Give me Hope.

29 Feb

I had an interesting blog written out yesterday, all about how people and their bodies evolve. I’m going to post it below but I had some frustrating and upsetting news today that I’d like to tell you about.

First, here is a picture by PWP images.
DSC_7738

Many of you know that I am childfree and should I want to become a mother, I will adopt. Since last year, I have been actively pursuing sterilisation. That is because the usual methods of contraception are not suitable for me due to family medical history. Believe me, I have researched all of my options and sterilisation is, for me, the way to go. As The Authorities are reluctant to sterilise any woman under 30, I have made sure every time I visit the doctor for anything at all, they put it on record that my mind has not changed.
Last year when I made the usual request, the doctor gasped “but WHY don’t you want CHILDREN??” This was followed by “what if your partner wants them?” I hope I don’t need to explain how offensive this is.
I demanded to be referred to the hospital and a different doctor did so. Two months later, I had my hospital appointment, successfully convinced the team there that I was of sound mind and had done my research, so the hospital approved me.

I just had the letter back. Funding denied. 😥

I honestly thought I’d finally convinced them, but it seems that a decade of consistency and valid medical reasons (not to mention environmental reasons) are still not enough to convince doctors that I can make this decision. This has devastated me.
If I had been unsuccessfully trying to GET pregnant for the past ten years, doctors would be falling over themselves to help me. In a world that is vastly overpopulated, if I can be trusted at age 28 to choose to have a child, I should be trusted to choose NOT to.

Now, at the time I opened the letter, I happened to be listening to Eddy Grant (Gimme Hope Jo’Anna) and remembered that my country does not have apartheid. I’m not at risk of FGM. I am not starving. If I am pregnant by a rapist, I am not forced by law to keep the baby. I told myself off and tried to write off my fury and frustration as “white girl problems”, but the thing is, I don’t think I should.
Yes, other women suffer horrendous indignities and torture, are denied basic contraception, denied abortion- the Marie Stopes website even has a special section for Irish women- but just because England is better developed than some countries, this does not negate the fact that The Authorities still consider women incapable of making certain choices. I have very publically supported the idea that women worldwide should have the rights to their own bodies. This includes my own country too!

Doctors may remind women that their pregnancy is risky (obesity-related for example) but these women are not denied their choice to become pregnant. As I have said, there are medical reasons why sterilisation is best for me yet every time I explain, doctors still try to push unsafe hormonal options on me. When will I be considered old enough to know my own mind and body? 30? 40? 50?
28 is a perfectly respectable age to decide to have children; no doctor would remind a 28 year old pregnant woman that having children is permanent- that they are just too young to make such a decision. So why is my choice any less valid? Yes, it’s permanent, I am aware of that. I was aware when I asked for a referral, I was aware in the hospital, and I am aware now. Yet every time I have returned to the doctors, I am still asked if I know that sterilisation is permanent!

Of course, I’ll fight this. Of course I’ll appeal. But let me address questions I’ve been asked a few times:
Is it expensive? Can’t you go private?
It’s around £1500 in England but yes, I can go private. However, this is a matter of principle. I shouldn’t have to pay for the correct medical treatment for me, just because doctors won’t grant me the same respect they do women who make a more culturally acceptable choice.

But being childfree is unusual…
Not really. Around 20% of women over 40 are childfree. They aren’t all infertile and wishing for a miracle! I’m sure that if it wasn’t such a long-winded frustrating procedure, more women would apply for sterilisation. (There are certain notable other situations that work the same way- the path ahead being frustrating, painful, possibly traumatic, so most women don’t choose to take it…) *raises eyebrow* Why is it that the law is so geared against women?
I should mention here that men are generally not asked about the wishes of hypothetical future partners or told they are too young to have a vasectomy.

What if you sued the hospital?
What if I got pregnant or had children, regretted it and tried to sue the hospital for not sterilising me when I asked!? Give me any form and I’ll sign it- I take responsibility for my decision.

