An Open Letter to Doctors Who Keep Denying Women Permanent Birth Control
Stop treating women like the kids we don’t want to have (or have any more of).
At the time of writing, I’m 35 years old. I’ve known for 15 solid years that I didn’t want to have children. I thought that by now, my efforts to at least get a tubal ligation would be honored, if not a full hysterectomy. But no.
I just got ANOTHER denial because “you’re too young without kids and could change your mind”. Too young?? I am literally less than a year away from “geriatric pregnancy” if I did get knocked up by accident. Whatever eggs I have left that didn’t get squashed from years of trauma, hard drinking in my youth, and almost killing myself with stress at various points of my life should be dried up in less than a decade! Let me live those years out in peace!
Do you actually have any patients who regretted not having kids? Who literally came to you a few years later and said so?
Because I don’t believe you do.
I really, truly, do not believe it.
Nor do any of the other patients who have been systemically denied elective permanent contraception, or even surgeries they badly need to alleviate indescribable pain that don’t even factor in the contraceptive aspects, such as their uterus essentially being nothing but tumors.
No older woman I’ve ever met who skipped out on kids regrets her decision. But I’ve met plenty of mothers of various ages who’ve said they wouldn’t do it again if they had a chance at a do-over, or even flat out admit that motherhood was oversold to them and now they’re tinged with buyer’s remorse.
So this supposed woman under 40 — typically a white professional woman — who gets voluntarily sterilized then cries herself to sleep night after night, after she watches those forgettable Tina Fey movies from the 2010s where she played some overworked character suddenly overwhelmed with baby fever, then descends upon your office with a malpractice suit because she wants to return her tubal ligation like a shitty pair of headphones from Amazon?
SHE DOESN’T EXIST. She is a figment of your imagination!
Or if she does, and you’ve actually had a patient or two like this, she’s rarer than an actual unicorn (hell, I’d say the kink community’s definition is 50,000 times more likely to exist in significant numbers.)
She’s as mythical as that suburban moderate swing voter that the Democratic Party has been uselessly chasing every election since I was born. Read: if she does exist, then the number of patients like her is vastly overstated.
This isn’t just me griping about how every gynecologist I’ve seen in the past 10 years has been trying to get me to settle for an IUD. I do not ever want kids. This is not difficult to fathom, or it shouldn’t be difficult.
The same goes for millions of other women. We knew from fairly young ages that we weren’t on the fence, we were firmly-decided and have not changed our minds. I also haven’t changed my mind about not wanting to risk my body expelling an IUD unit, or potential hospitalization from an ectopic pregnancy once I’m free to behave like a Congressman after the COVID vaccine rolls out, but the device glitches.
Even if we lived in this magical socialist utopia where we never had to worry about childcare, school shootings, and the ridiculous parenthood culture Bad Moms lampoons, I still have less desire to replicate my DNA than I do to move to suburbia and join the GOP. On a scale of 1–10 if someone asks “How badly do you want children?”, my answer is a negative number that is so colossal, it must be expressed in scientific notation.
You keep insisting I’m going to meet a guy who looks like Peter Steele, fucks like him but has the politics of a Socialist Alternative organizer, and the amphibian husbandry skills of a NatGeo herpetologist. That I will meet him, and then my hormones and rock-like stupid lady brain are going to go completely melt down from wanting babies even more badly than Elon Musk wanting to create vassal states on Mars. That I’ll be in such wedded bliss with this dreamy toad wrangler that 5 years later, I’m going to come banging down your door with a scary letter from my personal injury attorney, as this guy’s cum has now replaced my blood yet there’s still no baby.
Well, I’m glad you have more optimistic outlooks on relationships than I do. But even if I did meet a guy like that, I’d want to spend our days traveling, supporting our careers, caring for our many toads and other animals, and boning to the point that I can no longer drive over the Cross Bronx because the potholes will now literally kill me.
“But what if HE wants kids!”
