It can be better than this.

Last weekend there was a full-page advertisement in the Tulsa World newspaper.  Today it was repeated in a 1/3 page format.

It troubled me when I first saw it.  I’ve thought a lot about it through the week, and it still troubles me. Deeply: as in disturbs my sleep and clouds my day.  Bear with me and I will explain why.

Scans of a newspaper aren’t high-definition photos, but I scanned it for you to take a look:

Hillcrest Ad


Webster’s dictionary defines Gynecology as a branch of medicine that deals with the diseases and routine physical care of the reproductive system of women”.   

It defines Pediatrics as  a branch of medicine dealing with the development, care, and diseases of children”.

I will refrain from belaboring the point with a definition of child.  What I see is a  medical marketing campaign specifically including a target audience of young girls with disease or problems of their reproductive system.  What absolutely breaks my heart is the fact that this hospital system, now expanding  their women’s clinic,  knows they have a viable market!

I’ve been a nurse long enough, and married long enough, to know that female reproductive capacity can sometimes be complicated.  For the treatment of these complications I am very thankful that some physicians specialize to this.  Female reproductive capacity is a wonderful and fascinating aspect of the human creature.  Whether that species trait is actually carried out in a particular person in the form of being pregnant and giving birth is not relevant to the point here.  The fact that every human being owes his or her existence to sexual reproduction and the female anatomy is.  The fact that every female born, regardless of gestational age, possesses within her ovaries at birth every egg cell she will ever have;  is relevant.

The point is that being a girl, and being a woman, is amazing, special, and precious.

I am privileged to be close to people who navigate the transition from girl to woman.  I have three daughters.  It is my responsibility to make for them a home where they are cherished and safe, and where they feel and know  those realities.  It is my responsibility to ensure they receive good nutrition for their growing body.

I am sure, without a doubt, that a failure in nurture, a failure in respect, a failure in cherishment, is at the root of most gynecological problems, abdominal pains, and anxieties.  Twenty-plus years of nursing, with the majority of those years in ER work, have given me the observation that gyn problems, abdominal pains, and anxiety issues are usually intertwined.  Healthy and lengthy relationships among friends and extended family have given me the observation that girls who receive good nuture, respect, nutrition, and exercise, generally don’t experience significant problems with this triad of issues.

Adults, in principal, have the capacity for and right to self determination.  Based upon their unique combinations of goals, desires, intellect, and experience, adults make their own decisions about how they engage life, and how they allow various possibilities to affect their course of action.  While it is sad to see a young woman suffer from unhealthy choices about her sexuality,  it is still her perogative to choose her path.

Children, on the other hand, are assisted in their choices.  Only a daft or cruel adult would allow a child to have absolute free range for their decisions.  We choose for them because it is necessary for their development into happy, healthy participants in family and the community.  As we assist their development we nurture them into greater autonomy while at the same time providing safety nets to prevent disasters which they don’t consider.  And there of a lot of disasters that children don’t consider due to their normal cognitive development and their inexperience.  Inheritantly,  precisely because of their sub-mature state of cognitive development,  children’s choices are always assisted in one way or another.

It tears me apart inside, deep inside, to think of all the girls who, in one way or another, are being assisted into choices about their self and their sexuality that result in their need for this new medical sub-specialty of “pediatric gynecology”.  I want to yell from the roof tops and sidewalks to every mom, dad, or leader of children; to every boy in every classroom and playground, to every advertising market venue; “STOP IT ALREADY!! Don’t you see we are damaging the very core of being human, and the very core of being a humane and caring culture?!!  Can we please GIVE respect where it is due; TEACH respect and compassion with our every action, and stop killing ourselves?”

We all suffer a horrendous loss when our society has developed, and perpetuates, a need for pediatric gynecology on a scale which warrants full-page ads in big-city, Warren Buffet-owned newspapers.

The point is that being a girl, and being a woman, is amazing, special, and precious. Civilized culture protects and nutures people and things amazing, special, and precious.   It does not facilitate their damage.

Play at the park



3 thoughts on “It can be better than this.

  1. Dear Marty,
    I commend you for a very fine article, and for the responsible and strong stance you take. However, I want to add a perspective that you may not have considered. As a social worker who has worked in both child protective services and in mental health services, I have seen and carried the burden of caring for little girls and teens, who, through no fault of their own, have fallen through the cracks of care, and have suffered gynecological injuries that rip my soul apart. I have been immensely grateful for having had available to me medical professionals who join in caring for these children and youth to help them heal and rebuild lives. It takes a VERY special person to specialize in “pediatric gynecology”, and believe me, there are not enough of them to go around to meet the need, in this country and elsewhere, to care for children who have special needs. I think of the little girls I have known who are born with bladders outside of their body, or no urethra, or indeterminate sexual organs. I grieve over the young women I have worked with who suffer terrible debilitating pain resulting from injuries as the hands of men and women who tortured them, or who were injured in accidents. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have known people personally as well as professionally who desperately needed someone to treat their deformities, injuries, and diseases when they were children, and the lack of pediatric specialists willing and able to treat their gyn needs resulted in disability, pain, and/or infertility as adults. Please reconsider your blanket condemnation of pediatric gyn services….it could be an area you may be called to consider working in. I never imagined as a young social worker all the things I would hear and learn about, and I wish I lived in a world where this would not be even in our realm of knowledge. But reality is what it is and I thank God for those professionals who still work in this field. I no longer do, partly for my mental and spiritual health, but I pray for those who do. They need our strength and compassion as they work to heal those who come for their care.

    • Annie, thank you for joining the conversation and sharing more details about the need for pediatric gynecology. I would like to clarify that my post makes no blanket condemnation of the profession of pediatric gynecology. If there is a blanket coverage in the content, it is the inclusion of this sub-specialty when I express THANKS FOR those physicians who specialize in care of the female reproductive system.
      What I decry in this post is the NEED for pediatric gynecology, and the social constructs which CAUSE that need. I am in no way speaking against the caregivers who specialize in meeting these needs and who provide immeasurable aid to the girls who seek their services. Neither am I speaking against the Hillcrest Hospital system for advertising their services in a profitable big-city newspaper. I am, however, expressing my deep grief and consternation for the fact that a known market now exists in sufficient quantity to warrant a for-profit hospital system buying such ads.

      • I see many women whose life experiences from a young age have left them wracked in body, mind, and spirit with the corrosive effects of chronic stress and vigilance. It is incredibly sad. I resonate with your post here.

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