This is me banging my head against the wall. Photo by PWP images.
DSC_7775

I think I’ve said all I can for now. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer and if you are a childfree woman (or man) who has struggled to get doctors to accept this, please feel free to tell your story in the comments. It’s time we came out of the woodwork! Like this! (photos by Ghost Light)
Stable-5
Stable-4

On to some really nice stuff… 😉

I was thinking yesterday about the way people think about life and personal development. We tend to see things in a straight line pointing ‘onwards and upwards’ but from what I’ve seen, we go through the same growth spurts as we do in puberty, only internally and for the rest of our lives (hopefully). I certainly hope I’m still a work-in-progress! At age 14, I was pro-life and just four years before that- before I realised I also liked the ladies- I was pretty homophobic too! It took moving away and meeting people to change what I thought I knew.

The past year has felt like a huge growth spurt. One of my personal mottos is “never leave an experience empty-handed” and there are some things both good and bad that I’m sure I’ll look back on and think “yes, that moment changed my life”.
Even on the superficial levels, I’m always discovering new things about myself- who knew I liked tales about real-life gangsters? Who knew I’d start doing gladness meditations? Who knew I’d end up so willing to get my hands dirty? Right now I’m covered in coal dust from doing my fire and I have been unfathomably gross after certain photoshoots. I think my ‘ick’ tolerance level rose after I started doing so much work on my boat. Paint, goopy varnish, boatyard dust etc.
Even my body is changing. Not drastically and no surgery so worry not, but I am becoming more muscular. I love my action hero women and as my basic shape is quite comic-book (big thighs, hips and bust, small waist) I’m working on emphasising it!
Even while I do that, other friends of mine are doing the opposite! One of my favourite people, model and performer Elegy Ellem has been famous not only for her talent, tattoos and unique look, but for her boobs. And she’s just made a drastic change. Even if you don’t care about miss Ellem’s boobs (and she prefers it if you don’t), watch this video becase she’s a wise and beautiful goofball and her smile will make you smile too! 😛
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9NhJWTfzu8

BiceYgpIYAA9JI2.jpg large

I’m going to go and watch Terminator 2 in a sec, because it rocks and a cinnamon cream latte is calling my name but let me just share a series of photos by PWP images. To me, they perfectly illustrate my feelings about evolving and us all being works-in-progress. Sometimes we don’t leave our ‘past selves’ behind. Sometimes we don’t emerge from a situation in a glorious phoenix blaze. Sometimes we’re just moving and that movement is beautiful in itself.

DSC_7690
DSC_7718DSC_7731
DSC_7714
DSC_7706

ROSWELL xxx

39 Responses to “Give me Hope.”

  1. minxywitch March 1, 2016 at 12:31 am #

    I also don’t want children. I have never wanted children, I don’t even like being near them.

    Yet still, at 34 (nearly 35), I get the usual “oh, but when you meet the right man, you’ll want them” or “but who’ll look after you when you’re old?” and “oh you’ll change your mind when you’re older” etc. Even from friends that have known me since I was a teenager / early 20’s – my personal opinion on having my own children hasn’t changed, yet still they seem surprised when I reiterate for about the millionth time that I simply don’t want them.

    I’m lucky in that I can just take the Pill while I’m in a relationship, & stop taking it when I’m not in one. I’m also lucky my boyfriend of over 5 years is as disinterested in children as I am.

    I considered sterilisation as a teenager, but decided I didn’t want to have surgery that wasn’t necessary (as I say, I’m lucky that I can take the Pill).

    What angers me is that, as you’ve pointed out, we get treated like we don’t know our own minds. I am sad for you that the medical profession prioritises people having children over those that don’t want them. I am angry for you that after several years of trying, they’re still saying no. Yet people get offered IVF with no questioning on whether they are truly ready to be a parent or that it’s a lifelong commitment etc.

    How is preventing unwanted pregnancies less of a legitimate request than providing very expensive assistance to those that haven’t been able to conceive?

    So I believe you have every right to be angry, frustrated, disappointed, & hurt. Your perfectly valid requests are being denied on the grounds that every woman ‘must’ want a child & that therefore we are only good for bearing children.

    As for the ‘but what about your future partners?’ question – I’d imagine you’re perfectly capable of having an adult conversation with any partner & explaining that you don’t want & won’t have children. That whole assumption that we’re only here to serve our partners really irritates me (as you may have guessed by the length of this response!).

    I hope you find a medical professional that will help you. Good luck!

