By Haley Linnet of Defiant Wanderings
I’m not being hyperbolic. I literally had to have emergency surgery THREE DAYS after moving to Lima, Peru. An ovarian cyst, roughly the size of an ice cream truck, was wrapping around my left ovary. The doctor gleefully informed me that a few hours more, and I would have lost the ovary too. Very dramatic.
I guess he felt like a hero for rescuing my chances at motherhood. My reaction? Vague disappointment. TAKE THE DAMN THING OUT! It tried to kill me!
I’ve always had menstruation cycles that make me want to harm cute things. Maybe that’s why I don’t want children. I associate babies with excruciating pain, discomfort, and oppression. Which is actually what they give women, isn’t it?
Since my surgery, I’ve had ruptured cysts while trekking in the Himalayas of Nepal, which is hard enough without feeling like it’s groundhog day and the groundhog lives inside you. I had one in Vietnam, where I was riding a motorcycle from south to north. Normally the vibrations between my legs as I flew down the highways was very welcome. Not so much with a cyst.
You get it, I think. Cysts hurt a lot. And make me hate babies. What I’m wondering is this — which came first? My contemplation of sterilization, or the pain? Because I’m starting to wonder if the monthly demon visits are vengeance for my threats to their existence.
I don’t want kids. This I know. But everyone who hears me say it (and I almost never say it out loud because of this) responds that “I’ll feel differently in a few years.” I’m 27. I got my period at 14. How long do I need to be physically capable of procreation before I’m allowed to decide it’s not for me?
I think I haven’t gone through with it for a few reasons. Laziness mostly. Navigating the world of health insurance (because it’s not really a health care world at all, it’s an insurance world), as a woman, is the same as being a kid in a candy store. Look at all these amazing things that would make life sweet! But the orange man behind the counter says it’s bad for me, and I need permission first. Oh— and lots and lots of cash.
The other problem is cultural. I am woman, therefore I am breeder. So says society. Sometimes I wonder if I actually don’t want kids, or if it’s a reflex against the patriarchy, which is always telling me my value is in reproduction.
But then, the only reason I can think of that makes me sort of want to have kids is so I can raise little radicals to fight for the forces of good.
I’ve never met a kid I wanted to keep. They say it’s different when it’s your own, but is that a risk I want to take? WHAT IF IT’S NOT DIFFERENT? Then what, hmm? Let’s just pop one out and hope it works out, despite all the evidence to the contrary? That’s just bad math.
My golden uterus knows these thoughts and has sent my ovaries in retaliation. I will squash their little revolution with pain-killers, warm water bottles, and an iron will power determined to never change a diaper.
Or maybe the Great Wise Uterus in the sky has seen motherhood for me and is trying to prevent it at all costs. Either way, my reproductive organs are in mutiny, and I am inclined to propose a truce. The great Treaty of Fallopian Fairness will make peace between my organs and my sense of Self, take control of my body, and settle the matter with self-love.
About the Author
Haley is a reproductive rights warrior, traveling writer and painter. After completing a degree in Public Health, she worked in abortion access for two years before pivoting to digital nomadism. She stays active in reproductive justice politics, and tracks her travels and artwork on her personal blog: Defiantwanderings.com, and instagram: @haleylinnet. Haley believes in fairies, and saw one once.