I’m not involuntarily childless, I just can’t have kids. No, that doesn’t bother me, the term does.
If you’re reading this then you probably know that I don’t have children, and I can’t have them. If you don’t know this then I’ll elaborate briefly (until I write a piece about it and put it somewhere obvious on here).
When I was 36 I had a hysterectomy. It was elective, in that I chose it for reasons that weren’t life threatening. Yet it wasn’t entirely elective as I had a tumour the size of a melon growing larger each day, in a place where it turns out wasn’t possible to remove it. It was a fibroid, a relatively harmless tumour.
I had the surgery a week before Christmas in 2013. I chose the surgery because when you’ve had one fibroid, you’ll probably get another and I had a feeling its size was so large that they wouldn’t be able to get it out without causing a lot of problems.
Following the surgery, I went through a lot. Of which I’ll cover in more posts. Most of the problem was related to premature menopause which took three years to get diagnosed.
As if that wasn’t enough to challenge me, the universe threw me another curve ball at the start of this year, when I had to have both my ovaries removed. My days of growing large things that shouldn’t be in my body weren’t done. I had a cyst the size of an avocado growing on one of my ovaries, so my surgeon thought it best to take both (let’s face it, if I’d grown two large invasive things, the chance of a third was quite high).
Unluckiest lucky person
I consider myself the unluckiest lucky person, or luckiest unlucky person. Neither of the things that I had growing in me were cancerous, and for a long time I tried to tell myself I wasn’t allowed to grumble as I didn’t have cancer. Which, as it turns out, isn’t entirely helpful to your mental wellbeing.
Yes, I do appreciate how lucky I am that I didn’t have something that killed me. Yet it didn’t make my life particularly easy to live.
Not of Sound Mind or Body
At the time of the hysterectomy, I had to fight for it. It turns out a women in her 30s, without children or a husband can’t actually make a decision about her reproductive organs. I think they made that point to protect them from law suits. I mean I don’t know why in this case as I was already suing them (long story involving “9cms” not being added to my medical notes).
I didn’t want children, and I still don’t really. No, I don’t know why I don’t want them.
The problem is, when you’re making a decision at the time, they say “but you don’t know what you want in the future”. You’re absolutely right, I don’t, nor do I know what will happen in the future. I can’t make decisions on my health based upon what will or won’t happen in the future, I can only make the decisions based upon what’s happening right now.
In the case of the hysterectomy, menopause and cyst, they were making me feel really unwell. I couldn’t just make the decision to live with them because I might want something different in the future. I mean you wouldn’t wander around missing half your finger because it might grow back of its own accord in the future.
Yet I was still stuck in the box of being labeled not of sound mind and body. It took a lot of yelling to them to give me the treatment that I needed.
Do you want what you want because you can’t have it or because you want it?
Seriously. Have you ever been in the position where you think you want something but you don’t know if you do because you actually want it, or because you can’t have it?
I don’t mean a laptop or a car or a holiday. I mean a child.
Despite not wanting one, that’s what my mind has done to me for 5 years. And let me tell you, it’s fucking savage.
I don’t want a child of my own, I know that I really do, but when you’re at your lowest and you’re being rejected by men who treat you like you’re damaged goods, you do sometimes wonder.
The thing is, there’s nobody talking about this kind of thing, until recently that is. There was nobody famous I could look to and say “they had a hysterectomy when they were young for a reason that had nothing to do with cancer”.
There’s a gap you fall down, you’re not part of the cancer community so the body of support that they have, doesn’t extend to you. People tell you that it’s OK you can adopt (trust me, dealing with the psychological fall out of feeling that you’ve lost part of what makes you a woman is stressful enough, trying to consider an adoption process would be hellish). Or you’ve got the people who have an opinion about what you’re going through, but haven’t gone through it.
Oh, and then there are the people who tell you what to think, or feel, and the ones who tell you it’s your duty as a woman to have a child.
Well they can fuck right off. The lot of them. Nobody gets to tell another person how to think or feel when they’re dealing with something like this.
If there’s one thing that going through something like this teaches you, it’s how to see both sides of a story. To see the context in things.
Do I sound angry?
I should sound angry. Going through all of this is like going through a fucking pilgrimage on your own. It’s lonely and it makes you sad. You question your worth. You question your purpose. You question your choices.
Nobody truly understands these feelings unless they’ve gone through them. Some days are easier than others, but most are so utterly silent and numbing its hard to breathe.
I wish more was understood about what we go through and how, whilst the choice isn’t an easy one, it’s one we often have to make.
The “support” groups that do exist are, well, not my tribe.
This was some bollocks term assigned to a Facebook group that someone suggested I join. I took one look and just thought, nope. It’s the name. I mean it assumes that I’m angry at not being able to have children.
Where the fuck are the support groups for women who’ve had to have a hysterectomy when they’re in their 30s, haven’t had cancer, got badly misdiagnosed twice are single because they’re considered damaged goods and are lonely as fuck?
Involuntarily childless is a shitty label. Who’s got the lighter fluid and a box of swan vestas, I’ll show you what you can do with it.