True Story: I Chose To Get Sterilized At 23

This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/amazing/challenging things.  This is the story of Maggie and her decision to get sterilized at 23 so she would never have children.

Tell us a bit about yourself!
I grew up in Little Rock, AR and it’s where I live now, too. I’ve had the good luck to live a few other fun places, but I absolutely adore this town. I’m 32 and I’m a lawyer. For fun, I like to go to a lake or a river or a pool or pretty much any water I can fit in. Fortunately, Arkansas has lots of options. Most of my friends are musicians, so I also love going out to bars and seeing live music.

When did you know you didn’t want to have children?
I’ve known I didn’t want children for as long as I can remember. I was raised by liberal, aging hippie parents who told me that it was illegal to get married before you’re 30. Marriage and children were presented as options, but the focus was on career and travel and friends. Those were the lenses through which I was taught to imagine my future and they became the areas in which my aspirations settled. The idea of having children wasn’t on my radar. When I started having sex and the possibility of an accidental pregnancy became real, the passive lack of a desire became active.

Why did you decide to get sterilized rather than use long-term birth control?

Like a lot of women, I had some unpleasant experiences with hormonal birth control. I actually had an appointment once to get a non-hormonal IUD, but as it turns out my cervix and uterus weren’t big enough to accommodate it. Moreover, I just wanted the peace of mind that comes with never having to think about it again.

How did your friends and family respond to your decision?
Everyone has been incredibly supportive. I have a lot of girlfriends who also don’t want kids, but even my friends who want or have children know me well enough to know that this was the right decision for me. I know I’m lucky. The decision to refrain from having kids isn’t popular in our culture, and people who make that decision usually deal with all kinds of flak.

When you first approached a doctor about getting sterilized, how did they respond? How many doctors did you approach before you found one willing to do the surgery?
My regular doctor was the first one I talked to about it and he tried to prepare me for the struggle that I was facing. It seemed so illogical to me. I could have a child, which is a permanent and life-changing decision, and no one could stop me. I could have an abortion, which is also a permanent and serious choice, and no one could stop me. It was unimaginable to me that the choice to be sterilized would be met with so much resistance.

I probably saw a dozen doctors, including the one who delivered me and the one who was the first to perform abortions in my state. Several were judgmental and derisive. A few of them simply said they didn’t want the liability of having performed such an unusual procedure, but the underlying message was the same; they just implied that in addition to being unqualified to make choices about my body and my family, I was also irrationally litigious.

How did you finally convince that doctor to do the surgery?

I think a big game-changer for me was that, when I was 22, I had an accidental pregnancy and an abortion. When I was able tell a doctor that I’d been faced with this decision in very concrete terms and that, for me, the choice was immediate and absolute, that seemed to make a difference. It was less than a year later that I found a doctor willing to sterilize me, and it required very little discussion. “I’m really kind of surprised you’re agreeing to do this,” I told her, hoping I wasn’t going to jinx it. “I mean, other doctors haven’t been willing to even consider it.” She smiled and rolled her eyes. “Right,” she said, “because EVERYBODY wants babies.”

Can you tell us about the process of getting sterilized?

The procedure I chose is called Essure and it’s nonsurgical. The doctor went in vaginally and inserted tiny metal coils at the base of my fallopian tubes, which then caused my body to build up scar tissue. That scar tissue blocks the sperm from getting in and eggs from getting out. I was under general anesthesia but I think the procedure can also be done without it. Recovery time was almost instant. After three months, I came in and they did a test to make sure the procedure worked by magically squirting dye through me or something. After that, I was able to stop using other forms of birth control.

Has the surgery affected your health at all? Has it affected your dating life?

It hasn’t affected my health other than the ability to discontinue hormonal birth control, which has been great. The choice not to have children has absolutely affected my dating life, and that increases as I get older, but I’m not sure the sterilization adds any additional complications other than being evidence of how serious I am about that choice.

I’m constantly surprised at the number of guys who know they want kids at some point. When I was 26, I dated a guy who wanted kids and it wasn’t an issue until things started getting serious. One night I said, “Maybe we could adopt a baby and it could just be YOURS. And I could dress it up like a pirate sometimes!” We broke up the next day. Even one guy who didn’t want kids refused to ever tell his mom because he knew she’d be devastated. At this point, I tend to date guys who are significantly younger than I am, guys who are looking for someone with whom they can have a good time rather than someone with whom they can settle down.

