Draw the Line

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Topics: Contraception, Reproductive Health
Area of Life Affected: Family Relationships, Finances


Why I Can't Be Silent

I’m a survivor of child abuse. I spent most of my life hiding in corners hoping not to get hurt. That changed when I moved away from my parents and got help from a good psychiatrist and psychologist. I began to open myself up first to the psychiatrist, then to others. I got a master’s degree in teaching.

“My livelihood would have been over if I had a child.”

I was moving towards actually living in the world and not merely being present in it. I married at 31 to my best friend. I am religious and I was a virgin until I got married.

At 33, I had thought about it for a long time; my husband and I discussed it at length. I was just starting my career as a teacher and was just discovering who I was as a person. I decided and my husband supported my decision to not have children and for me to get my tubes tied. We discussed options with my family practitioner, and after a long discussion, we agreed that I should go see an OB/GYN and have the procedure done.

I went to an OB/GYN on my HMO plan; the OB/GYN said because I was overweight it was too dangerous to have surgery. She said that if I wanted to have an intrauterine device implanted that she would do that. I accepted that but she also didn’t gain my confidence so I never went back to her.

We stuck with birth control and condoms–although I was terrified that my independent life that had just begun was going to end, my livelihood would have been over if I had a child. I got a new family practitioner who recommended an OB/GYN after I had told her and my psychologist.

The new OB/GYN didn’t blink, but gave me my options of stents or having my tubes tied. I told him what the other OB/GYN said about my weight; he said my weight wasn’t a problem with either procedure. I went for the stents; one worked, one didn’t, so we decided to tie the other tube. After the recovery period, I had sex and truly enjoyed it without anxiety or stress. It freed me to love my husband more and gave me more room to work on enjoying every moment of life. I was my own person fully for the first time at 35.

At 33, an intelligent woman with a Master’s degree was questioned and made to feel bad about her decision to not have children. I can’t imagine what would have happened had I been younger, or less educated, or simply completely trusting of my doctors, particularly if I did get pregnant and went to see her for an abortion.

This is why I can’t be silent. I didn’t speak up when I was a kid about my dad. If I had been a weaker person, I would have given up on trying to get my tubes tied. I know that I’m stronger than a lot of people because I’ve survived a lot; I am also well-informed and have a supportive family through my husband and my in-laws.

Every woman has the right to have control of her own body without shame, without intimidation, and to live her life the way she fits.

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