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On 9 years of sterility…

Posted by on 26 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: childfree, soapbox, wifehood

 26 April, 2009

Nine years ago today, as a 25-year-old newlywed, I got my tubes tied.  The operation was a triumphant end to the fight I had with my HMO over my desire to have my tubes tied.  Every step of the way, I was told that I was too young to make such a permanent decision, I’d be a different person in my 30’s, and that I would end up regretting making such a big decision at such a young age.  I kept insisting I knew my own mind, and that I would not regret my decision.  

I am happy to report that I have not had one nanosecond of regret that I got my tubes tied.  I still giggle like a little girl whenever I think about it.  I haven’t had to worry about taking a pill, watching the calendar, running out of condoms, or having to abort an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.    

Looking back on the fight with my now former HMO, I now strongly suspect that I was the subject of gender and racial bias.  I was an unmarried woman at the time, I’m a third generation Mexican American, and the hospital my sterilization was performed at was on Sunset and Vermont in Los Angeles, CA.  The HMO’s white male OBGYN’s were so used to my peers popping out children early and often that they refused to see the anomaly in front of them.  They didn’t see the stack of research I had compiled over the past year I’d been thinking about this.  Fortunately, I was able to appeal to their boss, who shared my gender and ethnicity.  I wrote a nearly 9 page letter to her, arguing my case and detailing the treatment I’d received so far by her staff.  She could see I was sincere, and she agreed to do the surgery herself.  

The surgery wasn’t that bad.  The worst part was the several hours I was stuck in pre-op alone with a painful IV stuck in my left hand, while my husband and parents were downstairs in the waiting room.  I woke up from surgery in pain and nauseous, but still happy that I was now unable to get pregnant.  (I had all 4 of my impacted wisdom teeth out 2 years later, and that was a far worse experience!)  It’s the second best thing I’ve ever done for myself, right after marrying my husband while on vacation in Maui.  

I’m what the childfree call “an early articulator.”  That is, I’ve always known I didn’t want kids.  I saw the realities of motherhood from a very early age due to my large extended family with its steady stream of babies.  When I was six, I found out that a woman could have an operation so she couldn’t have babies.  I immediately wanted one, even though I was being taught that it was my duty as a Catholic schoolgirl to grow up, get married and have babies.  Growing up, I dreaded motherhood, but I saw it as inevitable and unavoidable as death.  

I met my husband, Kevin, on AOL right before I turned 21, and dropped out of college to move in with him 9 months later.  Kevin is nearly 13 years my senior, so I took him at his word when he said he did not want children.  I was thrilled that I didn’t have to become a mother after all!    After a dozen years of cohabitation and 9 years of marriage, we are very happy with our 6 cats and 2 chickens.  (We have not lost a cat in the entire time we’ve lived together, and our eldest one turned 21 last month!)  We agree that our combination of genes would result in a misfit child who would be predisposed to things like depression, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and migraines.  Most importantly, we both hated being kids, have no desire to revisit childhood, and would not want our marriage to suffer due to the stresses of raising a child.    

I will admit, those doctors were right about one thing–I am a different person than I was at 25.  I’ve grown a lot in the past 9 years.  I learned how to stand up for myself.  I conquered anorexia after suffering from it on and off since my teens.  My husband and I moved from a tiny apartment in Burbank to a geodesic dome on the fringes of the Angeles National Forest.  I went from working in an office to being a housewife who finds joy in laundry lines and learning new recipes.  I am an online merchant.  I’m helping my husband with his vintage music synthesizer restoration business.  I run 3 websites, 3 blogs and 2 podcasts.  I studied Tae Kwon Do for a little while, and hope to return to my studies soon to complete my black belt certification.  I’m working on the novel that’s been in the works since I was a teenager.  In short, I’m enjoying my 30’s in ways that have only been possible because of the choice I made 9 years ago to forego motherhood.

8 Years Ago…

Posted by on 06 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: childfree, cooking, family, wifehood

It’s my wedding anniversary today. It’s been 8 years since I stood on a cliff in Maui on a windy day and exchanged leis, rings, and vows with my soul mate. Boy, has time flown!

This past last year of marriage for me was quite a growing and learning experience. I feel a lot more equipped to live up to those vows than I was when I made them.

Not many people in my family eloped, especially if there was no pregnancy involved. I don’t regret skipping the whole famblee wedding thing, ’cause I couldn’t justify the expense! Besides, I’ve worn my wedding dress more than once.

There will be no offspring from this marriage, and that’s a wonderful thing. The last thing the world needs is an intelligent smartass with a predisposition to depression who’s half Mexican, a quarter Brit/Canadian and a quarter Ashkenazi Jew. 😉

Time to finish making dinner. I decided to roast a chicken in the BBQ. Mashed taters are from a box and the salad from a bag, but it’ll be a nice dinner nonetheless.

A little about me

Posted by on 24 Nov 2007 | Tagged as: childfree, family, wifehood

When I was a kid, the siblings of my parents began to marry and procreate.  I went to a lot of weddings, baby showers, and baptisms in the early 80’s.  I wanted my tubes tied somewhere around 1st grade.  I kid you not!  I saw my aunts and uncles follow “the script” and the happiness of those events never lasted.  I wanted something more.

I was in my teens when I decided I didn’t want to make a career out of taking care of other people’s children.  It was kinda fun being “the big kid in charge,” but again, I wanted something more.  I figured getting married and having kids was in my destiny, but I hoped I could put it off until after I got through college.

A post on an AOL message board  few weeks before I turned 21 led me to the man I’ve been with for 11 years.  He was 33 and quite upfront about not wanting children.  I felt two things: relief and joy.  My future actually looked bright, because from now on I could start living life for me, instead of waiting around until it was time for me to breed, like I’d been doing since I was told that my destiny was to Go to College, Find Prince Charming, Marry Him, and Have His Babies. Dropping out of college to shack up with my husband was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.   Being an adult was a bit of a challenge at first, but I figured things out, with the loving guidance of my husband.  We finally made things legal a couple weeks after I turned 25, during a trip to Maui.  I made the choice to elope when I realized that I wanted to be married more than I wanted a wedding.  

When we moved to the edge of Angeles National Forest over 4 years ago, we decided that it would be easiest for me to do the housewife/secretary thing.  In theory, it sounded wonderful.  Yet I had a little bit of an internal struggle with being a housewife.  Me, June Cleaver sans Wally and the Beaver?  Too bizarre for the programming I got as a Catholic Schoolgirl in the 80’s and early 90’s.  Being a housewife is supposed to be a drag, and as a Modern Woman, I’m supposed to find it beneath me, especially if I’m not having kids.  As I started to untangle all the tangles in my soul, I realized that once I ignored the programming, I started to enjoy my lot in life a whole lot more.  Taking care of a home isn’t the best job in the world, but it’s better than a lot of jobs that I’ve had! 

Being a loving, supportive wife is not something that women my age were taught how to do.  The emphasis was on the wedding and the babies, not the marriage.  I think that’s wrong.  Marital vows are not to be taken lightly–it’s a lifelong contract to be a good partner.  

I’m still trying to get the hang of this whole “housewife” thing–I’m far from an expert in all this.  Yet, the more I learn how to make the most of my role as a housewife, the easier it is and the happier I am.