Story No. 453: Sara from Illinois

I am one. I am many. In my body, I contain the possibility of multitudes. In my body, I contain possible futures. Birthday parties. Songs. Nursery rhymes. Or, the power to choose something else entirely. I made the decision last year not to have children. I am 34 years old, cis-het, and married. The choice was not easy, and like the rise and fall of my partner’s sleeping body, I went back and forth on this decision. We got married young, and at the time, I did not consider the possibilities contained in my body—whether or not I wanted children was just something I didn’t think about as I took my birth control pill religiously every morning. It was just something sexually active women like myself did, until, one day, we might be ready.

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 changed thisI did not know if birth control would be accessible given his anti-woman stances. I did not know how long abortion would be legal given his vice president’s ‘moral’ beliefs. Thus, I made the choice last year to walk into a Planned Parenthood, speak to a medical provider, and insert a non-hormonal IUDthe kind that lasts for ten years. This will last me long enough into my 40s.

While my partner wanted children in an ambivalent, some-time-in-the-future sort of way, my decision to get an IUD was somewhat of a reality check. We had to seriously discuss those futures that perhaps no longer were and what we might build instead.

The IUD is not permanent, so if for some reason, I do change my mind it is a possibility (just not a very serious one). Having the option and the choice to make that decision for my future, my multitudes is something I am thankful for, and I recognize the privilege that I have in having this opportunity when so many women contending with similar questions do not.

Bodily autonomy and mysteries, futures and possibilities, multitudes and choicesthey are all part of what makes us human. To deny that care is to deny my full right to be human. To exist. To make my own way. To respect my partner and to share in the love that we have in building our pathways together. Accessible health care allows for that to exist.