Let's talk about ... you guessed it... women's health.
I've been seeing doctors since I was a teenager and often for things that made me feel like I wasn't womanly enough. It started in my late teens when I had to awkwardly sit through a consultation with a male specialist to figure out why I hadn't had my first period. I distinctly remember him observing my breast tissue and pubic hair and then showing me a chart of how underdeveloped I was. This consult came at the same time as the comments at school such as "you've got mosquito bites" or "you don't even really need to wear a bra" and "you're sooooo lucky you don't have your period." All accruing to my feelings of being defective.
So eventually I got my period at 17 (I think) and it never came regularly but I was happy to feel like a "real woman" nevertheless. But within 3 years I was inevitably on the Pill, which might I add, is the most uninformative long term medication you'll ever be prescribed. "Oh you want to have sex but not have a baby? Cool, pump yourself with fake hormones with a huge list of side effects we'll tell you nothing about." I was on the basic script nearly every woman starts on and after probably 8 months realised it was making me FUCKING CRAZY. So throughout my early twenties I started and stopped and switched Pill brands four or so times and came to the conclusion not only in my experience was the Pill really horrible for me but taking it inconsistently- even worse! Doh.
In 2017 I went cold turkey- no more artificial hormone, being at breaking point with half a year of thrush and UTI's that could not be resolved. Once I started trying to get my period naturally, which in all honesty I felt like I had only experienced a couple of dozen times in my life before this point, it was a long waiting game. In this time I got diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) after FINALLY finding a good women's health GP, plus you all know that my Chinese medicine doctor is amazing (Dr Alana Green) and then I was referred to an endocrine specialist who told me that a) I should lose 5kgs and b) I could take a hormonal tablet ("not the Pill") once a month to help induce a period. (Disclaimer: yet another form of artificial hormone that was pretty much the Pill, same shit different name). Essentially, if I wasn't trying to get pregnant then I may as well induce my period through medications, masking symptoms and not addressing causes.
So I said "uuuuhhhh hell no" and stuck to my original plan of natural therapies: Chinese medicine, a women's health Osteopath and a whole lot of lifestyle and mindset changes. And probably most importantly PATIENCE.
It took me eleven months to have my first period and for every person it is so different. I still battle with an irregular cycle but that's OK. I also battle with the stigma and pressure from men that condoms are bad but hey unwanted babies and STI's are worse right? But my point is, when dealing with women's health there are going to be people, professionals or not, who will give you advice you don't agree or align with. There are going to be times when you feel like there's something wrong with you and that you may never get better. The only thing I ask is that you become your own biggest fan. Advocate for yourself and your beliefs because nobody else will do it for you. And nurture yourself. You are a woman regardless of all the signs that indicate you are not perceived as perfect- YOU ARE PERFECT JUST AS YOU ARE. Be kind to yourself and have patience knowing the right support is out there, you just need to find out (and I mean really hunt) what works for you.
It all begins with you saying 'yes' to putting your needs first and 'no' to the things that don't align with this, but this is a fluid decision. Creating conversations with other women AND all genders for that matter, is the place to start.