Today I really want to talk about one of the very few subjects that I’m extremely passionate about. Birth control. Not abortion, don’t worry, I’m not getting into that debate here and now, but I want to just put a few things out there for y’all to think about.
Last year, I did what was, in my opinion, the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I had sterilization surgery. In my particular surgery, they removed just my fallopian tubes, leaving my uterus and ovaries intact. This means I still have periods (unfortunately, haha!), I still produce eggs, everything still works, the eggs just can’t naturally find their way to the uterus. In vitro could still potentially be an option if something strange happened and I changed my mind. But before I get too far into that, I just want to share with you some of the many comments directed at me about this decision. Some of them from people close to me (who, despite their relationship toward me, have no claim to what I do with my body), and worse, from people who don’t know me, which is just weird. Some of the comments have been as follows:
“You’re so young! What if you change your mind?!”
“Wow, the doctor let you do that?”
“What does your boyfriend think?”
“What if you fall in love with someone who really wants kids?”
“You’ll change your mind.”
“Don’t your parents want grandchildren?”
“That’s surgery! Aren’t you worried about complications?”
Now I want to address these quotes…lets start with “You’re so young! What if you change your mind?” Well let’s start with the fact that I’ve never ever in my life seen myself as a mother. There were a few years where I tried to force it, like oh, I’m this age, I should be thinking about starting a family, ect. but ultimately, it never struck me as something I really wanted to do. I feel like motherhood takes passion, or at least it should. It should be something you want to do, something you have a huge desire for, and willing to make the immense commitment to raise another human being. Definitely not for me, and I don’t appreciate people telling me how my mind works or what I do or don’t want in life. With that being said, sure there is statistically a chance that I could change my mind. Don’t think I hadn’t thought of that and at least considered my options. I could still do in vitro, as I mentioned before, and use my own eggs along with my choice of sperm from wherever just like I could before. Only sterilization gave me the option to make that choice consciously and to actually have to evaluate before something just happens. Another option is adoption. If I’m so hell bent on having kids, it shouldn’t matter if we share blood. So if I get an overwhelming case of baby fever, that option would always be on the table too. Highly doubt it, because kids aren’t my thing and never have been. I don’t think it’s for everyone, and that’s ok.
“Wow, the doctor let you do that?” Yeah, ok honestly I was a little surprised (and impressed!) about this one too. I did face a lot of opposition, and honestly I would have done this sooner had I not felt like so many people were against it, even though it’s totally legal for me to make such a decision. Either way, again, not a place for the general public to interject. I went to my doctor, expressed my concerns, and she listened to me. She trusted me to have autonomy over my own body, and for the love of God, it felt good to finally be respected. We discussed all of the options, and found the best one for me, and that’s what counts. What my doctor and I discussed is none of your business. Yes, she let me make choices about my own body. Way to go Doc!
“What does your boyfriend think?” Ok, this one seriously pisses me off. He doesn’t have a choice in the matter. I don’t want kids, therefore, if he wants kids, it’s not gonna happen with me. It doesn’t matter how in love we are, I’m willing to make a lot of compromises, but the decision to bring another life into this world isn’t something I’m willing to compromise on. Deciding to have a child isn’t like trying to decide whether or not to order an appetizer. Raising a child is hard work. And it’s not just for a little while. It’s not just for 18 years either, because even when the child grows up, they are still going to need you and need your love, even if it’s in a different way. JT is actually on the same page as me anyway, and he’s fine with my decision, but even if he wasn’t, that’s no one else’s business! If kids were a priority for him, I would tell him kindly to go find someone he can have kids with, but it won’t be me.
“What if you fall in love with someone who really wants kids?” People hear that JT is on the same page and then want to take it a step farther with the bullshit what-if scenarios and ask what happens if we break up and I fall in love with someone else…blah blah blah. That’s a bullshit scenario. Whether its JT or someone else, I have control over my own body. I. don’t. want. kids. End of story. The person I’m with doesn’t matter. If I wanted kids, I’d want to have JT’s kids, because he’s awesome. I didn’t choose not to have kids because I chose an unfit partner. I chose not to have kids because it’s my fucking decision, get it right.
