The first time I went to the gynecologist to broach the subject of birth control I was actually kind of surprised that they weren’t super supportive of what I wanted.
I went in well researched (I even knew what fertility awareness was at that time, though I was not planning on using it by itself yet – Not ready!), but was not well researched in how the doctors and nurse practitioners would treat me at all.
That first time, I wanted to get a copper IUD. Now, they are pretty popular (though the hormonal IUD is still preferable to most docs), but at the time the gynecologist was absolutely aghast at the fact that I would ask for one.
First, they tried to talk me into taking the pill (of course), then they tried to talk me into the hormonal IUD (even though the whole point was that I didn’t want to take hormones, then they finally were thinking about how the diaphragm would suit me. The last one particularly surprises me because most docs do not like the diaphragm and don’t know how to fit them, so I give them massive props for having that in their repertoire.
Finally, I got what I came for, but not after much insisting and multiple visits. I have doubts whether most people would have actually gotten what they came for (I come in the variety of stubborn and that’s about it).
Fast forward a couple of years and I was done with the IUD. Too many side effects to deal with anymore. And I was freaked about getting pregnant with the IUD because I like having control and I did not feel in control with it at all.
I decided to get the IUD out and get serious about fertility awareness (I’m so glad I did!), and yet still didn’t think about the problems that I would have. I mean, just book the appointment and do what I want, right?
Not without a fight, it turned out.
The doctor decided to interrogate me about my new birth control method (and this was actually before she even knew that I was still planning on using birth control and not trying to get pregnant). When I told her my plans to use fertility awareness, it went something like:
Her: “The rhythm method?”
Me: “No, fertility awareness, two totally different things.”
Her: “How ok are you with getting pregnant right now?”
Me: “I do not plan on getting pregnant right now.”
Her: “Are you sure you want to get the IUD out.”
Me: “Yes, it has been causing a lot of frustration.”
Her: *looks at me like I’m the biggest idiot in the world*
Needless to say, I learned a lot about interacting with doctors and now never expect it to be easy.
But what about you? What are you supposed to do when the doctor won’t respect your birth control choices? When they act like side-effects are in your head? When they think the solution to every one of your reproductive maladies is a prescription for the pill?
Here’s what I would say: Eff ‘em. Find another doctor if you can, make sure they are aligned with your values. If you can’t find another doctor and have to deal with this one demand the birth control method that you want, bring in research, your partner (may be more effective if your partner and doctor are both men), whatever you need. If they think that the pill is the only way to fix a hormonal problem, you need to find a good source of info for how to go about helping your hormones out (I can help there, though there are others that would blow me out of the water, too).
You have every single right to do what you believe is best with your body. It’s wonderful if you can have a supportive doctor to go over these things with, but if they are not being supportive and are ignoring concerns you have it is absolutely NOT in your best interest to abide by their “rules.”
I want to hear from you now, what’s been your worst experiences at the gynecologist, and can you add to the collective wisdom on how you think it can best be avoided if you have any ideas? Let me know in the comments.