Please go easy on me. I know you work with women like me all the time. Women who are desperate to concieve and carry children to enter this world (alive). But I think it’s fair for me to assume that you couldn’t possibly know how it to feels to be women like us, unless you are one of us. In that case, I think it’s safe to say you wouldn’t need this letter.
So when I put all of my trust in you, lay my heart open and allow tears to fall down my face in your office, how you respond matters. Please take a moment to look into my eyes, try to provide some sort of sympathetic gesture, perhaps a tissue, an encouraging story or maybe even a personal one. This helps women like me build more trust in you after so much defeat. In my opinion, this is not crossing professional boundaries, it’s simply being a kind human being. That should be our number one goal in life anyways. Kindness. It doesn’t concern me that you have a big title but more so a big heart. Your heart matters. It matters to me.
If I seem on edge, it’s because I am. It’s because I have had tons and tons of appointments discussing my reproductive organs and journey to motherhood. I’ve had more pelvic exams than I can begin to count. I’ve had more tests, pokes and procedures than I ever knew existed. I’m scared beyond belief of ultrasounds, as the odds are usually not in my favor. I’m tired of that cold metal specula contraption that helps you do whatever you’re doing up there. It’s still humiliating to watch you shine a flash light in my most personal body parts.
I’ve mastered coping these numerous dreaded appointments but sometimes I still cry. Sometimes you don’t see the tear fall down my face as I lie there staring at the ceiling, exposed and vulnerable. But my husband sees it and his heart breaks for me every single time. He wishes to protect me. He hates that my body is being investiagted in such an uncomftorable way, physically and emotionally. To you, it may be just another pelvic exam. To me, it’s my entire life, my humility and a very personal and sacred space. A space that’s supposed to be just for us on this journey. So please go easy on us.
When the news isn’t good, it’s a lot to bear. When you tell me I need another test or procedure which will deplete my savings account (again) it’s very stressful. Another day off of work, another pay check down the drain, another doubt to carry that maybe there’s more wrong that we need to find. Another desperate attempt to have a family. It’s a whole lot to bear. So how you say it matters. The words you choose matter. The tone in your voice matters. The sincerity in your eyes matters. It all matters.
I have to assume that all professionals that enter the field of medicine are there to help others because they care about people. But years of anything can make you numb. Don’t become numb, please doc. Become more sympathetic, become more understanding, become more human to each patient that enters your exam room. Because I can assure you that we wish we didn’t need you, but we do. We come to you for help because we are physically burdened, so please do your best do not make us feel as though we are burdening you when we have extra questions than your watch wants us to have. Trust me, your patients are more burdened than you to be in that exam room.
And it’s okay to apologize. It’s okay to admit you’ve made a mistake or missed something that could have made things different. Not all of us seek to sue you. In fact, the more honest you are with me about these things, the more that I trust you, the more I care about you and the more forgiving I am towards you. We all make mistakes. Degrees and titles do not spare anyone of this. It’s part of being human. You are human. You will make mistakes. But it’s important to apologize for them, to own up to them. That’s not part of being a doctor, that’s part of being a kind person. Kindness matters.
I’m thankful for you. I bet you didn’t know that I pray for you often. I pray your wisdom and experience guide us to having a family. I pray that when you’ve had to bring more frustrating news that you do not become discouraged but more motivated. I pray you are patient with us, undertsanding and kind. Kindness never gets old.
So just remember that you are in a rare and beautiful position to make difficult days a little bit better, a little easier to bear. Before you enter the exam room filled with your own stress and burdens, take a second to exhale. Remember, we need you. We need you to care, to take your time, to smile, to remember our son and all we have endured so far. Remember that before we even walked into that exam room, we sat in a waiting room filled with big bellies and newly filled strollers.
So although it’s quite complicated for us, it’s really quite simple for you…
Just be kind and I promise the rest will come more easily…for all of us.