31 Days of CF: Hannah’s Story
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Day 8 of 31 Days of CF Topic: Sterilization From Hannah Campbell or @theferallady I always trusted doctors. Their role once started as parental figures, they grew into friends, humans I could laugh with, share my innermost with. People who listened to me about my body, trusted my judgement and brainstormed with me. We are on this journey together. That’s what made it even worse: “I would probably take you more seriously if you were 10 years older and had already had children. I just don’t think you’re ready.” The decision to not have children has not been a quick. It has been years of research, literature, and telling myself that carrying my own children is not part of my future. It has never made me sad. I have never seen myself having children. I have siblings that are going to make wonderful parents – I will be the cool Aunt. Through years of awful hormonal (and non-hormonal) contraception efforts, I decided to take the steps to make sure I never accidentally had a child. I had spoken to my GP, my partner and my CF specialists; who all agreed it was a good idea and offered their support. I had come to expect that level of support from all the medical professionals I would come into contact with. “You’re Hannah? I was expecting someone much older. Are you seriously thinking sterilisation?” Over the next 30 minutes the gynaecologist picked apart my justifications, made me feel irrational, naive and uncomfortable – like I was on trial for my own decisions. No matter how many times I said the word ‘choice’ she shut me down, telling me all of the feelings I would feel: regret, sadness, emptiness, unfulfillment. Apparently, this stranger knew more about myself than I did. She ended with “Well, it’s good you have CF, because otherwise, I wouldn’t perform the surgery at all.” Despite that being the most disgusting sentiment I had ever heard (CF? Lucky me!) my heart sank. For every woman before and after me. For every woman who was told that her DECISION over her own body was not enough justification for her choices. I am sorry. I love you. I will keep retelling.