I wanted to repost because the last post was quick, harsh and not as informative as I wanted it to be so if you read it before, this is a much better read.
Considering that this conversation is always hard to discuss I wanted to bring it to the forefront of discussion because I think it’s important. I feel like most of us women either do not talk about it, don’t know much about it, or really never think about it.
I was shocked today to have found an article about hysterectomies because you never see those kinds of articles for anyone to read and understand. Its content sparked the memory of my own sterilization procedures and so I thought I’d share my story on the topic, since it seems to be taboo or controversial for women to openly discuss not to mention all of the lies you hear about getting your tubes tied or having a hysterectomy so YES, I had a tubal ligation and a hysterectomy before I was 25!
YES REALLY and there are no regrets, no second thoughts or feelings of guilt, etc. It was the right choices to make!
Why did I go to these “extremes”?
Early in life, at 15 years old, I’d made the decision about two important life events that was possible to occur in my lifetime that I didn’t want to experience:
1) Never to get married
2) Never to have children
Firstly and most honestly, I don’t like children; they’re fun and cute but they are also many other negative things to me that I don’t find appealing. In general, I didn’t and don’t care to have a tribe of children running around me because parenting didn’t and doesn’t sound exciting, enticing, or interesting. Parenting’s not an experience I wished to go through in my life especially with what my siblings and I went through growing up; I didn’t want to put children through those kinds of situations and I just didn’t want to be a mother.
Due to a lack of many things in my youth, one major parenting fail from my creators were my not being informed about sex and protection. There was never a talk about it but I wasn’t stupid, I learned through observation and friends what needed to be done yet that didn’t help me when my time came. The entire experience wasn’t any better considering that I’d ran away from home, dropped out of school (eventually graduated) moved away with family a few times then settled in a small town in Illinois 600 miles from my mom and sister, with my alcoholic uncle and his deaf wife and children. There I met a man 9 years older than me who took advantage of my mental innocence to sex leading my young and dumb self to believe his lies and let my guard that I didn’t know needed to be up; down. That immature, uneducated mindset minus protection had gotten us pregnant.
Aside from being a 19 year old pregnant lost and confused young woman there was the fact that I was months away from deploying to the Airforce (about 7 months before the twin towers and Iraq War began). It was my choice to serve and nothing was to stand in my way except pregnancy; something I hadn’t figured would even happen to little ol’ me in a lil ol’ town. An option – or an “out” to having the child was abortion but that was never a “yes” for me even before getting pregnant, it wasn’t a choice I thought I’d ever be okay accepting if I’d done it so the only option was to have my son.
I thought about giving him up for adoption so many times before he actually arrived, even spoke to an older sort of mentor about it but in the end I decided that I couldn’t live with knowing that my kid was being raised by someone else so I did what any responsible person should do when they f*** up and become a parent – a single parent at that, I prepared for motherhood. My son’s father was a complete bum (a type I couldn’t pick out then but bet your tush I can now) and after he asked me for an abortion, I knew I’d be a single mother.
I struggled as a young parent trying to find my way as I went through post-partum depression, suicide attempts, raising him alone, etc. but throughout all of that, one thing never changed in my head and that was the dislike of being a parent or wanting more children so I made an appointment with my doctor and we talked about my options to sterilize which was to get my tubes tied.
NOW SOOOO many women told me things like: “You can’t get your tubes tied, you have to be this or that age with this many kids before they let you do that.” or “No doctor will let you do it.” And my all-time hated statement “Don’t do It, you’ll want kids later in life then regret it.
<Insert Robert Downey Jr Eye Roll>
I mean from nurses to about-to-be-nurses, people who uncles are doctors, to everyone who KNEW they were right about tubal ligation, they told me how impossible it would be, I wouldn’t doubt that even after telling this information that some people still don’t believe it or say my doctor with 40 years as a gynecologist was wrong. Thankfully I don’t listen to other people – especially non-PHD having people when it comes to my body so I spoke to my doctor about my rights and as expected, all the “you can’t BS” were hearsay lies. My doctor told me that in our state and most in the US, a mother at the age of 21 and unmarried with one kid can have a tubal ligation and if you were married you’d have to get your husbands permission. Because I like to be right all the time, this information pleased me so much to be able to go back and tell all of the know-it-all’s that they were wrong. There I was at 21 years old with a 1 year old son discussing what was to happen next since we’d decided on the tubal ligation.
The conversation with my doctor went something very close to the following:
Doc: “Why are you so sure that this is the right thing for you to do?”
