Elise shares other ways she was able to get medical information about pregnancy through different resources that weren’t directly from medical settings.
OBOS Today: So, I wonder, because you might not feel so comfortable in those settings because you’ve had those experiences, what other resources you look to for information either just generally about your health or during like when you’re trying to get pregnant?
Elise: Sure, yeah. There is an online resource that I found back when I was initially trying to get pregnant in 2015 about getting pregnant while fat that a fat friend had found and had referred me to, and that felt really affirming to read sort of a combination of lived experience and peer-reviewed evidence.
And then I’ve also turned to friends to sort of process and debrief those things. I have a friend who isn’t herself fat and is a doula that I really trust who’s really body-inclusive and she has also helped me to feel like affirmed and seen and you know kind of giving good advice that doesn’t have the sort of veneer of fatphobia across it.
OBOS Today: I know you also want to talk about the importance of gender-inclusive care. Can you talk about or describe more experiences that you’ve had related to you being nonbinary throughout this process or just generally like related to your healthcare experiences?
Elise: Yeah, my nonbinary identity is something that I’ve come into in the last couple of years.
And I generally have found that getting pregnant is a deeply gendered experience and that gosh, everything from sort of the way that you’re addressed inside of medical settings as mom or potential mom. To the products that you can buy that are designed to help you with fertility.
So, I just recently got a new thermometer that is designed to help track basal body temperature, which is something that you, you know measure to assess when you’re ovulating, and I’m pretty sure that the brand name is She-mom-itor so [laughs] and it’s pink.
Similarly, a friend let me borrow a thermometer that you can sort of wear across their arm and the little thermometer lives kind of in your inner arm here.
And the strap that’s used to affix that to your arm is not only made for people who have much smaller bodies than me, but also looks a lot like a wedding garter, so it is white and lacey with a pink ribbon laced through it, which is a wild decision to make for something that attaches a thermometer to your arm overnight.
But that’s—that’s the option, so I ended up being able to find an alternative strap on Etsy that is much less gendered and bigger and more comfortable, and I’m really grateful that somebody innovated around that and that’s a couple of examples of the way that—
Sort of yeah, the experience of trying to get pregnant is highly feminized and also service starts to reinforce particular gender roles around you know [sighs] women or people who are assigned female at birth kind of going in alone, which is not the case in my partnership and I, and I love that and I’m really lucky about that.