Two young women are fighting for their rights to get sterilised to make sure they never become mothers.
Dayna Foote, 19, and Laura Hosemans, 18, deal with the daily disbelief of family, friends, and even strangers, who insist they are selfish or will one day change their minds.
Doctors are no more understanding of their convictions and their pair have not found a single one willing to perform even the least invasive procedure, reports Daily Mail.
‘For as long as I can remember I’ve always been uncomfortable with the concept of having kids,’ Ms Foote told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I thought I had to, but I realised that it was more or less a family obligation and that it’s ultimately my choice.’
The aerospace engineering student said she started thinking about life without children when she was 14 and ‘found it more and more appealing each day’.
‘I’m terrible at being motherly. I guess I just don’t have that instinct. I don’t enjoy prolonged time spent with kids, and I don’t particularly involve myself with them,’ she said.
‘Apart from those reasons, having children is pretty awful for the environment, and I don’t want to add to that.’
The Melbourne woman said most people, particularly outside her generation, were shocked when she told them, and has heard all the usual arguments.
‘I’ve had people say I’ll change my mind when I’m older, or that I just don’t understand the joys of having kids yet,’ she said.
‘Even some strangers seem to think it would be a ‘shame’ for me, a total stranger, to not have children. They don’t know if I’d be a terrible parent or not, they just think there’s a problem with someone not wanting kids.’
Some of her friends were adamant she was making the wrong choice, calling her decision ‘ridiculous’ or insisting she will eventually ‘accept her body’s biological purpose’.
But she does have the steadfast support of her boyfriend of one year, who also ‘doesn’t see the point of having kids’.
Ms Foote put off consulting doctors about having her tubes tied until after her university exams at RMIT, and admitted to being ‘very worried’ of rejection.
‘I’m intimidated by visiting all the doctors I’m going to have to see, because I know I’ll get rejected a million times,’ she said.
She was even willing to travel overseas to have the procedure if Australian doctors knocked her back.
Ms Hosemans, who just graduated high school in the Yarra Ranges, said she decided at age 15 she didn’t want children and spent the past two years research permanent contraception options.
‘I’m not really maternal, I don’t feel compelled to have any. I just don’t see them in my future, it’s not the kind of life that I want,’ she said.
‘I don’t hate them, but it’s like seeing other people’s dogs, you’re happy to see them for a bit but then you go home and they aren’t there.’
Ms Hosemans said she frequently clashed with people about her decision, especially middle-aged women at her work, and had given up arguing with them.
‘People says “you’ll change your mind, don’t decide quite yet” or “things will change and you’ll want them”, or they tell me I’ll regret it later, it will be different if the kids are mine, or that being a mother is “so worth it”,’ she told DMA.
She said the worst was being told ‘you’ll definitively want kids, it’s in your biology’ or that her biological clock was ticking.
‘I get annoyed because it’s like hearing a broken record and they feel like they know me better than I know myself, which is quite upsetting. I’m fed up with the stigma,’ she said.
Ms Hosemans said she decided to get sterilised because the pill was a hassle to take every day and was not 100 per cent effective.
‘If I don’t want them, why take the risk? If you get pregnant as a young woman you’re frowned upon if you keep the baby or not,’ she said.
The determined school leaver went to her general practitioner to discuss how she might go about getting her tubes tied.
‘The GP looked at me with astonishment and said “why would you even consider that?” and shut me down right away,’ Ms Hosemans said.
‘She said it was difficult even for middle-aged women, let alone one her age, even with a lot of third party opinions, so I should definitely reconsider despite me being pretty firm.’
Ms Hosemans said the doctor objected because of potential complications, but the main focus was if she regretted it later in life.
‘I think because she was worried I might sue,’ she said.
Getting nowhere, Ms Hosemans inquired about instead getting an intrauterine device (IUD), a T-shaped device inserted into the uterus to prevent fertilisation.
The doctor reluctantly gave her a referral to Monash Family Planning to discuss it, but Ms Hosemans said before she even made contact they called her parents.
‘I thought I had confidentiality but apparently not. They just went right ahead and called her before me,’ she said.
A two-hour argument with her parents followed, during which they said she shouldn’t be getting birth control as she ‘shouldn’t be doing anything anyway’.
‘I don’t think they really believe I’ll never have kids, they think I’ll eventually change my mind,’ she said.
The number of childless women aged 45 to 49 increased from just nine per cent in 1986 to 11 per cent in 1996 and 14 per cent in 2006, according to census data.
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