Have you ever had second thoughts?

Nope.

Thanks so much for sharing, Maggie!  How many of you plan to be childfree?  Would you ever get sterilized?

baby socks in image for sale here

63 Comments

Kelley

That's so interesting and different! It sucks that she had to go through so many doctors to find the one that would do it. Even though I want to Homemaker life, it is refreshing to see other women who want something completely different. Thank You for sharing!

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Caitie

It's so funny how in popular culture, women are often portrayed as crazoids so desperate for babies that they'll trick men into getting them knocked up- and yet in real life, you are meeting and dating dudes who are unsure they want kids, or are not being entirely honest about what they want. Stereotypes- who knew they could be wrong?

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Darla

Very brave! I'm glad (and thankful) that I live in the time when women are no longer opressed by the society for their own life choice 🙂

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Kate P

Preach, Maggie.

I grew up just knowing I don't want kids and I don't want to be a mom. I am married and was lucky to find a dude who also didn't want children and totally, completely, wonderfully supported my decision to be sterilized.

I *finally* found a doctor willing to sterilize me last year after an almost 10 year search. Over and over again male and female doctors would question my judgment. You're too young, they told me, and you might change your mind. I was actually told by one of my doctors that I should give up because doctors probably wouldn't help me until I was closer to menopause or if I've already had children. In the end, I had been on one form or another of birth control for 15 years. TOO LONG. And then, before my anesthesiologist put me under, he asked me how many children I'd had. When I answered none, he asked me AGAIN if I was sure and also why I want to be sterilized. I filed a complaint.

After the procedure, I immediately felt relief. And proud of myself! I know it sounds strange, but I am actually happy for my friends who do have children in a way I wasn't before. Now I've stopped comparing their excitement to the despair I would feel in the same situation. I still have to endure lots of questions about why I wouldn't want children and why didn't I just keep taking birth control.

High five to all the ladies who give birth to amazing kids and are happy parents. And double high five to the women who know themselves well enough to realize they don't want children and take action.

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Chelle Lynn

Kate P: "I still have to endure lots of questions about why … didn't I just keep taking birth control."

Wouldn't it be great if it were just that simple? If hormonal contraceptives were magical little pills that stopped pregnancy 100% of the time and didn't interfere with our lives at all? My quality of life on hormones was awful, so I stopped taking them six months ago. Suddenly, I feel free and like myself again after seven years of living in a nightmarish bipolar cage.

Unfortunately, with that freedom comes the absolute terror that I will get pregnant. I know without a doubt that I would get an abortion. I am married, 26 years old, and have never really wanted a child. Sterilization is becoming an increasingly viable option for me. I'm glad to read about other who have gone through it and are happy with their choice. Thanks for sharing!

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Anonymous

In the meantime – and if it is an option for you – you might check out an IUD. I just got my second one (Paragard, the copper one) and I lovelovelove it.

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Anonymous

I hate my IUD. My periods are longer and way more painful, man how I wish someone would be willing to sterilize me.

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Anonymous

My IUD almost killed me, it is not a fix all they come with serious consequences. organ rupture, dislodging, infection, and as serious as death.

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Shannon

This was so interesting! I'm pretty sure I don't want children, but I'm not positive – I want to allow myself the opportunity to change my mind. But I think it's so awesome when people know exactly what they want, and are brave enough to stick to their convictions despite everyone else's opinion on what they should do with their bodies or their lives (sigh).

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Zelde

I think Doctors don't do early sterilizations because just too many women change their minds. I've known several women who in their early twenties swore that they never ever want a baby, ever! Then they approached thirty or so and somewhere along the lines they clearly changed their minds because several of them now have adorable children (which were planned and all). I'm certain that there are women who decide they never want children and stick to that and this is absolutely fine. Everybody should be able to decide whatever they want, after all. But how is a doctor meant to distinguish the ones who are very sure and will stay sure from the ones who are very sure and will change their minds? People change, circumstances change, plans change, emotions change and desires change. I can't blame the doctors for not wanting to do the procedure.

