When I was younger, I always thought of motherhood in the abstract. There would only be one baby, for I surely did not want to manage more than that. I was curious to see in which funny ways my genetics would mix with another person’s. Would this kid have my temperament? My blue eyes? Also, I knew my parents would want a grandchild, and I knew that society would expect me to do what women have done since the dawn of human existence. I would raise this child, make sure its basic needs were met, then send it off to college at the age of 18 and be done with my parental responsibilities forever.
I was not yet 18 before I realized that life didn’t work like that. At this time, I also became fully aware that I had a choice. I did not owe it to anyone to become a mother against my will. It would be a disservice to any potential child to bring it into this world when my motivations were clearly lacking. At this point, I made the decision that I would not have children. This was done with little fanfare at the time; I just came to this conclusion and went about my life.
I was 20 the first time I asked to be permanently sterilized. I knew my chances of getting someone to say yes were nil, but I figured I would start putting it out into the universe then. I did not want to spend the rest of my fertile years on hormonal birth control and constantly panicking that one small misstep could end in pregnancy.
I asked many doctors over the following 7 years and got many variations of no until September of 2015. I made the appointment and went it with my typical skepticism. My doctor walked in the room, and I braced myself. I gave my perfected, memorized spiel and then waited for yet another no. Imagine my shock when he told me that my reasoning was sound and that he felt that it was perfectly acceptable to help a woman like me in my quest for permanent birth control.
We immediately began discussing options. I could get Essure, a coil that induces fibrosis and blocks the fallopian tubes. I immediately discounted this, as I have heard of way too many serious complications resulting from the surgery. I could also go for a standard tubal ligation, a procedure that would involve clamping the fallopian tubes, but that did not seem to have the permanency that I was looking for. He then offered a new-to-me option – a laparoscopic bilateral salpingectomy, which is the removal of the fallopian tubes. This would bring my chances of being unable to conceive naturally to very-nearly 100%. Studies have also shown that there may be a correlation between this procedure and reducing the risk of ovarian cancer, since it is believed that many forms of the cancer originate in the fallopian tubes. My mind was made up pretty quickly; I wanted the salpingectomy. We discussed pre-op appointments and counseling, set a surgery date, and officially got the ball rolling.
This is my journey through the process of getting sterilized as a childless, single, 27-year-old woman. It will not be completely comprehensive, but in an effort to be an open book and be honest about the procedure I will do my best to cover as much as possible.