Erin Barnett on Society’s Expectation of Her to Be a Mother
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Erin Barnett has been very open and candid with her huge following about her experience living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. Diagnosed with PCOS at a very young age, and diagnosed with endo at 19, she’s undergone 17 surgeries in an attempt to help treat her pain. She’s had multiple cysts removed, including one over 3kgs that was discovered when she was just 14. She’s had an ovary removed, a fallopian tube removed and, most recently, has undergone a complete hysterectomy to help ease her condition. And she’s only 28 years old.
Having gone through so much with her body in such a relatively short period of time, Barnett has experienced firsthand how misogyny infiltrates the medical system, and how her experiences were overlooked because of it. Even post-hysterectomy, conversations around her decision are steeped in archaic sexism.
Barnett sat down with POPSUGAR’s Love Rants host Melissa Mason to discuss her experience receiving care, the response she’s received following her hysterectomy, and advice she has for other people experiencing the same thing.
Erin Barnett: ‘So Many People Are Worried About If I’ll Change My Mind. No-One Gives a S**t That I Was In a Lot of Pain’
Going through a major surgery like a hysterectomy, there will always be a string of conversations to have with medical professionals before going through it. But Barnett told Mason that she was shocked about the types of conversations she was subjected to.
“To get the hysterectomy to get approved, it wasn’t just a little conversation with my gynecologist,” Barnett said.
“I had to go get a second opinion. He suggested a doctor and she actually said no, she didn’t agree. And then I had to go see a psychiatrist who made sure that I was mentally stable enough to make this decision, and that I knew what was going to happen before and after the surgery. I also had to see a chronic pain specialist and a pelvic floor specialist. It took forever.”
But what shocked Barnett most about the process was how much of it revolved around her choice to not be a mother.
“I said to my psychologist, ‘It baffles me that I’m here to try and convince you that I am mentally OK to not be a mother’,” she said.
“But if I got pregnant on the streets, I wouldn’t have to come see you to make sure that I’d be a good mother. But I have to see you to make sure that I’m going to be a good non-mother.”
The public response reflected this focus on motherhood, with plenty of people hounding Barnett about her choice to not be a mother. As if she hasn’t been living a life filled with pain since she was young.
“So many people are worried about if I’ll change my mind,” she said.
“But no one gives a **** that I’m in a lot of pain. I’m going broke from all these medical surgeries I have to go through. No one gives a **** about that. You want me to get pregnant, be broke, and put the baby in a really bad position for its whole life, just because that’s what society says I’m meant to do.”
Listen to Erin’s episode of POPSUGAR’s Love Rants above, or wherever you get your podcasts.
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