Convincing A Doctor To Tie My Tubes Was A HUGE Pain In The A**


In my mid-20s, it was nearly impossible to find a doctor willing to perform a tubal ligation on me.

Growing up I wanted kids. I wanted five of them, a boy, then twin boys, a girl, and a boy. Nat would be a baseball star; Max and Holden, an artist and a musician, respectively; Scarlett, a ballerina/soccer player/actress; and little Kostos, the quirky genius. They would all perform above average in school and be extremely well-behaved, all would have excellent taste in music, and my very Charming and Handsome husband and I would take them on yearly trips to Exotic and Culturally Important places.

The first time I consciously thought "I don't want to be a mom" was when I was at the doctor for my yearly Lady Examination at age 23. We were chatting about my monthly birth control, which I was happy with, and she mentioned some longer term options: IUDs, some sort of arm implant. I said "I don’t think I want kids."

I realize, after saying it loud that the sentiment was true. I didn't want to be a mom. I then asked, "What’s the surgery where I can’t have kids anymore, is that a hysterectomy?" The doctor laughed a little, explained what a hysterectomy is versus a tubal ligation and then said the following to me: "You’re too young for that. You’ll meet a man and fall in love and want to make a family with him."

This was my watershed moment.

It had never occurred to me that while it's easy for women to choose to be mothers, it's not as easy to chose the opposite. And so the stubborn, ornery, rebel-without-a-cause finally found a cause: I was going to get my tubes tied — mostly because I didn’t want kids — but also purely to prove that doctor wrong.

So at 24, I went to a woman gyno thinking, I’ll show that guy. This woman will know what’s up. Girl power, right?

"Hello, Doctor, lovely to meet you. Will you tie my tubes please?" Well, she said almost verbatim, exactly the same thing as Doctor #1: "You're too young, you'll probably change your mind."

It hurt more, coming from a woman. What about "my body, my choice?" What about sisterhood? This woman is going to tell me I need a man? That I'm incapable of making my own decisions?

I refused to visit her again, so it was on to doctors #3 & 4, who weren’t particuarly notable. Just to keep a count, one was a man, one was a woman, both said the same thing: "You’re too young. You don’t know what you want."

So I went out of the country for a few years. I became a kindergarten teacher.

What a fantastic job: you sing, you dance, you help them put on jammies. Clear up some tears here, break up a fight over the sandbox toys there, give and get more hugs than you can keep track of every day. I had the best time, and I loved those kids so damn much, but it confirmed what I had been thinking: I did not want them for my own. 

I met Doctor #5 shortly after coming back to America. I was 28 now, I knew myself better than ever before, and I saw the life I wanted. I sat on an uncomfortable table in a backless paper gown and said, "I don’t want to be a mom. I’d like to talk to you about a tubal ligation." He laughed in my face and brushed my request away. "No, no, you’ll want to be a mother someday. I’ll put in an IUD and in a few years you’ll come back to me to take it out so you can start your family with your husband."

Incredulous, I asked him how old I had to be before I could get my tubes tied.

This is what he said: "It’s not really how old you are, but it’s where you are in life. You’re not married, you have no idea what you want. You’ll meet a man, you’ll want to have his kids. What if you fell in love and he wouldn’t marry you because you couldn’t have his kids? You’d be mad at me then. Maybe it’s possible he won't want kids. It could happen. Once you’ve been married for five years or so, bring in your husband and the three of us will talk about it."

FYI: You cannot stalk angrily out of a doctor’s office in a backless paper gown.

I was frustrated, I was choking back indignant tears, but I agreed to a damned IUD because, apparently, that was the best I could hope for. I set the appointment for the next day.

The next day, I'm again in another backless gown, still pissed, when a new doctor walks in. To this day, I'm not sure why Doctor #5 wasn't there; I can only assume it’s because he felt my hate energy resonating off of me and sent in a colleague to deal with me. I was less than polite to #6.

"Seems like you’ve been asking about a tubal."
*tersely* "Yes."
"Then why are we here to put in an IUD?"
*silent stare of hatred and disbelief* "Dr.#5 told me to come back once I was a housewife."
"Ah. But you do want the tubal? Tell me why."

I did. He asked some questions and I answered.

Then he said, "Well, you seem like the kind of woman who knows what she’s talking about and it seems like you know what you want."

Still in petulant teenager mode, I offered a tight smile of agreement.

"In that case, let’s set up an appointment. Let’s tie your tubes."

Suddenly, I was an adult again — the kind of adult whose feelings and desires are respected, who makes eye contact with other adults. Dr. #6 and his staff were phenomenal and in the month between my appointment and my surgery they answered the 4 billion questions I had and worked with my insurance so it was covered completely under the Affordable Care Act. They took amazing care of me from start to finish on the day of my surgery. I could not be happier that Dr. #6 walked into the room that day.

Looking back now — with calm, rational thoughts of a woman who’s gotten her way — I agree that 23 was too young to make that decision. 24 was too young, probably 25. I was reactionary at the time, I wasn’t thinking big picture, and my first doctor was correct in refusing me.

But where he was incorrect was how he refused me: he assumed I would definitely want to be a mother someday. Not one doctor I spoke to took the approach of, "Yeah, you might not want to be a mom. But you should wait. You should do some things, meet some people, learn more." If that had been the case, I would still probably be on some form of birth control and be more or less content about it.

But since I was given a flat-out no — and dismissed with a careless chuckle and told to wait for a man to tell me what to do with my womb — I was forced to do a lot more soul-searching than I would have otherwise.

I spent a lot of time developing a life I love, and invested a lot of effort into keeping it up.

I don’t want kids and I'm thankful that I found someone who respected me and talked to me about my options. There are obviously pros to having kids and I fully anticipate there being times later in life where those pros may seem like they outweigh the much longer list of cons. But right now, I live a life of no regrets and I sleep well at night knowing I made the best choice for me.


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