A month after my second run in with peppermint oil, I sit in my school uniform at the office of an OB/GYN waiting for the doctor to enter the room. I had come to discover that my body responds to peppermint oil with a month-long period. My second run in with the oil was proving my theory of the cause of my month-long period correct, and when I simply avoid the essential oil, my body returns to its normal cycle. Every passing minutes grows longer until the doctor opens the door and sits on her swivel stool. I look up, and the first thing she says is, “Your mom and I are really good friends. We went to school together.” I politely tell her everything that occured in the past two months, and she gives me a list of potential causes for my extensive period. While the doctor and my mom “catch up,” I begin unraveling the new potential causes in my head when without breaking conversation with my mom, she nonchalantly says I have to go on birth control. They continue the conversation about the people they know and places they have been while I sit on the table completely dumbfounded at the information dropped on me. Once their conversation dies out, the doctor says, “You’re okay with the pill, right?” I look to my mom for support, and my mom squints at me and says, “I was on it.” I shyly utter the word: “No.” The doctor eyes me up and says, “Is this a catholic thing?” With that question, I intentional zone out my mom and her “friend” berading me with reason for me need to take the pill and how I will most definitely regret my decision to not take the medication. Nearly a month and a half after that doctor visit, I still clearly feel the dismay and betrayal of my doctor and more importantly my mom.
Doctors should respect the choices of their patients especially with nonessiental medication that has countless alternatives. While many medications are necessary for treatment, birth control is in a unique category of medications which are mostly nonessential and replaceable with alternatives. Birth control is completely necessary and permissible in most faiths for illnesses where doctors prescribe birth control to regulate the cycle such as: endometriosis, extremely heavy cycles, and many other reproductive diseases. However, the medical field uses birth control as the end all be all of treatment for women’s reproductive health with birth control being the first response of treatment. Healthcare professionals seem to belittle people when their patients respectfully decline the medication. Asking the question, “Is this a catholic thing,” or any other religious affiliated comment is not only inappropriate but also inherently discredits the decision and reasoning of not taking birth control. Besides religious reasoning for not taking the pill, many people decline the prescription for birth control because the pill induces/represses hormone responses in the body which can lead to lasting reproductive issues after ending birth control. I personally do not want to nor see the need to take birth control without having a reproductive disease specifically requiring birth control for treatment.