Of course the same issue exists the other way around. I'm also certain that there are people who have a child and then regret it but no doctor has to take moral responsibility for that decision.

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iris

Maybe it's not the doctor's job to distinguish who really doesn't want a baby and who does? Maybe, women should be allowed to make decisions about their own life without someone second-guessing their non-medical life choice? If we want to be treated like adults, we're going to have to understand that signing the papers for sterilization means that we can't go hysterical (and yes, I mean 'hysterical' in the most hormonal sense of the word) and sue our doctors later. Time to put on the big girl pants.

Sure, there are women who say they never want children and then change their mind later. But did these women actively pursue sterilization?

In short, this is not the doctor's responsibility (unless of course there's medical complications). This is the responsibility of adult women.

I'd really like to know how many women sue their doctors after sterilization procedures (broken down by age/race would be nice). I have this creeping suspicion that it's actually all a myth used to deny women choice-making powers over their own lives…

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Anonymous

iris, have you ever heard of ethics? or are doctors just sterilization machines to you? why would you decide what is the doctor's job? every doctor approaches their career differently, and maybe you can put your girl pants and be all great about me but a lot of people don't (and seriously, for some reason a lot of people sue about everything). Doctors can have their license removed and this affects their whole lives. If you really want to be sterilized, you will be persistent and get it eventually. It is meant to be hard so the people who make change their minds, do it on time, right before making this mistakes that affects everyone.

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iris

Ethics is one thing, but second-guessing an adult woman every time she says she does not want children is demeaning and belittling. If the patient truly understands that this is not a reversible procedure, and signs away to this point (and it's videotaped, or whatever else the doctor needs to cover her/his side legally) then there is no reason having a sterilization procedure should be this difficult.

It should not take having this conversation with 12 judgmental and derisive doctors. Maybe 2 doctors and perhaps a consult with a psychologist of some sort just to make sure you truly do understand the consequences, you're not being coerced, and to cover the legal aspect of it. Why does a woman have to wait until an accidental pregnancy and/or an abortion for the bulk of the medical community to stop doubting her ability to make decisions about her life?

Yes, this assumes that people act like reasonable beings, which is not always the case. BUT, if people did act like reasonable, responsible human beings then the doctors would have no reason to decline (barring medical complications, of course). But as I said before, I haven't actually seen any numbers for how many people sue post-sterilization, so it's possible that it doesn't even happen often enough to warrant doctors being so skeptical of a woman's ability to make decisions about her life. Maybe adult women are already acting like reasonable people, but societal/doctor bias towards women-must-reproduce is what is forcing child-free women to jump through these needless hoops. Sometimes, common sense is common sense, and sometimes it's ingrained sexism.

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Gigi

I agree with Iris. It's not the doctor's job to decide who does and does not want babies. If someone chooses to get sterilized and then changes their mind, tough cookies for them. Just like if they choose to have a nose job and then change their mind afterward. It's an elective procedure and shouldn't be the doctor's choice. It's the woman's.

It's really frustrating to be judged and told no by a doctor when I'm an adult and can make my own decisions in every other facet of my life.

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Anonymous

It makes me so angry that women face this kind of opposition to sterilization. No one expects a man to face this kind of resistance, to have to be "persistent" if he wants a vasectomy. What is says to me is that people think a woman doesn't know what's best for herself, what she really wants, and that's sickening. Do the people defending this think men should also have to fight to make personal medical decisions?

There's no justification for making it so difficult for a woman to be sterilized. Other forms of birth control can be incredibly harmful. My best friend, who, at 22 was the picture of health (non-smoker, extremely athletic) had a stroke because of her birth control. My IUD has sent me to the emergency room because of the excruciating pain it causes me each month. If a woman knows she doesn't want children, there is no reason for her to suffer any of these things just because someone else thinks she might regret it. Even if she does, she still has options. There are reversal procedures, IVF, adoption, etc.

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Maria

How brave and lucky you are, Maggie, to know without a shadow of a doubt about what you want. I don't think I've ever felt this sure about anything in my life – including my desire to have kids. It's a very rare thing and kudos to you for not letting others sway you.

This was an extremely interesting life story and a real eye-opener to read!

