When I was 17, after a few awkward straight sexual encounters, I decided to make a GP appointment to talk about contraception. Knowing then that I was not planning on using my womb (an organ I was born with and did not choose) for reproduction, I asked the doctor for a hysterectomy. I had heard my mum and her friends speak about this surgical procedure in relation to ‘women in their 30’s and 40’s without children’ and assumed this would be the best course of action for me. I was not aware, at that point in my life that a hysterectomy is the removal of the whole womb, ovaries included and therefore induces menopause.
The male doctor laughed. I remember this so clearly and now as an adult wonder why he did not ask me why I felt this way about my fertility.
He prescribed me the combined hormonal pill Microgynon. And I started doing my research into the sterilisation process. I don’t feel like going through menopause before my body decides it’s time.
Now, over 9 years later, I have tried the whole ‘range’ of combined hormonal contraceptive pills and the Implanon implant. The side effects experienced over this time could use up a whole blog post, but all I’ll say is how? (Literally, how?) Could pumping your body full of unnaturally created hormones not fuck you up? Long-acting reversible contraception I do not need.
I feel the same way about my fertility as I did 10 years ago. I do not want, or need that either. My doctor (not then same one I had when I was 17) this year finally referred me to my local outpatient gynaecologist to talk about getting sterilised.
I had my appointment yesterday. Overall my preconceptions and fears about people under 30 asking for sterilisation treatment on the NHS were confirmed. The gynaecologist was very polite, appreciated my rationality (and the fact that I had done my research) but still told me that he was basing his decision on the fact that there are a number of people who have had his operation young, only to request reversal years later. Obviously the fact that I had begun pursuing this decision 10 years earlier was not taken into account.
It is not something I decided to do on a whim. It’s a procedure that feels as natural for me as going to the dentist: necessary.
Being treated like you can’t make decisions about your own body because you:
A) Are too young
B) Were assigned female at birth
C) Might undergo a radical personality change and want to further the population / have parental responsibility / become pregnant / give birth
There are a whole host of articles online from women who’ve had to battle for control over their own fertility. #toomany