Why I got my tubes tied before I turned 30

Guest post by Heather Gentry

Happiness is: NO KIDS FOR ME! By: thephotographymuseCC BY 2.0
When I first broached the subject of permanent, non-hormonal birth control with my gynecologist, I wasn’t even considering a tubal ligation. I had originally been trying to decide between the copper IUD and Essure. IUDs (intrauterine devices) are not permanent, but they do last a while. Essure (spring devices that are implanted in your fallopian tubes) is a fairly new procedure that can be performed in your gyno’s office but is permanent. I was leaning toward Essure because it was permanent and would only cost an office co-pay until this happened:

“If I were you, I would just get my tubes tied.” Floored, I asked why. “Well, they’ll put you to sleep, then you’ll wake up and it’ll be over. There’s minimal pain with recovery because it’s a laparoscopic procedure.”

So I made an appointment with a surgeon who explained how a tubal would go down. Basically, I should take off work for a week to deal with any side effects from the anesthesia. She told me it was possible my periods would get worse after the surgery. Besides actually having surgery, there was no downside that the other procedures didn’t carry as well.

Like any good introvert, I took months to decide. Surgery is big deal, especially to someone who has never even broken a bone, so I wasn’t about to make the decision lightly. I talked to my husband, I talked to myself, I wrote in my journal, I called my insurance. It was the money that finally pushed me to the decision. I had already met my deductible for the year, which pretty much cut the cost in half. So it seemed the decision to just go for it.

Then I had to start telling people. Those were not fun conversations. But somehow by convincing everyone else that I was sure of my decision I became very sure. For me, the question was never, “Do I want children?” The question was always: “Do I want to have surgery?”

I’ve never wanted to have kids. I’ve never wanted to be a mother. I’ve always been awkward with children, even more awkward than I am with adults. I’ve recognized this since I was in middle school. Don’t get me wrong. I was young and impressionable, and before I knew myself, I assumed I’d have kids with my high school sweetheart whom I was surely going to marry and also with my college sweetheart whom I did marry. But after we divorced and I realized that pretending to be this person I wasn’t was killing me slowly, I decided that anyone in a relationship with me would have to be content with never procreating with me.

I’ve always heard there’s some magic to being a parent, some transcendence that you only understand when you join the club. That may be true. I can see from the outside that being a parent changes a person from body to mind. Your needs change, your desires change, your world changes. I see that. I spent most of my life changing who I am, denying who I am, ignoring who I am because I thought I had to, because it was easier than questioning my family and friends all the time. And now… I just want to be me. I don’t want to be anyone’s mother.

I now sport a one-inch red and shimmery scar just below my belly button, the only evidence that I am now blissfully as incapable of having children as biology will allow. I thought the only result of the surgery would be peace of mind if I was a couple of days late for my period: there would be none of that “Oh, God, am I pregnant?” thought process that anyone who has accidentally made a human when it wasn’t the best time or place goes through. That’s a wonderful peace — but it’s not the only benefit.

Before the conversation with my gynecologist and before the certainty that came with reassuring everyone that I was sure about my decision, I had this small, teensy, itty-bitty piece of me that thought perhaps I should wait to make such a permanent decision until I was 30. By then, my biological clock would be in full swing, and maybe I would find that I do, in fact, want to have children. I was so fearful of my body making a decision that I didn’t want it to, of the universe deciding something for me that it had no right to decide. No one should be afraid of her own body or feel so out of control of her own life.

So I made a decision, the best decision for me. I took the possibility out of my future, and something strange happened: the veil of fear that muddled my present and future cleared. As a result, my tolerance for children has increased. I don’t automatically scroll past Facebook posts with pictures or videos of children. Sometimes I watch them. Sometimes I even smile and laugh. I am not afraid of those little critters with their too-big heads and loud mouths anymore. Those photos and videos are not forewarnings of my future. They are just cute, little critters that I can watch and then scroll past. I’m sure they are bundles of joy and transcendence for their parents. But for me?

Naaaaah.

Comments on Why I got my tubes tied before I turned 30

  1. I decided to get sterilized at 25 and I’ve never regretted it for a single day. I had Essure done because I didn’t want surgery but this year, I had to have a hysterectomy, I assume because my body decided I needed more birth control. I have a few more scars now but love, love, love not having to worry about birth control, not needing to have hormones and now that my 30th birthday is right around the corner I’m pretty excited about no more periods. I know it can be a hard choice for a lot of women but for me it was easy and it’s great to see more and more women being loud and proud about being childfree by choice!

    • I also got my tubes tied around this age. I actually got it done as a 24th birthday present to myself. I had amazing insurance at the time and it only cost me the office visit co-pay ($15 I think). I walked into my gyno’s office prepared for a fight. I knew what I wanted and why (for many of the same reasons above), but I also knew that a doctor might be unwilling to perform such a permanent procedure on a young, unmarried woman. My doctor was great though. I had my folder in hand with a passionate letter and back-up research ready to go, but all she did was give me a 60 second speech about how it’s permanent and asked if I was sure and if she could put a copy of the letter in my file. I said “absolutely” and I had the procedure done a week later. I’ve never regretted it for moment.

      • That’s a great idea to write a passionate letter and put it in your file at the doctor’s office. I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled in a couple of weeks to discuss getting my tubes tied. I’m more worried about telling my family and friends, especially my mom and dad and sister, that I’m going to do this. I know that they will try to convince me otherwise but will understand that this is my decision and my life. At least I hope they will. 🙂

    • I don’t want you to take this the wrong way, but I am very envious of you. I know that nobody wants health problems or surgery necessarily…but I’m 38 years old, childfree since the age of 9, married, with ovarian cysts and endometriosis, and even still I can’t find a single doctor in my Bible belt state who is willing to even tie my tubes, much less give me the hysterectomy I’ve been begging for since I was 20. Because, you know, I might change my mind about the whole “mostly infertile anyway, childfree by choice, sick of hideous pain” thing.

      • I’m the sort of woman who wouldn’t take that the wrong way at all! Getting a hysterectomy was the best thing I ever did. I had been so frightened of the surgery but after having a period that last 8 months, I got insanely comfortable with the idea. And let me tell you, I have never felt better. I had my surgery right before Thanksgiving of 2013. The doctor found slight endometriosis that didn’t show up on any of my biopsies or ultrasounds and a huge cyst on one of my ovaries (which she drained and I could feel the difference as soon as I woke up). It’s insane that doctors are denying you such a common surgery. And with the advances they’ve made, you don’t even have to be gutted like a fish anymore! I’ve got 4 scars on my stomach that are pretty small and zero complications. I hope that you can find a doctor that will help you out too because you’ll be a brand new woman!!

    • Hey Stephanie. Can you please give me your doctor’s name?

      I’m not finding now who want to do it.

      Thank you.

      Carolina

      • I know this is four months late, but I am in North Carolina and have searched for years to find a doctor willing. The age of consent for tubals is 21 here and I have a doctor at a facility in a small mountain town who was the first ever to let me. Her name is Dr. Sabine Kelischek at Smoky Mountain OB/GYN. Just for all you people like me in the Bible Belt who want to get this procedure. I’m also 22, fresh out of college, never want children.

        I will note that I had a pretty good excuse. I’m Bipolar and my long time boyfriend (since we were 15) has a mild case of Aspergers. I essentially said that I didn’t want to be responsible for biologically passing on these kinds of conditions and with my mental health I wouldn’t be capable of raising a child with those conditions. But that excuse never persuaded the doctors at the military hospitals (my father is military and I was on his insurance). But it did persuade the doctor I mentioned above. I will be having my surgery this Friday.

        • Hi Meghan,

          Thank you so much for your input. I have also noticed it’s extremely difficult to find a willing doctor here in NC, even with significant reasons. Congrats on getting the ok go! My best wishes to you on your surgery!

    • Hey Stephanie. Can you please give me your doctor’s name?

      I’m not finding now who want to do it. please help me

      Thank you.

      Carolina

    • How did you guys find doctors willing to operate at you? I just had a long, and extremely frustrating conversation with my gynecologist, who would be unwilling to do the surgery/refer me. I am a 28 year old woman, I never want to have children, and since we live in the 21st century, I feel I should be allowed to make these kinds of decisions about my body. She told me if I already had kid(s) she would do it (because if I had a child, that would make me a real human I guess). I’m next thinking to contact planned parenthood and discuss possibilities with a counselor; I feel like they would be more open. Advice?

      • Anna p.s. –

        I kept searching for a doctor to refer me. The first one or two I went to didn’t want to talk about it; finally one did. My insurance did not require a referral; so check with yours and make sure whether you do or don’t. If you don’t it’s much easier to find the doctor.

        Also, imo, I would change gynos. If you’re gyno won’t support your reproductive choices, what else will they prescribe or offer counter to your body’s best interest and in line with their own personal choices.

  2. Heather, thank you so much for this post! Your high school/college years sound very similar to mine. About getting tired of ignoring who you really are.

    I turn thirty in a month and a half, and my husband and I are not ready to say “never” quite yet. But I, too, have never felt that NEED to be a parent. He hasn’t either. We are pretty sure that if we DO decide to be parents, it will be through adoption, though. For many reasons.

    So, how are you so sure? I think it’s awesome that you are! The only thing that keeps me from being sure is the fear of being alone and forgotten later in life. That’s very scary to me.

    Again, thank you so much for sharing your story!

    • I’m not having kids but, I have wonderful fulfilling relationships with other people’s kids. I have two god children who are teens and a 6 year old nephew. I spend quality time with them and have meaningful interactions with them. I’m very close to all three of them, and don’t expect those relationships to fade just because they get older. I won’t be alone in my old age because they’ll still love me and be part of my life. On the other hand, my mom will likely be alone once my stepdad dies, because she was not suited to be a mother, and has alienated her children.

    • For me, there’s never been a question. Kids are a no go for me. I’m willing to give time the benefit of the doubt and maybe one day down the line, I’ll want kids (they’ll be adopted or maybe I’ll be with someone who came with kids) but needing them to be genetically related to me? Nope, nope, nope! After sterilization came my hysterectomy so I’m taking it as a sign from my body (and God) that we’re all on the same page now.

      As for being alone or forgotten, there are tons of ways to help that not happen with just a little more planning. Kids aren’t a surefire way that you’ll have someone to take care of you or remember you either. Still, it’s a totally valid concern. The bottom line to all of it is, as women, we should support each other. If you want to have kids, great! If you don’t, great! If you don’t know, great (and take stock so you can make the right choice for you)!

    • I have honestly never worried about being forgotten later in life. I’ve always been very independent, and I imagine I will just find a great senior living center to live in and create a new community. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. Plus, I don’t think I’ll be forgotten because I’ll still write and still have a community online if nothing else.

  3. I’m one of those annoying people you hear about who did change her mind about wanting kids after not wanting them in my early 20s. But I’ve always been indecisive with EVERYTHING. Decisions like yours require a lot of introspection and self awareness, and I’m always very impressed with people who can make them! Go you! And I’m also glad you found doctors to work with you- some docs are reluctant to do permanent procedures like that (probably because of people like me, so I apologize.)

    • I just want to second the
      I’ve always been indecisive with EVERYTHING. Decisions like yours require a lot of introspection and self awareness, and I’m always very impressed with people who can make them! Go you!

    • Yup, all doctors I’ve asked here have refused and (from what I’ve heard) all will refuse if you are under 40. Actually, they also refuse to do a vasectomy on my husband too. There is just no way to get a permanent form of contraception. Because you know “what if we changed our minds?!” Imposed pro-natal philosophy much? No one ever mentioned Essure to me before, I had to Google it.

      • I’m super surprised that no one would do a vasectomy! My husband had one at 23. Granted, we had a medical concern as part of our motivation (genetic condition we didn’t know about that was passed to our kid, didn’t want to pass it to any others), but the primary motivation was not having anymore kids.

        • I think vasectomy’s are awesome too- but for me I feel like I want to be the one who cannot conceive. Like, if any tricky sperm made their way past the vasectomy I wouldn’t want my uterus to still be “open for business”. Also- I am likely to have a c-section the second time around so it makes sense to get’er all done at once.

        • It may affect doctors’ willingness that you already had a kid — pronatal philosophy and all that, it may be easier for them to accept that you don’t want more kids than that you don’t want any.

          • My husband just had a vasectomy. He’s under 40, we don’t have kids, and the question never even came up with his doctor.

          • my ex had a vasectomy at 25, just after we had our third baby (boy, I made good choices in my 20’s!). our reasoning was that I had been advised to have no more children due to kidney issues, and he volunteered to be the one to get the procedure.
            he had a hard time convincing the doctor to do it. they asked him “what if you get a divorce and she takes the kids?” and “what if they all died in a car crash?”. serious.
            funny story: after I did divorce him and gain custody of the kids, he very much wanted to have more kids – but since reversals aren’t covered by insurance, he wasn’t able. considering his stellar parenting skills and choice of post-me sexual partners, I count that as a huge blessing.

      • I would try going to a bigger city nearby maybe? Sorry to hear about some people’s troubles. All I did was reassure the surgeon I will never want children and she agreed. Maybe taking some sort of confirmation letter would help. Also, definitely try a woman.

      • Have you tried Planned Parenthood? The one in Oregon gave my husband a vasectomy for free, we didn’t even have to prove financial need, it’s just a program they had (we just paid for the loopy-drugs). They didn’t make a lot of noise about the program, and I don’t know if it’s still around or if it exists in other states…but worth asking. Definitely didn’t give us any trouble about it- just some pamphlets about how permanent it is to take home and read first.
        And I echo all the sentiments in the OP, except replace “tubal” with “husband’s vasectomy.” Best thing ever. Though I wouldn’t mind getting my whole damn system removed, if only it didn’t come with the possibility of even more hormonal wackiness.

        • Thank for the concerns guys, but I have tried asking many people. I live in Québec, and the philosophy is a lot different. The only thing I haven’t tried yet, is going to a private clinic for vasectomy. But we don’t have the money for that right now.

      • I told the urologist who was doing my husband’s V that I had a medical condition that made pregnancy dangerous. Thanks to HIPAA, if I don’t want give more details, I don’t have to!

      • if you go to the childfree subreddit, on the side bar there is a list of child free sympathetic doctors from all over the country…. as more found by redditors looking for permanent birth control, they are added to the list. it is nice to be able to go and look for a place where they will let YOU make the decisions about your future, and not be so hung up on knowing better than you what you really want.

  4. This is so funny, I am literally in the process of writing an article about choosing or changing your birth control based on your reproductive goals, rather than just the “potential side effects” or lifestyle. I am currently pregnant WITH an IUD hanging out inside me with the fetus. I was using the IUD for years with the understanding that if I got pregnant, I would terminate. After having a baby, I wanted to delay the second one for a time, and thus, should have chosen something different with less potential side effects of a potential pregnancy- but I really never considered that portion of birth control when choosing the IUD the second time around- the “And iffff you get knocked up anyway?” Portion.

    After we have this baby (hopefully healthy and happy) I have already talking with my OB about getting my tubes tied. My reproductive goals have changed again, from “not wanting a baby” to “wanting to wait” to “wanting two kids, then never wanting to be pregnant again”. In that sense, I feel like a tubal is an awesome choice for me. The negative feedback I have received when I have mentioned this to a few people is ludicrous. Apparently, even with two children I should hold out until my fertility is shriveled up and gone just “in case” I can pop out more babies. Whereas I feel like if I reach the number of children I had planned for an wanted (and if I can bloody well get knocked up with a perfectly functioning and placed IUD) that I should damn well be entitled to make my uterus a “no go” zone, while leaving my partner the potential to be a sperm donor in the future (should he choose) or the possibility of more children if we were ever to split up down the road . I have decided that after two pregnancies, I have experienced enough pregnancy and if any more children come my way it would be for adoption. I don’t see why at age 29- that that is an unreasonable thing to decide for myself. I am a grown assed adult.

    • I’m an IUD baby. My mom was on one when she got pregnant with me. That was the 70’s though, I thought IUD technology was better now.

      Anyway, I turned out fine. Wishing you the best for an easy pregnancy and delivery!

      • I had an UID, and now I have a little girl. So, they still don’t work 100%. Funny thing is; we’d just started talking about permanent measures and had had the green light from the gynaecologist.

        • I have an IUD and a tubal scheduled for 3/10….this is reassuring that I’m making the right choice! Hope you’re happy though, don’t mean this to be rude.

      • I’m curious to know how many of these IUD babies were conceived shortly after giving birth to another baby. That seems to be the biggest window where an IUD is less effective…like the IUD hasn’t had time to “settle in” to this recently vacated uterus.

        • The 2006 Cochrane review says the same thing!
          “Trials are needed to evaluate immediate vs. delayed insertion after delivery”

          There was a study in Turkey that showed that timing mattered for incidence expulsion, but not for pregnancy.

          • @Ursa – I think “incidence expulsion” refers to the IUD being expelled from the uterus. Logically this would be more likely right after delivering a baby because the cervix is still soft and the uterus takes 6-8 weeks to completely contract so those contractions can push the IUD out. Both of the midwifery practices I’ve used wouldn’t insert an IUD until at least 8 weeks postpartum and that was one of the reasons. You’re not supposed to be having sex until then anyway as there’s an increased chance of uterine infection.

    • Just to add some background, both of the IUDs available in the US have efficacy rates of more than 99%, as does sterilization. So no birth control is 100% effective, but the IUD is very, very effective.

  5. Child-free high fives all around. I just got my Essure done on Dec 27th. It was sort of a holiday gift to myself, and to my fiance. We’re very happy for all of our friends and relatives who have children, but we knew after 2+ years together it wasn’t for us. We’re excited about all the money I’ll save on birth control pills (at least $7,000 in today’s dollars).

  6. This is a conversation my husband and I need to have. He knows I am not into having kids, it has never been a secret that I am not a kid person but not having to think about birth control or accidental pregnancy would be lovely.

  7. As someone who has always been “kids only if its the right person and it works out”, I’m totally in love with this piece. I love that your decision made you feel free, that you took an adult responsibility to listening to yourself and your partner about your decisions, and how you don’t demonize parents. My favorite part is how since now kids aren’t an unconscious “threat” (and I say that in a non-offensive way, because having kids is not what you want), you can enjoy them!

  8. I am talking this over with DH. We have one son, and we know that we don’t want any more children.

    Emotionally, we feel strange about letting go of fertility — he doesn’t want me to go through essure/tubal; I don’t want him to go through vas. We can’t figure out why.

    Our current methods aren’t the best for us, and I think that an IUD is not the best either. I’m leaning more and more toward essure, but we still are hesitating.

    There’s no reason – -that we can think of — as to why we are hesitating. We’re both over 35, both happy with our family as-is, know we don’t want more children, etc.

    I feel silly. LOL

    • Read my comment above re: getting knocked up on the IUD, lol. You may change your mind! I think also “letting go of your fertility” is really frowned upon by society at large, like your greatest achievement in life is to produce offspring. Saying that you have achieved that, and are done, makes you feel like the “best” part of your life is over. Which is crap I think, but I feel like its the pressure we all feel.

  9. I wish I did this in my 30’s. I’m over 40 now, and close enough to the end of my fertility that it doesn’t seem worth it. But I knew in my early 20s that I’d never have children (unless I married someone who came with them).

    Good for you for knowing yourself and taking charge of your body!

  10. had mine tied in feb 2008, I was positive I’d never parent. Then I moved south, married an awesome man and changed my mind. I loved having that option and the control over my body. I am 40 in may and had a reversal in 2011, I gave birth to my daughter a year & 1/2 after the procedure. Only one tube opened and I do have problems with my ovaries growing cysts from the procedures, I had to have one removed. I don’t regret my decision. It is our RIGHT to do what we want to our bodies.

    • Thank you so much for your story. I had my tubal at 34 after years of never wanting children – then a year later met the man who I *want* to have children with. I’m 36 now, so your story is giving me hope that it’s still not too late for a reversal to work. Thank you so much.

      • If you do get a tubal reversal, do get a dye test. Have them run the dye through your tubes to see if they opened, and also, running the dye helps them to open more. I used acupuncture, Mayan abdominal massage, and returned to my regular yoga practice. Again, with the change in the tubes you will notice more Ovarian issues, but that is with the ligation, or reversal. I wish you the best, we are going to start trying for number 2 this year, being a Mom has become my world. I’m so glad that I had the choice!

        • Thanks for the dye advice, Jenny – especially with the additions of acupuncture and yoga to help open up more.

          Good luck with getting number two!

  11. “I took the possibility out of my future, and something strange happened: the veil of fear that muddled my present and future cleared. ”

    That resonated so hard with me. My biggest issue about being child-free by choice is that there’s all these “ifs” about my future. I love the idea of just taking away the ifs. Just reading that gave me a feeling of relief and freedom. Now if only I didn’t have that pesky debilitating fear of doctors and surgery.

    • That bit made a lot of sense to me as well.

      Ever since I was a child myself, I never pictured myself as a biological mother, I always thought I would adopt. I think my husband would be a fantastic father, and that’s always made me hesitate a little, but I don’t think he’s any more interested in babies than I am… maybe in 10 years when we’re 40 we can adopt a 10 year old… skip all the gross parts

      I’ve found this article very reassuring. Thank you.

      Now…. as my uterus hates me anyway… can someone tell me about the after affects of hysterectomy and early menopause?

      • My husband had a vasectomy this year (actually, he had two because the first one didn’t take) and it has been a huge relief (or will be, when we get the final clearance from the doc). I’m 30 and my husband is 40, and neither of us has ever wanted to have biological children. However, after the vasectomy we both realized that we love the idea of adopting an older child if and when the time is right.

    • YES, the uncertainty can make you crazy! I’m so glad that it was addressed. If you plan to be childfree it’s a choice you have to make over and over. Having a kid is a more definitive answer to the question, because even though you can still have doubts, the kid doesn’t just go away. It’s good to know that surgery would come with more certainty in the other direction, without having to wait out biology.

  12. I love this piece! Thank you for sharing!
    I am one of those who changed her mind the other direction (from always wanting kids to realizing I really, REALLY didn’t want them). It took me a while to come to this realization, and then I met my husband who never wanted kids, so that helped settle my mind. (He’s 35 and I’m 32.) We decided for him to get a vasectomy, and he did in July 2013 (we were married in Dec 2012). We had no idea how freeing it would be for us, but it has been such a relief off of my mind! I’m aiming to final get off my BC pills this summer, so once less thing to worry about (and pay for)!

    • This was really helpful to read. I always figured I would have kids, and probably would be fine as a parent, but my fiance adamantly doesn’t want kids and it has been a really interesting transition for me to go through, from “probably, one day” to “never.”

  13. I had a moment, sometime in the last year or so (I’m 30, so that can give you reference) when I realized having children had gone from “maybe someday” to “nope”. Just that acceptance, that I do not want to have children, ever. Was so liberating for me. I applaud your decision to follow through with what is right for you.

  14. I got my tubes tied last year, at the age of 28. I’ve never wanted kids, don’t even like them aside from a select few. When I first got together with my partner, we entertained the possibility of having 1 child, but the more I thought about it, the more sure I became that motherhood is just not for me. All of my maternal instincts are directed towards animals, so I’m looking forward to spending my childfree life rescuing lots of cats and pit bulls!

    • I just have to squeeeeee at your comment since I’m also CF, and do animal rescue. Specifically cats and pit bulls! 😀

  15. Here’s the thing that bugs me:

    Doctors are reluctant to offer permanent choices on the basis that you might change your mind. A valid point.

    But if you choose to have kids young, nobody questions what if you change your mind later on? Having kids is just as permanent.

    It just feels to me that you can be trusted to make a yes decision to having a baby bur you cant be trusted for a no decision until you’re older and i don’t see the logic

    • Can I just say how irritating it is that people aren’t allowed to regret having kids because that means you are ungrateful when there are people out there having problems conceiving. I am sure people should be allowed to regret whatever they want so if someone changes their mind on kids whether it was now want them or wishing they didn’t go down the parenting path someone else’s experience does not define how another person has to experience the same way.

