A long time ago, before there were hospitals, doctors had their own offices or came to patients’ homes. At some point these doctors began gathering together every so often to share knowledge about their practices, which eventually led to the creation of hospitals. It makes sense—put all the doctors under one roof so they can collaborate with each other and learn from others. Have the patients come to them, to one centralized place to be treated. But how would this type of facility make money (it’s always about money after all)? The answer: pregnant women. All they had to do (and they did it quite successfully) was convince women that having their babies anywhere besides a hospital was extremely dangerous and irresponsible. Hospitals were touted as safe, sanitary, technologically advanced facilities with highly skilled professionals and women began to give way to the medicalization of birth. The doctors had a plan that needed to be funded and we became their profit. And along the way we handed over to them the most important job we’ve ever had—giving birth. (Click here for the full synopsis)
Where’s My Midwife? recently tabled at a local event where we were approached by a male doctor (a radiologist) who had some questions about midwives. As I explained that we were an advocacy group made up of consumers he let out a little chuckle. I quickly replaced the word ‘consumers’ with ‘mommies’ to try to get my point across. It seemed to us that he thought it was humorous that we would consider ourselves consumers!
I’ve had many doctors treat me like a child, like they know more about me in one hour than I’ve learned in a lifetime. The bottom line is that we, as consumers, pay their salaries. We are their customers and deserve the best customer service! Now more than ever, we all need to remember that our doctors are not superior and they do not deserve to act superior just because they have a medical degree. They are people just like us, but it seems some of them need to be reminded of that.
Women especially need to stand up for themselves. In this often male-dominated industry we have been taken advantage of for too long. Always trust your body and your instincts. Be confident in the job of birthing babies. The job that was always ours until someone saw it as a paycheck. Do not let yourself be used!
No matter why you are visiting a doctor, remember that you own your body; you are in control. Ask them to discuss treatment with you, not order it. Ask them to back off if the exam hurts. Don’t settle with passive answers to your questions, keep asking until it makes sense to you. Never be afraid to switch to another practice, you deserve to be comfortable. Remember, this is your body and no one knows it better, and never will.