Not Your Mother’s… Pap smear? How I tend to my reproductive health while healing from rape and miscarriage.

My intention is for this post to be helpful to all women- because honestly pap smears are never fun. They are super uncomfortable- and I remember dreading them even before I ever experienced a miscarriage or the trauma of rape… but if you’ve had traumatic experiences that make reproductive health even more difficult, these ideas may make things a little bit easier.

So, let’s get into some tips for making pap-smears, colposcopies, and other invasive exams a little easier.

1 | You have a voice. You gotta use it if you’re gonna get through this (and you are).

I know Western medicine makes it really confusing and uncomfortable to deal with healthcare in general these days… but you DO have a say over what happens with your body. Speak up to your provider. If your doctor is a jerk with zero bedside manner or respect for your body or what you’ve been through, drop ’em. Literally walk out that door. You have that choice.

2 | Work with your doctor to improve your physical comfort during an exam.

Just ask your doctor or the nurse beforehand to do these things for you. If they can’t take the time to treat you like a human being, find another place to go. It’s worth absolutely nothing if you force yourself to go through this and it sucks so bad you never go back- you could end up really sick down the road! Even if you have to scrape up the money, it’s worth the investment to be selective about who’s going to be sticking their tools and hands up in your vagina, y’know?

3 | Be considerate of your own comfort, just like you would for someone you love.

Plan your exam thoughtfully for yourself. For me, I know that 1) I’m not going to sleep well the night before and 2) I’m going to feel anxious and guarded the day of until it’s finished. I hate feeling like that, so I do my best to reduce the anxiety and also get it finished as early in the day as possible.

I hope this has helped at least a little bit.

But, one more thing:

It’s so important to take the time to really love and nurture yourself through these kind of things. Take as long as you need and do your best to be gentle with yourself, but also remember that while you didn’t choose what happened to you- you are responsible for your own healing. You don’t have to do it alone, but you are the one who takes responsibility for setting things in motion. If you need support, girl you gotta ask for it.

-Jessica

Author of Raped, Not Ruined. I am here to spread healing, strength, and gentleness through my own story of love and forgiveness. www.theserendipitylifestyle.com

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