The vagina. It's like a sensitive flower. It will open up if you sing lovely songs to it and show it a little sunshiny happiness, but if you get all cold and dreary, it will basically shun you. This goes for sex of course (flowers like vaginas love to be wet), but also for birth and during your whole pregnancy. When we ladies are pregnant, our vaginas should be praised -- it's like the doorway to life, the passage to the secrets of continuing the human race. Everyone should love vaginas. Especially your OB/GYN.
When Ina May Gaskin said that doctors should tell their pregnant patients that they have the best vagina they ever saw in Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives, she was right. Think about what would happen if your doctor told you that. You would laugh. Your guard would be down. You'd relax. This is exactly the type of doctor/patient relationship we should have.
The whole doctor exam situation can be quite nerve-wracking. Even before you get to the office.
First we worry about the state of our vagina. Even when pregnant. Is it too hairy? Maybe shaving will help. But pregnancy belly can get in the way of maintenance. How does she smell? "She" meaning vagina. Doctor day should most definitely be a shower day. So much to worry about!
Then you (and your vagina) get to the exam room and what happens? It's cold in there! Or maybe it's too hot and then even your vagina is sweating! And you have to strip naked, essentially presenting your vagina to the doctor while you put your feet in stirrups and wait for some cold fingers to poke around. If your doctor isn't friendly -- doesn't do the whole, Hello! And hello beautiful vagina! Great to see you both today! -- then your vagina isn't going to be welcoming. She's going to clam up. Clam and vagina do not belong in the same sentence together. This is a sign. Your vagina needs to love your doctor. She, your vagina, should be calm and welcoming to your doctor. And your doctor should love your vagina. And make your vagina calm and feel loved. This relationship is imperative for you to have the best birth possible.
You want a doctor who loves their job -- and if they are an OB/GYN, loving vaginas and women and the birth process should part of their job. It's kind of just like when you go to your favorite restaurant and the server is rude -- very rude. It ruins the whole meal. Your doctor is providing a service. That service should be with a smile. Being able to communicate well with your doc and feeling like you can talk to him or her about whatever concerns, issues, and hopes you have about your birth and pregnancy is key. There should be kindness and laughter -- having a baby is one of the most incredible things that will happen in your life, and your doctor should be on board with the happy. Because when it's time to birth the baby, you want to be relaxed and joyful, and you want your vagina to be as well. Laugh that baby out. Best natural release of oxytocin ever. I'm even going to go as far as to say that happy and relaxed mamas-to-be and happy and relaxed OB/GYNs would probably mean a decrease in the use of Pitocin. Because our bodies will be producing our own natural oxytocin.
If your doctor doesn't show care, concern, and love for you and your lady parts, it's time to find a new doctor.
Have you changed doctors because you didn't like how he/she was treating you? Do you think the doctor/patient relationship is important particularly when it comes to birth?
Image via dcJohn/Flickr