Sharing family holiday dinners with your gynecologist
Thanksgiving in the1950s. This is my family — my mom is pregnant with me, so it must be 1953. She is standing behind my grandma, who is seated at the head of the table. And my uncle Bill is standing next to my mom — he was the family doc and delivered me (whatever that means, cuz it’s really the woman delivering.)
Of course, it seems kind of progressive or regressive to have your brother-in-law examine your nether land. They say it’s a profession — and it’s all kept professional, whatever that means. And I’ve bought into that — I’ve had both male and female docs, but I’m glad to have women taking over this profession.
But from the woman’s point-of-view, we think it’s professional. My sister had 5 cesarean deliveries performed by our cousin, a male doctor. I even went to him, but we moved before my first pregnancy. My daughter delivered with her stake president. Everyone said he is the best. “He’s professional,” and we’d rather have the best.
I like to think I understand men since I’ve been married to one for over 30 years. He likes to keep me abreast of the species. Still, Men and women think differently. I joke with my husband about the men who have a license to look. I tell him, “you really blew it, you could’ve been a doctor and you would’ve had a professional license to look at women.”
Which reminds me of this funny story — a friend of mine was living in a small town, and the only ob/gyn in town attended her church. She didn’t want to go to this guy, it seemed too awkward. Nonetheless, she decided to make an appointment. The other women recommended him.
Now, being a professional patient, she showered, shaved her legs and gave her lady parts a spritz of feminine spray. In the examining room (see, they do examine you) she was waiting for the doc, having replaced her clothing with one of those hospital gowns and a large paper towel that drapes over you to make you feel less naked during your examine. The doctor began, lifted the paper and said, “wow, that’s fancy.”
My friend was appalled that this professional doctor would make such an exclamation. After he left the room and she got off the table to dress, she noticed the glitter — and realized the spray she had grabbed in a rush to spray all over her lovely lady-ness was not a feminine hygiene spray, but her daughter’s spray glitter. Yep. She was looking fancy. And then she realized that the doc probably thought she was the one being suggestive.
Now that’s keeping it professional. I’m not sure how long she stayed home from church after that.
Remember that song Mr. Rogers would sing? “Girls are fancy on the inside, boys are fancy on the outside, everybody’s fancy…” I never really understood his fancy talk. Girls are pretty fancy on the outside.
My mom and dad with my baby sister, 1960: