From Our Message Board

In Everyone has one, Opinion by Our Readers

I am a 47-year old disabled woman, from the Bronx, NY. I have spina bifida. I would like to share one of many experiences I have had with stereotypes and prejudices.

When I was 30 years old I got pregnant. I was not married, and though I really liked the father of my son; he really was not the marrying type. I chose to be a single mother. When I found out from my OB/GYN that I, indeed, was pregnant, I asked her if it was safe for me and the baby

to have it. She told me that I was healthy in all other respects, my mobility was good and that she didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t have this baby. She then recommended a specialist who had delivered babies to other women with spina bifida. I was thrilled.

At my first appointment with this new doctor, she gave me an internal. As she did, she asked me, “We’re you artifically inseminated?” I replied with a smile and a giggle, “No, I did it the regular way.” At which point, I think she got a little miffed.

When I started to show, I had grown men and women asking me how I got pregnant. I responded in many different ways but my favorite has always been, “C’mon, don’t you know that!? How old are you anyway!?”

I use humor a lot to get my point across. In the case of that doctor, I expected her to be more educated, but the things we are taught as children stay with us and can sometimes bite us in the butt. I think she realized through humor what a stupid question she asked. I also think that through humor it is safer to look at your own mistakes and correct them.

I think she learned something about herself without my getting insulting or beligerent. I also learned something about myself. I assumed that she was educated because she was a doctor. I forgot she was also a human being subject to all the positive and negative forces affecting our environment.