    Nikki

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

      Oh, mannnnnn!!! Thankyou so much for your comment, solidarity and good wishes. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I share your thoughts on the matter and can’t really add to what you’ve said!
      My best wishes and I hope that you had a great day today (International Womens’ Day)

      R xxx

  2. jlhark March 1, 2016 at 6:12 am #

    Lovely read and even more wonderfully complex the second time round. I wouldn’t dare try to answer any of the questions you pose, although I get the feeling you have already cogitated on them until clarity becomes a little numb lol. I think with all things, answers to our personal evolutions will gravitate to us and breathe its true forms. I admire your moxie as much your thought processes.

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 9:14 pm #

      Thankyou so much for the compliment and for taking the time to comment. 🙂

      • jlhark March 9, 2016 at 8:14 am #

        An absolute pleasure 🙂

  3. elisabethmcqueen March 1, 2016 at 7:31 am #

    It’s highly frustrating when the NHS bean counters decide that you can’t have a treatment that a doctor has said you can have, and arguing with them at times is like trying to get blood from a stone. I have had to deal with them in the past, and am doing so again at the moment regarding medication that is cheaper than another one they would willingly give me.

    I have found from personal experience that there are two ways that you can obtain funding for such treatments. One is to threaten to sue them over it, that generally causes them to back down quite quickly if you can find legitimate grounds for the court case. In this situation from what you have said I would go along the lines of family medical history and Article 8 of the Human Rights Act.

    The other way is to go very cold and clinical and point out how them spending X amount of money will actually save money in the long term. So with this, you would go along the lines of the appeal that spending £1,500 on this would actually be a massive saving. Things like saving £9,000 a year on educating a child, the cost of medical treatment involved in raising a child and so on. So that they can see that spending a small amount actually will save a larger amount in the future. It sounds very cold and clinical reducing everything to money, but generally when the bean counters see it this way they tend to be more “open” to funding such things.

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 9:08 pm #

      This is absolutely fascinating. Thankyou so much for taking the time to write this- I really appreciate it and I hope that you are okay as well and that you will also be listened to. ❤

  4. Ordos20 March 1, 2016 at 7:47 am #

    Well that was an interesting read. While this reply box is too small for my needs, and the written word can lack meaning, there are a ton of reasons why they might object. And some are wholly inappropriate or very non-pc. But interesting nonetheless. Something you should discuss with someone over a good evening or something. Its when the best conversations pass by. And maybe also a reason why this doesn’t work: your non-conventional standpoint on kids is being judged in the cold hard light of an office somewhere (apart from what you told your MD). And most of the time its just a cost thing. That is our reality today.

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 9:00 pm #

      I hear you! It’s one of those conversations that usually happens at 3am on a roof somewhere, lol!

      😀

      • Ordos20 March 9, 2016 at 7:07 am #

        Don’t forget the good drink and a proper spource of heat like a fire. I have had many of those and they are awesome.

        For something completely different, have you considered being an egg donor so as to offset their concerns? Or would that be a no-go regarding your medical history?

        • roswellivory March 10, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

          I’m afraid as a huge reason for me being childfree is overpopulation, I lean towards adoption over egg donation or IVF for ethical reasons.

  5. jaceyrain March 1, 2016 at 9:14 am #

    Amazing read! I have recently come off contraception through advise from the doctor. I have direct family history of breast cancer. I also have PCOS and sometimes go for a long time without ovulating. I’m around 95% sure I don’t want children however this has occasionally dipped.
    I really do think the planet is suffering from over population though and I’d like to think IF I do want children someday I would provide a home for child without a family instead of bringing another human to the mix. But who knows! I shall probably remain dog/shark lady forever (I hope so).
    It’s frustrating that a man can get a vasectomy no questions asked…..is this because it’s reversible….is the reversible thing a myth?
    I think it is unfair when people pay a lot of money to try and reproduce when their bodies have said no time and time again. I’m not hugely maternal so maybe it’s a bit unfair to say that. But wouldn’t the money be better spent helping an existing child for a better life?
    I’ve also changed lots over the past few years, especially the last 6 months. Life is a constant lesson! And we don’t learn nothing taking an easy class!

    Hats off to your very honest post. And Terminate 2 and a love of boats…HI!!!!!! 🙂

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

      Thankyou so much for taking the time to comment!
      Those are my thoughts exactly (re adoption). IF I ever decided to become a mother, I’d want to adopt.

