Basically, this is me with kids:
Whatever biological imperative it is that drives most women to reproduce and nurture said genetic replica into adulthood – I’m either missing it or it was worn out by all the child-minding I did growing up. My mother had a fourth child when I was eight years old, and as a result of her drug and alcohol dependence I took on the role of primary caregiver to my little brother. I was thrust into the uncomfortable position of being a mom before I had even reached puberty. While most kids in my middle-class elementary school were doing extra-curricular activities after school, I was struggling to make it to school on a regular basis because home life was wearing me out. This continued into high school, when I began also babysitting the kids down the street so that the household would have enough money for food. All of my free time was split between caring for my alcoholic mother, and the three kids that were my responsibility. I went without food most days to make sure my brother had food.
In the end I managed to graduate high school, with the honorary title Part-time Student bestowed upon me by my info tech teacher (that’s sort of where my gripes with the public education system begin, but that’s a story for another time). I was worn out and needed to escape so I moved away from home after the summer of graduation. One less mouth to feed, anyway.
I moved in with my second oldest brother and his then fiancee, who, as it turns out, was pregnant. This girl was almost a year younger than I was (eighteen at the time) and already settling down. I didn’t, and still don’t, understand why she kept the kid rather than aborting because they were clearly too young and too emotionally unstable to raise a child; but, I suppose my family has a history of unrealistic expectations.
For the following nine months I watched my sister-in-law suffer through almost constant nausea and crippling depression as she brought her first child to term. After the birth didn’t get any easier, as my brother’s foul temper reared its ugly head. Seems his unrealistic expectations landed him in a situation that he dealt with by slamming doors, and screaming in the face of his fiancee and newly born baby. The reality was that the couple was ill-equipped to deal with the responsibility of parenthood, and as I watched them fall apart, I wondered how they couldn’t have seen this coming.
From a young age I was aware that I didn’t want the responsibility of being a mother, and as I grew older and the mental health diagnoses piled up, I decided it would be cruel to pass on the same genetic illnesses my mother passed on to me, anyway. Now that I am in my mid-20s, and breeders keep telling me that I will, in fact, want kids soon, I’ve begun to loathe them on principle. Every time I see a child in public I get a little sick to the stomach because it’s just a reminder of the dozens of people who tell me that I am wrong, or selfish, or too young to know what I want. I’ve become bitter that I am childfree by choice yet forced to live in an increasingly child-centric world. I am offended that everyone seems to think that just because I am female, that I must eventually become a baby-making factory because that is my one true duty as a woman. I am angry that I don’t need medical authorization to have unprotected sex, have a child, and be financially and emotionally responsible for that child for the next 2+ decades of my life; but, if I want to opt out of that and instead live a life that best suits my preferences and abilities, I must harass the system for four years to get them to finally listen.
But in the end, they did listen, and my gynecologist finally authorized a bilateral salpingectomy (complete removal of the fallopian tubes). A perk of getting the salpingectomy over the tried-and-true cauterization method is increased security (nature does sometimes find a way and there is a 1 in 1,000 chance that a pregnancy will still occur, but removal of the fallopian tubes theoretically tips the odds in my favour). Also, there is evidence that shows that the deadliest form of ovarian cancer actually begins in the fallopian tubes, so removal may reduce chances of occurrence. Finally, it’s PERMANENT. In for a penny, in for a pound, right?
I had the surgery August 14, 2015. It has been over year and I still do not regret my decision to be childfree for life. I am in a loving relationship with man who respects and supports my decision on the matter. When we first started seeing each other, I was worried that my sterility would eventually become a point of contention (OK, truthfully, I still have those fears) but Richard is very good at calming me. When I am capable of engaging in non-emotionally driven dialogue about the subject of our future together, Richard assures me that basically he could have gone either way on the subject in the first place, that kids are expensive and basically seem like a pain in the ass even if there are pretty cool aspects of parenthood, but that he wouldn’t give up a future of growing, learning, exploring, and adventuring with me for the chance that maybe kids would be fun. (He’s a very emotionally intelligent man. Knows how to hit me right in the feels.) Besides – we get to have totally worry-free sex without the need for mood-killing condoms. Yay, fucking with impunity!