Open Letter to Gynecologists About the Infertility Experience

Female gynecologist holding her patient's hand.

Dear Gynecologists,

Babies, babies, babies! Baby posters on the walls, baby figurines and baby pamphlet after baby pamphlet fill your offices. Perhaps you’ve got a whole wall of babies—their toes, their fingers, and even their bums! And then there’s my personal favorite, pictures of babies on the ceiling to look at while I’m getting a PAP smear!

I get it. You are baby people. Babies are your business. You love babies. You love bringing babies into this world. That’s great! I applaud you for loving your job so much.

I love babies too. Unfortunately, I could not conceive a baby. All my visits to the gynecologist were either for routine exams or to be told time and time again that I wasn’t conceiving. At first, all the baby stuff everywhere filled me with hope. I would nearly swoon thinking about what my little baby would look like. The pictures of pregnant bellies made me wonder what my belly would look like as I grew another life.

But as time went on, I began to realize conception was not going to happen for me. Those pictures of seemingly cute, innocent babies were like rubbing salt in the wound. At times, laying down and looking up at the ceiling to find only more babies almost did me in. Also, being surrounded by pregnant women in the waiting room made me jealous, angry, and so sad.

Now, I know you can’t make the pregnant women disappear. I know that you can’t ask them to schedule their appointments around your infertile patient’s appointments. That would be insane! However, what I would like you to think about is that all of your patients may not be fertile. Plastering babies everywhere may be fine for most of your clientele, but not for all. I also know it is impossible to make everyone happy or meet everyone’s needs. What I am asking for all the women out there who are either struggling to conceive or learning they will never conceive is to try and take their feelings into account.

While my gynecologist has baby pictures everywhere, he also has different themes for all of his exam rooms. Many do not contain one trace of a baby. I think it would be great if gynecologists and their nursing staff tried to put those who are struggling in “no baby zones.” I know it would have been really appreciated when I was struggling. Some women love to be surrounded by babies even if they can’t conceive, but I’ve found most women simply do not want that. Most put on a fake smile to hide the pain all those happy baby pictures and perfect pregnant bellies bring.

I invite you to keep the needs of ALL your patients in mind. We know you love babies and we do too, but that’s the point. We want to have babies, not be reminded that we can’t.

Fortunately, I’m over that phase in my life, but I know that many women going through that right now would really appreciate a little extra compassion.

Sincerely,

Never Been Pregnant

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