Written By: Adrianne Reiners
In 2012, I was envious of so many women around me. I was three years into my first marriage - one that followed all the ‘norms’ I was raised to believe in. Like, the idea that I had to become a mother simply because I was a woman. Heavily influenced by my religious upbringing, I struggled with the idea of having kids for a long time.
Deep down, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a mom. I watched both my older sisters have kids and my first niece was born when I was eight. Motherhood looked like (and is) a lot of work. And I was also seeing so many others waiting much longer to have kids and living very different lives than my sisters.
But, the road was laid in front of me and I said I wanted kids when I got married, so I was driven to stay focused on the next step in the path to success. You know the one that’s been forced down our throats our entire lives that funnels us from college to marriage to motherhood.
That same year everyone in my life was getting pregnant . . . except me. I was in a season filled with ovulation tests, period trackers, appointments with the doctor, and prescriptions I wasn’t expecting.
I was working in the automotive industry - specifically, quick service oil changes. I loved it. I didn’t love oil in my hair and showering with Dawn dish soap, but I loved the pace of the work, the challenge of doing something so far outside my usual skill set, and the new thick skin I was acquiring every time someone told me not to touch their car because I was a woman.
And one day during leadership training, I asked the person responsible for safety throughout the entire nationwide chain what efforts were being made to protect women and their unborn children.
Lemme tell you, the head of safety didn’t have a great response. Two weeks later, I switched industries and joined a call center for a national retailer. It would provide stable hours and pay but most importantly, I didn’t have to risk being surrounded by all those chemicals. This was a great move that would allow me more stability and safety to raise a family.
In my new workplace, I tried new things, grew and expanded my skills and knowledge, and worked various hours in different roles. My (now ex) husband was frequently unemployed and I was able to work multiple jobs to keep the lights on and our bellies fed.
Then one day, the floating thought wandering the hallways of my mind solidified and locked itself in place:
I didn’t want kids.
I was so busy listening to all the ‘shouldas’ and ‘when-yas’ coming my way, I stopped listening to my interests. I took inventory of my life and realized that adding kids would be much more stressful and increase the responsibilities and costs in my life.
“You should have kids! You’d be a great mom!”
“When are you going to have babies?”
As I navigated career pivots and major events like a parent dying and divorce, I learned that I could write my story any way I wanted it. My life was mine. I didn’t have to live it for anyone else. I learned to accept that I was allowed to want something completely different from the life I was told I should live. This gave me . . .
Freedom to be anything I wanted to be. Any career I wanted to pursue. Any hobbies I wanted to learn.
Freedom to be whoever I wanted to be. Somedays a coach to my friends going through major life events, and others getting wasted from red wine and fireball shots. #NotRecommended - I was allowed to have vastly different facets of myself.
Freedom to experience the world differently. If I wanted to snorkel with stingrays or go out to the speakeasy that doesn’t even open until 11 pm, I could do so without consequence.
I think it’s important to acknowledge that . . .
Mothers CAN be anything and they are often put under the extreme pressure of being everything to everyone all at once. #ISeeYouMamas
Mothers CAN be whoever they want to be, but one of those facets will always be; “mom” and comes with a level of responsibility to that human.
Mothers ARE experiencing the world in a way I will never comprehend. An intimacy with their partner and children that cannot be described, and only felt.
I know I’m missing out on an outstanding life experience. And I’m okay with that.
I had been on and off with my birth control. I had also been healing a lot of hard sh*t in therapy. So when I went back on birth control the last time around, it felt different. I had become more in tune with my body and was working hard to listen to it.
I was anxious. My body felt like it was humming all of the time. I hated it.
On top of that, it was 2020. And I was terrified that in the coming days, I would lose my right to make decisions for myself about my own body.
I chatted with my doctor about tying my tubes only to find out that the procedure is considered outdated. Now, they just remove the tubes completely. And, it has known impacts on reducing the risk of ovarian cancer. #TheMoreYouKnow
So I had my tubes removed - on purpose. And I don’t regret it.
I’ve been able to reinvent myself several times over and fell in love with being curious about all the other facets of who I can be.
I’ve changed workplaces five times in five years and I’ve learned to trust that I’ll always figure it out and land on my feet.
I’ve stopped abandoning myself as a way to please others and felt so physically centered by the newfound confidence that seated itself in my core.
I’ve pushed myself to grow in new skill sets and practice patience, and I’m continuously learning what self-compassion really looks like.
I know I’ve given up something so valuable to so many. And I’m ecstatic about the joy I’ve found in being curious about what my future holds without kiddos.
I’m outspoken about my tubal ligation because I want women to know they are allowed to choose the life path and career that they want. They don’t have to be forced to take medication every day or get an injection or something implanted to ensure they get to live the life they desire.
Women are tired of being told to fit into the trapezoid or triangle-sized hole carved out for us. I want them to know they have choices. Because I think everyone deserves the chance to choose their shape and I for one, know I’m a rhombus.
Meet the Author
Adrianne Reiners is a chicken-raising, hobby farm-building, operational generalist living in the forest of northern Minnesota. Her self-proclaimed tagline, "I didn't spend thousands in therapy to be silent," is what fuels her vulnerability - an effort to help others to be encouraged to live life as their true and authentic self.