When you tell people you're going to have a tubal ligation procedure, also known as "having your tubes tied," to prevent future pregnancies, they usually have one of two reactions: they try to talk you out of it, or they ask you a ton of personal questions. Sometimes, if you're "lucky," they do both. It's infuriating, because there's a long list of people whose permission you don't need to get your tubes tied, and that list includes pretty much everyone but you.
The first time I inquired about tubal ligation, I was about to give birth to my second child. I thought I was going to have to have a c-section, and asked if they would do a tubal, you know, "while they were in there." Their answer? No. I was so confused. Even though getting the procedure during delivery would allow me to avoid an additional surgery under general anesthesia, and I had endured a high risk pregnancy with many complications, they refused. Turns out, the hospital is ran by a Catholic hospital group, so they will not perform sterilization procedures, prescribe birth control, or perform therapeutic abortions, even if they are medically necessary to save someone's life.
I ended up getting divorced and remarried, and my husband and I decided to have another child. After our child was born, my husband decided to get a vasectomy, but we soon discovered that our health insurance didn't cover the procedure. It did cover tubal ligation at 100 percent, though, so, I asked my OB-GYN about the procedure and had the surgery a few weeks later.
Unfortunately, it seems like everyone from friends and family to the nurse checking us in at the surgical ward had an opinion about it. In case you have questions, like theirs, I will save you some time. Yes, I'm sure I don't want to be pregnant again. Yes, my husband is supportive. No, I don't need his permission, because it's my body. No, it's really not any of your business.
The fact that it seems like people with uteruses feel like they need permission to permanently prevent pregnancy sort of implies that they exist on the planet to have babies, and have babies only. It's not only sexist, but it's pretty offensive to people who don't want to or can't have babies. Besides, I literally didn't need anyone's permission to get my tubes tied. Period.
When I was hospitalized at the end of my last pregnancy, I mentioned to the Maternal Fetal Specialist consulting on my case that I was interested in a tubal ligation to prevent future pregnancies. The first thing he asked me was, "Is your husband OK with that?" I promptly asked for another doctor. No, you don't get to have an opinion about my future fertility.
As much as I love my husband and ask for his input about pretty much everything, I am the final decision-maker about what happens to my body, especially when it comes to major surgery and future pregnancies. Fortunately, mine was super supportive of me never going through pregnancy again, and we are sure that our family is complete.
The Hospital Administrator
It's pretty hard to believe that in 2017, not only do some medical providers not provide evidence-based care (like tubal ligation), but they don't seem to care if women die from high risk pregnancies or complications. Seriously, you shouldn't need permission from a hospital administrator to control your fertility.
So many people in my and my husband's families had opinions about my surgery, which were vocalized in the form of questions ranging from, "Why isn't he getting a vasectomy?" to, "Are you sure?" to, "Well, just think about it."
My kids and stepkids were really excited for their new baby brother to be born, but they also saw how hard a high risk pregnancy was for me and our whole family. However, when my daughter asked me if I was going to have more babies, I didn't know what to say. For a variety of reasons, I didn't tell her or any of my children about my tubal ligation. I may tell them when they are older, if they ask.
Your Health Insurance Company
This one was actually true. Even though it was covered at 100 percent under the Affordable Healthcare Act, my health insurance company had to approve the procedure and give "permission" for it to be covered. Grrrr.
The Surgical Staff
When I checked in at the hospital for my surgery, everyone asked me at least twice if I was sure. Come on, people. I am an adult and I have voluntarily checked myself in for surgery. Yes, I am sure.
My ex-husband had enough to say about my latest pregnancy, so there's no way in hell I was ever going to consult him about this. It's none of his freaking business. Plus, and to be honest, not wanting to talk to my ex about it is one reason why I've not told my children.
Your Future Partner
Getting a tubal ligation was really empowering, but I'd be lying if I didn't think about what would happen if my husband died and I met someone new. Would they love me if I could no longer get pregnant? Ultimately, I decided that I don't owe anyone explanations for decisions about my body and my fertility. Also, those worries are pretty morbid.
Your Future Self
Even though she doesn't get a say, I think future me will appreciate the peace of mind and freedom of not having to be pregnant ever again. In case future me is reading this and has forgotten how horrible and scary pregnancy was, let this serve as a reminder. It really sucked.
Literally No One, But You
No one else gets a say. Literally. You get to decide what happens to your body, if you get and stay pregnant, and if you want to have children now or any time in the future. Can we please get passed the idea that all women should want and have children at all points in their lives? It's OK if you have one child, 10 children, or you stay child-free. If you don't want kids or have decided you never want to be pregnant again, you have the right to decide to get your tubes tied, no matter if you are young, old, single, or married. You don't need anyone's permission.