My Body Your [B.S.] Rules and Regulations By: Stephanie Hoover

Where to start and how to not go off on a tangent…hmmm; I can’t make any promises! Let’s start with my doctor appointment at the beginning of the year. I went to a follow up appointment where I more so wanted to discuss my birth control –no-more-baby-making-options. After talking with my CHC (Community Health Care) doctor who’s always been amazing, up until this point, she told me that no one would tie my tubes at my age (32 in April). “What if you want more kids…? What if your boyfriend wants kids…? You’re too young.” These were the responses I was given. Here were my counter responses, “I’m almost 32!! I had my daughter when I was 17!! My daughter is 14! I don’t want to start over. I don’t give a sh*t if my boyfriend wants kids; I don’t! I’m in school and plan to be in it for another 5+ years!” Nope, nope, nope! She wasn’t having any of it! None of my counter responses had any merit with her.

I figured I’d wait and talk to my gynecologist at Planned Parenthood because I had my yearly checkup scheduled for Feb 23rd (not too far away) and hoped she would be more sympathetic and receptive to a more permanent solution in not having more children. Apparently Planned Parenthood didn’t have a clinician at the Bettendorf location so I had to go to IC for my annual appointment, which meant a doctor I hadn’t seen before, yet I remained optimistic. First of all, the nurse or aide or whatever her title was was amazing and so receptive to my wants and needs. The doctor on the other hand was apparently “bad cop,” because she seemed to think my requests of a more permanent solution to not having babies was comical; she literally let out a brief laugh as if what I was suggesting was something of fiction. She met me with all of the same objections as my CHC doctor. I told her my past, my present, and my future plans –none, in my opinion, were conducive for having another baby and that it had been something I’ve been intently thinking/talking about for years now. The nurse seemed every encouraging and supportive of my future plans/goals and I felt she truly understood my reasons for wanting a more permanent solution to not being able to have anymore kids –go her! But the doctor finally said in a snarky “good-fucking-luck-crazy” tone, “Well, if you can find a doctor who will do it…but I don’t know any who would!”

I feel like I could more easily convince a doctor that I wanted to go through the procedure to become a man than I could convince a doctor that I want a permanent solution to not having any more babies. In my studies of transgender one of the major components in the choice and transition was seeing a therapist. So, why couldn’t I go through a similar process if these doctors are so worried that I, a boyfriend/husband, or any other thing that could possibly alter my decision would do such a thing? I fully understand what not being able to make and birth my own child would entail. I can speak to it very logically, I’ve already experienced it once already, I’m of sound mind -it’s not a rash decision, I worked in a preschool for 1 ½ years with babies as young as six weeks to pre-teen aged kids, and I have people in my life with babies and children presently; I’ve not once uttered, “Honey, let’s have a baby…honey, what do you think? Should we try to have a baby?” And with my present boyfriend of two years we’ve discussed it at length and many-a-times. He even has a nephew we babysit and see now and again. I love him, the nephew, but it does not make me want another of my own. In fact, I absolutely love babies, but I absolutely do not want to birth another one. Why is it such a fight to find someone would “will do this?” —If you’ve missed my point in using the transgender comparison let me make it more clearly: it would be more acceptable in our society for a woman to say that she identified as being a man and wanted to start a process where she’d go through hormone treatments and radical surgeries in order to completely change from a her to a him. BUT it is not near as acceptable for a woman to state that she doesn’t want to be able to birth a/any more child/children and wants a permanent solution. –Both, for the record, I completely support. However, in society and the medical world I’m finding that a woman’s desires of her body, specifically related to childbirth and prevention methods is so far out of her control and completely in “a professional’s” hands that it makes me feel so helpless and that I do not have the freedom that our society implies I have.

Of course I’ve been bitching about this whole ordeal on my Facebook and some women have reached out to me with the following on the subject:

  1. One woman was encouraged to have her tubes tied in her early 20’s because she was “so overweight” at the time and was told her newly birthed son would have many “health issues” that she would be so busy caring for him; she declined the insistence. Oh, and her son, does not have the health issues they projected he would have; he’s a pretty normal kid.
  2. A friend’s daughter had two kids by the age of 24 and wanted her tubes tied –they told her no, she was too young. She then ended up having twins and now is no longer with the father of the kids. The state she was living in barely gave her enough support with what she was making (don’t know the dad’s situation) so her mom had travel quite a distance to help move her daughter and her four grandkids closer to their original home so her daughter could better support her, now, doubled family.

Now, here’s the kicker. I, at 17, could decide to have a baby –I wasn’t “too young” to have a baby, but at (almost) 32 I’m “too young” to decide to not be able to have any more babies? There are girls as young at 10-13 who are having babies; as soon as they “blossom into womanhood,” which we all know that merely having a period does not make anyone any more ready to be a mother than giving someone a car makes them ready to drive. So, extremely young girls can have this life changing experience and become responsible for someone else because just they started menstruating…and yet there are so many stipulations for why I can’t decide to not have a baby: I have no health risks, I’m not overweight, I don’t have a plethora of kids already, I need to account for my present or future boyfriend/husband’s wants, despite my strong wants and convictions, etc. However, girls, and I stress the word girls, can choose to become mothers, be responsible for another’s life for the rest of theirs, which is something I’ve done, and yet at 32 I’m “too young” to decide that after 14 years I do not want to become pregnant and birth another baby? (And btw, child birth was absolutely horrible for me and I never want to experience that again –no grand complications or anything, just something I personally don’t want to go through again.

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