- Allison Ramsey, Infertility Counselor
When Your Medical Professional is Pregnant
When Your Medical Professional Is Pregnant
Your medical professional is pregnant. You’re doing everything you can to get the help you need to conceive, and when you really get into it you can come across dozens of medical professionals: OB/GYN, reproductive endocrinologist, their nurses and lab techs, acupuncturist, therapist, massage therapist, chinese herbalist, and naturopathic doctors. I wish we could all make a special deal with you that we won’t become pregnant until you are. But that doesn’t make it any easier to cope. Here are some steps that can help.
When you first see her, breathe in and out slowly. Focusing on your breathing will help your mind from going to unhelpful places, thinking unhelpful thoughts.
Half-smile. There is also a Buddhist practice that involves a “half-smile" that can be used to acknowledge to yourself that you noticed this interesting experience that was put in front of you. Or “cosmic joke” as it might feel in that moment. Picture Mona Lisa’s smile. Try it now by relaxing your face and jaw, and turning the corners of your mouth slightly upward. If you feel tension in your face while half-smiling, you’re not quite there yet, and probably smirking which doesn’t have the desired effect.
Get through the appointment. You don’t have to ask about her pregnancy, (in fact it’s probably a good life lesson to never assume anyone is pregnant no matter how pregnant they look). If you feel like crying, cry. It is not up to you to make her feel okay. She is the medical professional, she can handle it.
Afterward: It is completely within your rights to request a different provider. If you’re working with a group that regularly treats women with infertility then they will absolutely get it.
Know this: they didn’t do it on purpose to irritate you or rub it in your face, even though it can feel that way. In fact, it’s important to remind yourself that she could have been experiencing infertility too. Infertility is so stressful that it can cause some women to think thoughts that they are not proud of. These thoughts come from a place of exhaustion, depression, and stress and may look a lot like jealousy or envy. And they make you feel worse. See if you can find it within yourself to mentally wish her well. Doing this gives you a sense of control back, and then wish yourself well. This is called Loving Kindness Meditation, feel free to make up your own meaningful words, but it may sound something like:
May I have a peaceful heart
May I be safe and healthy
May I have courage and patience in the face of life’s inevitable challenges.
Then repeat the phrase again replacing "I" with "she".
If you’ve had an experience with a medical professional being pregnant, I’d love for you to contact me and tell me what you found helpful (or not helpful) so I can help others in my counseling practice navigate this uncomfortable interaction.
May you have courage and patience in the face of life’s inevitable challenges.
Allison Ramsey is a licensed professional counselor and fertility counseling specialist in the Asheville area. She’s a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and completed their certificate training in mental health counseling for infertility. Contact her to start feeling better.