Hint … It’s not because I can’t find a sitter.
Let me start this post off by saying that this is a no-judgment zone. I won’t judge you for your parenting decisions, and I ask not to be judged in return. The foundation of everything that I teach and try to model for other mothers is this — You do what’s best for you. My slice of the cake is that I will be completely honest with you, with what works, and doesn’t work for me.
My daughter is 4 years old, and she comes with me every year to my annual gyn exam. No, she doesn’t hold the flashlight while my doctor holds the speculum. She sits in the corner of the room near my shoulders and usually reads or watches a show, just like she would while waiting for an oil change or something.
Me bringing her with me to these visits isn’t completely accidental. In fact, while it may seem strange, I have some very good reasons to bring her.
I Want To Show My Daughter What Quality Well Woman Care Looks Like.
I love and trust my doctor. I feel safe asking her anything. I feel safe discussing every aspect of my health with her, including my breasts, my vagina, my reproductive plans, and my emotional well-being. I know that I can tell her something without feeling judged, and ask for the treatment that I need. I know that she will inform me of all the options I have, risk and benefit, and let me make my own decisions. I know that she respects me. It makes me so happy to know my daughter is witnessing this quality of care, because I would want nothing less for her.
I Want My Daughter To Know Her Body Isn’t Something To Be Ashamed Of.
If she is proud of her body then she will want to take good care of it. Feeling secure about her body, all parts of it, means that she will be open and honest about what she is going through with her body. Instead of possessing a body she’s embarrassed of, and doesn’t know how to take care of, she can be empowered to know what’s healthy and normal for her.
I Want My Daughter To Learn About Her Body From Someone She Can Trust
I am aware that my daughter is going to learn about her body somehow, from someone. Do I want it to be from me, or from a teenage boy who’s trying to convince her to have sex? It is my dream that as I empower my daughter, she in turn will be able to empower all the other girls in her life, many of whom might not feel safe talking to their parents about their bodies.
Loving her body and taking good care of it are things I want to ingrain in her mind from a very young age. Regular well woman visits* are only one piece of this puzzle. Eating nourishing foods, exercising, getting adequate rest, and having healthy relationships are just as important to her mind-body-spirit health. I try to remember as I walk through my life that the best way for me to teach my daughter something is not just to tell her, but to show her.
*NOTE: Recommendations for how often you should receive a gyn exam differ depending on your medical history. New recommendations state that annual exams are unnecessary for most women. If you have questions about how often you should see your provider, ask them.