Tuesday Guest Post: “Finding Empowerment in the Medical System”

Every Tuesday we will be featuring a guest post related to abortion support, reproductive justice, and other topics relevant to our mission as an organization dedicated to providing nonjudgmental, compassionate and empowering full-spectrum doula services. If you are interested in writing a post for our Tuesday series, email Kelly N. 

This week’s post follows in the theme of personal stories in reproductive health and comes from BADP volunteer Kelly Nichols. Check out her bio, which we posted recently as a “Meet the Doulas” profile. This piece was originally posted on The Provider Project, where Kelly is a contributing editor. 


“So, why are you here today, your foot?” asked the nurse, noting my cast from a recent injury. “No, I am here for a pap smear,” I replied. “Oh,” she frowned. “I wasn’t aware of that. Let me go check to see if the doctor has time for a pap smear. You need to inform us in advance if that is the reason for your visit.” I had taken time out of work to be at this appointment, which I had made three months previously. Due to the doctor’s busy schedule I was already months late for the test, the last in a series of follow ups after treatment for cervical dysplasia, a precursor to cervical cancer. When the nurse returned to inform me that I had to reschedule the appointment and the earliest available time was in another two months, tears of frustration came to my eyes. Never was I asked whether I was feeling anxiety over the exam or whether it would be a financial difficulty to take more time out of work. Nor did anyone reassure me that I would not jeopardize my health by waiting another two months. Although I was able to schedule a much earlier appointment with another member of the practice, I left the doctor’s office discouraged at what was the latest in a series of negative experiences relating to my reproductive health.

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