Maria xx
http://www.cheekypinktulip.blogspot.com

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Celebrating the Day

This is amazing! I love what she had to say. My husband and I don't want children either, and I am always so surprised at the reactions we get when people ask about it. Good for you, Maggie!

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Rachael

My brother and several of my closer friends are childfree and I've no idea why it's such a big deal, especially since the world is overpopulated anyway.
However, "knowing you want to be childfree" and being sterilized doesn't always go hand in hand. Last year I underwent a partial hysterectomy for health reasons. I absolutely want children; a whole pack of them, always have, always will. However, due to my congenital heart defect, traditional pregnancy & birth would jeopardize my health and my offspring's. I'm not that selfish of a creature, so I decided to make sure there were no 'accidents' ever. I don't trust Essure, though, so I went with the removal of my uterus/cervix. Even with 4 open-heart surgeries, I've never had to sign so much paperwork swearing, cross my heart and hope to die, that I would not sue my doctors after the surgery because I had regrets. It hurts, certainly, but it was the right decision and no one ever said it'd be easy.

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Anonymous

I had the essure procedure done too. Since I was in high school, I knew that I never wanted to have kids or get married. If I really wanted to have a child, I was going to adopt one. I think it had to do with seeing how my mom chose to compromise herself and her dreams over the course of her life. Subconsciously I must have associated that having kids + family meant that a woman had to give up who she was, or silence some part of her. That wasn't going to be me.

I looked into having my tubes tied when I was younger (in my early 20s). At that time it seemed to be viewed a riskier procedure, and you had to have a good medical reason for why you needed it done. It wasn't an elective procedure really. I met resistance, and I didn't push too hard with it. If I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to not give up on that one. I admire you Maggie for sticking to your ideals. You are a strong person!

A few years ago, I had the essure procedure done. In between then and now, I have had a child (a "whoops" one!) so when I asked again about the procedure, I wasn't given any flack about it. Maybe it was due to the physician I had, I don't know. Or it could be because I already had one child. I have not had any regrets about having it done either. It brought my great peace of mind to know that I was the one who took care of it (rather than relying on my partner to get a vasectomy).

If there's other young women reading this, who are thinking about having the procedure done – go for it. If you know that having children is not going to be for you, don't let anyone talk you into a life not of your choosing.

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Anonymous

This is fantastic Maggie. I am hoping to get the Essure procedure soon (I'm 26) and this interview sounds like it could be written by future me!

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keishua

this is a very interesting story. good for your for following your heart.i am ambivalent about children but i do like knowing that something like the essure exist..if i ever get clear.

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Wonder Woman

I've wanted to be steralized since I was 16. I'm now 33 and doctors still refuse to do it. I don't want kids. I never have. Good for you following your heart and finding a doctor who would do it.

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Anonymous

I am childfree by choice but I did not have sterilization surgery. Perhaps on some level I did have a little ambivalence about my choice, but at 46, in perimenopause, it's a moot issue anyway.

I met and married a man who also did not want children, so I feel very lucky that I was able to "have it all" — a happy marriage without having to give in on my desire to stay childfree.

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s

Where are you meeting these men? Haha i would like to find a man one daywho also wants to be childfree. However i havent been looking anyways

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Amber Goodenough

I love your story. I was actually in a documentary about childless women called Womb With a View. I think this is an issue that a lot of women need to talk about. Why is it unacceptable to not want kids in our society? It's so stupid.

I told my husband that he was outta luck if he wanted kids with me. Not going to happen. Luckily he feels the same. I still love kids and love my friends kids but I really love when I can give them back to their parents and go have a beer.

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Angie

I love this. My (now ex) husband and I married when I was 27. Before we got married, we were 99% sure we didn't want kids, but said we'd give it five years, just to make sure. Three years in, he got fixed and I got off birth control. It was heaven. Now I'm divorced, 37, and just had an IUD installed. It's been pretty yucky this past month. I considered Essure, but something held me back, and I decided to listen to that something (this intuition thing has kicked into high gear over the past year!). Who knows what the future will hold…but I'm still 99.999% sure that mine won't involve the little ones. 🙂

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Sarah Rooftops

This is such a great interview. I'm not sure enough either way to have a procedure done (although I tend more towards not wanting them most of the time), but there's a good chance I'm infertile anyway and I'd actually love for that to be confirmed just so all the wondering and questioning and decision making would go away!

