Friday, 6 March 2015

It's Just Biology

This afternoon, E & I went to my GP because I needed a Gyne exam. Don't worry, I won't be sharing any grisly details!

Anyway..... we got into the GP's room and I explained the reason for my visit. My GP is a very nice man, very softly spoken and gentle, great with mental health issues. BUT I think "women's health" scares him a bit. He seemed rather flustered that he was going to have to physically examine me, especially with a toddler present.

Personally I was very matter of fact about it all, and told him so. He admitted other women who have had babies have said the same. It's odd, because when out in public, in clothes, I don't feel very confident in my body at all, and wish it looked different, that I had less of a tummy, better hair, better skin, and so on. Obviously I don't go around flashing at friends/strangers and so on. But when it comes to swimming pool changing rooms, or medical examinations, I just cannot be bothered to faff about.

When I gave birth in 2012, I got poked and prodded a lot. Even before the birth itself, I had 3 "sweeps" to move things along, and then during the Big Day, there were forceps, and stitches, in what Sam described looked like a "horror film set" - and afterwards, the student midwife felt a bit faint and had to leave the room! My dignity disappeared that day but I didn't care at all, because frankly, E needed to GET OUT!

So I was very blase about the situation today, but my poor GP struggled. He found toys for E to play with and gave me lots of space to prepare etc. I felt like telling him to stop being embarrassed and get on with it! After all, he shouldn't care, he's just doing his job! After my examination, E asked him what he was doing, and I said "throwing rubbish away", which he was, but he seemed relieved I jumped in there. When the appointment finished, E sat and said "Where's your medical kit?". Because he didn't have a stethoscope, thermometer, medicine bottle, and ear-thingy (no idea what they're called) she didn't think I'd had a proper exam! He found it funny, and we went on our way.

Back at the car, E asked me again about the medical kit, and "What did he do?". So I told her what he did, and where, and said he used a "Speculum". "Speculum" she repeated. She was happy.

I am happy to tell her anything. She's a sponge at this age, accepting biological knowledge about intimate areas in the same way she states, "We have hands and feet, dogs have paws, cows and giraffe have hooves, and cars have wheels". Very logical like her Dad. So far I have taught her the following:

  • Girls/ladies have vaginas, boys/men have penises (penises or penii?)
  • Ladies have periods but not until after puberty, which happens when you're a much older girl.
  • E knows she grew in my tummy, and the word for "womb". 
  • E knows that periods are made of blood, and what tampons are and sanitary towels are. 
Toddlers get obsessed with poo and wee, and their bodies in general, so I figure that it can't hurt to just be open about her anatomy, in the way we are about other things. She'll be taught what's appropriate to say/not say in public, and how to manage physical changes. She'll also grow up understanding about privacy, and therefore know that other people need to respect her and her body too, which is no bad thing.

So for some people, it may be cringe-worthy, embarrassing, a bit early, and uncomfortable. I'm not going to lie, I find it hard to do, but I think it's the right thing. It's just biology.

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