Breathe Easy, You've Found Me ((HUGS))

People will wonder why this blog is needed, why minority midwifery student? It's very simple actually; I was looking for this blog...but I couldn't find I created it. We all have unique experiences, and every experience, every story, can help someone else. I am a black girl from the hood at an ivy league professional school. That, alone, is reason enough to write. Somebody was looking for this blog. Someone wanted proof that what I'm doing can be done - even when you come from where we come from.

To that person especially, WELCOME.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm Not Taking My Clothes Off

I can't. I was all ready to give it a shot, but I couldn't do it. I had so much anxiety, I almost threw up. There are just some serious boundary issues involved when it comes down to me strippin down to my bra and boxers/biker shorts for class. Yes, it's because I'm fat in a program full of people who are skinny and judgemental. But it's also because I don't want to see my friend without her clothes on, and vice versa. My professor asked if we wanted her to be the model. I was thinkin' hell no, that's a boundary I don't wanna cross either. What is it about can't just be me...I really, sincerely, think there's something wrong with this. It's like seeing your co-workers naked...examining/commenting on their breasts, their skin, and their ear wax...

So, I was reassured that we could do it fully dressed (without any points subtracted from my partner for listening to heart and lungs over clothes) if I wanted to.

I think I can manage with a tank top and some pajama bottoms...

Thanks for your thoughts on the previous post about this folks.


Sarah Stewart said...

Hi there, I am a midwifery lecturer and midwife in New Zealand. I have to say that we do not make our students take their clothes - I certainly would not!! I enjoyed looking at your blog and wish send you my best wishes for your midwifery education. Kia ora Sarah

that big girl said...

I don't like this situation either. I have not been able to really speak to or maintain a friendship with my lab partner from Health Assessment - we didn't have a whole lot in common to begin with and a semester full of uncomfortable moments certainly didn't bring us closer. That class was the worst of my week - I always left feeling fat, hairy and old after wards. Even though she didn't necessarily give me any overt indication that she thought of me that way, just sitting on the table for 30 minutes while she looked at my nasty toenails and examined my abdomen (OMG! my bellybutton!) was awful. I would scrub obsessively the night before, and have this debate about shaving my pits and legs to make her feel more comfortable or to make me feel more comfortable.

Then add in some vague homophobia and comments about how because we don't have any men in our class, we should feel more comfortable with the exams (assuming that no one wanted to sleep with anyone, right!? we're all straight women, right?! and then we had the durtive glances and raised eyebrows). That added a whole different layer of discomfort for my partner when I was actually okay with having someone do a breast exam over my tank top - by some fluke, that morning, I woke up and decided that yes I would like for these young women to know what post-breastfeeding, 30+ yo breasts are like, so that when they are confronted with them clinically (oh the horror!) they hopefully won't cringe like they did with me. I can't maintain that level of altruism, though.

It was like making Gym Locker Room an hour long required course.

I totally support your decision. and i'm glad that you got the support that you did, as far as neither of you getting docked points for your decision. though, that really is the bare minimum that the instructor should be doing, I think.

It's like a forced dual relationship - examining someone who is a peer as if they are a patient. They are expecting that we can slip in and out of those roles with ease when it's not easy.

I was considering asking a friend about something from her psychiatric history recently, because of what I had seen that day in clinical. But I stopped, because I realized that I'd be using information that she revealed to me as a friend as if it was an interesting case study that I wanted to clinically learn more about.

anyway. sorry to go on so long - I had more to say about this than I thought!