After two unexpected IUD pregnancies, my partner and I came to the conclusion that we'd need to take more drastic measures to ensure that our exceptional fertility wouldn't catch us by surprise again. Abstinence would have ended in divorce, so we looked at the other options and I discovered something called Essure.
Essure is a hysteroscopy procedure that involves placing nickel coils in the fallopian tubes. Over three months, the foreign objects invite scarring, which occludes the fallopian tubes, thereby preventing ovulation (and any possibility of future pregnancy). It's a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure, and my healthcare provider uses general anesthesia for it. I closed my eyes as the IV drip took effect in the operating room, and a moment later I opened my eyes to find myself in a recovery room.
When I first considered the Essure procedure, though, I was torn. Letting go of one's fertility is a big deal. What if I changed my mind? What if fate intended a third or fourth child for me? Was I shutting a door on a bright future?
I was indeed shutting a door on one possible future, and denying it was pointless. I decided to honor my transition from mother to crone by ritualizing it.
I wrote a letter saying farewell to what had been. I took the letter outside where I had an aloe vera plant waiting to be planted. I read the letter aloud, dug a hole in the moist earth, and set the letter ablaze in the earthen bowl I had created. When the ash from the letter had cooled, I placed the aloe vera plant over the top and secured it with the earth I had displaced. This plant of healing and perpetual growth would be transformed by--and transform--the ashes of my identity as a fertile mother, giving birth to my identity as a wise elder.
Kate is the married mom of two precocious tots. When she's not chasing them or dancing around them or singing at the top of her lungs with them, she likes to drink coffee, make yummy food with her hubby, edit other people's writing, pray, and write edgy pieces on religious topics. You can check out her blog, Thealogical Lady, at lifeloveliturgy.com. (And, for the record, that "a" in "Thealogical" is no accident.)