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Anonymous

Great interview! I tried to find a doctor from ages 17-25 who would sterilize me. Same condescension and insulting responses (plus it would have been a fortune).
However, due to our circumstances at the time, my husband was able to get sterilized for free by planned parenthood at age 26- they made us both come in for an interview, but they were much more professional and accommodating than doctors I paid out of pocket for.
What is with the sex discrimination? Men under 30 have no problem getting it done, and it costs a hell of a lot less. Heaven forbid I get raped I'll still be stuck with a pregnancy I don't want. Absurd and disgusting, American medical professionals.

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Sara Rose

One of my closest friends also got sterilized but it took until she was 25 to find the right doctor. Other than the fact that she knew, vehemently and absolutely, that she didn't want kids- there were so many other risk factors to her having a child- it was the most logical thing in the world. We've been friends 15 years and all that time, I had known she never wanted to be a mother.

On top of it being 'her choice' which ranks number one as an important reason in my book, she had a lot going against safe pregnancies for her. There is a very high level of mental illness in her family. She feared that for any child she would have, and it's a legitimate worry. There is a ridiculous amount of people in her family who have suffered cancers, including her. She had cervical/uterine cancer diagnosed when she was 23 and after being cured, her doctor was much more understanding because during treatment they also realized she had an incompetent cervix and a heart shaped, tilted uterus, which are both dangerous factors in pregnancy.

She is married to man about 10 years older than her, who also knew that he definitely was uninterested in having kids. They have a terrifically full life- travel, fully pursuing their passions (she has a dog rescue and is finishing her ph.D in Comp/Rhetoric, and she is very active in writing for a lot of feminist and political websites. Her husband is passionate about his carpentry business, their dog rescue, and helps at a lot of nonprofits where they live.

We cannot limit ourselves on life choices. Now can we limit others, because if we 'practice what we preach' then other peoples choices truly ARE their choices.

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Erika

Wow! You're right — no one questions if I woman ABSOLUTELY wants kids, but no one gets it if she doesn't. I think for your situation it totally made sense and I am glad that you were able to find a doctor who was willing to perform the surgery. I think I want kids and wouldn't make that decision, but it's really great to read about a different perspective and someone who was brave enough to stand up for what she wanted. Way to go and thanks for sharing!

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Anonymous

Thank you for posting this. It's nice to know there are other women who feel the same way.

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Hannah Alyse

This was an awesome read. I went in to my doctor when I was 18 to discuss getting my tubes tied and they flat our refused. I was outraged so I looked elsewhere…no one would touch me until I was 25 because "you'll change your mind". Ew. I completely agree with the points you made here. Also, I would like to adopt someday so I hate when people make assumptions when they hear I don't want to birth a child. I'm glad you did what you knew you wanted 🙂 And I'm glad you talked about it!

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Kerry

This is so interesting! I know I want kids someday (in the oh so distant future) but I can absolutely understand how a woman would be sure she doesn't want them ever. In a college Intro to Women's Studies Class I did a presentation on the Child Free Movement because I'd read an article about it in Bust, and none of the other women understood it. I mean, several of them asked me, "But what it someone changes her mind?" I don't know why it's so hard to understand that some women truly don't want children.

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Anonymous

It was good to read this. I had my tubes tied when I was, I think, 26 or so, some 35 years ago. The doctor said they couldn't do it until I met some magical combination of age and number of children birthed. I must have given him The Look, because he did it. It is one of the few decisions I've never second guessed. Some women just are not meant to be mothers and I'm one. I salute the other brave women who followed their knowing and got what they needed.

jesinalbuquerque

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Anne-Sophie Reinhardt

This is really awesome. It's so important to stand up for yourself and knowing what you want at such a young age? That's incredible! Go, Maggie. I've always wanted to have children. Early. But then I realized that it was just my need to be loved, fully and unconditionally and my belief that being a mom was the only thing I would ever be able to do. Well, no more. I'm not certain if I want kids or not, but I know that it's a big decision and not something you "just do". Thanks for the inspiration.

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Hally Bell

My husband and I are big nerds, so education, travel, expensive exotic food, and the family we currently have is what's important to us. We're so fulfilled with just the two of us and our furbaby. My cup overflows already, we don't want nor need a baby. I'd love to get the procedure but I think honestly, it would be easier and our insurance will cover his much more thoroughly.

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melissa

wooooow! How did you accomplish this???

(I know you answered that, I just can't believe you managed it)

Auuggh I'm 27 and I'm stuck taking birth control that has depleted any libido I've ever had, not to mention the fact that it's so unreliable (if you're not a robot) that I'm just sooo terrified of accidents that I just go straight to sleep!

I also don't understand why society treats women like indecisive and whimsical little girls. Our entire self worth is about procreation. That's all we're good for, apparently. If we remove this ability, we're no longer human. Or something.

I don't understand the shame of this decision at all. I mean, I don't have a single reason to have kids that justifies adding to the population and consumption issue. But I'm not allowed to make this decision. My spouse is 30 but is still "too young" to make this decision, also.

But even if a vasectomy was done, I would still feel like my uterus is some kind of walking time bomb…

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shannon

I've never understood the assumption that you can't possibly know you don't want a baby until you have one.

Yay for you for standing up and getting what you know is best for yourself!

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Jenny

I know! And think about all the people who realize they don't want one and it's too late! There's no way out for them, just bad parenting from then on!

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SugarPuff MoonEyes

My Mother had two children and decided she wanted to be sterilized because she knew for certain she didn't want any more kids. Her reasons were purely financial and I thank G-d she was sterilized because we had/have no money lol. Two kids are expensive…can you imagine 5? She didn't want to take birth control because she didn't want any mistakes or unplanned pregnancy. The doctors gave her hell and sent her to a psychiatrist because they just couldn't understand why a woman wouldn't want no more kids. I can't even imagine what us child-free women go through. I don't mind taking birth control because I have a chronic disease and the birth control is my treatment. Nevertheless, I would love to be sterilized because G-d forbid I accidentally become pregnant, I will have to get an abortion…so Doctors should remember which is better…multiple abortions or sterilization!

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Anonymous

It drives me nuts that doctors are like that with women. I've known guys who've gotten vasectomies and doctors, in comparison, barely harassed them about it at all. Because, of course, women are stupid and men know what they want.

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Lisa

I was sterilised at 30 and the procedure only took a month to do from the point of seeing my doctor to the operation! I was actually surprised how easy it was considering I have no children. My only regret is the pain I get on my left side, of my pelvis since the operation. My periods are very painful too. If having thoughts of wanting to be sterilised! Think very hard and make sure it's truly what you want and your decision alone! 🙂

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Darth JennoCyde

Great article! I had my tubes tied when I was 27 and now years later am still very happy with no regrets! After two abortions, I decided I had enough of the worry about getting pregnant and birth control failure. It's a shame that multiple abortions are easier to obtain than being able to get a tubal done! I'm also shocked that women who have had multiple children still get the run around if they want to be sterilized!I have male friends who had absolutely no hassle getting a vasectomy and only one had children. I'm starting to think this is the last way society can try to control women!

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Bernadette

This was absolutely fascinating to me. Almost complete opposite experience from my own (I should share that, probably a blog comment is not the right place).

But fascinating from the scientific front. I mean, it was a non-surgical procedure and with all the advances in fertility treatment, in the end, if the huge scary part for the docs were that "oh my goodness, you might change your mind…" I mean…for such science steeped folks, that just is such nonsense. The reality that I'm living is that you can indeed have blocked tubes and if for some reason twenty years from now you DID change your mind, so what. You could still have kids and it would be YOUR CHOICE to do so. I think THAT is what flips out the establishment, quite frankly. It is the choice part that belongs to you and not them.

Thank goodness you found a doctor who wasn't intimidated by what you want right now. The day our doctors stop treating us like children they'll have to guide through life is the day I rejoice. Science…it really ain't all that complicated.

Good on you for fighting for what you wanted/needed and not giving up.

Bernadette
http://www.b3hd.blogspot.com

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Anonymous

I know that I will never want kids, and I hope it won't take me too long to find a willing doctor.

