Pregnancy should feel empowering:A story of medical advocacy

I was so excited when I got pregnant two summers ago, but beginning the journey of our first pregnancy was not what I expected. For some reason I thought I would feel differently, like I would “feel” pregnant, but I figured that would come with time and after we went to our first doctor’s appointment. Little did I know it would take a bolder act of medical advocacy to usher in this feeling of “motherhood”.

In the meantime, my inner psychologist, shamelessly dove into pregnancy research. I wanted to know everything and the reading made me feel closer to that tiny little baby I was somehow magically growing.

The morning arrived for our first appointment with the OB/GYN and we were so excited! I had made a note to discuss ultrasounds with the doctor as I wanted her guidance (amongst a million other notes that I wanted to discuss).

My husband and I arrived, I signed in and the receptionist informed me that I would have the ultrasound first and then see the doctor after. Hyperaware of being in a crowded lobby, I quietly tried to explain that I had questions about the ultrasound so I needed to see a doctor first. The receptionist paused, let out a long deep sigh and loudly told me to sit. She made it very clear that I had just ruined her morning schedule.

My first hint that I would need an act of medical advocacy.

I sat back down a little embarrassed and confused.

Why were they were so surprised?

Am I seriously their first patient that had questions about an ultrasound?

I couldn’t help but feel like I was in trouble for questioning the status quo, but most likely I was in trouble for messing up their morning schedule.

When the doctor came in, I could tell she had been warned about me. She spoke sternly and defensively. She didn’t answer any of my questions. Ignored my husband. She retorted that I can refuse the ultrasound, but it would be considered “against medical advice”.

Whoa, whoa whoa…That sounded really scary to me. Am I a bad mom if I do something “against medical advice”?

I wanted to cry.

I didn’t have an agenda.

I wasn’t trying to ruin anyone’s morning.

Then, my maternal instincts kicked in. My husband asked if I wanted to leave, and we bolted.

At that exact moment, high tailing it out of a doctor’s office… I felt pregnant.

I didn’t even recognize myself. Never in a million years would I thought I would be leaving my first doctor’s appointment “against medical advice”. Whatever that is supposed to mean….

Breakfast makes everything better so we went to a diner across the street. I tearfully explained over my scrambled eggs how I felt like a bad mom and I was only 9 weeks pregnant.  I was so disappointed with my provider and with this appointment. Am I going to have to fight like this for 9 months?

That is when we decided to look for a new provider.

Fast forward to the day we met the woman who would deliver our baby.

She spent 2 hours talking with us about our lives, our diets, our stress level, our support from family and friends, and our priorities in this pregnancy.

She addressed our concerns and encouraged our research. She actually gave us more to read. She supported our decisions and knew the more we understood, the more confident we would feel. She explained the importance of a healthy diet, exercise, and self care for a pregnancy. She made me feel empowered, strong, and in control.

Empowered. Strong. That is what being pregnant should “feel like”.

And I guess… sometimes pregnancy feels like trusting your instincts and running out of a doctors appointment, “against medical advice” to go eat scrambled eggs.

Pregnancy feels like not settling for anything less than the best care for your baby, whatever that means to you and your partner.

The moral of my story is to trust your motherly instincts, even if you don’t feel like you have them yet. You may just surprise yourself and end up showcasing your motherhood when you least expect it.

Find a health care provider that makes you feel strong, educated and empowered. Medical advocacy has endless benefits.

Do your research, take the time to interview people. There are so many options. It is so incredibly worth it.

(Shameless plug: I had a beautiful birth at home surrounded by peaceful, strong and knowledgable women (and my hubby of course) and it was truly the most empowering, beautiful, transformative experiences of my life. I feel like the experience was too sacred to share a “birth story” on the web, but would be happy to answer any questions privately. I am a true advocate of the midwifery model of care and could gab for hours about it.. I just thought I would spare my blog from my endless enthusiasm.)

If you want to talk about your birthing experiences or need emotional support, contact me today.

About the author:<br><a href=""><span class="uppercase">A</span>shley Rodrigues</a>, Therapist
About the author:
Ashley Rodrigues, Therapist

Ashley is a licensed mental health therapist and life coach practicing in Denver, CO. She specializes in perinatal mental health and working with women as they navigate the journey of growing their families.

Ashley works with clients virtually worldwide, Fill out the contact form to learn more about working with Ashley. For urgent support use the Postpartum Support International Hotline and for crisis please dial your local emergency line.

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