I don’t want children — stop telling me I’ll change my mind | Christen Reighter

I absolutely love this TED Talk by Christen Reighter, who talks about the resistance she met with when attempting to obtain approval for tubal ligation. There are two statements in particular which struck me:

“I’ve always believed that having children was an extension of womanhood, not the definition.”

“I believe that a woman’s value should never be determined by whether or not she has a child, because that strips her of her entire identity as an adult unto herself.”

The resistance which Ms. Reighter encountered during her consultations for tubal ligation was unfounded in both my opinion as a woman, and also as a physician. It’s astonishing how medical colleagues refused to hear her argument for the ligation, and how her primary doctor kept insisting that she would change her mind at some point. What infuriates me even more was that the doctors abused medical paternalism, infusing their own beliefs about what a woman might be feeling about the idea of motherhood, and essentially stripping this woman of her rights.

Similar to what Christen Reighter believes, I have never bought into the lie that it has been my duty as a woman to have children. I have always bristled when people would try to pressure me to start a family. I have received this pressure from my family and feel that this is appropriate, but I have also been pressured by friends, patients, acquaintances and complete strangers. What is with the intense societal pressure to create progeny?

I have never experienced anything more than a brief and passing curiosity about the idea of having a child, and now that I am post-menopausal, I no longer have to concern myself with it. I don’t feel that I am incomplete or less of a woman because I chose not to have a mini-me. I essentially chose to be childless for a number of reasons, and I had the right to make that decision regardless of what anyone else thought.

Bravo to Christen Reighter for proclaiming her strong beliefs and standing her ground.

It’s Dr. Naito, NOT Dr. Stacey

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Proud to be a Doctor vector emblem design

Some of you are in the habit of referring to physicians by their first names, tacking on “doctor” before the name. In all honesty, those of you who do this are quite honestly showing disrespect in doing so, even if it isn’t your intention.

Please bear in mind that we physicians must endure four years of medical school, anywhere from 3 to 7 years of residency training, and for some physicians, additional years spent in fellowships. In addition, we must keep up with continuing medical education (my yearly requirement is at least 50 hours), maintain licensure, and recertify every few years for our board certification credentials.

So when doctors bristle at you calling them, “Doctor Bob”, “Doctor Stacey”, or “Doctor Karen”, don’t be surprised. It’s not cute, it’s far too casual, and again, it’s downright disrespectful.

I do NOT like being referred to as Dr. Stacey at all. I worked very hard to become a physician, and I deserve to be referred to properly. In addition, I refer to other physicians as Dr. (last name) at all times, unless a colleague gives me permission to refer to him or her on a first name basis.

If you have an issue pronouncing a doctor’s last name, ask the doctor for assistance in pronunciation. Sometimes, the physician may suggest that you use the first letter of the last name as an abbreviated version. For example, I could be referred to as “Doctor N”, which I am fine with. I will not respond well to “Doctor Stacey” or “Stacey” by a patient.

In case you were wondering, Naito is pronounced like “night”, with a long “o” at the end.

Are there any medical doctors out there who would like to chime in on this one?

Are There Really 52 Genders?

Back in the day, the topic of gender boiled down to biology, defined by one’s sex chromosomes. XX, and you were female, XY, and you were male. Chromosomal disorders such as XO,XXX, XXXX, XXXXX resulted in individuals who possessed female genitalia, while XXY, XXXY, XY/XXY, XYY aberrations resulted in the expression of male genitalia. True hermaphroditism (1), in which both female and male genitals or a hybrid of them exist, is exceedingly rare, so much so that there has never really been a pressing need for a third gender box.

In recent years, however, there has been so much debate and confusion regarding gender versus sexual orientation and identity, that surveys are jumping on the bandwagon to appease to this new crop of outspoken individuals. Biology has abruptly taken a backseat to sexual identity, with all its permutations and definitions. And don’t you dare try to argue biology with the new sexual order, either.

Call me old school, but if we are talking about biology, then there are MALES and FEMALES. For the purposes of the general human population, such genetic definitions accommodate the vast majority of individuals. So if a questionnaire or survey asks someone to check off a GENDER box, it shouldn’t be an insult to a person to mark one of those two boxes. Yet the new millennial order has eschewed biology, turning the query into a chance to declare specific social-sexual preferences. I have never been offended by the standard gender question, and cannot understand how some people insist on applying flawed logic and getting bent out of shape over it.

If gender is such a difficult issue in today’s society, then why do so many couples post gender reveals on social media? It’s either a boy, or a girl, period. Traditionally, when a survey asked for your gender for classification purposes, it wasn’t asking about your bedroom habits. Now it’s a wide open door for people to declare their defiance and independence from a staid society which has been sexually repressed for far too long. It’s suddenly cool when gathering demographic information to inquire about a person’s whole social identity.

