Congratulations, you’re sterile!
I didn’t realize this until some point later in 2020 that I had been waiting to hear those words for a very long time. Well, not exactly those words...I didn’t actually ever hear those specific words but in the end it’s still a true statement. I’ve been sterile for 6 weeks and some change; it was the best, scariest decision I’ve made for myself in basically my entire life.
Some background for those who haven’t read my previous post I Was Meant To Be An Auntie: I had always felt pressure to become a mother, it felt woven through my culture, society and religion. I had people gaslight me when I expressed that maybe I didn’t actually want kids telling me that I’d want them, someday. Truth was, once I dug out all the things everyone else was telling me about womanhood=motherhood I realized that I truly did not want kids. I felt like I couldn’t talk about or celebrate this for a long time. Then I wrote that blog post and fully understood that the community of friends and family in which I find myself today loves me no matter what. And those that truly matter to me had never pressured me into having kids, not once. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And thus began my journey to sterilization. At first I felt like I was being overreactive. I’ve been on birth control for nearly 10 years, it’s technically been working...and yet, nearly every time there was one single tiny, only noticeable-to-me change in my body/cycle I was in a full on panic attack at the slightest possibility of pregnancy. I even had a prayer/mantra to God during those nights I laid awake, stressed out of my mind and stomach in painful knots: please, dear God, no, dear God, no, please, please dear God no, no, no… I will also say something that feels very controversial from my background: I’m pro choice, I considered abortion. I never had to test how I’d actually handle that situation, but I will still stand by my consideration and will not be shamed for it.
We discussed all the options, and it was suggested, what felt like often, that a vasectomy was a good option. It even seemed like THE option, it was such a go-to answer. This only added to my worry that I was overreacting because, if I was honest with myself, that wasn’t good enough. Maybe for others, but I needed to not be able to get pregnant, nothing else would do.
I knew then that I had decided; it was just a matter of availability and finances. In my research I was happy and thrilled to find that female sterilization not only was far more prevalent than I had realized, it was covered under the ACA. Even still I had to wade through all of my baggage of not trusting myself, second guessing, religious dogma and talking myself out of perfectly fine and logical decisions that I later regret talking myself out of...and many other less relevant things as well.
I’m eternally grateful that I never even tried to talk myself out of this. I’ve done a lot of groundwork towards trusting, loving and accepting myself, flaws and all. Once the ball got rolling it all happened quite quickly. I talked to my doctor, she asked all the typical questions: things like, have I discussed this with my partner, how long have I been in my current relationship, etc, etc. She understood right away that I had been thinking about this thoroughly for quite a while. Given my BRCA2 diagnosis along with my previous comments surrounding disinterest in my childbearing years I don’t think she was overly surprised either.
This is when I got some bonus information that was the icing on the cake, as it were. The way they do the procedure now is significantly more effective (the medical field never gives 100% on these things) than the previous methods and it would help reduce my ovarian cancer risk by a bit. See BRCA2 diagnosis for my higher chance of breast and ovarian cancer…
Well it took only about a month and a half before it was my surgery day from when I talked to my doctor. I was so stressed about the BIG changes that this would bring for me, but I never doubted doing it. The aftermath of the surgery was interesting. I was suuuper spacey for nearly a whole week. The mental side of it was far worse than the physical. I had to mentally come to terms with WTF just happened to me and not panic re the fact that my insides had had a whole new experience and I now had, albeit small, cuts that were more than superficial healing on my stomach. The worst physical part of recovery was throwing up two days after surgery, terrifying, in a word, but over quickly.
So, congratulations, I’m sterile! I’m the least likely of my doctor’s patients to get pregnant, I think she said 0.01%. It would have to be a very strange and impossible set of events for me to conceive.
I’m wholeheartedly celebrating having gotten to this point in my life and the people that have lovingly supported me the entire way. The husband and I are very happy to permanently be in this just-us phase of life. We get to grow old together, just the two of us. And, really, we like it this way...unless we can ever afford pets. Fur babies are a thing, right?
Just kidding, I know they are, and my ideal pet situation would be a puppy and a kitten so that they could be the bestest of friends. My life partner is much less enthused about cats than I am, and I’m not so much of a dog person. At some earlier point we determined that I am basically a cat myself, though I have discovered there are certain dogs that I absolutely adore. We’ll sort it out when we get there.
For now it’s just us, and that is enough.
—A Recovering Design Imposter