*gasp* My actual dream guy also wouldn’t want kids. Isn’t that shocking? Who EVER would’ve thought? It’s not like couples ever split up over divergent life goals, or one upside of job interview style dating these days means you can find out ahead of time if someone is a perfectly lovely person, but you just don’t have the same ideas and they can’t satisfy your non-negotiables. Like refusing to give birth and raise kids. That’s kinda big. I’ll forgive him if he doesn’t know all the words to every Kill Your Idols and Type O Negative song, or even listen to them, but this right here is certainly not up for debate.
Yet you give this theoretical dream man more say over my own body than I do.
You treat women like children. That’s sickening enough.
What’s even more sickening is that you have blood on your hands given how many women in this shithole country will now find themselves unable to access even basic contraceptives, when a percentage of us wanted peace of mind that only permanence can bring. And this isn’t just some vendetta against childfree women: women who are done having kids are also seeing this horrific and utterly dehumanizing lack of say over their own bodies.
I am a child abuse survivor who has been through a shit ton of trauma. It’s triggering to hear you talk to me, a homeowner and small business owner who is old enough to run for president and get age-based discounts on car insurance, like I am this child who is too stupid to know what to do with my own body.
So a man I’m dating has more say over my body than me, but worse yet, a man who may not even exist gets more say over what happens with this collection of organs I have no use for?
What next, are you going to call my father and tell him about every single contraceptive I’ve ever tried and say what my “body count” is? (Wait, I shouldn’t have typed that. I probably just gave some natalist ideas.)
Also, why are you so hung up on regret? Regret we’re not even likely to experience?
Oh, you’re afraid I’ll regret it? I’ve had two in-office foot surgeries that worsened my extreme pain to the point that I had to put my life in hold in 2019 to get a major foot operation in a hospital. The first two entailed me signing a waiver like an adult, so I can’t sue even though the procedures wound up being pointless…and I value my ability to freaking WALK more than I value my ability to have kids I don’t want.
You have lawyers! Get a waiver template written up. Millions of women will gleefully sign them.
But forget about the legal aspects here: maybe you haven’t realized it, but we actually are adults capable of choosing what we know is best our own wants and needs. In the rare event a patient regrets permanent birth control, which once again is an extremely low likelihood, that is her choice to live with because she is a fucking adult and sometimes we make life and medical decisions we regret.
There’s 400,000 kids in foster care in the US if she changes her mind. Maybe you should be an adoption reference instead.
Or are you just upset about those happy women with careers and lives they love, who are uninterested in motherhood?
I mean, if there’s one thing our society hates, it’s women who love themselves and find their happiness without it necessarily being anchored to marriage and motherhood.
Or is it because you work long hours and don’t get to see your own family, so you want your patients to share in that misery? That “Well, I’M suffering, so shall you!” mindset is exactly why the United States doesn’t have nice things like universal healthcare or tuition-free public college.
Or perhaps you’re just full of boiling resent that women who look like me got the audacity to get laid, while you’ve got less activity in your bed than Congress attempting to do anything about millions of starving and unemployed Americans amid a pandemic?
Really, explain this one to me! Because it seems to be shoving your own bias on your patients instead of actually listening to their needs.
You’re hung up on me supposedly meeting a great guy who wants kids and I have to “compromise” on a prolonged medical condition and major life change I patently don’t want, all because of this remote possibility that I’ll be SO SAD AND ALONE at 50. When I implore you to visit a nursing home and ask the residents how often their adult children visit.
Unless there is a valid medical reason not to perform the surgery, stop this. You’re sentencing women to constant anxiety, physical pain, subpar sex lives, or even death if they reside in abortion deserts with Roe hanging in the balance.
It’s 2020 and I shouldn’t even have to pen this. It’s so ironic how this is the only setting where people actually bring up women’s futures when it is usually always our pasts and presents that define us: well, I got a future even brighter than some rapist 20-year-old boy athlete, and the collective glow of women able to actually get the permanent solutions they seek could power Vegas.