I was prompted to write about this topic when I was asked to complete a profile for a social influencer platform. When I reached the gender section, I saw that it was FIVE PAGES LONG. There were 52 different gender choices. I was stunned. This wasn’t a gender question. This was a social-sexual labels question. And it truly annoyed me. It’s not like I have a problem with the labels, I just have a problem with them being referred to as genders. I also don’t quite understand how transgender people suddenly became so ANGRY at the world.

Honestly, many of the labels are redundant, and one in particular should not be used by the majority of the nonbinary public. Say someone identifies as the following:

AFAB (assigned female at birth)
Female to male
FTM
Trans male
Trans man
Transgender male
Transgender man
Transmasculine
Transsexual male
Transsexual man

Guess what? They all (except for AFAB, which already implies that the individual has rejected their biological origin) say the SAME THING.

Also, anyone who refers to themselves as Two-spirit has no right to use that label unless they truly are members of the indigenous Native American community from which the phrase originated. Here’s the description of “Two-spirit”:

Two-Spirit (also two spirit or, occasionally, twospirited) is a modern, pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial role in their cultures.

The term two-spirit was created in 1990 at the Indigenous lesbian and gay international gathering in Winnipeg, and “specifically chosen to distinguish and distance Native American/First Nations people from non-Native peoples.” The primary purpose of coining a new term was to encourage the replacement of the outdated and considered offensive, anthropological term, berdache. While this new term has not been universally accepted—it has been criticized by traditional communities who already have their own terms for the people being grouped under this new term, and by those who reject what they call the “western” binary implications, such as implying that Natives believe these individuals are “both male and female”—it has generally received more acceptance and use than the anthropological term it replaced.

“Two Spirit” is not interchangeable with “LGBT Native American” or “Gay Indian”; rather, it was intended, despite being in English, to carry on the traditional meanings of the terms in Indigenous languages for the culturally-specific ceremonial roles that are recognized and confirmed by the Elders of the two-spirit’s ceremonial community. Opinions vary as to whether or not this objective has succeeded. Often incorrectly used as a synonym for “LGBT Native”, the term and identity of two-spirit “does not make sense” unless it is contextualized within a Native American or First Nations framework and traditional cultural understanding. However, the gender-nonconforming, LGBT, or third and fourth gender, ceremonial roles traditionally embodied by Native American and FNIM people, intended to be under the modern umbrella of two-spirit, can vary widely, even among the Indigenous people who accept the English-language term. No one Native American/First Nations’ culture’s gender or sexuality categories apply to all, or even a majority of, these cultures.

Oh, and Two-spirit is NOT a gender per biological standards either.

It’s fine if someone doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into a stereotypical gender description, and identifies as being transgender. In fact, there is legislation which aims to designate X as a gender marker for nonbinary and transgender individuals, and apparently, this option is available on birth certificates issued in the Canadian province of Ontario. However, I rail against the idea that the standard gender question on surveys and other forms must add a whole mess of redundant descriptions of sexual and social behavior.

REFERENCES:

1. A Human Intersex (“True Hermaphrodite”) with XX/XXY/XXYYY Sex Chromosomes
Fraccaro M.a · Taylor A.I.b · Bodian M.b · Newns G.H.b. Cytogenetics 1962;1:104–112
https://doi.org/10.1159/000129719

Stacking The Deck

“So…what do you DO?”

This question is incredibly annoying to me, and I cringe every time I hear it. I resent the fact that many people are so quick to assess someone on the basis of what they “do” for a living, as if there are no other dimensions which should be taken into account.

I completely resent the demand to pick one career that defines me. To add insult to injury, when people find out that I am a medical doctor, they struggle with the stereotype of what they expect doctors to be like, in other words, very conservative in dress and demeanor, and without any flavor or personality. Well, I’ve got news for you. I will NEVER be a typical doctor. And please don’t doubt my credentials or schooling. I am NOT a nurse (not that there is anything wrong with this highly respected profession). I am a fully licensed and board certified physician.