      Just please don’t abuse others while living your life.

    • Based on the number of children or young adults who have little or no contact with their (non-custodial) parents, there are obviously a lot of people who don’t think of parenthood as being all that permanent.
      Of course people question, and judge, you if you have kids early. (Or they assume it was an unwanted pregnancy and go straight to pity.) I was told, after getting pregnant at 23, that it was “the biggest mistake you’ll ever make.” A friend who had her first at 19 often had her sanity questioned by complete strangers when her kids were small.
      I’m fairly certain that everybody gets judged on their parenting -or non-parenting- choices. Too old, too young, too many kids, too few kids…

      • Not everyone gets judged actually. Apparently I have the “perfect” family composition at the moment, or at least I do according to *every random person* who’s told me that in the past 2.5 years. I have a son and a daughter who are exactly 2.5 years apart and were both conceived in my late 20’s (the technical start date of my second pregnancy is the day before I turned 30). The funny thing is we’ve always planned on having more (the current plan is three) so if we’re lucky enough to have that third (we’re 8 months into trying so who knows) I’m sure we’ll get the judgement then. In the meantime I just inwardly cringe every time someone assumes we’re finished having children because “oh, a boy and a girl; that’s perfect.”

    • YES. Exactly. “You’ll regret it.” Yeah, I’m going to regret a lot of things. Maybe you will regret not having kids. It will probably be at one dark moment when having kids becomes escapism. Then the next moment you’ll remember all the reasons you chose not to have them. And it will be fine! We tell teenagers they’ll regret having sex. We tell young adults they’ll regret not going to college. We tell everyone they will regret everything. So, do nothing? Make zero decisions and take zero chances? No way!

      And BTW, I have a delightful set of one-year-old twins. No transcendence. No special club. I love them and I’m having a BLAST. But I’m not different from my child-free friends in any of the ways that matter. I hate the way some parents behave, as though having children is the epitome of living on this planet. Those people, and their children, are insufferable.

  16. Interesting that your doctor recommended surgery when there are more effective and less invasive methods, like Mirena (reversible) and the Essure (non-reversable). Did they talk you through their reasoning? I’ve heard that some doctors want more long-term data on Essure, for example, before recommending it over surgery.

    • I can’t do hormones. Every hormone-based birth control makes me crazy, like suicidal. So there were three non-hormonal options: Essure, copper IUD and tubal ligation. And bc I wanted something permanent, I went for the surgery.

    • I was curious about this as well. If the Essure is permanent, non-hormonal, and less invasive, what makes the surgery a better option? Not a criticism, I would just like to know.

      • Should have signed up for those notifications if someone responded…

        My gyno said the Essure is so new, there are still some issues with it. Not bad, but not chances I wanted to take. Namely, she said it can be painful: they have to dialate your cervix of course. During the surgery, you sleep through all the pain. Also, some women’s bodies don’t respond well to having metal crammed in it, which means you’d go through all that pain to either have it taken out or have it done again to try to get the placement better. I am very sensitive to so many things, I figured burning a tube would go over better than a foreign object. Honestly, it was the pain that convinced me. Put me to sleep please!

  17. “I don’t want to be anyone’s mother”. Best line ever. My husband had a vasectomy. We knew we didn’t want children, not only for medical reasons (I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and take heavy duty medications) but also because we simple don’t/didn’t want to be parents!!

  18. Hear hear!
    I have never been the childbearing type, and always knew I didn’t want to have children, but of course at 23, and in a committed relationship, telling people that is akin to setting a puppy on fire! Even other childless people seem to find it offensive in some way.

    Of course, I would rather just tell them I don’t want to have my own, than go through all the sympathetic looks and sad smiles when I tell them that I couldn’t spawn even if I wanted to, because then they all just assume that I’m trying to protect myself from my own emotion by saying I don’t want children. sigh.

    And anyway , there are so many kids out there that need parents, why would I try and defy biology to bring a life into the world, when I could help someone who is already here?

  19. This year I finally got my tubes tied at 28. I’ve always known I didn’t want kids, and I tried 4 times before in the last 8 years, and no doctor would do it because “I might change my mind” and it was always “come back when you’re in your 40s or married” – some literally wanted a husband to give them permission!

    Finally this time, Planned Parenthood was willing to do Essure, but I preferred tubal ligation for several reasons (I’d been using an IUD for the past few years and my body doesn’t seem to like having chunks of metal in it, I got awfully crampy). So they referred me to a hospital that would take my insurance, and then I had to go through a two-month process wherein the hospital kept “losing” my sterilization consent form (here in California there is a 30-day waiting period from the date you sign the form, which is fair), and trying to make me start over and sign a new one and wait 30 more days, so I’d have to keep re-sending them my copy of the original forms. Then they kept having me take off work to come in for extra examinations they “forgot” to do during the previous visits, which ended up really being just a parade of doctors who kept trying to talk me out of it.