Me: “Because I know me, Doc. I never wanted to be a parent and the thought of having more children isn’t ideal for me plus I don’t believe in abortion and not comfortable with adoption. I don’t like children, period and considering that my mom had all of her kids by one man, I couldn’t imagine procreating with this same man again nor having multiple kid’s fathers OR risking a slip up.”
Doc: “What about your future husband?”
Me: “Well is he here right now?” (He stared at me funny), “I can’t worry about a man that doesn’t exist yet. I can’t make my life’s choices off of “what if’s”. Whatever man I decide to marry will be like me; neither of us will want children or hopefully he would have his own already but I’m not going to hold off because of some preconceived notion about marriage and family.”
Doc: “You do know this is permanent, there is no going back once it’s done. Can you accept that?” The he asked: “What if something happens, what if you lose your child?” A question he hesitated asking but I could tell it was part of the “talk” he’d had with many other patients before.
Me: “If I could have become sterile prior to having children, I would have. Parenting is not for me and giving birth isn’t particularly an event care for. If this world takes my son from me, having another kid will never replace him. I would still mourn, I would still be his parent. I’m ready doc.”
We spent another 20 minutes going over the procedure, what to expect and I signed the form to have the tubal ligation procedure. The hospital has a protocol that makes each patient wait a full month before scheduling the appointment in case they changed their minds during the wait time which is a great policy to have in place for those who were not sure however, I was sure. In those 30 days, I thought long and hard about everything my doctor went over with me, I researched the procedure, I read other women stories on it and put myself in the mental position to see the full outcome of the procedure. No matter what I read or saw or who I talked to about it to, my decision never changed; I would be sterilizing myself and removing the option (other than a tubal pregnancy) to ever have children again.
A Tubal Ligation is defined as; “A permanent voluntary form of birth control in which a woman’s fallopian tubes are surgically cut orb locked off to prevent pregnancy.”
The procedure went smoothly and the healing process was short and sweet. My best friend had come with me to drive me home. Ironically while I was having my procedure, she set in the waiting room, pregnant with her own child. I felt so good about my choice and felt happier about my future knowing it would be just my son and I. I’d have never guessed that the most aggravating and annoying part about having had a tubal ligation would be the women and their responses when it is brought up in conversations. It’s not information I freely divulge but if in the conversation it comes up, the responses from women makes me want to scream.
Let’s say for example, me and some women are talking about our kids and somewhere along the line a woman would ask me how many kids I have and my usual response is, “One and done!” That should be it, all that needs to be said unless a person wants to get into it but nope they’ll say, “Oh just wait, you’ll want more.” I get so annoyed by that assumption and I could just be quiet but because out of that annoying anger I tell them that I am sterile so it’s literally one child and no more. That gets a conversation started that becomes more annoying as they look at me like I’m crazy and ask how or seem so taken back that I got it done so young. I’ve even had women debate me and say things like:
“You couldn’t have had your tubes tied, they wouldn’t let you so you lying.”
“MY doctor said this, and MY doctor said that so I know it can’t be done with just one kid.”
“That was stupid, your future husband might want kids.”
<Excuse me while I Robert Downey Jr. role my eyes>
What these women failed to realize is that I wasn’t and am not them. Not every woman wants to be a mother. Yes, we have reproductive organs for a reason, women were made to reproduce, I totally understand that it’s our duty to reproduce however in my head, it’s a choice and not a mandatory requirement for the gender. I didn’t and still don’t want to be a mother to any more children, hell I won’t even get a pet! People will say whatever they want about what you should and shouldn’t do with your body and those people urk the very essence of my soul. Ladies and gents it’s your body – if you want to poke holes in it, change it, ink it up or whatever it’s your body and no one should be able to say anything about your choices and if they do, teach em a lesson and speak your mind.
It’s important that you learn what laws govern you and your body and don’t let someone else tell you what you can and cannot do just because they didn’t learn for themselves what they can and cannot do with theirs. I’ve had women who were mad that I got a tubal because their doctor told them they couldn’t and to them I say, “It’s not my fault you took no for an answer. You could have gotten on birth control or used condoms. Don’t make my truth your problem.” We – as in all people – are so accustomed to believing what those with degrees say is universally true and we don’t take the necessary steps to learn for ourselves what is right or wrong. I knew before my doctor told me “yes” that it was a procedure I could have because of my own research. Had he told me “No”, he would not have liked the next steps taken against the hospital.
