All Tied Up

It was just another week working with my girls…Okay, they’re not actually mine, but after over a year of tutoring them, it can sometimes feel that way.

And…it’s never really just another week. While I’m there to tutor, I come away from my time with them having learned a thing or two as well. I’m also almost guaranteed some amazing conversation.

***

“Miss. How old do you have to be to get your tubes tied?” asked one of the girls in between fraction problems.

I looked at her with a blank stare, never having had the opportunity to even contemplate that question. “Um…18? 21?” I guessed, but really had no clue.

“Yeah, I think 21,” another girl chimed in, and soon a handful had added their opinion.

(For the record, I later looked it up, and the legal age is 18, but various practices can sometimes refuse to perform the procedure on young adults who have never had children. A post for another time, to be sure…)

The girl in question (19) only has one kid – a little boy. Yet, she seemed resolute in her decision that she was done having kids and wanted her tubes tied.

I was curious as to how she came to that choice.

Her son’s father is in and out of the picture and she lives with her mom and siblings, an all too common scenario for these girls. And maybe it’s because of that. Or maybe it’s because her son is teething and slept like crap, or had a tantrum, or ruined her favorite necklace. Whatever the reason, she decided that, still in her teens, she is done. No more kids for her.

I thought back to when I was 18. The sky was the limit for me. I was off to college, excited, anxious, curious, full of possibility. I couldn’t imagine making such a decision. But then again, I wasn’t in the same situation.

I’m not denying the fact that maybe she does know. Maybe she really knows that she doesn’t want any other kids. I mean, I know (at 31) that we’re sticking with just EZ, so why can’t she know?

I thought about all of that, but still, I asked her if she was really sure. The thing that caused me to keep talking was the permanence of it all.

That was the other thing I remembered about being 18. Like the time I got my belly button pierced and then it got all crazy infected. That scar I have is permanent. Such a poor analogy, but there you go. Things we do when young stay with us. A scar on my stomach is one thing, scarred up fallopian tubes? That’s another.

So we talked. I didn’t push, I didn’t prod.

I did tell her I got an IUD the week before.

I told her I also knew I only wanted one kid, but…you never know.

Things change.

***

The other day I was back there and we were discussing something else – an article on mother/daughter bullies actually – and the same girl came up to me before I left.

“Hey Miss..”

“Yeah?”

“I don’t think I’m gonna get my tubes tied. I looked it up, and it’s a crazy surgery. Plus, you know. What you said.”

And that was that. Off she went, cell phone in hand, gossiping with her friends as they downed a snack before heading to athletics.

Like any other teen…only not.

3 thoughts on “All Tied Up

  1. What about reproductive rights? 19 is legally an adult, correct? Isn't it her right to decide if she wants to "scar up her fallopian tubes"? It seems to me like she is taking power of her own reproduction, something that happens to far too infrequently in these situations. This makes me think about the single, youngish women on our board who've chosen Essure. Do you consider this a valid choice for them? They are taking control of their own reproduction just like this 19 year old wants to. Are both of these choices equally valid? I

  2. Oh, it's totally her right, and I never said it wasn't. I just was (and poorly, which I noted) comparing P at 19 to myself at 19, knowing I probably wouldn't have made the best decision for myself at that age, that's all.Of course she should have that right – that's not the issue. It's more the finality of it all and me wondering if she really thought it all through. It's great that she's taking control of her reproduction, especially seeing as there's very little of that in this particular community (hence the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the state), however tying tubes is much different than say…getting an IUD. And, this is only a glimpse at this sitch, P & I have had further talks on this. I think if any young woman 18+ had really though tit through and wanted Essure or tubal ligation, then great for them – completely their choice. But, like any woman (age irrelevant, it could be 19 it could be 29 or 39) I'd hope that they would have explored all options before deciding if it was right for them. With P, she wasn't even sure what an IUD was and if that was an option for her, making her decision to get her "tubes tied" all that murkier imo.

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