    I finally convinced them that I am dead serious, completely mentally stable and informed, have thought this through, will not sue them if I ever change my mind (which I won’t), and just freaking slice me open, already. Even then, they sent the surgeon to try to talk me out of it literally two minutes before wheeling me into the OR, and he repeated all the questions I’d already answered over the past two months (What if you meet a nice guy? Won’t your parents be sad about not having grandchildren? You’re so young, you might not know your own mind! Have they told you about IUDs and Essure yet? Why not do that instead?) This was all AS I was lying on the gurney, in the hospital gown, with the IV in and everything! It was kind of a nightmare. I had to grit my teeth and smile and it was really hard not to let on how insulted I felt. I get that they’re doctors and they’re just doing their jobs and trying to do due diligence, but at that point I was just sooooo done.

    Anyway, surgery was a complete success, I had zero pain except for some initial cramping when I woke up, from them pulling my IUD while I was under. They prescribed me a bottle of Vicodin, I took one for the cramping that first evening, and then never used the rest. Went back to work the next morning. My scar is inside my navel and kind of blends into the belly button folds, so you can’t even see it. At the follow-up visit, they were relieved because another woman had a tubal the same day as me, and they said she claimed to be in excruciating agony for weeks afterwards, so I guess YMMV, but for me it was easy-peasy, and I feel great and so relieved to finally have that out of the way! In the end, it was completely worth all of the fighting to get it done. But kind of depressing that I’ve known single male friends who have gone in for vasectomies in their early-to-mid 20s and never even had it questioned, no eyebrows raised, didn’t have to justify their decision, nothing.

    • That you had this problem in California astounds me. I got my tubal in Tennessee. I had a short convo with the (woman) surgeon my gyno set me up with. When I said I’ve known since middle school I didn’t want kids, she was satisfied. I’m so glad you were determined enough to go through the annoying process to get what you wanted!

    • What the actual fuck? That’s some incredibly condescending and aggravating hazing ritual you went through. Glad it eventually worked out, but sheesh.

    • Why on earth would essure be “better”? That’s permanent too 😛

      JUST TRUST WOMEN TO KNOW WHAT THEY WANT, DAMMIT. I was just saying the other day that at almost-28 I think I think I’ve reached the “older” age I was going to “get” when I was supposed to change my mind about having kids. Nopenopnope, didn’t happen.

      • Yup, arguably even *more* permanent, because tubals can often be reversed (not that you should get one if you’re thinking “Oh, I can just reverse it later if I change my mind” – reversals don’t always work, and tubals should be thought of as permanent). But with Essure, scar tissues grow in over the coils, so they can’t be removed without completely destroying the fallopian tubes.

        I think PP thought of Essure as “better” because it can be done in their office by going in vaginally, doesn’t require surgery, a referral or a hospital stay, etc. They also told me a tubal would have a long recovery time. But as mentioned, I didn’t want any more chunks of metal in me, and also with Essure it takes a month or so before the scar tissue develops and it’s effective – there’s still a chance you can get pregnant and you need to go back for return visits so they can check and see if it’s working yet. With a tubal, you’re immediately sterile. As for the recovery time, I was flat out on my back with awful miserable cramping for a few days when I got my IUD put in (my cervix was like “noooooo do not like being touched!”), and I suspect it might have been the same if they’d gone in cervically with Essure. With the tubal though, I felt fine enough to go back to work the next morning. So, ya know, different strokes for different folks.

        • So interesting, I bounced back quickly from my tubal ligation – pretty much ready to be up and moving within a day or two.

  20. This was so amazing to read, especially since my husband and I have just begun discussing a more permanent solution to birth control.

    We’re in our mid-twenties and don’t want kids. Especially not biological children due to the fact that some pretty terrible hereditary condition run in both of our families. I’m terrified of becoming pregnant – so terrified, that any time my period is a day late or I start randomly craving cupcakes or I feel sick a couple mornings in a row my mind immediately jumps to “what if I’m pregnant? NO!” I’m really sick of being preoccupied with this. We’re extremely careful about our birth control, but it just doesn’t give me the peace of mind I need.

    It’s nice knowing there’s other couples out there like us. So often we’re made to feel that wanting be childfree makes us selfish or unnatural, or is something that we’ll grow out of, and that’s just not the case. It’s just a choice that we should be free to make on our own.

  21. I’m just starting the process for getting my tubes tied now – had the first doctor’s appointment, just need another few and then I go on the waiting list. I have never, ever wanted kids (and would be a terrible parent anyway) and neither does my partner. We both want that extra security that nope, no way no how can I get pregnant.

    The problem is, I still want to stay on the pill! It controls my hormonal screw-ups and keeps my periods nice and short (and so much less painful!). Partner’s ex also got pretty emotionally abusive towards him when she went off the pill, so he has tons of worries around that. Has anyone had any experience of getting the snip and staying on the pill?

