What I Wanted to Learn From My Doctor

A ‘Period Dignity Officer’ Seemed Like a Good Idea. Until a Man Was Named.

On Saturday, March 8th, I went to see my doctor to discuss the issue with him. I have anxiety about my period for several years but was always afraid of him talking about it and getting upset. Even now, I am unsure if this is appropriate or normal.

My doctor was an Asian man with a British accent and he told me that I should expect to have a period for the next three months. He said that I have a polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). While this is a disease, he gave me a diagnosis that was not helpful or enlightening. He told me that if I was happy with my body and not ashamed of my body, he would write me a prescription for birth control. He asked me if I had any questions or he would explain things.

I asked him several times about what he meant by ‘happy’ and he said he had no idea what he was talking about. He seemed frustrated when he couldn’t answer my questions about what ‘happy’ meant.

Then one day, when I was already at the appointment, he showed me his phone and asked me to text him. When he sent a message, I felt nervous as I was sure he was going to say something awful – like I had no chance of being happy.

When I texted him back, my first paragraph was:

I’ve just been told by my doctor that I’m having my period today, and I’m totally not happy about it. I don’t want to have a period and I don’t want my period to make me feel bad about myself and especially not about my body.

Before I finished writing, he texted me back:

Oh, sorry, I just read that. That doesn’t seem to be what you want to hear.

When I finished writing, he asked me if he’d answered the most important question: what did I want to hear? It was, of course, my answer to the important question.

He told me that he found it reassuring that he understood my feelings and would never give me a reason to want to keep my period and would always give me a reason to want it to stop.

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