Advocate

So last Saturday I was in a car accident. I was 5 minutes from home, turning left on a green light when a (uninsured) woman came barreling through her red light with not even the slightest intention of slowing down. I was alone (thankfully) but obviously being 16 weeks pregnant at the time; very very scared. I called my husband Philip immediately, even before 911. I felt like I couldn’t move my leg and my head had been thrown around pretty hard. Of course the first thing I was worried about was the baby. I was hysterical on the phone with him, and luckily he was able to leave work immediately and be by my side. The ambulance got there and it was a team of men. One of them came over to me, and asked how I was and all I could muster  was, ” I am 16 weeks pregnant” He said I seemed fine, I didn’t need a ride to the hospital in an ambulance, but I should go get checked by my midwife ASAP. He even said, “looks mostly like anxiety,” even then I knew something was up, and could potentially be very wrong. But I did what I was told. We had to wait for the police but I kept urging Philip that we had to check on the baby and I wouldn’t feel okay until I heard his heartbeat. Muttering that sentence brought me into full tears every time I said it that day. “I just have to know he’s okay.”

So in short- me and baby are fine. We went to the urgent care and after my persistence with yet another male doctor, we heard his heartbeat on the doppler.

But, fast forward to this past Thursday at my monthly check up with my midwife and she said everything very well could have not been fine- at all. She told me that the EMS should have absolutely transported me to the hospital via ambulance immediately, seemingly fine or not. My placenta could have ruptured at any moment and basically I was lucky everything was okay. Whether his mistake be from lack of knowledge of pregnancies or just thinking I was overreacting- we won’t know.

Hearing this from her was both scary yet reassuring. I knew something could have been wrong, I knew I was right to push for my baby to be checked yet everyone I encountered kept acting like I was crazy.

I am sharing this to remind all of you- to advocate for yourself. That feeling in the pit of your stomach, back of your mind (hell- front of your mind sometimes) IS RIGHT. We are right, we know this body we live in. We can trust its signals, it is here to help you take care of it.

There are all these messages thrown at us constantly that we don’t know how to feed ourselves, move our bodies, or take care of ourselves in general. I am here to remind you that shit is wrong. No one but you knows how to feed your body. No one but you knows how to take care of yourself or your baby the way you do- not doctors, not anyone. We can’t give our power away without a fight- as women we are conditioned to shut up and do as we are told and I want to urge you to fight that reflex. I know first hand, because that is exactly what happened to me at the ambulance and at the urgent care- I wanted to do as I was told yet I still knew something needed to be done.

Give yourself permission to advocate for yourself, in all areas of life. Any person that can identify as a marginalized group (person of size, person of color, woman, trans, etc etc) we are going to constantly be put into positions where we have to advocate for ourselves. There are entire groups of people that don’t think we deserve to have a voice, that don’t want to treat us with the respect we deserve- so fucking yell at them. Fuck being polite, and do what you know is right.

Maybe this seems harsh, but I am tired of living in a world where I am spoken to as if I don’t know better, as if a man is here to save the day and explain things to me so my feeble mind can understand; yet everything in my body is screaming at me that he’s wrong.

In the doctor’s office when your pediatrician is telling you in front of your child they are “overweight”, when you think you should get a second opinion because you know something isn’t right, when the pregnancy app you’re using won’t stop bombarding you with diet culture bullshit to track your calories- do what you need to do. Say what you need to say. Use your voice for yourself and for others that cannot. Especially to those like myself who do have more privilege it is especially important for us to practice advocating for ourselves so we can set the standard and leave room for others to advocate for themselves.

So next time a man tells me my concerns for my child are “just anxiety” I will tell him to fuck off- mark my words.

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