Posts filed under ‘un/spinsterhood’
While trying to figure out my digestive problems, a chain of events led to me having an ultrasound that discovered my uterus is all stuffed full of fibroid tumors. The largest 2 are 8cm and 5cm, but there are some others as well. I was kind of hoping they would give me a print out so I could put it on my refrigerator or use as a Facebook profile picture or something, just to be weird. These fibroids aren’t causing many symptoms, but I can feel weird pressure when I’m lying down. Mostly they just make me have to pee a lot, and may contribute to my long-lasting periods and spotting. It’s not a huge deal, and it’s been going on for years, so the doctor’s recommendation was to just ignore them.
However, because my uterus is filled with fibroids the size of oranges, it’s getting all stretched out and warped into a weird shape. Because of this, I can’t get my tubes tied. Nor can I get an IUD. I already can’t use hormonal birth control because I’m too old and fat (doctors won’t prescribe it).
Most of the people I know who have tried to get knocked up around my age have had major problems and had to resort to IVF and other methods. So… do I even need birth control? Fibroids are supposed to make it more difficult to get knocked up. I’m old. Is pregnancy even an issue? However, every time I ask about percent risk of pregnancy as a 43 year old with fibroids (which can hinder pregnancy), people just give me anecdotal evidence like “my aunt had accidental quintuplets when she was 80” etc. Internet message boards are full of advice like DON’T BE A CARELESS WHORE WHO HAS TO GET AN ABORTION! Doctors don’t ever want to say “no, don’t use birth control” lest you find yourself in a family way and blame them. If I search the internet, I just find sites geared towards 40-somethings who are trying to get pregnant and take on the “it’s not impossible! Keep trying and you’ll get your miracle baby!” tone of voice, which is not helpful since I am concerned with the opposite outcome.
So what are the actual chances of a person with fibroids getting pregnant at age 43? I have never been pregnant before, so that makes my chances a little lower (I vaguely remember reading somewhere that when you are pregnant, your body doesn’t release eggs, so you have more of them later. if you never get pregnant, your body is constantly losing its eggs). Also, the supplier of the sperm is 54, and dudes’ sperm count *does* go down with age. Is there some kind of probability engine I can plug this into? It’s hard to find decent information, because nobody wants to be the one to say SORRY, OLD TIMER. YOU WILL NEVER FULFILL YOUR ULTIMATE PURPOSE AND SPAWN.
Seriously. Do a search. All the sites I’ve found are either the “you can do it! It’s not impossible to have a miracle baby” variety, the “Guess what? women over 40 are still allowed to have sex. Here are your birth control options” the “don’t be a stupid whore who makes bad choices– I know [person] who had [x] kids in her [advanced age range]” tone. Where is actual information? Does this information exist? People must have studied fertility rates in older women because fertility sites are always talking about them.
So, let’s re-cap:
- I am going to be 44 in 3 months.
- I have never been pregnant
- I have a womb stuffed full of fairly large fibroid tumors
- I am moderately fat
- The sperm provider is 54
- He is a vegan
TL;DR: I am old and don’t want to get knocked up, but birth control options and information is limited.
Dear Offspring I will Never Have,
I don’t actually expect you to read this, because you do not, and never will exist. So why am I writing this? Because I’m selfish, duh! Because I possess a vagina, the world thinks it’s necessary to pass judgement on this, forcing me to explain myself. Let me explain the reasons why you will never exist.
First of all, I don’t want kids. Similarly, I don’t want a dog, I don’t want to provide foster homes for elderly diseased ferrets, I don’t want to climb Mount Everest, and I don’t want to eat live scorpions. Is that really so much to fathom? Why, because I sport a uterus of (albeit rapidly passing) child-bearing age, do I have to provide some kind of major justification of this? Do I need to write a manifesto about why I don’t like picked beets, too?
Men aren’t expected to have a “good reason” for not wanting to procreate. I don’t know any guys who have a stock response justifying their decision, unlike women do. We have to resort to movements and labels in order for people to take our decisions even a teeny bit seriously, like, “see? Other people are doing it too! It’s not just me!” In addition, do we care if men are selfish? Nah, that’s OK, brah. Looking out for Number One is a dude thing, and that’s OK. But for chicks, the second we think about ourselves (unless it’s to obsess about how fat we are because, let’s face it, if you’re fat, you are obviously being selfish by making people look at your non-state-sanctioned ass. Unless you are fat because you’re pregnant. That’s OK), we’re being selfish bitches.
To be truthful, little Figment of the Imagination, I’m not any more or less selfish than the average citizen. I give my seats up on the bus for old/pregnant/disabled/tired-looking people, I volunteer for charity organizations occasionally, I help friends move house asking for only a couple of beers in payment, I bring my neighbors cupcakes sometimes, I do all the normal stuff people do that proves in the minds of others that they are not selfish. You probably do the same. I do not sit around all day counting up my disposable income and cackling evilly as I plan how many pedicures I’m about to get tomorrow while sipping coffee that had once passed through an endangered cat’s anus. MUHAHAH future non-children! I’m focusing on my career so I can think about ME! ME! ME! as I ride around in my solid gold Escalade with no baby seat!
