Being told by doctors to simply ‘lose weight’ is as dangerous as it is dismissive, as this story proves
There are so many things that can go wrong during pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery. That’s just an inarguable fact women everywhere face. So when a new mom kept experiencing worrisome symptoms even after the delivery of her daughter, she knew she had to follow up with medical personnel immediately. Unfortunately, she didn’t exactly receive the help she needed.
When comedian Jen Curran was pregnant with her daughter, Rose, she said she displayed symptoms of preeclampsia — a spike in her blood pressure and protein in her urine. She was placed on bed rest by her doctors while they kept an eye on her condition.
In a now-viral Twitter thread, Curran shared that even after delivery, she discovered she had protein in her urine. She was urged to visit a kidney specialist by her obstetrician, who was concerned that the high levels of protein were indicative of something more serious going on. Turns out, it was.
Curran says she didn’t ask for a recommendation for a kidney specialist, but just went with whatever doctor was covered by her insurance. She said when she met with her, her protein levels were even higher than they were during pregnancy, which is abnormal and concerning. Well, not enough for the doctor, apparently.
In fact, because Curran appeared to have recovered from childbirth in every other visible way, her doctor did was far too many doctors do when they can’t pinpoint an exact diagnosis for a female patient: she suggested she lose weight.
She says that while she didn’t instinctually feel this was the right answer, and that she was being dismissed by the doctor, she went home and considered her options.
She was reluctant to make her weight the primary factor to focus on, health-wise, knowing how much diet culture and the “just lose weight” mentality holds women back in a multitude of ways.
This resulted in Curran’s new kidney doctor referring her to a hematologist-oncologist who biopsied her bone marrow. Which is an invasive and painful procedure. Definitely not something shedding a few pounds can prevent.
Her official diagnosis just proves how dangerous the whole weight-loss stigma can be for women seeking medical attention.
She shares that she knows if she hadn’t had a baby, they might not have ever had reason to believe anything was wrong — none of her other tests came back abnormal.
Though it’s a daunting diagnosis, especially for a new mother with an infant, Curran hopes sharing her story helps other women.
Curran admitted to TODAY that parenting a 5-month-old is no easy feat, especially with cancer, but it’s helped her cope in many ways.
“I certainly wish this was not happening,” she said. “But I feel really lucky and grateful that this baby is here. She is so much work and she brings me so much joy.”