Yesterday I experienced a new milestone as a mother: the first time I was kicked out of the exam room, so the pediatrician could perform my 12-year-old son’s physical. I was there when the nurse weighed and measured him, stayed for the pre-exam evaluation/talk, but when it came time for the pediatrician to take a look at everything, he suggested “mom leave the room,” and my son nodded that he would feel more comfortable.
I was temporarily banished to the waiting room until the exam was over, and the pediatrician was ready to share his conclusions and concerns with me. I went willingly and without a fight, but I couldn’t help but remember how even when I was 17, my mother stayed in the exam room with me, while my crusty old pediatrician asked me questions about my body, my cycle, and my (lack of) sexual experience.
I know Mami would NEVER have left the room. But a) we were both girls and b) my doctor was male, so if she didn’t stay, a nurse would’ve had to, so perhaps it was for the best… Actually, I was so used to having Mami around during my visits, that one time when I was in a car accident at 16 and ended up in the ER, the attending doctor thought I was lying to protect a pregnancy, because I couldn’t remember the start of my last period. He kept saying “Mom, you need to step out, so we can ask your daughter some confidential questions,” and I basically had to yell, “Unless it’s another Immaculate Conception, there’s no way I’m pregnant.” That shut the doctor up and made Mami laugh (a little).
But getting back to my son. I want him to feel comfortable talking to his doctor without me there. I don’t need to know 100 percent of the details about his pubescent body, and I’m OK with the fact that he has to start taking some responsibility for his own health and wellness. But I still got a little teary eyed in the waiting room, realizing that for the very first time, I wasn’t there for a part of a doctor exam. I had a flashback to when he was 10 months old and needed a spinal tap. The ER doctors wouldn’t allow me to stay as they performed the procedure, and I cried and cried into my husband’s arms.
How time flies. I’m not sure I’m ready for all of these new parenting milestones, but I have to be, because they’re coming!
Photo courtesy of mjmonty under a Creative Commons license