      SHARK lady??!! That’s awesome. 😀

      Most surgeries of that kind are reversable but as with most surgeries, there is a chance something could happen to change that.

      Yay for Terminator 2, Sarah Connor and boats. *waves at you from my deck*
      😀

  6. peterjbatty March 1, 2016 at 11:16 am #

    First, lovely images as always!

    Second, that’s an awful way to be treated by the hospital. The whole response seems very controlling, very patriarchal in nature. I could readily (presumably at 18) walk in to my GP and ask for a vasectomy without any problem. By all accounts the procedure is possibly reversible, but no guarantees are made, so the consequences are the same as for female sterilisation.

    I wonder then, if the real issue is that like abortions in many parts of the world, society at large really doesn’t like the idea that a woman can go through life without child, even with her own will? Seems to me a massive insult to you and your intelligence.

    I hope you reach a favourable outcome soon.

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

      Thankyou!

      I’ve had mixed accounts from people regarding vasectomies- I’ll address that in today’s blog.
      Both procedures are reversable in theory but as always with surgery, there can be complications.

      I think it’s also that there is a prevailing opinion despite evidence to the contrary that all women by instinct want to be mothers. Until that role is re-examined (and of course certain mens’ roles too), we will continue coming up against problems when we want to do something with our bodies that is considered ‘unusual’.

      Thanks so much for the thoughts and support

  7. Chris March 1, 2016 at 11:59 am #

    Well done you.
    If I knew what heartache dodgy genes would bring, I’d not have had kids. Love ’em to bits but can’t change their problems.
    The world is fast becoming something I don’t recognise as being the sort of place to commit any offspring too anyway.

  8. Paul Timon March 1, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    I’m in a confused state about your sterilisation problem. They won’t sterilise you on the grounds you are capable of having babies and your age but *will* if you have the money?
    Isn’t that mercenary and deceitful?

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

      You can do most things privately in the UK depending on how much money you’re willing or able to fork out.
      The NHS will pay for certain things in certain circumstances but each case is looked at differently. (For example a friend of mine was refused a breast reduction and had to pay thousands… even though the weight of her breasts was giving her curvature if the spine!) There often seems no rhyme or reason as to what the NHS deem ‘fundable’.

  9. Frivolous Monsters March 1, 2016 at 3:28 pm #

    I’ve just seen your facebook post, about the helpful and respectful comments you’ve received, and I did read this blog post last night but decided it was one that I wasn’t going to comment on, as I felt it was one I couldn’t really contribute to in any which way, but I do hope you know by now that I only wish the best for you.

    FM

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

      Thankyou so much for the thoughts- I appreciate them very much x

  10. Maxim March 1, 2016 at 4:46 pm #

    The right to dispose yourself is the most denied one. We push individualistic attitude in situations we shouldn’t, yet still oppressing the one with some old norms right when we should let the one go. And this inability to choose of many options, even to see that there are much more options than one – is pretty horrible. I’m not a childfree person, yet I’m neither a fan of blind breeding, concerned about overpopulation and its impact on humanity. I’m afraid that we can never go green or work out some ethical position towards the animals we eat while our number’s growing every moment and so there are more lives we must respect and mouths we must feed.

    Moreover, this blind following on instinct is certainly not friendly to evolution, because evolution is happening right inside of the self, and only then there are collective development in between of individuals. When you make decisions about your body – you do not harm anyone (only except the others’ expectations maybe) so none else should be concerned about what you do. It’s the same attitude as for sex – unless you harm anyone – it’s none’s concern. So I totally support your decision and wish you success on your freedom crusade.

    Also ‘evolutionary images’ are great, they exactly captured the feeling of ‘still-motion’ we experience while living. The moment in between forms, when one form turns into another. Maybe it’s obvious thing, but it’s also so wonderful, when given a close look. Thanks for your work. =)

    Kind regards, Maxim

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 8:39 pm #

      Thankyou so much for all of your support and your very eloquent and insightful comment!

      R x

  11. Romantic Dominant March 1, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

    You never fail to impress me. A hug.