Overall, I felt good knowing I could never get pregnant again, it was like WHEW . . . . . my fear of raising more children was over – minus the chance of a tubal pregnancy but that percentage wasn’t higher than a condom busting. For some, especially those who cannot bear children but want to, it’s a hard pill to swallow hearing me talk so bluntly about my happiness in NOT having children – I wish I could apologize for that but I won’t. I hope those who want children get to have children because that’s part of their purpose in life. Some may think I made such an important decision too early and will regret it but I assure you they’d be wrong.
I really couldn’t imagine myself with a troop of kids nor could I imagine my children having different daddies and it’s not that I grew up in a household with my dad and mom together; they were separated by the time I was 3 (I was the baby) but my mom had all her children with one man (her child hood sweetheart) and that stuck to me as the way to do things if it was something I wanted to do. Another factor was being told the unforgettable story by my mom when I was 13 years old about how I was literally a few minutes away from being aborted. She’d made the appointment, went to it, got undressed, in the gown, on the table and at that last minute, before the procedure was to begin, she and my father changed their minds and decided to keep me. It didn’t hurt to hear that story however it did resonate with me on how important of a decision abortion was and being told that helped me to decide that I wouldn’t do that to myself no matter what I’d go through. Becoming a mom wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but I still don’t like it.
My son is 13 years old and it amazes me every day that I created a little human. However, the first 5 years of being a parent were the worst for us both due the pain I caused to him and myself. Because I didn’t want him and depression had lingered in my head since my adolescent years, I abused him. I’d yell at him until he’d shiver and clench his shoulders to cry then as he cried he’d reach out his hands for me to pick him up which made no sense to me that a child I just scared to cry, wanted me to console him but the B**** in me couldn’t do it, I wanted him out of my face so I’d leave him standing there crying with his arms out for me and would go close my room door and pretend he didn’t exist. There was one time when he was on the floor crying and I hit him harder than ever before, he was only about 4 years old. For a long time I used to think that memory was false or that I made it up because I didn’t want it to be true but it was real. Today, I can talk about those moments and control my tears that so desperately want to come down because I have made peace with that past “me”.
I am not that horrible mother who hated the sight of her child. My heart will never let me forget the monster I was to him nor will it let me ever cause him such pain again. There are times when he’s sleeping that I’d go in his room, even today, and watch him sleep while I whisper over his head, “I’m sorry.” He doesn’t remember those days and I’ll frequently ask him what he remembers from being a baby since some people do remember things but none of those horrible moments are on the surface of his brain, thankfully. Even though I didn’t want to be a parent, being an abusive parent like my parents were to me was not something I wanted to become either. I am proud to say that I have changed and have embraced motherhood. I love that little boy with every fiber of my being and yet I still don’t want any more. We have a great relationship, he has given me a reason to understand, take, and give love – something my grandma said I needed long before I knew she was right.
Shortly after the tubal I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia; a chronic pain disorder that back then no one believed was real <enter Nene Leakes eye roll> and that pain began to wreak havoc on my body and my life. I’d already struggled with heavy bleeding and painful menstrual cycles since the beginning of my cycles and just when I thought I’d learned how to deal with that pain, fibro introduced its own level of unbearable pain that made it far worse. The usual pain I had pre-fibro was stomach curling, puking, and fist pounding on the wall painful but what the fibro introduced was a pain including the above ten times more painful with my entire body on fire and migraines too powerful to even allow me to open my eyes and that unfortunately led to my blacking out during my menstrual. After a few blackouts I began calling the hospital and going into the ER, and sometimes they’d admit me for a few days on an IV being giving strong medication in a dark room due to the light sensitivity from the migraines. I had begun to work with the same gyno who took me through my pregnancy and tubal to figure out remedies to ease the pain beginning with birth control pills. Although I couldn’t get pregnant, the medicine in the pills could have helped to control my heavy flow but nope, they didn’t work. We tried other meds for the menstrual cramps, the fibro, the migraines but nothing worked. I’d had scan after scan of my uterus and bones with no luck until they discovered endometriosis and found some fibroids in my uterus. Hallelujah, an answer! We spent a total of 13 months trying every remedy we could until the last option was the only way to help end the pain; a hysterectomy.
The only thing I knew about a hysterectomy was it being a major surgery and for old women. Thankfully my curiosity wanted to know why it was the only option left for me and after talking to my doctor I researched it on my own to get a better understanding of the procedure. I’d discussed it with my mom and bestie but only once as it was something I kept to myself because it, unlike my tubal, was big. My doctor discussed with me the different kinds of hysterectomies then for me we decided on a Laparoscopic Suprecervical Hysterectomy, I was 23 years old.
A Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy is an outpatient surgery defined as:
“When a problem such as fibroids requires the removal of your uterus, having it done with a scope through button hole size incisions makes for a less painful, rapid recovery. Your cervix and ovaries are preserved, maintaining normal hormone and sexual function.
The difference as you can see with a partial/laparoscopic Suprecervical hysterectomy is that I kept my cervix. My doctor explained that keeping my eggs would hinder me from early menopause. He asked what I wanted him to do if something went wrong during surgery where the entire cervix had to be removed, I asked that he stop the procedure and we discuss it. I wasn’t ready to have all of my “womanhood” taken and have the possibility of early menopause, that much I knew.
My mind was clear the day I went in for the hysterectomy; there was no regrets, no anything negative. Although the procedure was outpatient surgery, I ended up being admitted in the hospital for a few days due to some bleeding but in two weeks I was fully functional and ready for the pain to be completely over with. When I awakened after the surgery to a nurse taking some readings, I didn’t expect to respond to her the way I did when she asked how I was doing.
My response was: “I don’t feel whole anymore.”
That moment sticks with me as clear as day because I didn’t even cry before or after the tubal; not one tear so my mind was blown that I had some emotions deep down in there about not having my uterus although I couldn’t have children any more anyway. It was the feeling that a part of my womanhood had been taken and that didn’t make me feel like a full woman anymore which still lingers with me today. The tubal was for sterility, the hysterectomy was to end the pain. It’s been 11 years and every day I am thankful to not be in that pain anymore but not being a 100% woman lingers a bit painfully in my heart.
Below is the article I read with a few things about having a hysterectomy that prompted me to write this post.
HOW HAS LIFE BEEN AFTER A TUBAL AND HYSTERECTOMY?
Everything is okay with my body for the most part but I have experienced two interesting and unique hysterectomy related issues such as:
Orgasms – They come like wild fires and can’t be stopped. It’s annoying; sure during sex you want to have an orgasm right or maybe three and go to sleep but I have 5 or more (give more than take) for every ONE (maybe two) a “normal” woman has. The most during one sexual romp was 18 orgasms and it had hurt so much that my stomach muscles were tight and cramping for a few days after. My orgasms has landed me in the hospital a few times that has made for some hilarious embarrassing stories.
Scar Tissue Aggravation – Last year I had an embarrassing moment (one of many but the most embarrassing thus far) when I was having regular coitus with the guy in my life who was BIG and his big size aggravated the scar tissue from the hysterectomy which caused me to have inflamed skin down and inside my lady space; the place where the pap spectrum usually goes. I had an idea that it was scar tissue aggravation after experiencing it not from sex a while back but I went into the ER because for about a week it felt like someone was jabbing a knife in my twat until the ER doctor; male, his female trainee, and a nurse looked in my cookie with a pap and light to determine that he indeed aggravated my scar tissue. Imagine trying to explain why your lady space hurts to three people who really probably wanted to laugh deep down but couldn’t; yea it wasn’t my greatest moment. I followed up with my regular doctor (same doc who took me through the tubal and Hysto) a week later and when I told him that the guy was really big he said, “Well, there isn’t much you can do except tell him not to go so deep or use some lubrication to help ease the friction because anyone big enough can get up there and aggravate it again” He said it so calmly, lol, I loved my doctor, he saw me through some emotional times.
There are a few more issues but they are also fibromyalgia related and heightened due to fibromyalgia. Now that I know these problems exists I know how to deal with them and how to have sex the right way to not experience the issues. I’ve dealt with some hormonal imbalances but that was controlled. For the first two years after the hysterectomy I had phantom cramping pains every month like my menstrual cycle; the whole tender boobs and lower back pain but that went away thankfully. Those would be the only issues I have dealt with, that and not having a menstrual cycle if you consider that a problem 🙂
To those thinking about these steps in life, think long and hard. I knew what I wanted my future to be when I was 15 years old, I took the reins and controlled what I wanted to be in my life yet that doesn’t happen for everyone so think carefully. Yes, there will be emotions involved and maybe some depression after a hysterectomy like I experienced but it’s to be expected right, especially when you make such a drastic lifestyle change. I don’t regret my decisions at all; I still don’t want any more children, don’t want a man with children but that’s not guaranteed, and I still, more now than back then do not EVER want to get married. It’s a selfish way to live – to some – but we are all different individuals with different goals for our lives and being different is okay as long you know yourself and make sure that all the decisions you make for you, your body, your mind, and spirit are to make you happy.
I was young when all this happened but it was for the best and I couldn’t be more grateful to have had a doctor who understood and saw me through the three biggest procedures of my life thus far.