Midnight Ramblings of a Childfree Mind

When I tell people that, not only do I not want children, but that I intend to get a tubal ligation I often hear the question, “But, what if you change your mind?” There are many responses to that; “when pigs fly,” “when hell freezes over,” “I won’t change my mind,” or sometimes if I’m too weary to argue, “If that happens, I’ll adopt. But it won’t, so it’s a moot point.” The last one thankfully has never spawned a comment like, “But don’t you want to pass on your genes?” Nonetheless, it is wearying to know that no matter what I say, most people just don’t get it.

I’ve been thinking about a way to help people understand that not wanting children isn’t some childish whimsy of my own. When thinking about a similar response to the question “But what if you meet a man who changes your mind?” (as if a man is the only kind of person I’d want to meet, but I digress), I began thinking about relationships and sexuality – something all people can understand on some level.

Think about it this way: if you become life partners with someone, then vows (spoken or unspoken) are exchanged. For better or for worse, you have made a contract with that person to give them your love and affection. In a monogamous relationship, you have given your promise to be with them and only them. If being with that person is something you feel in your heart is right, then do you regret the decision? Do you mourn every time you itch for something new, something different? Do you run off with the first person who takes your fancy, abandoning everything you’ve built with your life partner? No, probably not. The small things can be dealt with easily, and the larger things worked around (relationship counselling or, if absolutely necessary, parting ways).

In some ways, getting sterilized is like taking vows. These vows are not to a partner, but they are still to someone I love. I want to make these vows to myself as a way of honouring part of who I am. A way to make my life better because no longer will I have to face the decision of using birth control, which my body cannot tolerate properly, or relying solely on barrier methods with the constant fear of getting pregnant. It is a freeing decision; a way to ensure that, no matter what my life turns out to be that I will never, ever be pressured or forced into bringing a pregnancy to term. It is something that I need to do for myself, just as marrying someone out of love is something that some people feel they need to do for their relationship and their life partners.

Is it possible that part of me will regret the decision? Sure, but regret is a natural, human response. Part of me even regrets decisions that made my life better. I regret not having found a way to learn Japanese when the program at my university was unbearable. But my education in the general Asian Studies program was as valuable, if not moreso, and going to language school next year in Japan may be even more rewarding than having tried learning in a foreign country with the constant threat of getting bad marks on my mind. None of that will erase the bitterness of what was, but I regret more that it delayed me from what I wanted rather than what I decided to do with that delay. And I don’t regret my decision; I did what I had to do for myself. Right or not, it was my decision to make and I made it.

And, isn’t that what it boils down to? The right to make my decision about my body. To do what is right for me. I don’t want kids, have never wanted kids, and will never want them. I have the right to pursue happiness, and one branch of my happiness has a name: tubal ligation. I will not be happy and I will not be free until I obtain my goal.

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This entry was posted in Childfree Issues, Personal, Reproductive Rights, Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Midnight Ramblings of a Childfree Mind

  1. Robin says:

    Thank you for that. It was a wonderful read and really got me thinking. I’m on the fence still but have always leaned more towards being childfree. When I was in my early twenties I seriously considered getting my tubes tied. Thanks again so much for opening up like that.

  2. Darth Sidhe says:

    Congratulations, Andi — you’ve been features in the LJ childfree community here.

    Small world. ;P

  3. Liz says:

    i was linked here from http://www.livejournal.com/community/childfree

    just wanted to say thanks for articulating what so many of us are feeling. good to know there’s someone else out there having the same problems/thoughts. keep your chin up and good luck with the bingo-ers. :D

  4. Darth Sidhe says:

    Oh, and if you’re interested in the Essure procedure, a year ago I wrote the webmasters and got the name of a local MD who’s trained in it. If you’re interested, I’ll forward you the e-mail. Conceptus (the company who created the procedure) no longer has an e-mail address available on its website, and when I wrote back to the person who originally e-mailed me a week ago, I’ve yet to receive a reply, so I’m not sure whether there are more local MDs doing it. I’m told that there are an assload of doctors in Seattle who are trained in it, so you might have better luck there.

    Oh, and for some reason this comment box’s dimensions are borked, FYI.

  5. redrosebeetle says:

    Very nicely and very elegently put.

  6. tekanji says:

    Darth Sidhe: Small world, indeed! I have some info for some childfree friendly docs in Seattle so I’ll try them out first, but if that doesn’t pan out then I’ll definitely hit you up for the names of the Vancouverites. And, as for the comment box… There’s a lot of things about this layout that are screwy. I need to sit down and code my own at some point.

    Thanks for your comments everyone! I’m glad that my post could strike a chord with so many people.

  7. Darth Sidhe says:

    And I’ll have to get the names of the Seattle docs from you if you end up being successful. If shit happens, I have friends who willing to put me up there and a contingency fund for if insurance won’t cover it. :D

  8. Cat says:

    Much applause here.

    It is amazing to me that people don’t blink at the decision to have
    one’s boobs enlarged to the size of watermelons, but mention tying
    your tubes and their mouths hang open as if you’d just suggested
    you might like to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge for fun.

    Happily snipped and loving it for 8 years now!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I was wondering what you were being operated for, so I had a bit of a poke around. And I have to say good on you!

    I’ve been in a relationship now for nearly 4 years and neither I nor my partner are interested in having children. It often seems to me that our decision is incomprehensible to those around us, but having children is a big responsibility and not one I want to take on when there is so many other things I want to do with my life.

    It’s nice to see someone standing up for what they believe in.

  10. tekanji says:

    Hey, Elizabeth! ^^ Good on you and your partner, too, for not giving into having a kid just because society wants you to.

    I definitely think that, even for people who want kids, children shouldn’t be the default. As you said, it’s a huge responsibility (and not one that you can be like, “oops, I don’t want this thing anymore!” and take it back to the store or something) that changes a person’s life. But I suppose I’m preaching to the choir, lol You should have heard me talking to my dad’s gf (she’s also childfree) about my surgery, we started going on and on about it and then we were like, “but both of us know that already, don’t we?”

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