Home > feminism, personal > Typing practice – on contraception

Typing practice – on contraception

So, I’ve been a one finger typist forever. I’m really fast though, so was really hard to force myself to touch type, as even though I know it will be better in the end, I’ve had too much time pressure during eg my degree or masters to force myself to do it. However I decided to finally force myself to about a month ago. I’m now averaging 35wpm. Which is not bad, but still way slower than I am with one finger. So in an effort to bring it up to something reasonable before my diploma (in tropical nursing) starts in September, I’m going to be practising daily. So I decided to restart my blog. This means any of you following it, are going to be subjected to a lot more posts than before, and more random stuff. I am literally/literarily going to be writing whatever’s on my mind for at least half an hour a day. You’ve been warned! I’m going to be ranting on whatever, with the primary goal of it keeping my fingers tapping, no matter the quality or how researched or well read or thoughful I am on a topic. It will, therefore likely be very egocentric and all about me, as that is easiest to spraff on about without worrying about misrepresenting situations or people.

Today I’m going to start with contraception. I went for an appointment today to start process of getting sterilised.

I’ve never wanted children. Still don’t. My lifestyle and what I do with my life in medium and long term really would be messed up with addition of even a pet, let alone a small vulnerable, dependent child. Also I’m quite introverted. Spending time with adults can be draining enough, children are exhausting, even for the limited amount of contact I have with, for example, my sisters’ kids. I look forward to long train journeys – they give me time out to just stare out the window and daydream. I feel content, relaxed, happy in my own thoughts. I like to have some visual input, but nothing too distracting. Hills, rivers, allotments, villages, cities, power stations, beaches – all feed my eyes, and my brain is happily journeying too. But then I see people with kids. Travel looks to be endless fire fighting, endless attempts to try to distract and pacify. No peaceful brain time. That small pleasure robbed.

My life is actually pretty good. I have arranged it so my expenditure is minimal – I can cover my basic costs working just 3 (twelve hour) shifts a month! This has allowed me to complete my masters, and then work additional shifts to save for my India trip. Or to just have the time to do the things that give meaning to my life, such as walking in the mountains, visiting friends, reading, hobbies, and activism and campaigning. I’m happy with my job, but I’m even happier not to have to get up at 6am and then run to just keep still because of management decisions on where the budget should go, leaving many wards short staffed and badly resourced, but more about that in another rant :) Folks I work with are always surprised that I can live off such few shifts, until I tell them I have no children. :) And if I want I can spontaneously go camping or dancing without worrying about childcare.

So, I decided to get sterilised to take away the pregnancy scares and the low level but constant background fear that maybe I’ll accidentally become impregnated. There’s also been the occasional boyfriend who seems to actually want that – creepy, huh? :/ Especially as I’m polyamorous and therefore their relationship with me does not stop them going out and finding some more accomodating and consenting womb to do their weird thing with. At least if I’m infertile I shouldn’t attract that sort of thing.

Went to my GP. The 3 GPs in the practice next to my house are all pretty good – I have a couple of longterm health conditions that mean I see them more than a healthy adult probably should. And I’m that patient that turns up to appointments already having read the relevant research and guidelines and often knowing exactly what I want them to prescribe or refer me for. So I had a small shopping list of things I needed to see a GP for when I came back from India. And I’d ordered them in terms of urgency and importance ready for my appointment. The GP was great though, so we easily got to the final point – sterilisation. Of course she adopted that concerned, patient about to make big, irreversible decision stance – pushed herself to the back of her chair and turned to face me straight on. “Have you discussed this with your partner?” Omg, where to even start with the wrongness of this question?! Which partner? And its my body, my womb, my health risk, and ultimately patriarchy would leave me holding the baby should our relationship follow statistical chance! I need her to make the referal. As with all encounters with gate keepers and others with power over us, I feel the need to keep her liking me, even though that should be irrelevant to the outcome. How do I not sound like a heartless freak by telling her how I feel about children? The poor sod probably has some herself! So much of my social training, my nurse training was to minimise how weird I present. I try to fit in for my own survival. “I’m just back from volunteering in India and I want to go back, to help people there, and I’ve never wanted children of my own, and nor does he. I love being an auntie though!” Her face relaxes – phew, I appear to have passed! I volunteer in India and am a happy auntie, not a childhating antisocial freak! Woot! Now just to make sure she refers me for the correct procedure – the minimally invasive hysteroscopic tubal implants that I’d been waiting to be available in Scotland before I started the process – she is a bit confused because she’d not heard of this before but she does what I ask.

