COVID’s Impact on Reproductive Care: One Woman’s Journey


Our community is fully understanding that staying at home benefits and safeguards Emergency Room staff, ICU staff, and general health care practitioners. Their job descriptions evolve on an hourly basis due to Covid-19. Last week, I had a first-hand look into how this pandemic has directly touched OBGYN and Family Practice staff. What impact do these new rules and procedures have on patient experience? Compassion and warmth may have taken a back seat.

COVID's Impact on Reproductive Care: One Woman's Journey | Duluth Moms Blog

I’m from the East Coast, so when I called my mom crying about some tough news from an annual check up, she didn’t hesitate to fly to Minnesota (after several cancelled flights, many face masks and disposable gloves, she did eventually make it here). I scheduled a follow-up appointment for some tests that were going to cause discomfort and had the potential to produce scary results.

My husband didn’t hesitate to volunteer to be by my side at registration and the waiting room. Upon check in, I was informed that he was not permitted to be on the hospital grounds at all. He was immediately directed to wait for me in the car. My moral support was stripped from me with no warning. All I could remember thinking is that if I were told that visitors weren’t allowed ahead of time, I would’ve been emotionally prepared to be alone. But there I was, metaphorically and quite literally naked and afraid.

After receiving my test results a few days later, with more positive news than the doctor had expected and directions to monitor the issue, my mom gave me an elbow bump and made her way back to the east coast with her PPE in hand.

After discussing my concerns with my husband, we decided that our hopes of having a family needed to be less of an ambiguous time frame and more of a Nike “Let’s Do This” style. Eager, anxious, terrified, and giddy I call back to the OBGYN. “What type of appointment do you need to schedule?” the professional receptionist inquired. I couldn’t help but smile when I explained the nature of the visit: IUD removal.

Her response: earliest we’re taking non-emergent appointments is middle of June.

I was silent. Partly because I was speechless, and partly because I thought if I paused she might realize she made a mistake and really had an appointment she could squeeze me in this coming Tuesday…Wednesday… or literally anytime before June.

Of course I know that women wait weeks, months, years, and lifetimes for their family plans to come to fruition. Of course I’ve heard on the news that elective procedures are being postponed. Of course I know that people are in ICU beds fighting for their lives. Of course I know that hospital staff are doing their absolute best to keep up with protocol, patient influx, and infection control.

But I still felt angry and frustrated. What right does COVID-19 have to tell me I can’t start my family? And what if the governor has to backtrack on reopening? Or if COVID spikes and we all find ourselves back in strict lockdown orders? What if the health concern I’m tasked with monitoring gets worse and takes my option to start a family off of the table during all of this?

COVID's Impact on Reproductive Care: One Woman's Journey | Duluth Moms Blog

Covid-19 has changed our lives in unexpected ways. It’s flipped our worlds upside down, it has demanded us to be more flexible, adaptable, and take on roles that we aren’t really prepared for. It isn’t my intention to sound self-centered, but I believe we are mourning many types of losses during this time.

What I do know is that my husband and I are ready to start our family and I’m being told that I can’t. I want to throw a temper tantrum. I want to create signs that read “Don’t tread on me” with an angry uterus and shove it in Coronavirus’s face.

But, ultimately, I understand. Hospitals need to preserve resources. Hospitals are relying on protocol to keep everyone safe. I really do understand. In light of this new reality, we’re all scrambling to do our best. We are all experiencing small waves of grief – loss of the lives we had prior to COVID protocol. I was used to having control over my reproductive choices–of having the option to start a family when I wanted to. I’m now grieving – I now do not have that choice. The restoration of that choice is still up in the air.


Guest blogger Marah, a recent transfer to the Duluth area, is a practicing EMT, graduate student, and wife, who is passionate about inclusive and accessible reproductive care. She believes in supporting womxn by writing about and listening to diverse experiences and perspectives.