Deciding to have kids is a big deal, of course, but so’s deciding not to start a family and yet no one takes those of us who make that choice seriously. I learned this the hard way when I asked my doctor about getting my tubes tied.
I’m a permanently childfree woman. That means I don’t want kids ever. I won’t change my mind when I meet the right man or until I grow up and stop being so selfish, as has been suggested to me when I reveal my intentions. I want to enjoy a life of other pleasures that don’t involve having kids. I like my freedom. I like silence and spontaneity. I crave travel and adventures. I have anxiety, which would only be heightened by the pressures of raising a child. The thought of being strapped with kids for the rest of my life is my idea of hell. It would be selfish of me to bring kids into this world if I don’t believe I’m well-equipped to be a mother. Why is that so hard to understand?
I’ve always known that I’m not meant to be a mother and I’m OK with that. Around the age of 15, I decided that motherhood didn’t interest me. When I thought about my future, I visualized going to college, getting a kickass job, and living a life of adventure. I traveled extensively in my twenties and did everything I set out to do, enjoying the endless freedom at my fingertips. As the years passed, I knew that I wouldn’t change my mind about motherhood. I had no desire to be pregnant or take care of babies. Having a child is the one thing in life that’s permanent, and it just wasn’t the type of lifestyle I wanted to live.
My attempts to prevent pregnancy through birth control were futile. I’d tried several forms of birth control and experienced serious side effects with them all. I gained weight on the shot, the pill made me nauseous, and the patch gave me rashes. Not to mention, the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and the idea of filling my body with synthetic hormones never really jived with me. When I tried to get a non-hormonal IUD, my body had a reaction and the doctor said it wasn’t a good idea to continue with the insertion. I was out of options so I just stuck with condoms. I truly wished I could just be in complete control of my sexual health by never having to worry about an accidental pregnancy. I wanted to be responsible for my body and respect my own wishes to remain childfree.
My doctor made me feel ignored and disrespected when I brought up getting my tubes tied. During a routine annual visit to my gynecologist, I casually asked when I could get permanently sterilized, AKA tie my tubes. My doctor laughed at me. I laid there unsure if she was laughing because she thought I was kidding or because she thought I was ridiculous to ask. I stayed silent as she awkwardly realized that I wasn’t joking. She cleared her throat and told me that I had to be 30 before I even think about getting a tubal ligation. She insisted that I’d regret getting that procedure done at such as young age. WTF?
I started to do my own research on sterilization procedures for men and women and realized how screwed up it is. I didn’t know it would be so difficult to get my tubes tied. As I soon learned, the process of sterilization for women is tricky. Many doctors won’t perform a tubal ligation on a woman under the age of 35 and some won’t do it on unmarried women, which… what the hell? I became a part of many childfree communities of people who are just like me and I quickly saw the struggles of other women who were denied by multiple doctors unless they met certain criteria. On the other hand, it seems that men can quickly and easily get a vasectomy. The male sterilization procedure is much less invasive and the recovery time is quicker, sure, but why are men given control of their bodies but women aren’t? We’re the ones who have to carry the kids to start with!
Isn’t the world already overpopulated? I often wonder why doctors are so hesitant about sterilization for this reason above all others. If someone doesn’t want to have kids and proudly makes that declaration, isn’t that a good thing? I don’t believe anyone should have children unless they’re willing, capable, and ready. I know I’m not and I’ll never be, so I make it my business to prevent getting pregnant. Lifelong commitments to raise tiny humans is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are also millions of kids up for adoption and my heart goes out to them. If I ever longed to care for a child, I would give one a good home and an amazing life. That’s not likely to happen, of course, but I’m just saying I wouldn’t need to give birth to be a mother.
I’m still on my quest to get my tubes tied. It’s been eight years since I was told I wasn’t a suitable candidate for sterilization. I’m still searching for the open-minded doctor that will allow me to be in control of my body and my wishes to remain childfree. It sucks that it’s so difficult, but I hope that will change someday soon.
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