photoshoot.

I feel empowered to advocate for myself today.  The journey to conception has variegated shades. For many it’s as easy (or as inconvenient) as an accident. For others it’s about cycle tracking, second guessing, fretting and despairing.  The other day in Vedanta class we were talking about how if you live consciously, every event in life, whether good or bad can help in inner growth.  My conception journey, and subsequent pregnancy, have actually been a time of immense growth for me.

I’ve come across many women whose health issues have led to a deeper and more meaningful connection to themselves.  In this conversation with filmmaker Roopal Kewalaya, we spoke about how she experienced a closer connection to herself because of her experience with endometriosis and how she now feels that illness is your friend, not an enemy.  It’s a wonderful, heartening conversation that all women should watch.

✅ Don’t give in to paranoia.

When I first started on my journey to conception I met a lot of doctors who had a spiel about maternal age, IVF and all the things that could go wrong.  I speak about it in my video about my first trimester that you can watch here.

I also met an acupuncturist told me that even a ‘normal’ woman ovulates only once every two months, which is 6 times a year.  When I cross questioned her she told me this is what all the books say and if I worked with her she could have me ovulating every month.  This was factually incorrect.  Also, there was nothing wrong with my ovulation cycles.

I also met a fitness professional told me that I probably had diastasis recti because ‘all women do’.  According to my research it wasn’t that clear cut.  So I asked my doctor to check and she said it’s not something that I have to worry about – those bumps look very different from mine.

These experiences can make any woman paranoid.  But they also emphasise the importance of a pause – I remember I needed all my energy to confidently advocate for myself.

✅ Say no to pushy doctors.

There are all kinds of bullies in the medical fraternity.

A radiologist I got to know well once said about a famous doctor that “…she has a terrible bedside manner but her rates of conception are very high”.  The doctor in question might be a great doctor but she has no right to be rude and aggressive with patients.  I’ve read review after review about her online where women talk about leaving her office in tears.  I remember I stood up and literally stormed out of this doctor’s office as she was mid-sentence.

A disrespectful doctor will continue to bully you (just like any other bully).  You might be coerced to do what they feel is right for you.  But I’ve learned that if a doctor doesn’t inspire a 100% faith and trust in you, they are usually not right for you – in fact they are terrible for your mental health, which feeds into your physical health.  Standing up to bullies is one way you can advocate for yourself.

✅ Research exhaustively.

The more doctors I consulted the more IVF sales pitches I got.  Many of my questions were dismissed and my fears weren’t addressed.  I was not only unhappy, but also dissatisfied.

Eventually I decided to do my own research.  I refused to blindly trust the information that was coming my way.  Instead I looked for studies and data.  I read a lot of books and blogs.  I channelled my anxious energy into research on infertility and women’s health.

Health issues can make many women feel vulnerable.  When we operate from a space of vulnerability instead of peace we’re rarely thinking rationally.  This reflects in the decisions we make.  Instead of looking at illness as some kind of punishment, I love Roopal’s take on it – that illness is your body trying to communicate with you.

In my case the journey has taught me to unequivocally, unapologetically and powerfully advocate for myself.

 

 

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