  12. nevel March 2, 2016 at 7:49 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story on sterilization. It shows we still have a long way to go and that feminism is more than ever still necessary. The hypocrisy is blatant: boatloads of money are spent to get women pregnant via IVF or other expensive methods (and I wish for everyone’s dream to come true) but in the meantime lots of children are in dire need of adoption. But in case of sterilization you are suddenly not old or wise enough to make a decision that is far less drastic than creating a new human being. It’s absurd. Women are still seen as incubators for new life and as incapable of making decisions about that. Sad. Horrible.

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

      You are most welcome. I think it’s one of the things very few people ever need to think about, which is why my story shocks so many people.
      I have always, always said if I change my mind and would like to become a mother, I will adopt.

      I hope all is going well for you and that you’ve had a good day today. (It;s International Womens’ Day- which I’ll blog about in a sec). x

  13. Torsten March 3, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

    Just have t say that I love your blog posts. This one was especially touching and it makes me cringe to think how easy it was for me to get a vasectomy (about 30 min to get an appointment). It’s just still an unfair and mad society in so many respects and I don’t think the UK and Germany are too different in this respect. Feel yourself hugged – and yes, Terminator 2 is just cool.

    • roswellivory March 8, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

      Hiya! Thankyou so much for the support and the hug! And yes, Terminator 2 is the best. 😀

  14. Ella March 7, 2016 at 8:33 pm #

    Oh no! Now I know you like girls too I’m going to crush on you Even Harder! Why must you torture a poor queer girl like this?

  15. Patrick McEvoy March 9, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    I think the big thing is that, awesome, you do what you feel is right for you … … follow what you believe in — if the future changes that, then ,yeah, go with that, too — until then ,listen to your heart, to your mind, and if it’s strong enough, go with your beliefs …. cuz really there’s so much to pull you every which way that if you don’t have that core then it’d be easy to flounder in … really, best of luck to you, can’t imagine it’d be easy, but belief can overpower a lot …

  16. kzzinsky March 26, 2016 at 5:02 pm #

    I am nearly 37 and I don’t want children. I actually wrote a blog about that very subject, http://kzzinsky.com/2015/05/31/hello-i-am-a-grown-woman-of-sound-mind-and-i-dont-want-children/

    I’m not ill, or immature, and I am convinced that a) there are far more people who don’t want kids but have them because it’s What You Do and b) a lot of the people who are negative about being childfree are so in order to justify their own unsatisfactory child-ridden lives.

    I consider myself genuinely lucky that I have a birth control option that not only suits me, but stops my periods into the bargain, so I have never had to consider intrusive surgery. I am deeply sorry that you are in this position, you’re right to be angry, and I wish you the absolute best of luck in getting the NHS to agree to the correct solution for you ❤

    • roswellivory March 31, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

      Many hugs to you and all of the support here. Thankyou for the link and for commenting.
      I really like your blog! (not just the babies post).
      May I ask, what is it babies do with their mouths?? I don’t know any babies so can’t go have a look. 😛

      • kzzinsky March 31, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

        Ugh, they do this nipple-searching open-mouthed pout thing that just GROSSES me out 😦 Makes me want to crawl out of my skin to get away from them…

        And thank you, most kind 😀

        • roswellivory April 11, 2016 at 11:13 am #

          Euuuurrrgh!!!! Okay, I have never seen it and am glad for that. I have, however, seen some adorable videos of a weasel on youtube. Called Ozzy. 😛 Much better, lol! x

  17. Blaise Egan March 31, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

    In 1987 I met my partner and we have been together ever since. She was 33 and I was 32. She told me straight off that she had been sterilised at 25 by her own choice and there was never going to be any possibility of children in this relationship. I was, and am, OK with that. I grew up as the eldest of eight children and it put me off wanting children for life.

    What struck me was the difficulty she said she had had to get the sterilisation. Lots and lots of opposition from doctors who could not understand that a woman might have made a settled decision not to have children. I just wanted to say that I can understand your point of view and respect it. Best of luck.

    • roswellivory April 11, 2016 at 11:19 am #

      Thankyou so, so much for sharing your story and support. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A little bit of news… | Roswell Ivory - October 14, 2016

    […] remember, I’ve been fighting to be sterilised for a long time. If you’re a newcomer, my rant is here but I’ll […]

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