However, I do not consider myself to be ONLY one thing, “only” a physician. Yes, I am a board certified physician. But I am also a degreed (Bachelor’s) fitness professional, professional athlete (IFBB Pro), certified nutrition coach, writer, model, brand ambassador and contest prep coach. If that’s too much for one to process, too bad. Because I am ALL of those things, and then some. I am just as much about fitness, bodybuilding and wellness as I am about medicine, and I shouldn’t have to choose one over the others. I am damned proud of what I have accomplished in bodybuilding, especially because I was in my forties when I took things to the next level, not when I was a young whipper-snapper, and I was already established in my medical career. I will not apologize to people who are confused by the sampler plate philosophy by which I live and who don’t believe that it’s possible to be more than one thing. Truth is, I live as what Marci Alboher describes in her book One Person Multiple Careers as a Slash, and I am proud of it. I know it’s unusual, but why is that so hard for people to grasp? I mean, here I am, doing all that I do, switching gears constantly, and sending a message to the world that no one should have to be one-dimensional and boring.

I am honest. I have sass, and I speak my mind. I will NOT hide parts of myself which some overly judgmental people may have a problem with. I am NOT going to apologize for having a sense of humor, for using cuss words here and there (though I don’t use them while seeing patients). I am not going to paint a false picture of who I am. If you don’t like what I am doing, no worries. Move on.

Here’s a message to you if you find that you are someone who is compromising your own vision, dreams, or goals, because you perceive a need to choose one thing to define you. Perhaps you need to re-examine why you are allowing that to occur. If you subscribe to a no limits philosophy, then you would never even consider pulling the reins back. I will always encourage driven people to go for whatever they want, and if it doesn’t fit in with the conventions of one of their chosen careers or hobbies, even better. Break stereotypes and show people what you are made of! Don’t hide all the facets which make you who you are!

Of Bikinis And Medical Degrees

In contrast with the illusion that society is prepared to welcome empowered women with open arms, I have met with a tremendous amount of opposition when I am evaluated for my medical expertise. Wanna know why? Because I competed onstage in blingy bikinis, because I continue to model in bikinis, and because I am not afraid to flaunt what I am blessed to still have. And it pisses me off.

You would think that societal influences have relaxed enough to allow a female physician to flaunt her femininity without getting dinged for it, but I continue to encounter resistance. In keeping with this double standard, there aren’t too many female docs who are confident enough to push the envelope and post images which may be considered more alluring. Female doctors are expected to remain covered up, with very little skin showing, in social media posts. I’m not talking about jeans and a t-shirt. I’m talking about professional business attire and a white coat, or scrubs. Evidently women who are physicians aren’t allowed to reveal who they are outside of the clinical setting. That’s ridiculous, and I refuse to give in.

If a client has a narrow-minded view of physicians and expects me to fit the mold of an uber-conservative nerdy person, that client will quickly reject me. I think it’s utter nonsense that my credibility has been questioned, simply because I also happen to be a model. I have a LIFE. I have a certain manner of dressing which includes a certain fashion flair. The way I dress for work is by no means gaudy or slutty, but because of my abhorrence of ultra conservative clothing and the white doctor’s coat, it is obvious that I refuse to play the stereotype game.

Tell me this: how the hell am I supposed to feel empowered when narrow-minded idiots insist on throwing their judgment on me? I admire a strong, intelligent, educated, accomplished person who also happens to beat the aging process and who isn’t afraid of flaunting it. Such people are courageous, not scandalous.
As a fully credentialed, board certified physician who also happens to be deeply involved in fitness, bodybuilding and modeling, I know that I stand out a bit in a sea of medical professionals, and to be honest, I am proud of it. A good portion of the world also seems ready for such empowered career women, but when those women are being considered for an ad campaign or other large scale project, they are quickly criticized and cast aside for their fortitude and boldness.

I don’t see why I should feel a drop of shame for modeling in bikinis. What the &*%@ is wrong with bikinis? Women all over the world wear bikinis, and even dare to go sans suits in some locales. So why should I be made to feel like I am being scandalous if I model in a bikini? I have modeled my entire life, and I have no plans to stop at all, especially if I have a physique which is bikini-worthy.

My life is so varied, full and exciting that I can easily escape the dry and often depressing climate of medicine and enjoy something that has twists and turns. None of my other pursuits diminish what I bring to the table as a healer. If anything, they add a humanness and relatability which I think my patients appreciate. I have said before and will say again that I have never been, nor will I ever be, a “typical” physician (whatever that means). So don’t try to mold me into something I am not.

Right Hand Rings


Pictured above is a Diamond Vintage-Inspired Engagement Ring (1/2 ct. t.w.) in 14k White Gold. This is the ring I wear now.

The trend in right hand rings has increased in popularity over the last fifteen years, because women are embracing it as a way to celebrate their independence and honor themselves. Similar to promise rings, which are also often worn on the right ring finger, right hand rings symbolize a dedication to a goal, a celebration of one’s strength, or an expression of one’s personality.

