Editor’s Note: This post is not intended as medical advice. Always consult a medical professional or physician before treatment of any kind.
About a month before my son was born, my obstetrician offered to give me a tubal ligation. Pregnancy is incredibly difficult for me, and my husband and I knew our son was going to be our last child. I have experienced a host of complications during my previous pregnancies including blood clotting issues, diabetes, and hyperemeis gravidarum, that all work together to make my pregnancies not only miserable, but literally life-threatening.
Still, the thought of tying my tubes gave me pause and I ultimately ended up declining the procedure.
Sixteen months later, though? I’ll be honest: I regret it.
A tubal ligation would have been a great option for me during my son’s delivery, because I was having a C-section (a tubal now would be major surgery). But I declined it for two reasons.
The first was my fear of scary complications I’d heard of, like Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome (PTLS). Women with PTLS reportedly suffer all kinds of symptoms like irritability, irregular periods, memory loss, yeast infection-like itchiness, and a whole bunch of other not-fun-at-all stuff. Even though the odds of developing that were low, my hormonal brain was too scared of the risk.
The second reason is one I was embarrassed to admit at the time, which was that I was afraid of how permanent getting my tubes tied would be. Though my husband Mike and I knew we were done having kids, there was a tiny voice deep in the back of my mind that shouted out: “What if you change your mind?!” and that stuck with me. I knew I didn’t want to be pregnant again, but the “what if” was hard to ignore when I was pregnant and hormonal.
My husband was incredibly supportive as I grappled with the decision, never pressuring me one way or the other. And so, we decided against it.
Unfortunately, I failed to take into account the fear of pregnancy that comes up every month. I currently have an IUD, but I’ve had some side effects that make me not want to use it long-term. These side effects also mimic my early pregnancy symptoms (breast tenderness, nausea, and missed periods), so I practically have a heart attack every month. (And I do mean every. single. month.) Pregnancies with IUDs are rare, but they do happen. And with someone with my clotting history, they could be life-threatening. Every month, I fight the urge to use a pregnancy test, when really, it’s not something I should have to worry about at all.
The plan is for my husband to one day get a vasectomy, but the fact remains that for now, the burden of birth control remains mine, and I wish I’d really considered that before I’d checked “no” on the pre-surgery paperwork.
Now, 16 months later, I’m in a much better position to accept the permanence of a tubal ligation. I’ve given away all of my baby gear and the newborn clothes are long-gone.
I’m done. I just wish my body was, too.