Oh wait, no I don’t. I don’t actually have a career. But, apparently I am still a self-obsessed, vainglorious jerkwad because I don’t have a desire to leave my legacy to the world through multiple descendants. How will anyone remember me and what I’ve done for the world if I don’t leave hordes of progeny to sing my praises? I’m so selfish– the field on which the crowd gathers to do just that will be as barren as my windswept womb! Also, Megalomaniacal asshat me does not wish to spread her genetic code for bad knees, crappy vision, mutant feet, and short stature around the gene pool. Oh Right! I’m also so self-absorbed that I don’t want to force my spawn to live in a world that is on the verge of environmental and social breakdown. BUT WAIT! you say! “I could be the one to reverse environmental decay and fix the world! You are selfish because you are not loosening a potential force for good on the planet!”
Yeah, hon. I am not potentially raising the next Hitler, either.
All these arguments are made by well-off First World white people.
Let’s imagine, for the sake of argument, I were to get knocked up with you somehow. I choose to raise you and now you exist (for the moment, hypothetically). First of all, I would probably go into debt just to bring you into this world because my insurance sucks, hospitals are expensive, and I don’t have any money. Oh crap, maybe you need your tonsils out or something! Maybe you have a genetic disorder or serious medical condition! I guess you’re going to suffer, because I can’t afford that either. Sorry, kid. I have to now take a third job to keep us both fed, which means more daycare for you. Maybe it will build character. But hey! making you sit in a state-funded rat trap where you are probably molested by the “friendly” janitor is way less selfish than deciding to not have you exist in the first place! Unfortunately for you, I’m not gonna breed because I’m a selfish evil Feminazi who likes stupid, frivolous things like sleep and paying the rent.
God forbid your father/sperm donor should be black or another race. What would happen then? I am a selfish asshole because I don’t want to watch you get shot by the police, or get thrown in jail for writing something on a desk. Maybe I give you the name Tashaundra because I like it, thus hindering your chance of getting a job. It’s ok that I’m feeding the school-to-prison pipeline, though, because at least I know that a bunch of rich white people on the internet think I’m not selfish, and that’s what counts, right?
Even if you do and up 3/4 white (sorry, can’t make up for the 1/2 of me that’s not, maybe modern technology can fix that someday), I don’t have a lot of money, so the chance you will climb out of the poverty bracket is almost nil. I will not be able to afford to send you to college, and your potential unskilled job will probably be outsourced to the third world, but, I’m selfish because I like things like cappuccinos and not starving to death. I don’t think you’re going to discover a way to end the world’s problems with just a high school education. Sorry about that, my (not-selfish) bad! But, there goes that argument. At least now I know the joys of motherhood and being tired and cranky all the time from overwork and lack of sleep, and will pass that on to you. Losing my cool for a second and snapping at you to just give me a fucking moment of goddamn quiet is showing you by example not to be someone who grows up to be a selfish child-free narcissist!
OK, screw that hypothetical situation. I cannot afford children. I’m still not gonna have any. You are still asking questions, though. You are always asking questions.
“But who will take care of you in your old age?” you whine, trying to change my mind. That seems like kind of a bad investment. I mean, if I am reproducing just for stability in my old age, that’s a lot of variables. First of all, it will take like 40 years before I see any sort of return on that investment. Also, in that time, a lot can happen. What if there’s a nuclear war? What if you get hit by a steamroller? What if I piss you off and you stop talking to me? What if you join a cult that isolates you from your family? What if a piano falls on my head before I’m feeble enough to need your help? Raising human larvae to adults seems like an awful lot of work expended on someone who is just going to stick me in a retirement home at the first sign of forgetting my keys anyway.
“But think of all the women out there who long for babies, but can’t have them! So many women have [fill in the blank fertility issues]! Don’t you feel bad for them?” Why are you even asking me this? I should make a minimum of two people miserable for the rest of their impoverished lives because some hypothetical lady can’t get knocked up? How do you even know that I am fertile enough to make up for her lack of contribution to overpopulation? I’ve never gotten pregnant, why do you even assume I can? Even if I am able, I should squeeze a parasite out of my nether regions and feed and clothe it for a couple of decades just so I can lord it over Ms. Infertile? Have you ever heard someone say “I’m having this baby for Suzi Q. Wombless, because she can’t.” That seems actually pretty cruel. I mean, way to rub it in. Ha ha, Suzi. You fail at womanhood. I win and I don’t even care. IN YO FACE. Real classy argument, Hypothetical Spawn. I thought I didn’t-raise you to be better than that!
“But it’s what humans were built to do! Every species on earth’s function is to reproduce! It’s natural!” Yeah, many species also eat their young when there is a lack of resources to support them. There are over 7 billion people on this planet. When are we going to start gobbling up babies? Basically, this is saying… After all, what else are women good for but to be baby factories? I mean, in the Good Old Days (i.e., 1945-1965), Women knew their place and devoted everything to the happiness of their children! Look at all the kids born in that era– they are all happy, well-adjusted adults with great lives now! For the record, lots of animals also eat their poop and kill other animals’ babies. Who’s to say what is natural?