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Anonymous

I don't want to have children butwhen I told My mother she was horrified, I despratly want to be sterilized so I don't have to have kids but so far nobody seems to understand how I feel even though I'm 29 they keep saying I might change My mind BUT I know that I won't! I just don't like children well not enough to eat a whole one an yet I get so much back lash for being honest about this. why can't things just be simple? My body My rules right? apparently not unfortunatley.

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Anonymous

Ive never wanted kids but my boyfriend really wants them. I have been on the traditional oral contraceptives for several years now. I recently went to get them refilled at clarksville county health unit and was denied my refills. I was asked to take a pregnancy test (there was no reason to do this because I have abstained from sex for a whole year and got my regular monthly periods). The result of the pregnancy test was negative, but I still was not given my refill on my pills. I was told I had to come back in 2 weeks for another pregnancy test. I have never had anything like this happen to me before. I feel like I have lost control of my sexual health due to a decision made by a nurse in clarksville, AR. Now that all this has happened I want to be sterilized because 1. I don't want to be denied future refills on my birth control 2. I don't want to be asked to take a pregnancy test every time I try to get refills 3. I hate feeling completely violated after an annual exam 4. I don't want to have to ever worry about being pregnant or having kids. All of this would be an easy decision for me if my boyfriend didn't want kids. I feel its unfair for me to have kids that i don't want but its unfair for him to not have kids when he wants them. I have mentioned a break up so that he could find someone else who wants kids but he won't do that. Even though he says he wouldn't mind if I got sterilized, I know he does so I feel like there is a lot of pressure on me.

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Anonymous

Ive never wanted kids but my boyfriend really wants them. I have been on the traditional oral contraceptives for several years now. I recently went to get them refilled at clarksville county health unit and was denied my refills. I was asked to take a pregnancy test (there was no reason to do this because I have abstained from sex for a whole year and got my regular monthly periods). The result of the pregnancy test was negative, but I still was not given my refill on my pills. I was told I had to come back in 2 weeks for another pregnancy test. I have never had anything like this happen to me before. I feel like I have lost control of my sexual health due to a decision made by a nurse in clarksville, AR. Now that all this has happened I want to be sterilized because 1. I don't want to be denied future refills on my birth control 2. I don't want to be asked to take a pregnancy test every time I try to get refills 3. I hate feeling completely violated after an annual exam 4. I don't want to have to ever worry about being pregnant or having kids. All of this would be an easy decision for me if my boyfriend didn't want kids. I feel its unfair for me to have kids that i don't want but its unfair for him to not have kids when he wants them. I have mentioned a break up so that he could find someone else who wants kids but he won't do that. Even though he says he wouldn't mind if I got sterilized, I know he does so I feel like there is a lot of pressure on me.

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Kay Edwards

hi everybody its been great to read these comments. Im 24 years old and i have 2 amazing children and i have a lovely partner. Right now im pregnant and i really want this baby, we have already lost 2 children due to miscarriage and it devastated us both but now my partner has decided he doesnt want this baby, i think hes scared we may lose it again. He is adament we have to have an abortion and the appointment is booked. He says we can try again when our 6 and 3 year old grow up a bit but im thinking of it like this….. we have lost 2 children and now we have been given another chance and hes making me abort this baby so i dont feel like i can go through this pain again so i have made the decision to be sterilised so i never have to feel this loss and pain again, my partner doesnt want me to be sterilised but i dont get why he gets to make all the decisions about my body. Am i being selfish, somebody please help and advise me. Thank you.

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Lizzy Tello

Honey, you are in an abusive relationship, mentally and verbally if nothing else. Your partner doesn't value you the way you should be valued. I know it's hard, but you need to get out and get help. You and your children, born and unborn, deserve this. You are not being selfish in the slightest, but you need to do what's best for your family. Good luck.

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Anonymous

I never wanted children. I too got Essure done. I was 25 years old. Now at 32, I desperately want them. I respect the hell out of women who DON'T change their minds. I hate feelign like my feelings are the reason doctors don't ake chldfree women seriously. I respect your choice and I hope that you never feel like I do. The feeling like I have betrayed myself and my childfree sisters, frankly sucks. It's like my hormones have sabotaged rational thought. ugh. -Amanda, Indiana.