“You’ll change your mind” Ugh. Seriously? I know there’s been plenty of people who have changed their minds on this subject, but again, it’s not someone else’s business. If I change my mind, I’ll have to deal with that, not them. And as I mentioned before, there are still plenty of options!
“Don’t your parents want grandchildren?” I’m sure my parents would have loved grandchildren. I also believe they are totally fine without them. If they wanted to be guaranteed grandchildren, they probably should have had more kids themselves. My parents wouldn’t be the ones to raise my kids, I would be. If I don’t want them, my parents’ thoughts are pretty irrelevant. I’m not going to tie myself up with the world’s biggest responsibility that I don’t want for the rest of my life just so my parents can have a few hours of fun every couple months. Fuck that. My parents are supportive of my decision though, they always said I’m the person who would have to raise the kids, so if I don’t want to do it, I shouldn’t. I agree.
“That’s surgery! Aren’t you worried about complications?” Sure, I considered the complications. I also considered the complications of other methods of birth control. I had been on the pill for over 10 years and it was starting to adversely affect my blood pressure and my weight, which is not healthy at all. I didn’t trust anything like the shot or patch or ring, because I always thought about what happens if the dosage is off or something and it becomes ineffective faster than it’s supposed to? Again I get saddled with a kid I don’t want, and decisions I don’t want to make. Condoms aren’t completely fail safe either. Abstinence works, but do I really want to be celibate my whole life? Nah. Not if I don’t have to. I was literally off work for a day, I went home about 3 hours after I went to the hospital, and I have very minimal scarring as it was a laparoscopic procedure. Looks like a win win to me.
In addition to fending off these ridiculous pokes and prods into my personal life, I have to say this: I take responsibility for my own body. I made the decision that I don’t want children. It’s not my partner’s responsibility to bring condoms, it’s not my partner’s responsibility to ensure that I don’t get pregnant. It’s not my partner’s responsibility to get himself sterilized (hell, if he wants kids, go for it, just do it with someone else!) I’ve even considered the fact that one of the big arguments for pro-choice is cases of rape (I’m pro-choice by the way…but as I said, not really getting into that here), but if I’m sterilized, since I already don’t want kids, that’s one upside. I hope and pray I’m never in that situation, but at least I know that if god forbid I find myself there, I’ll never have to make a decision like that (it’s sad that as a woman I have to consider these things, but reality is reality).
Regardless of what anyone says, bodily autonomy is hugely important. I deserve to have control over what happens to me and when. If I were to end up pregnant (by consensual sex, of course!) It’s not someone else’s fault. If a guy tells me he had a vasectomy, that’s not enough. How do I know he’s not lying? I need to protect myself. The same goes for men. Don’t trust her if she says she “can’t” have kids, or that she’s on birth control, or whatever. If you yourself really don’t want them, take the steps to protect yourself. When you have sex, you know what the consequences are. Take care of yourself, be responsible. Yes, I’m sterile, however, if I guy still wanted to put a condom on because he didn’t want any mistakes, I wouldn’t be mad about it, I’d probably just high five him for being safe. Not to mention, I only say it that way because I am in a monogamous relationship. I don’t feel like we need condoms because we both know that we are clean and haven’t been with anyone else, however, if you find yourself in a different situation, I would recommend condoms always, just to prevent against disease if nothing else. If you want to have kids, have that talk with your partner, get yourself both tested, and get busy. If you don’t want to have kids, don’t rely on someone else to handle it. Protect yourself. Find yourself in a situation with no condom? Don’t just decide to “pull out”…make the responsible choice and wrap it up or go home. There’s absolutely no reason for unwanted children to be in the world. Procreating should be a highly planned activity. You should be ready for it, with an accommodating home, reasonable job prospects, and support. I’m not saying you’re ever 100% ready to bring kids into the world, but at least have a reasonable plan. Kids aren’t a joke or a play toy. They are the future of our society. Please be responsible, and leave other people’s bodies to their owners. You don’t have any right to tell someone what to do with theirs. If you want to have kids, that’s fine, but don’t shame me for not wanting them. I’m happy with my life. Go do whatever makes you happy with yours–just make sure you consider that if you bring kids into the world, they are your responsibility!