I keep holding my breath and crossing my fingers and refusing to say it with out qualifiers, but I think, just maybe, I may have found a size friendly doctor.
I literally held my breath when I typed that. That’s how scared I am of jinxing this. For those of you who have not had to deal with the incredible stigma of the medical establishment questioning your very existence, I am at a loss at how to state this in such a way that fully explains the glory of that statement. Just imagine a solution to a lifelong problem accompanied by singing angels and free sensual massages by Thor.
So when I tell you this, be fully aware that the Universe was bound to remind me why this was so important. Just 24 hours after having a third appointment with a general practitioner who seems far more invested in actual health (my cholesterol, BP, sugar levels, etc) than my size, I had to see the OBGYN. And not just any OBGYN, the one OBGYN in the practice I go to that I have consistently downgraded every time I saw her for various reasons. And this time was a serious downgrade. In addition to the body shaming and just bad doctoring, she had white people dreads. Or was trying to anyhow.
White. People. Dreads.
I’m sorry if you’re reading this as a white person with dreads, but you need to knock it off. It looks idiotic. Your hair doesn’t do that naturally or even with a bit of coaxing. Just stop.
And the white people dreads were literally the insult to the injury that has plagued me since seeing this doctor because in addition to dealing with the physical ailment I have had to deal with the fact that my information leaving the appointment was limited by the fact that this doctor couldn’t see past my big body to give me the same information she gives other patients.
If you’re worried about my health, perhaps start by addressing the problem that brings me to your fine office this day, good lady.
And they wonder why fat people hate going to the doctor. We know we’re fat. Asking me if I’ve noticed is quite honestly the stupidest question of all time.
So it’s been increasingly on my mind to make sure to not exhibit body shame around the girls. Ellie has a habit of reaching down to see what is exposed when her diaper is removed and unless there’s some sanitary reason to stop her, I don’t. I don’t tell her it’s nasty or yucky. Both girls like to touch their bellies. Tonight I made a song up about bellies. And I’ll show them mine and they’ll look at theirs. They’ll compare them. And I don’t let myself feel the shame I used to. That belly brought them into this world.
Part of what bothers me so much is that despite having been on a quest for size friendly doctor for years, despite having been engaged in body politics for years and despite just plain ol’ knowing better, I did not respond to that doctor the way I should have. I should have asked her why she simultaneously claimed the problem I was there about was such a common one yet when I asked for potential causes all she could say was my weight. I shouldn’t have made some half hearted attempt at an answer when she asked me what I was “doing about this weight” and instead told her that it was irrelevant at the moment. Because for every woman like me who knows better is a fat girl sitting in the waiting room who is going to get shushed about her actual health problems to hear a lecture about her size.
And I know better.
So I should do better.
Bodies are funny things. We act like they are our enemies. In some cases, they can be. And in others we forget the amazing things that they do. Nothing has brought me more peace in the war I didn’t realize I was waging against my body than knowing after all we have gone through, it could bear to bring two human beings into the world simultaneously. But the thing is that I really wish it hadn’t taken me that. I wish I learned to stand up for it on my own terms, not because of some intervening thing.
So tonight when I sang about Ellie’s Belly and Goose’s Belly and Mama’s Belly and Daddy’s Belly and Brooklyn’s Belly we all patted our bellies (minus Brooklyn who was just trying to make it to bedtime without a baby stealing her bone again) and smiled. Really freaking smiled.
Bellies are awesome. Bodies are awesome. This one on me is no exception.
Have fun with your bellies. F*ck the haters.