I have had the same gynecologist since 1995, for those playing the home game, I was 15. He actually interned with my first gynecologist who retired when I was 15 and this doctor took over his patients.
I consider him rather progressive in most areas. He stays on top of things in his field and he is always a fountain of information when I have questions about something pertaining to my polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Imagine my surprise then the day I learned that I did not have the right to make reasonable, rational decisions about my body.
I knew at 5 years old, I did not want children. They weren’t for me. My mom even remembers me coming home for daycare and telling her that I never wanted kids; they were needy and loud.
At 10, I still didn’t want kids.
Again at 15, I knew kids were not in my future.
Ditto at 20. And here’s where life got weird for me. I had a double layer ovarian cyst rupture that had to be scraped off my left ovary and while in there, they patched a small hole in my uterus. Nothing big or problematic but something that would become an issue if I decided to have kids. After surgery, I was told my uterus was thin and not made of exactly the right stuff, it wouldn’t allow for fetal growth, it would tear not enlarge.
Okie dokie. Let’s just make sure we don’t have to deal with that problem, let’s do a tubal ligation.
I was told no, I was too young for a permanent procedure. At 21, I was too young for a tubal ligation because I might one day want kids, that I absolutely shouldn’t have because my uterus might rupture.
I went to a different gynecologist, a woman, who my friend assured me would understand my frustration.
And she also told me no because I was only 21 and I might one day want kids. In the 16 years leading up to that day, I had never once awoken and thought “maybe one day, I will want kids.” I had had the opposite thought many many times though and even broken up with a few guys who were wishy washy about whether they might want them at a future date.
I thought maybe it was an insurance thing. 21, no kids, maybe my insurance didn’t want to pay for it.
That was not the case. It really was because I was 21 with no kids and I might one day decide I want them. Seriously?! I was told not to have kids, ever, because it might kill me, but no one wants to do the sterilization procedure to keep that from happening because of my age and the fact that I didn’t already have kids. Where is the logic in that? So I saw and 3rd and then a 4th gynecologist to get this done with no luck. So I went back to the first one and crossed my fingers that birth control never failed.
I asked again when I was 30 and again, I was too young and didn’t have kids yet, so no.
At 35, J and I had been together 7 years and I asked again. I was again told no. However, we’d consider it if I brought J in with me for a consult to make sure he was okay with it.
Um?!? So if J is okay with me having the surgery to make ME sterile, it would then be fine to do it?!
Are you kidding me? It’s not his body. It’s mine! It would be me going under the knife, not him. And I am 35, surely I am qualified to make that decision for myself without his say so, we weren’t married.
I thought my doctor was joking or trying to do some sort of reverse psychology, get J in there, go through all the complications that could arise and then tell him it’s easier to fix a man. Not the case. My doctor that I had trusted to be elbow deep in my lady bits for 20 years wanted permission from my boyfriend for me to be sterilized. Holy shit. I sought a second opinion and was told the same damn thing, if it was okay with J they would do it.
We talk about women having options nowadays. It’s hogwash. We have the same options today that we had during the Middle Ages when it comes to pregnancy. I mean literally the same; faulty birth control methods, abortions that may kill us too, and husbands that find mistresses to fulfill their sexual desires because their wives might get pregnant.
The only real difference is that we pretend our body is our own these days and at least we knew our bodies belonged to men in the Middle Ages.