    • Didn’t get the surgery but I did go off hormonal bc at one point because I started having weird visual migraines… it was NOT good. I’d swing from feeling pretty normal to THE WORST PMS EVER, just completely at random. I’d get just…frustrated and depressed and ragey and weepy and ugh. Sometimes it’d sort of have something to do with my cycle, sometimes not. Also had plenty of other weird, migrainey, dizzy-ish things going on while my body readjusted. But I am pretty darn sensitive to hormones, so I don’t think most people have it that bad.

      BUT… once I caught on that the hormonal adjustments were what was causing the mood problems, it got a lot better. Just to be able to say “Okay, I’m not actually upset, my chemicals are just wacky today, and I’ll almost certainly feel better tomorrow” really helped keep things under control.

      I really think the medical establishment severely underestimates what hormonal bc is doing to our bodies :-/ I know for most people, it’s more good than harm, but…it’s a major interference. I do think it’s worth getting off the pill, even if it sucks while you’re adjusting. Just mentally prepare yourself and your partner and keep reminding yourselves that it’s not YOU, it’s the chemicals, and it will pass.

      • I can completely understand the pill messing some people up, because that’s me without the pill – mood swings, sudden irrational bursts of rage, heavy bleeding lasting for two weeks, etc. Not fun. I went on the pill to stop all that shit and far as I’m concerned the birth control aspect is a handy side effect of a treatment that brings me back to ‘normal’ hormonal range. I’ve noticed that it helps with my depression and anxiety issues as well (ah, hormones, is there anything they don’t mess up?).

        My main concern (other than ‘eek surgery’) regarding getting my tubes tied is that I may have trouble getting scripts for the pill. It may not work for some, but I’ve learned that I need it to function.

    • I had my tubes removed at age 27, and due to my endometriosis I’m still on hormonal birth control. I feel the same as before, and I still get it for free under Obamacare. As much as I’d like to be off hormonal bc so my body can just do its thing, the pain of endometriosis is not something I want to go back to.

  22. I tried to have my tubes tied at 24 and the Doctor refused.
    I wonder if they’ll let me do it now, 10 years later and still no change of mind.

  23. I had both of my sons when I was pretty young (21 and 23) and had my tubes tied at the hospital when my youngest son was born. My doctor, the nurses, my family AND my husband at the time (maybe why we are divorced?) all thought I was crazy and tried to talk me out of it. I haven’t regretted it for a moment and would do it again in a heartbeat.

    Why are we so reluctant to allow a woman to choose what is right for her? You are perfect just as you are, whether or not that includes being a mother. Congratulations to you for being strong and firm and doing what works best for you.

    • I think not telling fam/friends/strangers your decisions has a lot of merit sometimes, espesh when you know their opinion about it beforehand. They have had their turn at living their lives and making their decisions, they should allow you to live your life and make your own choices.
      Plus, loads of people can’t conceive. Just because you have help to ensure that you can’t, doesn’t mean they need to know about it, which prevents possible onslaught of guilt trips, questioning sanity & judging. It is a private matter, after all. I’d def. not tell judgmental in-laws, for e.g.

  24. I have one daughter from a previous relationship and my current partner never wanted kids which is fine by me but the only hospital in our city is catholic I work at it the will not preform sterilization on anyone under 35, heck the health insurance won’t even cover any sort of birth control.

  25. This article and the comments were all so fascinating to read! I struggle, because half the time I think that I never, ever want children, but the other half of the time I want one right now. I feel like my biggest concern is that I have so many career ambitions and it would be a relief to never have to worry about fitting that aspect into my life. But i loooove kids too and think I would be a good parent. i wish i could feel really strongly one way or the other!

    • I think it can really depend on your partner too! Maybe that will help seal the deal one way or another. 😉

    • “i wish i could feel really strongly one way or the other! ”

      Same. Or stop feeling one way at one moment, and the other way the next. Are you mid-20s too? Sometimes it kind of sucks.

      • Enigma: You are so right, hopefully that will tip the scale for me 😉

        Jackie: YES! You just hit the nail on the head for how I feel. In fact, I do have strong feelings, but they change from day to day (or hour to hour)! Yep, mid twenties here too. Sigh. Yes, it does kind of suck sometimes.

        I wish there was a compromise to this dilemma, but even if you only have one kid…you are a parent. There is no middle ground!

        • Sending you virtual hugs! I’ve heard this is a thing that people do get through eventually. 😉

        • I’m in my early 30’s and I feel much the same way. Sometimes I’m sure I want children, and I want them right now. Other times, I think about all the things I do/ would like to do with my life and feel my husband and I could be perfectly content without kids. On top of this, I’m starting to feel the pressure that if we are going to have children, we need to do it sooner rather than later. I wonder if my desire for kids is just the product of some social construct or biological imperative ? I tend to over think things, and unfortunately, I feel many people have children without really thinking about it at all.

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