It’s hard to overstate how important it is for women to be empowered to make decisions about their bodies and their medical care. Unfortunately, women have been shamed or judged for the choices they’re making, or even thinking about making, regarding their medical care.
Twitter user Salome Strangelove powerfully illustrated this problem with a viral thread about her mother.
Unfortunately, her pregnancy proved to be extremely difficult.
Seems like a reasonable request, right? After all, she was a legal adult and already had one child. Her pregnancy endangered her health. Should be a no-brainer. But…
Her Catholic doctor shamed her and blamed her for the problems she had during her pregnancy. Her health and her desires didn’t matter. What was important was that she was “denying” her husband non-existent future children.
Understandably, this made her reluctant to discuss her situation with her family and friends.
Since she wasn’t able to get her tubes tied, she continued to have difficult, painful pregnancies.
When a new doctor filled in for her regular doctor, she found the courage to ask again.
It took her five years and three pregnancies, two of which resulted in miscarriages, to get the help she needed. Even when she asked again, she was terrified that her concerns would be minimized and that she would be shamed for wanting to make decisions about her own body.
And perhaps the saddest fact of all is that this is not an isolated incident. Even today, women are shamed and denied birth control and sterilization due to the beliefs of others. Many women are raised in households that teach that women must submit to male authority. Even if you’re not raised in that belief system, it can be difficult to challenge someone who is supposed to have your best interests in mind. Someone who is supposed to “First, do no harm.”
This isn’t the end of her mother’s story though. This time, she had the support she needed to make the right decision for her.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, Salome wishes her mother had been empowered to make the right decision for her body. Even if that meant never having Salome.
Perhaps now more than ever, it’s vital to ensure women have the right to make decisions about their own bodies.