By Kylie Orr
Let me paint you a picture. A rotund man who insists on wearing a bowtie and a wide smile with slightly yellowed teeth. Not a man you’d secrete sex pheromones over, that’s certain. Over time you develop a fondness for the man, which you can’t quite pinpoint. You feel comfortable in his presence, reassured by his knowledge and care; you trust his experience and expertise. You start thinking about this man more often than seems normal. He sidles his way into your dreams and daily thoughts.
You start seeing him more often – monthly visits become fortnightly, then weekly. The attachment deepens. Is it mutual or are you imagining it? You are married for Pete’s Sake, and about to have a baby! Pull yourself together, crazy pregnant woman.
He nurtures you through some incredibly vulnerable moments, sees you in your rawest state. He navigates places only your partner has dared. Then, he delivers a healthy baby for you. You are in love! But this time, it is with the tiny being he places on your chest.
He is your obstetrician. Sorry to burst your bubble.
I had a variety of medical carers throughout my four pregnancies but the overseeing Obstetric GP, also my family GP, was a man I adored. He bears no resemblance to Bradley Cooper, Orlando Bloom, or Johnny Depp but his endearing kindness and proficient medical care certainly cemented my affection.
To assure myself I was not 50 shades of freak, I put the question to my friends about whether they too, had fallen for their obstetrician or doctor. The initial replies were not too reassuring:
“Sorry, can't help you there. And if you had seen my middle-aged porky and gay obstetrician you would understand. Fantastic obstetrician though!”
Some had predominantly female obstetricians so didn’t develop a crush, others thought the idea was preposterous confirming my initial concerns that I was indeed freakish.
Just as I was about to give up on the idea, I was told stories of “Vaginal Lionel” – an apparently well-known obstetrician who supports vaginal delivery. This particular friend told me she was one of many women who adored him. She admitted that during her long and arduous labour she was calling out “Lionel, Lionel” whilst staring down her poor husband (whose name funnily enough, is not Lionel!).
Another friend relayed a story of a great grandmother who named her firstborn son after the delivering obstetrician. Does it indicate a fondness for her caregiver when his name was used in place of the husband’s?
Finally, I was reassured by a woman who was in love with her obstetrician “not in a sexual way” but when he walked into the delivery room during her first labour she had stars in her eyes: “the incredible trust and safety I felt when he was present made me feel everything was going to be OK.”
Displaced feelings for specialists in caring roles, often referred to as “transference” in the psychology world, is more common than you may think. When I say common, I mean I’ve heard a couple of stories to help ease my concern about being weird. I cannot find any data or statistics to support this claim, despite spending hours trawling the net reading about random women who have fallen for their doctors.
Does this small sample suggest we are lone riders in the loving your obstetrician game? Have you fallen for an obstetrician / fertility specialist / doctor?