When I tell a GP that we’re trying, unsuccessfully, to start a family, they all respond in the same way. Glancing at my zaftig figure, they say, ‘You probably have PCOS’ and cheerfully offer, ‘I can put you on birth control’.
What part of ‘start a family’ do they not understand!?!
Naturally I’ve refused both their assumptions and their pills and continued trying and testing and menstruating. That is, until four months ago when my monthly cycle abruptly quit. ‘I’m too young for menopause’ I whinged to Rhys and, remembering some bouts of early morning nausea, continued to hopefully pee in a cup and dip pregnancy tests.
After four months of amenorrhoea, I began to look for causes other than pregnancy. My GP offered no explanations or ideas. His only idea was to take blood samples for horomone tests, all of which came back perfectly normal.
The only wild card I could possibly think of was the daily pill I’d been prescribed several years ago for water retention. So I typed ‘spironolactone’ and ‘amenorrhoea’ into my search engine and instantly, there it was, in black and white, with no waffling or subterfuge:
Most women taking moderate doses of spironolactone develop amenorrhoea, and normal menstruation usually returns within two months of discontinuation. Spironolactone produces an irregular, anovulatory pattern of menstrual cycles.
But my GP never mentioned that. But he knew. Oh yes! He knew. When I confronted him about his choice of prescription, he broke eye contact and abruptly changed the subject.
Obviously, in his opinion, fat women don’t deserve to have babies. He has told me, to my face, that their babies will be unhealthy and the mothers too lethargic to be good mothers.
So he made the choice to put me on a ‘birth control’ of sorts without my knowledge nor my consent. Years of my waning fertility have been sacrificed to his prejudice. My monthly cycle still has not returned.
So much for a woman’s control over her own body. If I had chosen to go on birth control, that would be quite another story. But my choice was taken away. My GP stole my last, few waning years of fertility and put me on ‘a pill’ against my will, without my knowledge and against my express spoken desire to have children. He robbed Rhys and me of the family we may now never have.
Did he consider that time is running out on my biological clock or was he more than happy to run that clock down? Did he give a moment’s thought to the expense of pregnancy tests? Was his hard old heart touched by the thought of the pain, the tears, the longing and the confusion of infertility?
Or did it buoy his ego to to prevent new life from coming into this world? Did he get his yucks from preventing another woman from having a baby? Did he privately guffaw over the couple trying, fruitlessly, to conceive? Did he feed on our pain? Did he enjoy playing God?
For all of that, I cannot forgive him.
Photo by Charles Williams