We took our boy to the pediatrician last week for his six month checkup. As usual, we waited way too long (over an hour) to actually see the doctor. And, as usual, we soothed our impatience by reminding ourselves that we love our son's doctor, and so does our son. Dr. H is affable, friendly, a little goofy-looking. He reminds me of a Muppet with his big smile and googly eyes behind his thick glasses. When he bustles into the exam room, full of good cheer, we always feel better about the excessive wait in the claustrophobia-inducing well-baby waiting room, the incompetence of the front desk staff, and the rudeness of his young nurses.
This visit was no different, at first. After Harrison's weigh-in and measurements, we were presented with a packet of photocopied pages outlining milestones, vaccine schedules, feeding requirements, etc. etc. My husband (who is kind enough to accompany us when he can) flipped through the packet while we waited for the nurse to come in with the array of required shots. He was stunned to come across a sheet of paper titled: COHABITATION. According to this document, "research" shows that cohabitation (living together without being married) causes many "problems for the couple, children of the union, and society." It goes on to claim that cohabitating couples are more likely to engage in domestic violence, more likely to cheat and bring home STD's, and more likely to get a divorce if they do eventually get married. Men, according to this same elusive "research" see cohabitation as a convenience that allows them to be violent towards their partners and (are you ready for this?) to be accepting of date rape.
Holy fucking shit. Who does our doctor think his patients are?
My first problem (and there are many) is with the supposed research these claims are drawn from. There is not a single citation for any of these sources. Obviously it is assumed that we the patients are not smart enough to question extraordinary claims such as these, or to evaluate the sources who make the claims. We are expected to take it as gospel simply because our doctors have proclaimed it to be so. I rather suspect that the source of this information is a religious-based organization, which brings me to my second problem: proselytizing. I wholeheartedly resent anyone trying to influence me to join, support, or conform to their religious beliefs. The doctor's office is no place to push a religious agenda. It is none of our pediatrician's business whether his patients are married or merely shacking up. I shudder to think how a couple of gay parents would be viewed by this same "research".
Bill and I lived together for a long time before we got married. We were as close as any married couple and, while we were not without our disputes, our home was free from STD's, violence, and rape. Since we got married, a few things have changed. I took his last name, we started filing taxes together, and people have finally gotten off our backs about living "in sin". We don't love each other more than we used to, we still fight with about the same frequency and intensity, and we still have consensual, monogamous sex.
This misguided judgment of my family's history is the last straw. We're good parents who love each other and our baby wholeheartedly. It's time to find a pediatrician for whom only our medical history is relevant. God has no place in my marriage and, ideally, will have no place in my son's doctor's office.