An open letter to the medical profession…




Dear Dr _____ ,

Yesterday I had an appointment with my consultant regarding my much wanted and longed for pregnancy. My last labour ended in an emergency caesarean section due to the baby’s heart rate dipping. Out of seven labours this is the only one which ended up with a c-section. Not bad going, I’m sure you’ll agree.

I wanted to write to you to let you know that all of my children are loved, cared for and supported by myself and my husband. My children were complimented on their behaviour twice this week already – once by your own staff. Yes, I’m very proud! They are truly wonderful children (most of the time – they have their moments! They’re still kids after all!).

As you are aware, we have also experienced the pain of eight miscarriages. The notes you had in front of you stated that two of those were this year alone. The notes also stated that we sought help for the causes into the miscarriages to be investigated. This was the second time that we had sought investigation, yet both times we were refused because we already had children. Please note that we weren’t asking for fertility treatment or anything other than an answer as to why we were losing so many of our children. Surely eight miscarriages is rather a lot? Yet still we have twice been refused the investigation, or even simple blood tests which may give us the answers.

I hope you won’t mind me pointing out that I felt rather ill at ease when, even though you had these notes and facts directly in front of you, you still asked me whether I would consider being sterilised if this pregnancy ended up in another emergancy caesarean section. While you may have had to ask the question as a matter of course, would you mind telling me if all women are offered this option or is it just me? Would a first time mother be asked that question? I feel that the answer, possibly, is no.

I told you quite firmly, and asked you to put this in my notes, that it is not an option. There is no medical reason for me to be sterilised. I would have much rather you spent your medical knowledge on finding the cause of my miscarriages. That is what I asked for and was denied. I have not asked you to take something from me for no reason.

Why was the question even asked when we clearly wanted this baby, have suffered two losses this year alone and are thankful to be expecting again? Why is it so wrong to want to have children even though we alone raise and support them and for you to refuse us the investigation into losing them, yet it is so simple and acceptable for you to present the option of stopping the ability to have them when there is no medical reason for it?

I did notice that you didn’t add this to my notes, and am well aware that I will be asked this question again. But I truly hope I’m not. I am well aware that sterilisation exists, and am quite capable of asking for it if I want it.

I don’t.

Yours sincerely,

7 thoughts on “An open letter to the medical profession…

  1. Words are inadequate for what I want to express. I ache thinking about you enduring that question.

    Would you consider forwarding this open letter to the NCT and to the maternity alliance people Tania?

  2. Well written Tania – are you sending it?! You should – these people are so up their own ***** at times that it would do them good to hear an eloquent explanation about what crap they’re talking!
    My gynae visit when arranging Sofia’s arrival did include the comment “4 kids, 2 sections, do you want your tubes tying?” and I just said “no thanks” – that was fine under my circumstances. However, in yours, it’s pretty darned insensitive. As you quite rightly say, they should be looking into what has been going wrong, not offering unwanted invasive procedures.
    I think you should send a letter and request a reply too!! Only polite after all!
    Glad all is looking well – love the scan pic!

  3. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to send it on anywhere. I’m trying to decide whether it’s even worth printing and adding it to my maternity notes. The thing that bothers me is that I’m certain it’s not going to be the last time I’m going to be asked/told/attempted to be persuaded to do it too.

    We are THAT family, I’m sure it’s only through prayer that we’ve got this far. Thank you.

  4. When I was pg with #5, I was asked this at my first appt. It was a military hospital (in the states). When I said no, the dr said, “do you have any other children?” I was appalled that I would be asked that without any knowledge of if this was even my first baby. When I replied that I had 4 others, she was floored and said, “you really don’t want your tubes tied?” Umm…NO. Needless to say, based on that alone, I found a different dr.

  5. I’m sorry your doctor wouldn’t listen to you. It’s so ironic that in a world that proclaims the right for every woman to choose, the right for a woman to choose children is not respected.

  6. I was asked during my FIRST pregnancy (which ended in emergency c-section), during my second (which ended in planned c-section) I was asked twice. After that I had 3 natural births, and was asked at least once per pregnancy! My last pregnancy they did not ask even thougt it too ended in a planned c-section. I think they finally gave me up.

    Mother of six, and hoping for moer, pray for me.

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