Though most of the women who opt to purchase right hand rings for themselves are single, a growing number of married woman are purchasing right hand rings for themselves. Right hand rings enable women to proudly display their power and freedom. One advertising campaign uses the slogan,

“Your left hand is a symbol of loyalty. Your right hand is a symbol of freedom.”

I’ve been married, and I have been engaged, so I still regard the left ring finger as sacred. As a matter of fact, I RARELY wear rings on my left ring finger out of respect for my strong belief that the left ring finger is reserved for the bond between two people. However, I have no intention of waiting for a left hand ring to alight once again upon that digit, and it turns out that many women feel the same way, and are purchasing right hand rings, even married ladies.

I had bought a right hand ring back in 2012, but I wasn’t in love with the design, and because I was so resentful of the non-committal man I was with at the time, I didn’t really want to wear it. When it was stolen in 2013, I figured it was meant to be.

Then in early February of this year, I was struck with a sudden urge to get a new right hand ring. It was time to honor myself. I wanted a design which reflected my personality, my taste, and was hoping to find something I absolutely loved, something that made me happy every time I looked at it. I selected a ring which did exactly that, the one that is pictured here on my blog. And it was on sale, for a price which could not be beaten, so I bought it. Little did I know I bought the ring on the crest of a huge breakup, so in a very cosmic way, it was perfect timing.

Exactly one month after I bought my right hand ring, I was completely broadsided by a sudden breakup, the third breakup by the same person in the span of six years. He was planning to move back in. He told me that he was finally ready to make an effort. It was all a lie.

To be honest, I was relieved that I didn’t have to explain my purchase to this guy who I am sure would have berated me for it. It was ridiculous of me to be so apprehensive to reveal my new bauble to someone who let me pay for everything (dinners, trips, gifts, etc.), yet felt he had the right to direct me on how to spend MY money. He never, ever took care of me, but expected me to acquiesce to his every need, and also knew that I would always rescue his pathetic ass.

Now I wear my right hand ring proudly, without fear of being ridiculed. I didn’t know it was considered an engagement ring until I wrote this article, but here’s a thought: I’m never going to break up with myself, and this ring symbolizes my lifelong commitment to myself, my dreams and my goals.

Hot Female Doctors

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Over the past few years, several male physicians, including Dr. Travis Stork of The Doctors and Dr. Mike (aka doctor.mike on Instagram), have enjoyed some media attention as a result of their good looks. Never mind that these docs have endured years of medical training (in Dr. Mike’s case, he’s still going through it as a resident). Their followers are more interested in celebrating how hot they are. However, I want to know where all the hot lady doctors are?

As a fully credentialed, board certified physician who also happens to be deeply involved in fitness, bodybuilding and modeling, I know that I stand out a bit in a sea of medical professionals, and to be honest, I am proud of it. Yes, I get plenty of criticism for modeling in bikinis, but I don’t see why I should feel a drop of shame for doing so. Women all over the world wear bikinis, and go sans suits in some locales. It’s not a crime or a scandal to wear a bikini, or to show my legs or midsection. I have modeled my entire life, and I have no plans to stop at all, especially if I have a physique which is bikini-worthy. Because of this, I have become known as a “hot doctor”.

You would think that societal influences have relaxed enough to allow a female physician to flaunt her femininity without getting dinged for it, but I continue to see resistance all over social media. In fact, it recently came to my attention that there aren’t too many female docs who are confident enough to push the envelope and post images which may be considered more alluring. It is still considered “proper” and customary for a female doctor to remain covered up in social media posts. I’m not talking about jeans and a t-shirt. I’m talking about professional business attire and a white coat, or scrubs. So does that mean that women who are physicians aren’t allowed to reveal who they are outside of the clinical setting? That’s ridiculous.

My life is so varied, full and exciting that I can easily escape the dry and often depressing climate of medicine and enjoy something that has twists and turns. None of my other pursuits diminish what I bring to the table as a healer. If anything, they add a humanness and relatability which I think my patients appreciate. I have said before and will say again that I have never been, nor will I ever be, a “typical” physician (whatever that means). I don’t talk about medical cases and read medical tomes when I am away from the office. Many of my colleagues are so unbalanced that they will eat, breathe and live medicine constantly, but that is not my style at all. Some of them are also social misfits and cannot talk about a non-medical topic without stumbling and bumbling. The social awkwardness of some physicians is so painful to witness that I find myself cringing and looking for a quick exit when social hour begins at a conference or medical dinner.

In response to some criticism I received about posting professional swimsuit images on my main Instagram account, I established a medical Instagram profile to appease the haters somewhat, as well as legitimize my medical practice. However, I still post what I WANT to post on my main account, and if my posting habits continue to solidify the “hot doctor” label I have been given, then SO BE IT!