Volume > Issue > Sterilization & An Unformed Conscience

Sterilization & An Unformed Conscience


By Ann Kelly | October 1985
Ann Kelly is a Pittsburgh housewife.

Some eight years ago our third child, David, was born. Our first child, Robert, was almost three years old, and our second child, Cecelia, was 14 months old. I was feeling overwhelmed by babies, and I thought that if I became pregnant again I wouldn’t be able to cope. So I told the doctor that I wanted a tubal ligation after the birth of our third child. The doctor asked me, “Are you sure?” and let me know that it would probably be perma­nent, and that was that. The day after David was born a tubal ligation was performed.

I remember greeting the news of my third pregnancy with happiness and was impatient to tell my husband, Peter. Cecelia was a happy, easygoing baby. We were all blessed with good health, so I had no big problems. Yet, I was fully aware of my difficult situation. Especially hard was the constant exhaustion: I looked forward to nap time the way a parched desert traveler looks forward to a cool spring.

As I look back, I see a timidity on my part and on my husband’s part about discussing matters such as fertility with one another. I have always been the silent, uncommunicative sort (this is now changing, I am happy to say). So when the idea of sterilization presented itself, I did not do the one thing I should have done at the very beginning, that is, talk with my husband about it.

Once fixed on this quick solution to my im­mediate problem of coping, I in essence informed Peter that I would have a tubal ligation. I blocked any other possibility out of my mind.

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