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Anonymous

i cried when i read this. i am 23 and have never wanted children. i am terrified of getting pregnant to the point of nausea and panic attacks if my period is even a day late. i am on birth control and am happy to be on it, but the chance of getting pregnant makes me feel like i have no control over my body and i have felt disconnected from my body since i got my period at age 11. i know i will have to wait a long time before i can be sterilized, and i dont even know if hormone-wise that would be the right choice for me, but it helps to read about other people who have taken control of their bodies and their futures in this way. I can't wait until i no longer have to face this fear every month.

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Anonymous

Thank you for this. I am doing a report at school on this topic, or one similar. The thing that I don't get is, if you become pregnant, even if you're say, 15, & decide that you don't want it, you can terminate the pregnancy. Your body, your choice, right? So, if you are say, 25 & you Know you don't want kids, why can they tell you 'You're too young to get sterilized?' It doesn't make sense to me. Isn't it still My Body, My Choice??'

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Anonymous

I always wanted kids but now I'm coming to realize it's probably not a good idea with health problems i have. A cmv (virus). Scar tissues in the brain. Thyroid problem. Weak immune system. Mennegitis when I was few months old. Profoundly deaf. My dad has a clef palate. Few people in the family seems to get hernias. That's just me and my family. Who knows what the guy and his family problems have. I don't want my children to go through a hard time. I'm not selfish. So I been thinking the same thing…

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Anonymous

Hi
I am 36 and much to my parents disappointment, I have known I don't want to have kids since I was 16. No traumas or strange experiences behind this feeling or decision – its just that I know what I want and what I don't want.
Everyone over the years has told me its "a phase" – well 20 years is certainly a very long phase!
I don't voice my opinion unless asked but its always met with some form of lack of respect for my opinion. Most people assume its because I am an ice queen who hates children – meanwhile I love kids – but I love everyone else's kids – and I also love handing them back after a babysitting session!!! Women tend to coo about their kids and say I am missing out on the best experience ever and that my biological clock will start ticking some time, or that I will meet the right man and want to bare his kids.

Kate P. put it perfectly when she described the despair she would feel if she found out she was pregnant – compared to the joy and excitement of her friends.

After 20 years in total of: the combined pill (leading to migraines), the mini pill (leading weight gain, endless spotting and bad skin), the mirena coil (leading to horrible, embarrasing discharge) and the implanon (leading to weight gain and mood swings): I am finally off all contraceptives: my body has returned to the same weight I was at age 16, my skins is brilliant and I am happy. The side effects of these medications is under-emphasised. Too many women put up with depression and embarrassing side effects.

I have met a lovely man – but I am petrified of getting pregnant (using condoms only).

I have decided to go for sterilisation.

Like many people on here, I understand that the procedure is a profound act and requires someone to be 100% sure – however, I agree with everyone that its a strange world where women are not interrogated before they decide to bring a child into the world – but when someone acts responsibly and wants to make a decision about their own body and future, the medical profession can make it so hard.

I am a doctor myself and feel my job is to listen, advise and do no harm. I feel strongly that doctors have to be prepared to facilitate a patient in exercising her rights over her own body.

Yes there are the devastating cases of women who later regret being sterilised, but there are also the devastating cases of women who regret getting pregnant and endure society's judgement when they go through the already traumatic act of abortion or adoption or get pressured into bringing up a child and taking on a lifestyle they never wanted.

The truth is, I won't be telling my friends and family – as I know that only a couple will understand. The majority will see it as a tragedy, rather than the liberation I look forward to.

Good luck to everyone on here.

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Anonymous

Doctors often deny women the option of sterilization citing protection from future emotional pain as their main reason. I've even had a doctor tell me I can have as many abortions as I want. Needless to say, this made me angry as I've already had two. One after getting pregnant with a paragaurd and another on the pill while taking it religiously. Isn't it more emotionally painful to be afraid of getting pregnant all the time? To be unable to enjoy your sex life? And to be treated like a child who doesn't REALLY understand what they're asking? To face having to kill your unborn children over and over when other methods fail? As a medical student myself I believe doctors should give women more credit for what they want. You shouldn't have to deal with 16+ years of fear in order to finally be in control of your own reproductive rights.

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