“But having me will make you a better person! As soon as you have me, you will understand the meaning of life and know the joy that is motherhood!” That’s your opinion. I could say “Riding a flaming motorcycle over Niagara Falls would make you appreciate life and make you a more daring person,” but I’m making an awful lot of assumptions. You think maybe I should let you make up your own mind about that? Yeah, maybe. Why don’t you open up a shelter for homeless rottweilers? What? Too selfish to devote your time and resources to it? Don’t like Rottweilers? I’m JUDGING YOU.
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This past weekend was Stormageddon aka Snowpocalypse 2013 aka Winter Storm Nemo. Yes, the weather was pretty epic. Everything was closed and pretty much all of Boston was housebound. I was stormed in at Doug’s house– we had a cozy weekend of “Twin Peaks” marathons and frozen pizza awaiting us.
Anyway, on one of the days I drank lots of coffee and water and juice and other things and had to “use the facilities” as my late grandmother would have said. However, Doug was in the shower. So, I waited for signs that his shower may be over (that was why, really. I am not normally in the habit of eavesdropping on peoples’ person hygiene routines). I heard the shower water stop. I stood up, ready to pounce as soon as the door opened… but then I heard the unmistakable sounds of peeing in the potty, followed by the toilet flushing. My first thought was “whoa, who gets out of the shower to drain the lizard?” But then my thoughts were quickly flooded with elation and joy.
When I was a youngster, my mother spent a lot of time razzing me for being uptight. I was square. I was dorky and un-cool. I was totally anal-retentive, which was amazing because I apparently also had a broomstick up my ass. Moth and her creepy boyfriend at the time (we’ll call him Bucephalus) picked on me because I wouldn’t walk around the house naked, for example. Obviously I was a stuffed shirt. Also, I wouldn’t let MOth into the bathroom to brush her teeth while I was on the can. This annoyed her to no end. You’ve probably heard this story already, but here it is again: I’m probably the only kid in the history of the universe who got yelled at for NOT swearing. I said “oh phooey” or words to that effect when I dropped something once. Moth’s creepy boyfriend at the time heard and was horrified. “WHAT DID YOU SAY?!” he demanded. “uh… phooey?” I said (I was about 10). “NO, WHEN YOU DROP SOMETHING, YOU SAY *FUCK*!!! NOBODY WILL EVER RESPECT YOU IF YOU SAY LITTLE MAMBY PAMBY PUSSY WORDS LIKE PHOOEY! LET ME HEAR YOU SAY FUUUUCCCKKK!!!!” I, of course, was annoyed at this and liked to piss people off, so I went on saying “ffffffffffff…ffff…iddlesticks!” and things. I finally had to say “fuck” just to make him shut up, but I didn’t like it. I was 10, OK? Being uptight was my only way of being rebellious! This is my mother, who took one look at the rock star on the record album cover I was lovingly gazing at (I think it was Green from Scritti Politti) and said “Oh, he’s totally gay. Look at him. He’s so gay. Do you know what gay means? It means he doesn’t like girls. He likes men. He’d rather have sex with men than women. Do you know how they do that? In the anus. One man puts his penis in the other man’s anus.” So ok, it’s one thing that Green would never love me (and who says he wouldn’t? I mean, this was the 80s. He was European. Everyone looked gay in 1985!), but quite another to the 10-year-old mind to picture (1) his penis at all (2) putting it in another man’s anus– this all kind of made my head explode. But truthfully, I didn’t care what he did with his penis. Shocking me was what my mother lived to do, and pretty much all I could do was play my role as the shockee, which wasn’t always just a role. Later on, I would go on to do really uptight dweebish things like drive the speed limit and slow down for yellow lights. Yes, I was doomed, and no amount of forcing me to listen to Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits would make me cool.
I recall one evening at dinner Mom and Bucephalus were bad-naturedly ridiculing someone or other they knew. “He’s the kind of guy who probably gets out of the bathtub to take a piss.” Bucephalus said, and Moth cackled appreciatively. I, however, truly was aghast. It truly wasn’t an act this time. I spent a lot of time in the bathtub since it was the only warm place in the house (we only turned the heat up as high as 65 for special occasions like birthdays), and the thought of stewing in my own excreta was particularly foul to me. I might have gasped. Moth and Bucephalus laughed. “YOU MEAN YOU get out of the bathtub to pee?!?!?” They demanded, laughing as if it was the most hilarious thing on earth. I sputtered. I tried to set up a logical rebuttal, explaining that languishing in urine was not my preferred hobby. As you probably guessed, using logic was not a way to win arguments in my household. For a few weeks after, every time I went into the bathroom, I was followed by comments like “careful not to get any bathwater in there!” or “here’s a jar, just take it with you into the tub; then you won’t have to get out HAHAHAHAHAH!”
So Ok, I’m uptight. But Doug gets out of the SHOWER to answer nature’s call. He removes himself from a place where water is constantly washing down a drain to do his business where it should be done. He’s dweebier than I am! AND IT’S FREAKING AWESOME!!! Not just because I’ve met someone who’s a bigger dork than I am, but I feel like we’re on the same wavelength… at least about the separation of waste elimination and bathing!