At fifteen years old, I made a decision about two important life events that was possible to occur in everyone's lifetime that I just didn't want to experience:
- I was never going to get married
- I was never going to have children
I don't like children. They're fun and cute but they are also many other negative things to me that I don't find appealing. In general, I didn't and don't care to have a tribe of children running around me because parenting didn't and doesn't sound exciting, enticing, or interesting. It's not an experience I wished to go through in my life especially with what my siblings and I went through growing up. I didn't want to put children through those kinds of situations.
Due to a lack of many things in my youth, one major fail from my creators was them overlooking the significance of teaching me about sex and protection. There was never a talk about it at all but I wasn't stupid, just a tad naive. The fact that I'd ran away from home, dropped out of school (eventually graduated), moved away with family a few times, then settled in a small town in Illinois 600 miles from my mom and sister with my alcoholic uncle and his deaf wife and children didn't help my fate either. It was there that I met a man 9 years older than me who took advantage of my mental innocence of sex, leading my young and dumb self to believe his lies, and that immature, uneducated mindset minus protection got us pregnant.
Aside from being a 19 year old pregnant, lost, and confused young woman, there was the fact that I was months away from deploying to the Airforce. It was my choice to serve and nothing was to stand in my way except pregnancy – something I hadn't figured would even happen to little ol' me in a lil ol' town. An option – or an “out" to having the child was abortion but that was never a "yes" for me even before getting pregnant, it wasn't a choice I thought I'd ever be okay accepting if I'd done it so the only option was to have my son.
I thought about giving him up for adoption so many times before he actually arrived, even spoke to an older sort of mentor about it but in the end I decided that I couldn't live with knowing that my kid was being raised by someone else, so I did what any responsible person should do when they f*** up and become a parent – a single parent at that – I prepared for motherhood. My son's father was a complete bum (a type I couldn't pick out the, but bet your tush I can now) and after he asked me for an abortion, I knew I'd be a single mother.
I struggled as a young parent trying to find my way as I went through postpartum depression, suicide attempts, raising him alone, etc. but throughout all of that, one thing never changed in my head, and that was the dislike of being a parent or wanting more children so I made an appointment with my doctor and we talked about my options to sterilize, i.e. getting my tubes tied.
So many women told me things like: "You can't get your tubes tied, you have to be this or that age with this many kids before they let you do that," or “No doctor will let you do it." My all-time hated rebuttal to my decision was: "Don't do It, you'll want kids later in life and regret it."
From nurses to nurses-to-be to people who uncles were doctors to everyone who knew they were “right" about tubal ligation – I was told of how impossible it would be. Thankfully, I'm not one to listen to other people – especially non-PHD-having-people – when it comes to my body. I spoke to my doctor about my rights and as expected, all the "you can't" bs were hearsay lies. My doctor told me that in our state, and in most states in the US, a mother at the age of 21, unmarried with one kid can have a tubal ligation. If you were married, you'd have to get your husbands permission. Because I like to be right all the time, this information pleased me so much to be able to go back and tell all of the know-it-all's that they were wrong. There I was, at 21 years old with a 1 year old son discussing what was to happen next since we'd decided on the tubal ligation.
We spent another 20 minutes going over the procedure, what to expect, and I signed the form to have the tubal ligation procedure. The hospital has a protocol that makes each patient wait a full month before scheduling the appointment in case they change their minds during the wait time which is a great policy to have in place for those who were not sure, however, I was sure. In those 30 days, I thought long and hard about everything my doctor went over with me. I researched the procedure, I read other women stories on it, and I put myself in the mental position to see the full outcome of the procedure.
No matter what I read or saw or who I talked to about it to, my decision never changed: I would be sterilizing myself and removing the option to ever have children again.
The procedure went smoothly and the healing process was short and sweet. My best friend had come with me to drive me home. Ironically, while I was having my procedure, she sat in the waiting room, pregnant with her own child. I felt so good about my choice and felt happier about my future knowing it would be just my son and I. I would have never guessed that the most aggravating and annoying part about having had a tubal ligation would be the women and their responses when it is brought up in conversations. It's not information I freely divulge, but if in the conversation it comes up, the responses from women makes me want to scream.
Women were made to reproduce, but it's a choice and not a mandatory requirement for the gender.
What these women failed to realize is that I wasn't and am not them. Not every woman wants to be a mother. Yes, we have reproductive organs for a reason, women were made to reproduce, but to me, it's a choice and not a mandatory requirement for the gender. I didn't and still don't want to be a mother to any more children. People will say whatever they want about what you should and shouldn't do with your body and those people irk the very essence of my soul. Ladies and gents, it's your body – if you want to poke holes in it, change it, ink it up, or whatever, it's your body and no one should be able to say anything about your choices and if they do, teach 'em a lesson and speak your mind.
Overall, I felt good knowing I could never get pregnant again. It was like whew , sigh of relief. My fear of raising more children was over. For some, especially those who cannot bear children but want to, it's a hard pill to swallow hearing me talk so bluntly about my happiness in NOT having children. I wish I could apologize for that, but I won't. I hope those who want children get to have children because that's part of their purpose in life. Some may think I made such an important decision too early and will regret it but I assure you they'd be wrong.
To those thinking about these steps in life, think long and hard. I knew what I wanted my future to be when I was 15 years old, I took the reins and controlled what I wanted to be in my life. Everyone can say that, so think carefully. I don't regret my decisions at all. I still don't want any more children, don't want a man with children (but that's not guaranteed), and I still, more now than back then, do not EVER want to get married. It's a selfish way to live - to some - but we are all different individuals with different goals for our lives and being different is okay as long you know yourself and make sure that all the decisions you make for you, your body, your mind, and spirit are to make you happy.
What are your thoughts on sterilization procedures or getting your tubes tied? Have you ever had to have a big procedure that was a life altering decision? Share with us below.
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Mo Merrell is a 34 year old aspiring writer residing in Minnesota. When she's not working at a non-profit helping homeless youth, she's spending her free time penning novels and relaxing with her son.