Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Why is my body not my own? WHO MAKES THE DECISIONS ABOUT MY BODY?

Currently, I feel as if my body is not mine.

In fact, I do not even feel as if I am a person in my own right. What I am is, a breeder, an incubator, a vessel. I am put on the earth to HAVE MANS BABIES.

What makes me feel this way?

I have just come home from my doctor appointment, where quite reasonably, I have asked to be sterilised. I am 39 years old, I have three wonderful children, the youngest of which is nine. I have created a family and now, after many years of hormones in my body, periods that can stop me in my tracks and various methods of birth control, I don't want to do this any more.

The doctor listened while I explained all of the reasons above and more, she nodded and made noises in all the right places and then asked what my partner thought about it all. Was he happy with finishing our family now? I explained that he was not the father of my three children and he had no children of his own and her face dropped.

This lead to me then being offered many, many, many alternatives to sterilisation, the pill, the coil, to go away and discuss it with my partner, because she was concerned that HE didn't have children and HE may change his mind. She pressed me on whether he wanted children, (he doesn't) How old was he, How would I feel if, after I had the operation, he changed his mind and wanted children. She went back to offering me the coil, even after I quite firmly stated that I did not want any more children, as if it was my DUTY to wait patiently in case my partner changed his mind in the future.

I am not an incubator that can be put in standby mode.

I calmly told her that we had discussed this. I do not want any more children, my partner does not want any children of his own and I would like to move forward with a referral for sterilisation.

At which point I was again asked, "but what if he changes his mind?"


Why is it that I cannot go to a doctor's surgery and make a decision about MY OWN BODY like this without the consideration of my partners POSSIBLE needs being put above my own.

And this is all for a referral, this isn't even talking to the gynaecologist, who may ask these questions again. "What if he changes his mind?"

I'm surprised the doctor didn't send me home with a note for my partner to sign, giving his permission.


Why is this even happening? Am I alone in being asked these questions? OR is this the standard behaviour of a Doctor with sterilisation?

I'm confused, angry and at this moment, I do not feel as if I have control or own my own body or am able to make the decisions about it.

I would love your opinions on this.



  1. YES! I totally understand you! I'm constantly being asked 'But how will HE feel if you go on the pill?', 'what about HIM?'. Hellooooo?! It's my body - not yours! No one ever questions HIS request to not have children. Great blog post, love it.

  2. That's horrific! I'd be absolutely raging, the decision should be yours and yours alone! Would they refuse you a sterilisation if your partner wanted kids? How much further would they go, would they insist you went through 9 months of pregnancy and childbirth against your will just because your partner wanted kids?

  3. WOW. That just bites the biscuit doesn't it? I know doctors are their to give you an impartial view and give you sound medical advice, but surely after explaining to them that you have calmly & rationally discussed it that that was her queue to zip her mouth on the issue? Goodness!
    Bee xxx

  4. This makes me so fucking angry. How dare she suggest you need someone elses approvale or permission. Complain.

  5. #firstworldproblems

  6. Darn it Kellie...I'm shocked, I really am. As a woman, fellow feminist, this is the kind of thing that really infuriates me. No, it seems your body doesn't belong to you, and not only your body, but your life: your right to say I do not wish to have no children.

    Men... yes they have a right to want children and to not want them, but I'm sorry, they are not carrying the baby, they are not giving birth to him/her.... and being pregnant and giving birth are HUGE things.

    All I can say is that this needs to be heard, I hope you make a complaint of some kind because your GP failed you, completely. What does she want? for your fiance to show up with you to legitimase your query?! Are we living in Victorian England?!

  7. Surely your partner's opinions are irrelevant to a decision you're making about YOUR body? I thought we'd moved past women being men's property? Aaaaargh!!

  8. Frustrating as this must be I think this is standard as men requesting sterilisation are asked the same thing. There has also been a spike in people wanting reversals (I personally know 2 people currently undergoing various procedures). However GPs should be able to recognise when someone has fully thought through and requests referral. Good luck.

  9. This pisses me right off. Firstly, I think it can be assumed that your decision was not one you came to lightly, so her asking all those questions as if you and your partner wouldn't have discussed every angle of this is pretty insulting. Secondly, as you rightly stated, the emphasis here on what the man wants and you ensuring that YOUR body is ready to comply with whatever he decides is just....UGH. I'm sure these are probably just routine questions that they have to ask, but all the same, very frustrating.

    Different situation but in the same wheelhouse - whenever I say I don't want children, I'm treated as though I just don't know what I'm talking about, silly me, and I'll change my mind eventually to be back in line with what all women should want.

    Call me crazy, but I consider myself to be more than just a walking uterus.

  10. First of all, I think it's good that they want to make sure that you are fully aware and sure of your decision. But, how they went about it and the persistence is wrong. Ultimately it is your body and your choice and she shouldn't have made you feel like the guys permission was required etc. If she had said, if down the line he changes his mind, you understand that this is permanent etc, would have been fine.

  11. WTF? That is horrendous especially since I know of at least three guys who have went and had a vasectomy without informing their partner/wife. How can it any of the doctor's business anyway, you are the patient she should only be concerned with you & whether you have given it adequate thought & consideration

    1. All because the wife didn't know, doesn't mean that the questions weren't asked by the doctor. Ultimately, if it means that much to that person, they should answer the questions, explain their is a non-essential procedure and as such, how much it is required should be investigated.fully before referral. As a man however, even I found the way the questions leaned towards her partner a little uncomfortable.

  12. I understand your anger at the way in which your doctor worded her concern, she should never have even implied that it was anyone elses decision but your own but I do understand her need to double and treble check your decision. When I was sterilised Several years ago, I did not have a partner. My doctor questioned my decision, but in a way that still put me as the decision maker (what if you meet someone else, might you not then want to have a child with them) and she also explained the reason behind her questioning (that about a third she said of women that are steralised in their 30's go on to want a reversal, and the success of that is very poor). I still went ahead, and it was the right decision for me, but I am glad she did ask the questions.

  13. This is awful. I can understand them wanting to make sure it's the right decision for you and that you've thought through all the options, but ultimately it is your body and your decision, your choice should be respected.

  14. Is there another GP at the practice? Go to see them, in the meantime if you wanted too book an appointment with practice manager to discuss how this GP has dealt with this situation and made you feel. It's outrageous and I feel laziness on her part for not refering you plus as you say she is making a decision about your body for you when she would have been able to assess being an intelligent woman that you also are an intelligent woman whom hadn't made this decision lightly on a whim . Agree with post above that it's ok to ask how your partner would feel but to then move on after you have explained . It makes me feel sad that this GP has made you feel this way. Maybe you could email the practice manager with a link to this blog post and ask it to be fwd to the GP concerened. Virtual *hugs* being sent xx

  15. I wish I was shocked! It seems reproductive choices are still governed by men. I think you only have to look at America where abortion is becoming so hard to get that desperate women buy abortion pills on the internet and take them too late, then are charged with murder. We are taxed on sanitary protection and so on. So whilst it should be shocking that you were questioned like this, when you start analysing it really isn't.

  16. That's despicable and I think you should complain. Loudly and at length.

    I'm 34 with 2 children. Although I would love to have more, it would be extremely dangerous to my health (both physical and mental) if I were to conceive again. My GP agrees with me and supported my request to be sterilised but the local hospital turned me down flat - they felt that I might change my mind, despite the fact that another pregnancy/child could kill me. FFS.

  17. I have been through the same thing Kellie. I have a condition which makes childbirth very risky for me, and after having my daughter I had to have four blood transfusions and actually died for two minutes. This may be matter of course for a GP, but it was scary for me and actually caused me to develop PTSD. I do not want to go through that again. However, my doctor does not feel that sterilization is suitable as I am single and "may meet a man who only wants to be with someone who can have children" Yes, that is a quote. *rage face*

  18. When I asked to be sterilised, the response I got was hideous. 'You've only got one child. What if he dies?' He's not fucking replaceable!

