Medical gaslighting is a serious problem within healthcare—and a problem that vastly affects women at higher proportions than men. Women are calling out medical gaslighting more than ever now in an attempt to demand better care. 

TikToker @hoyttwinadventures recently shared a video about the contrasts between how she and her husband were treated by their healthcare providers—and it’s upright demoralizing to watch this as a woman who’s had multiple experiences with medical gaslighting.

@hoyttwinadventures

Y’all I had an infection for 3 years! When I asked my doctor about it she said “welcome to motherhood” #momtom #tiredmom #storytime #menvswomen

♬ original sound – HoytTwinAdventures

“So my husband told me something last night that blew my mind,” she starts off saying. “He told me that he went to the doctor and the doctor asked him if he had any concerns and he was like, ‘Yeah, I’m super tired and I feel like I don’t have the energy that I used to.’ And the doctor said, ‘Well let me run some sleep apnea tests.’”

The TikToker takes a pause, looking astonished, before continuing. “When I went to my doctor, she asked me if I had any concerns and I was like, ‘Yeah, I am in chronic pain, I’m tired, I have no energy, I have no libido, I have pain when I have *seggsy* time, and I just feel so run down and defeated.’ And she goes, ‘Welcome to motherhood… Thanks for coming, see you next year.’ That was it.”

Related: How to advocate for yourself at medical appointments 

Disgusting and inappropriate that this was her experience. Especially because come to find out, this mama discovered that she actually has two infections from her C-Sections—and she’s had them since she gave birth to her twin daughters three years ago. How is that OK?!

It’s not.

“We can’t just say welcome to motherhood to women when they complain about being tired and being in chronic pain and having no libido. We’ve got to do better.”

Related: Self-advocacy is crucial when it comes to combating the Black maternal health crisis

And we do. But aside from more women finding the courage to advocate for themselves and calling out providers, it also takes the healthcare system listening to women and taking them seriously. Medical gaslighting in women’s health shouldn’t be a constant problem, but sadly it is.

And her video wasn’t even the worst part. The amount of women who flooded the comments sharing similar experiences with medical gaslighting and having their concerns disregarded is utterly disheartening.

“Mine just told me I was fat. After advocating over and over for myself, we found out I had cancer in my uterus and cervix. Just fat though, right?”

“It’s maddening. My husband gets excellent care. I get ignored. I’m depressed over it.”

“And you would think our WOMEN doctors would understand ?? It’s insane.”

“We’ve been taught to normalize pain and endure it.”

“I think we should be able to get refunds from insurance when we have grievances with doctors like this because it’s so common and nothing will change if they keep getting paid to do nothing!”  (That part👏)

“The way sexism persists in the medical industry is so unjust. We have so many resources to devote to researching and helping with women’s health.”

“Not to mention ‘Welcome to motherhood’ probably cost you over $200 to hear it.”

Related: Experts share how to advocate for yourself during pregnancy

To be one amongst many women who experience these disparities within the healthcare system every single day is not OK. 

I’ve had ongoing health concerns since middle school. I’ve gone through high school, graduated college and now have a family of my own—yet I still have the same health concerns, if not more. I’ve considered countless times of medical gaslighting. How is that considered OK? How do my symptoms continue to be considered normal? How many times do I have to find a new practitioner before one of them finally takes me seriously—or, God forbid, before it’s too late?

I won’t continue putting up with being disregarded. I won’t continue accepting medical gaslighting at my appointments. No woman should.

Related: The 5 doctor appointments to make for yourself each year

Because when we’re constantly written off and then come to find out that we’ve been living with real health problems for years… who’s there to help us then? 

We know our bodies. We know when something isn’t right. 

But it takes more than just us. It takes a shift in the entire healthcare system.

Related: How to have a stress-free pediatrician appointment with your kids

It takes respecting and valuing women more. It takes checking and correcting the biases that bring medical gaslighting about. It takes acknowledging and listening when women voice their concerns. It takes not making them question their symptoms. It takes not just chucking it up to motherhood or age—and actually doing some deep work to find possible root causes. It takes believing that women know their bodies—because we do.

We have lived in them every day of our entire lives. Grown with them through changes and learned how to become attuned with them. So if nothing else, that matters. And that calls for less medical gaslighting and better care.

Motherly Stories are first person, 500-1000 word stories, reflecting on the insights you’ve experienced in motherhood—and the wisdom you’ve gained along the way. They also help other women realize they’re not alone. Motherly Stories don’t judge. Instead, they inspire other mamas with stories of meaning, hope and a realization that “you’ve got this.” If you have a story, please submit it here: https://www.mother.ly/share-your-story/