Medical encounters aren’t always easy, especially when they involve having to share intimate details of our reproductive or sexual health, and intimate parts of our bodies. Through the work I’ve done over the years working with women who suffer from infertility and pregnancy loss, a repeated theme that emerges in my conversations is that women can often feel objectified, and that their reproductive health can be easily subsumed into a broader medicalised picture. So, in particular, a miscarriage can easily become a ‘medical event’ – wiping out the, often, total experience of shock, grief and profound loss. Women often talk to me about their experiences of fertility treatments as of being ‘done to’ by medicine, at the expense of compassionate care.
I really hope to provoke curiosity and more thinking about this in my book but there may be something any female reader of this quick blog can do too. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists was founded in 1929 to advance the care of women’s health generally, but also to promote good practice and science in the field of reproductive health. They do many good things of course, but I’m particularly taken by their active inclusion of women’s views on policy making – both through a network of lay and clinical members, and a much wider participation panel of women recruited online. Have a think whether you have time to make a difference to the future quality and delivery of care….