11 Ways My OB-GYN Didn't Make Me Feel Alone
The OB-GYN who attended my birth came to me via luck. My gynecologist, who performed my first ultrasound at eight weeks, did not attend births, which was disappointing because she's great. Thankfully, she was happy to recommend two of her colleagues. I chose one, set up an appointment, and never for a second regretted my decision. There were so many ways my OB-GYN made me feel like I wasn't alone in any aspect of my pregnancy; a feeling that, for a soon-to-be first time mom, you just can't put a price on.
I was also lucky when it came to feeling supported throughout my pregnancy. I had great local friends, a family within driving distance, and a loving, supportive partner. But none of my friends had kids or had ever been pregnant, my partner could never be pregnant, and while some of my family members had been pregnant it had, you know, been a while. And because I got pregnant relatively unexpectedly (I mean, I know where babies come from but this pregnancy wasn't necessarily planned), I didn't really have time to mentally prepare for everything I was going to go through. So, sometimes and even though I was incredibly supported, I felt like I was going through the whole pregnancy thing by myself.
Thankfully, I had found an OB-GYN who had my back, and knowing without a shadow of a doubt that I had support from my provider made me feel like I wasn't an ever-expanding island entire unto myself.
She Answered All Of My Questions Without Making Me Feel Dumb
There's nothing more isolating — not only as a pregnant person/new parent but as a human being — than feeling like you're the only one who doesn't know something. So someone scoffing at an honest question, even if it's a silly one, is demoralizing and discourages you from asking more silly, honest questions and that just starts a slow but dire delve into feeling like you're completely on your own.
My OB was super chill about everything I asked and never made me feel like I should have known any better than I did.
She Walked Me Through All Possible Birth Options
After spending time with me at my many appointments, my OB-GYN came to realize that I was the kind of person who preferred thorough preparation as best as I could manage and she made sure to talk me through every possible type of delivery and their corresponding recovery, from unmedicated vaginal birth to an emergency C-section.
Incidentally, I wound up with an emergency C-section and the conversations we'd had ahead of time made me feel like I had an understanding ally in the operating room with me.
She Asked *Me* A Lot Of Questions
Mostly they were questions about my pregnancy and my physical experiences, but she also checked in on my mental health with the kind of insight most people who don't see pregnant people day in and day out wouldn't have. It was great, because there were times when I wouldn't have brought up a thought or feeling if she hadn't asked.
She Supported All My Decisions
I have known many women who have felt as though their pregnancy, birth plan, and earliest days of parenthood have very much been a "me against the world" kind of experience, and I'm so grateful that my care providers never made me feel that way. My OB-GYN really made me feel like we were a team in making the decisions that best balanced my preferences and medical needs.
She Didn't Make My Weight A Concern
This may seem like an odd thing to not feel "alone" about, but I have absolutely been fat-shamed by medical providers and feeling as though there's something wrong with you body by virtue of it existing is bad enough. When you add in the fact that some OB-GYNs shame patients for their weight because they say they're harming their baby (whether or not that's actually the case) makes you feel guilt on top of shame.
My OB was super-chill about weight and assured me that some women gain a lot of weight and it's totally normal and others won't gain much and as long as I was eating as healthy as I could she wasn't going to be in the business of focusing on my weight. Not feeling shunned will go a long way in not making you feel alone.
She Talked About Her Kids
Because I was the first of my friends to have a kid, I really didn't know what to expect or what it would be like to have a baby in New York City. So it was nice to know there were other mamas out there who were doing it. Like, of course I knew there were other moms in New York City making it happen, but it was cool to be able to talk to one of them.
She Gave Me Her Cell Phone Number
Not some random medical line to call if I went into labor at 3:00 a.m. (which I did), but her actual cell phone number to call in case of emergency or to ask her if what I had on my hands was, in fact, an emergency. That was really, really nice.
She Regularly Checked In On Me During My Very Long Labor
I did most of my laboring at home, and my OB-GYN would just shoot me a call to see how things were progressing and to coach me through stuff. When I did get to the hospital she would pop in every now and then to low-key, low-pressure check on my progress. I didn't feel ignored, which is great because under normal circumstances I sort of thrive on attention. In a situation where my body had never done this before and I was kind of freaking out, it was nice to have a friendly face there to reassure me.
She Took A Picture With My Baby As Soon As He Was Born
She asked first, of course, but it meant so much to me that she was invested enough in me and my pregnancy and delivery and baby to take a picture to remember the moment. It truly made me feel as though we had gone through this massive, life-changing thing together. I love to think, even know, she has an album somewhere with pictures of her holding all the babies she's delivered over the years and my little guy is in there.
She "Visited" Me Every Day I Was In The Hospital
Even though it was a holiday weekend, mind you! She could have passed the daily check-ups onto nursing staff or the on-call OB-GYN, but she would pop in daily (in civilian clothes, which was funny) just to see how I was.
She *Went There* Postpartum
My OB-GYN kept it real as hell at my six week checkup, from talking about postpartum depression (which I mercifully didn't experience, but she wanted me to know the signs and know I could always reach out to her) to the gritty details of postpartum sex while breastfeeding ("you're going to be like a post-menopausal woman down there for a while, so get lots of lube), I knew she was going to give me the accurate, no-BS information I needed. It was great to know I had an engaged, understanding ally even after my pregnancy was over.