***

When I first learned about pregnancy it horrified me. An alien being growing inside me? Half of its genes from an evolutionary parasiting of my sexes’ reproductive biology? Tricked by hormones into vicarious living? No chance! And the only, brief time in my life I’ve wavered was a few, deeply miserable, months in my mid twenties when I hadn’t yet dealt with the usual insecurities and self doubts and sexual assaults that growing up in this country leaves you with. I started fantasising about having a child – always a girl though – and bringing her up with such nurturing and self confidence, plus learning martial arts from an early age, and then she would go off and do all these cool things, that coincidentally were also things that I’d always wanted to do. Hold on a minute – I didn’t want a child – I wanted a decent life of my own and somehow I’d given up hope of that and was therefore planning a fresh start for someone else to live my life! Once I realised what was going on I started living more fully and the child thing vanished right away. :)

The thing that’s always bugged me is how unequal the burden of contraception remains. I was briefly on the hormonal pill, and felt not right on it, so began reading the research and realising how much is unknown about the systemic effects of hormones. Lots of females report symptoms, often emotional and psychological. And what we do know is that these are pretty potent proteins! Yet as a female who has sex with males I’ve been over and over, including during this most recent sterilisation consultations (I had my outpatient appointment today), encouraged to take them. And that would mean having to take a pill every day for years, to ensure that I have a repeat prescription and the overheads associated with that, and that I carry them around in case I’m not at home one day. That’s a hella annoying additional load onto a person’s life! Plus its taking this powerful biochemical on a long term basis. Its better than pregnancy, but it is a burden, and its full square onto the female partner’s shoulders. I had copper coils for years (and again, getting one of those as a young nulliparous female was a battle to convince the doctors that yes I really did understand the risks and had thought about it and was decided on what to put into my *own goddamn body*) and they also require remembering how long you’ve had them for, getting them checked and resited when necessary, and in the end they gave me such bad period pain that I had my last one taken out a few years ago.

So why do we do all these things? Well it seems obvious – to not get pregnant. But for me (and all this is most definitely written from my standpoint, about my experiences and preferences and opinions) what bugs me is that I’m the one that’s got to care about it. Condoms have zero systemic effects. And personally they don’t negatively effect my experience of sex at all. But in my experience people with penises don’t like them. And that’s where this pressure to take on this burden of contraception comes from – from lovers who don’t like wearing condoms and don’t want to get sterilised themselves, despite that vasectomies are a simple, minimally invasive and pretty damn safe procedure. I dunno – just sometimes this really gets my radfem rage on. And I’m like why am I going through all this medical process – why am I not just more militant with my lovers? I mean obviously (I hope!) condoms are a non negotiable necessity until fluid bonding discussions and testing have occurred, and those are only with longterm pretty intense lovers. These are not casual lovers or friends with benefits. In general, even without fluid bonding me and mine encourage regular (at least annual) STI testing in those we play with. But the move to not use condoms any more between lovers is more serious because we are not monogamous so we have to have shared understandings of safer sex with other people and deep levels of honesty and trust.

I don’t really understand why I do it, to be honest. I guess I just get so much out of my lovers enjoyment that I take all this upon myself, and say its all fine. I mean I’m so anti getting pregnant that I always had a coil even when using condoms because I wanted a backup just in case – to further reduce the impregnation probability. And now that technology has moved on so that sterilisation no longer requires even laproscopic surgeory – which was what put me off until now – I want that additional safety net – because the drop, though unlikely, is so horrific that it makes pregnancy a high risk.

Ok, that’s enough typing and ranting for one day. Sweet dreams y’all.

x

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Categories: feminism, personal
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