Stream of Consciousness: Sterilization

It was so much simpler than I expected.

I met with my new gynecologist and told her I’d like to be sterilized. She said, “Ok,” and asked me if I was sure.

And I am sure, even though there’s a lot of emotion behind being sure.

She told me there were risks, though minimal. She walked me through the procedure. She’d be my surgeon and already, after just a few minutes of knowing her, I trust her.

I asked if my body size would be a problem. “Will it be harder because I’m fat?”

She said it might take a bit longer because there’s more body to get through laparoscopically, but it would be okay.

She asked if I had family history of ovarian cancer. I had to think. Yes. My aunt had ovarian cancer, and my grandmother had cervical cancer.

“Have you ever had genetic testing?”

No, I didn’t realize I could find out if I’m predisposed to diseases based on my genetics.

“Does insurance cover that?”

Yes, usually.

“Does insurance cover the sterilization?”

Also yes.

I’m amazed at the fact that it’s accessible to me. In my fat, disabled, 34-year old body, having never had children. No one asked me what my partner wanted. I am in complete control of this decision. I didn’t expect that.

She asked me if I was sure a dozen times before I signed the forms to start the process. Next, her scheduling team will see what’s covered by insurance and set up a date for the surgery.

I will be put under anesthesia. I’m scared. I’m worried I’ll die in surgery. It’s very rare. But it’s not impossible. And I’m really scared of surgeries and medical situations.

I think I’m more scared of surgery than I am scared of regretting it.

I know I don’t want to have biological children, for so many reasons, each of them valid and not something I need to defend.

But there’s grief, too. The knowledge that I’ll never grow life is a bit sad to me. I find pregnancy and childbirth fascinating, if also horrifying. They can suck the calcium right out of your bones if they need it while they’re in there. Like a little alien stuck to the inside of your body.

There’s a finality, a completion of the journey I started with my abuser in 2016 when we tried to conceive for over 18 months. Each month, the bathroom trash can filled with negative tests. I tested early and often, too impatient to wait. I wanted to know as soon as I was pregnant.

It never happened.

And I’m grateful.

I can’t imagine how much of myself I would have lost if I’d had his child. Would I have left? Would I be living this incredible, joyful life? Would he abuse me every other weekend for 18 years?

Knowing that I didn’t want to parent with him was a huge part of realizing I wanted out. When I asked him if we could pause trying to get pregnant while we worked through a rough patch, he said no. He said it was now or never. Every time I got close to the point of realizing how unhappy I was, he’d bring it back to the baby.

“What about our baby?” he asked me. Over and over. Every time I was “wobbling,” as he called it. Every time my emotions rose up and tried to shake me awake. Every time I doubted the forever I had promised him.

What about our baby?

My mother once told me that she had an abortion when she left my dad.

At the time I was sad. Now I get it.

I know that I would be a great parent. But that doesn’t obligate me to be one. And that’s something to continue unpacking alongside this decision.

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