  19. Maybe it is part of a process where they ask if you are really avoid a non-essential procedure taking place when if surgery can be avoided it should be. It would be very interesting to know how many women come back to their doctor asking for a reversal, it might shed more light on the reasons....HOWEVER.....the questions asked were very male-orientated so I completely understand your feelings. I wonder how many men are asked similar questions in reverse when in line for a vasectomy.....oh I forgot, most women would have made that choice for their men hahaha

  20. When I asked to have it all removed at 22 because of the amount of problems I was having, I was told "but what if your future partner wants children". Granted now we do want kids but I don't think my boyfriend would've left me if he found out I couldnt have children

  21. I can completely understand your anger. It's not like you decided to ask for a tubal ligation on a whim, you've obviously thought your decision through.

    This line really stood out for me; "I am not an incubator that can be put in standby mode."

    Different situation, but as Bangs and a Bun put it above "in the same wheelhouse", whenever I tell people (especially doctors) that I don’t want children they look at me all funny and tell me I'll change my mind one day. Sigh. These conversations inevitably come off the back of me being told that getting pregnant given my health and on-going medication situation is a no-no and could be detrimental to my health. Yet, when I respond that I don't want to have children regardless it's like I've said the strangest thing they have ever heard.

  22. I had near enough the same thing. Went to Drs to ask about sterilisation/hysterectomy as I didn't want any more children (I've got 1 son. My then partner/son's father agreed, saying that even though he wanted more children it was my choice. Quick note: I nearly died after having my son, and chances are, if I have another child I won't survive, hence wanting surgery. My Dr knew my history, but told me I was too young, that it was "only a 95% chance you'll die...what about the other 5%?" (WTAF?!) and added the usual "What if your partner wants more children?" (He's now married with a daughter & another sprog on the way.)
    It's time doctors realised that, although our partners will have a say in this matter, in the long run they're our bodies, our wombs and it's our health on the line. At the moment I'm in the perfect pill for me, but at 45, I'm pushing the limits for my lovely nurse to carry on prescribing it to me...maybe when she says "Sorry, Lisa, that's it." I'll be "allowed" to make a decision about my womb!!

  23. I hear you ! I'm infertile due to a medical condition but am currently going through fertility treatment with my Partner/boyfriend of 5 years. I'm excited. But all the docs seem to care about is how HE'S feelings and HIS thoughts.. I though it was my ovaries ?!! Anyway... Thanks for another great post - M x

  24. OMg... who is her patient and who's body is she discussing?!

  25. I would hope she would treat a man asking for the same procedure as she did you. I imagine she has protocols for people asking for this procedure. I agree it's your body don't get me wrong, but it is a decision that affects a couple. If she treated you differently because you're a woman then I'm outraged x

  26. as a few people have said, that line of questioning is a standard thing. three years ago, at the age of 30 and with no children of my own (i have a stepson who is now 13), i had a vasectomy. i was asked if i was really sure about not wanting children (including questions along the lines of "but what if you change your mind?", probably because i was relatively young) by both GPs i saw (the second of whom referred me) and by the surgeon when i met him a couple of weeks before the procedure. the rationale, i was told, was to reduce the likelihood of me wanting a reversal in a few years' time - a possible scenario presented to me was splitting up with my partner and then getting together with a woman who wanted children (to which i responded by explaining that my previous relationship ended essentially because i didn't want children and my then partner did) - which i was told the NHS wouldn't pay for. (basically it seemed, like many things, to be about avoiding the possibility of the NHS being sued, in this case for not making the right decision for someone or whatever.)

    anyway. while such questioning is standard (and understandable, as it's a somewhat drastic decision), it seems like your GP went way too far, particularly in focussing on your partner's hypothetical future desires rather than your current, well thought out, actual ones (not to mention the medical reasons you mentioned). as a few other commenters have mentioned, a lot of people are really funny about people not wanting children. many people merely assume that a desire not to have children is a lack of desire to have them yet; for example, my ex (mentioned above) was convinced i would change my mind. i've even come across people who believe that every couple who can have children ought to, because some couples can't, which is some of the most warped logic i have ever encountered.

    sorry for the long and rambling comment; basically, what you've experienced is broadly normal (thought that GP handled it inappropriately), hopefully you'll get what you want and need (though you probably won't get it particularly quickly), and don't underestimate the extent to which people can fail to understand people not wanting children. i hope you find a way forward. :)


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