Sometimes in life, you have moments that get your attention. You survive something and you do your best to minimize and/or normalize the experience. The truth is, you’re deeply disappointed by your world and those you thought were there to help you. It’s only years later, when you’re allowed to dust off these memories that you realize that the shame you’ve been carrying around doesn’t belong to you.
When I was in my 20’s, I was married and in seminary. I was quickly realizing that I didn’t want to have biological children. My husband agreed. We had made our decision, after 5 years of research and marriage, 7 years together as a couple, which is more than I can say for many parents but I digress.
When I went to my (female) doctor seeking a more permanent solution I was laughed at and told to wait for menopause or told to have a couple kids and then we could discuss my options.
I switched providers.
My husband had a vasectomy and he was still under scrutiny but not told to wait for old age or to have children first before he could have the procedure.
In the time before and since making our decision permanent, I have cultivated a childfree network online. Recently a person in that network wanted to write about experiences such as mine. I didn’t even realize until I read her work in it’s entirety how ashamed I was, for what had happened to me at that doctor’s office.
I’m not ashamed anymore, I am “A” I am April Barnhart.
Thank you Chanel for the gift of bearing witness to my pain/shame and in so doing, allowing me to place it where it belongs, I now offer my story as a gift, may the internet take it where it may, may it be a mirror, with G-d’s help, a snapshot, reflecting a moment in our world and our medical industrial complex.
Is this how we want things to be? Don’t we all deserve better?
Read more of Chanel’s piece here: