childless by choice
On Dressing Up For A Gyno Exam
(Photo is unrelated but an awesome one of me and how I feel inside most of the time so I shared.)
Will other women of a certain age understand this one?
Let me clarify; will other women of a certain age, who have, for whatever deeply personal reason, CHOSEN to NOT have children, understand this one?
Because I don’t expect those of you who aren’t in that category to understand.
I actually (defensively) expect you to NOT understand and rather than getting my panties in a bunch about that (this time), I’m just going to leave this one up for those who have walked a mile in my absolutely gorgeous shoes instead.
So after avoiding the Gyno for much longer than I should have because the last one traumatized me**, I finally got a good referral and made an appointment.
- **F.Y.I, When I say “traumatized” I really just mean made me all angry and defensive and wanting to slam my little mouse paw sized fists into their faces, but instead I just smiled and made small talk with them because I’m big on the inside but kind of a p***y on the outside and play most of my most gloriously aggressive and violent scenes out in my head only.
It’s the morning of the appointment, nails done the night before, I’ve bathed, done my hair and full make-up, and I’m standing in our clothes room (previously our bedroom but now clothes live in there because the cats don’t) frantically trying to create a perfect look that says:
“It’s not that I CAN’T have children, It’s that after a great deal of thought and soul searching, and based on a mature assessment of reality and deep personal knowledge of myself I actually chose NOT to”.
Having been to the Gyno before, I’m well aware that I’m going to end up naked in a front-opening paper towel kimono with my butt hanging out, but at that moment, choosing JUST the right outfit has taken over all sane reasoning and has become a matter of absolute LIFE AND DEATH for me.
Digging through my clothes I immediately dismiss several options because of either too low necklines or too high hemlines fearing that they gave off more of an “IMPREGNATE ME NOW” vibe which conversely might convey a little more desperation than someone trying to visually represent logical adult decision making skills might wish to.
I then had to nix several other options which were too frumpy which might have led to an “Ah, I get it! She can’t find someone to impregnate her!" vote of pity and that really wouldn’t do it either. I have my pride you know! I may soon be dressed in tissue with a plastic belt, but as god is my witness, I was going to start that visit out RIGHT.
Next came selecting then rejecting several severe business suit type things with full white blouses because I started giving off a Joan Crawford vibe and I really didn’t want her (the new Gynecologist) to feel sorry for the children I’ll never have because their potential mom was all Joan Crawford-y. I wanted her instead to be happy for them (in a non-insulting to me kind of way) that I didn’t have them.
I also had to nix the easily recognized showier brand stuff in the fear that I’d be judged too shallow and self-centered to have children, which, even though I admit to my shallow and self-centered parts, is actually not why I didn’t have children and I didn’t want one of the least selfish decisions I’ve made in my life to be misinterpreted because of a deeply rooted need for bling.
Living in L.A. gives you the freedom to wear pretty much whatever you damned well want to (as long as it’s fab) without worrying about what other people think so deciding what to wear is rarely if ever a time consuming process for me, which made me all the more acutely aware that I probably hadn’t thought that much about what I was going to wear in years.
(The last time I put that much thought into an outfit was maybe my wedding 10 years ago?)
So after talking myself down from the sartorial edge of panic and unreason, I settle on a demure boat-neck tank top in black, Elie Tahari pin-striped slacks, an Anne Klein bolero jacket with an understated but cool stand collar, a youthful strand of pearls, Gucci sunglasses and enough mascara to make an ugly drag queen feel “born with boobs” confident.
I’d convinced myself at that point that I’m giving off just the right “I’m fulfilled as a human and successful in my own right so there’s no need to judge or pity the whole no children thing because it’s a positive life choice I’ve actively made" and felt strong enough (once again, most likely thanks to the mascara) to face an office full of women who are all about reproductive organs and reproducing.
I doubt any men are reading or will ever read this entry at all or to this point but if one ever does, let me try to explain this feeling to you here:
Walking your still functioning reproductive organs into a Gynecologist’s office at a certain age as a non-offspring producing woman kind of feels like walking into a Hummer dealership with a really great bicycle you love and asking them to put air in the tires. YOU WILL GET JUDGED. And even if you really really don’t want a Hummer and really just need air in your tires, there’s this neurotic need to defend against the judgements that you know are being made because they don’t even try to hide it.
And yes, I do realize I’ve just compared my uterus to a Schwinn. And no, you can’t ride it and yes, I’d put little fluttery plastic tassels on it if I could.
Anyway, back to the story.
So the doctor takes me into her office for an initial consult, sits me down and it takes me approximately .04 seconds for me to launch into my preemptive “I’ve chosen to not have children, it’s a valid and good choice" speech.
I should have f#*@ing worn sweatpants and a ponytail.
If you’ve read this far down the page you’re probably hoping for some point or resolution or punchline.
Sorry, I have none to offer.
Except maybe my observation as a woman that we just may have done as great harm to ourselves with our American brand of feminism as good.
See, Feminism was supposed to open doors and give us the freedom to choose our lives and careers and futures rather than being told by society what was “right” or “wrong” for women to do.
It wasn’t originally meant to be something that judged the absolute f*#k out of women when they chose one thing or another rather than doing everything at once, or shame them into doing things they wouldn’t normally choose to do, or want to do.
See, American feminism seems to now tell ALL women that they need to, have to do it ALL at once and do it perfectly or be a failure, when the truth is doing it all at once well enough to not suck is pretty damned near impossible.
But that’s a borderline deep thought and I’ve moved myself here to L.A. to make sure I don’t have to be bothered by those.
So to get back on track, at least I’m pretty sure I looked fairly awesome that day before I had to put on the napkin and put my feet up in stirrups, and in L.A., that’s what ultimately matters.