I was told by my doctor that I will require surgery. Considering my young age and the fact I didn’t have children, I was given two options: trachelectomy, which would allow me to get pregnant, or a radical hysterectomy, which would mean removing the womb completely. They asked me to think about it and decide in about a week, but my mind was already made.
When I first met Owen, he didn’t want to have children. And me? I always thought that someday I would have a kid, sure, but couldn’t really see myself ready to be a mother at any point. I didn’t have a well-established career, my own house or a ton of money, which I felt were essential before starting a family. But my main objection to parenthood was the amount of sacrifices I would have to make.
With Owen’s career going well and him being at work most of the week, there would be no way he would be at home with the kid. So if we were to be parents, I would have to be a stay at home mom. And I couldn’t do that. I can’t imagine not working, not getting 8 hours sleep every night or not being able to travel. I value my freedom too much, and couldn’t give it up. I love my alone moments when I can disconnect from reality and listen to music or lose myself in a good book, and well, video games wouldn’t play themselves either.
There were also other aspects that helped me decide. Trachelectomy meant a lot of possible issues. Even though I would be able to get pregnant, it would be extremely difficult. If successful, pregnancy would be classified as high risk, and would require constant medical care, months in hospital and heavy medication, including steroids. But most importantly, it would raise the possibility of cancer coming back. Would I risk my health and possibly life for pregnancy from hell? Fuck no.
I told my doctor that I wanted to go with hysterectomy and my surgery was scheduled for early March. Then it hit me – that’s it, I definitely won’t be able to have children. And you wouldn’t believe how relieved part of me was. No more biological clock pressure bullshit and no more stupid questions about our plans. The choice wasn’t ours anymore, and I felt like our life just got much easier. And since we tend to forget to feed our cat, it’s probably best if we don’t have children.
Where I live, when you suffer from an illness on gynecological background, you are sent to maternity part of the hospital. While in the waiting area, you see all the posters about parenthood, pictures of newborns and the likes, which I found a little insensitive. For me, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but there are plenty of women who are devastated by becoming infertile, and slapping them in the face with baby pictures and photographs of happy parents is just crude.
But it gets better. When I woke up after the surgery and regained my senses, I realised that I was right next to the woman who just had a baby. As some of the common side effects of general anaesthesia are emotional outbursts after awakening, I was feeling really upset and angry already. You can imagine my reaction to laughing parents next to me, crying baby and balloons peeking from behind the curtain separating our beds. Then I heard the woman saying it was her fourth child. In my rage I thought ‘enjoy being broke’ and demanded to be taken away from there. Asked if I was ok, I looked at the nurse, uncertain if she was stupid or just ignorant, and drawled ‘how am I supposed to be ok?’.
Imagine if in my place was a woman who really wanted to be a mother. The woman who just lost the ability to bear a child, lost all the hope to fulfill her dreams. Imagine this woman waking up next to a crying baby and a couple of laughing, new parents. To me, this is nothing but outrageous. If someone is already going through the nightmare of a horrible illness, they shouldn’t be put in a situation, where they are basically being kicked in the balls.
And of course, if you are admitted to the maternity part of the hospital, strangers assume that you’re there because you’re pregnant. So, being the type of person I am, I’ve decided to take advantage of it and make people uncomfortable. After all, opportunities like this don’t present themselves every day.
I was sent home two days after I was admitted. I could barely walk and was unable to use the toilet, so was given a catheter. Owen, who stayed with me the entire time, took me to the car and we drove home. My belly was really sore and I could feel every single pothole on the way. After a while, I noticed the bag strapped to my leg was getting fuller and started laughing. Seeing confusion on Owen’s face I looked him in the eye and said: ‘I just peed in your car’.