Disclaimer: This is my personal story written from my perspective. I’m not passing judgment on anyone’s decisions about having this procedure. This is just how this simple procedure became such a complicated, emotional event for me.
Screaming, punching, fighting, yelling, crying and whining are all undesirable traits of children. There are days when all the fighting and complaining is enough to take out a Craig’s List ad and attach ‘re-homing fee’ on three kids. (I’m kidding, totally kidding, just in case someone is reading this.)
I say all of those undesirable traits drive me crazy but in reality I can’t imagine my life without the three little humans making those noises. They don’t make those noises all the time, thank goodness.
They are really fantastic, cute, adorable, funny and just plan wonderful just like your kids. To be honest I wish I had, had more. Which leads me to the guilt I felt for almost six years.
Guilt for six years? Over what, you’re probably wondering.
A procedure I had done after the birth of my last child – Tubal Ligation. The guilt was so intense I even went through an evaluation to see if I could have it reversed. I could have physically but financially it was cost prohibitive. Did you know that a number of insurance policies will pay for sterilization but will not pay for reversal?
Emotions versus Trust
This simple procedure occurred during a C-section delivery. Snipped, tied and burned and I, a once fertile young woman, became sterile.
Now why did I do this?
1. I felt like three kids were enough.
2. I felt overwhelmed by possibly affording more children.
3. I felt this was the safest decision to keep from having more children.
Do you see a common theme – I felt, I felt, I felt …
Instead, I should have been – I trust, I trust, I trust …
What should I have trusted in? I should have trusted in a sovereign God to provide or decide how many children we would have.
The guilt of having the procedure didn’t come until later that year. I realized that I would no longer have any more children. I would no longer feel a baby inside me.
Now some of you may be saying, well you would be giving the Duggar’s a run for their money. You could be right. Could I have handled 19 kids? I don’t know, three can be a challenge at times, see first paragraph.
For years though I felt a loss of the children that could have been. In reality the guilt I was feeling stemmed from me realizing that I trusted in myself instead of my God.
Now this is my perspective, my conviction and I’m not judging others who’ve had the procedure. The purpose of my confession is to encourage women who may be thinking about tubal ligation, to pause and remove emotions from the decision — something I failed to do.
Change of heart
For years I let the guilt of not trusting God in this facet of my life consume me. I shouldn’t have, but I did. Seeking forgiveness, peace and restoration shouldn’t have taken so long but it did. I behaved as a child until God helped me see that I had forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ but that I needed Him to help me forgive myself.
Last week a friend of mine, Kathy Wright, shared some great insight about forgiveness on her blog ‘In the Wright Direction.’ The post ‘Forgiveness isn’t always a one time decision…it’s often a process’ hit home with me. She speaks of forgiving others but the same principles can apply to forgiving yourself for something you’ve done in the past.
Six years is a long time to work on forgiving anything. Six years seems like time wasted but in reality God was teaching me lessons along the way. Learning to fully trust Him in everything can be hard for strong willed, independent, take charge people. Anytime I would feel myself trying to do things my way, God used the lesson of the tubes to remind me that I can’t rely on myself and be happy. The only way to have true joy is to rely on Him because He is in control.
The difference between false guilt and Godly sorrow
The guilt I felt would probably appear to many that I was judging myself too harshly. I’m judging myself on my previous immature view of the world and God’s provision at the time.
My Godly sorrow was true guilt over falsely placing trust in myself instead of God’s will.
Focus on the Family has a great article to help us decipher the difference. Go here to read it at your leisure.
Praise God, He does restore us and despite my personal disobedience, I’m at peace with God’s forgiveness and restored fellowship.
Psalm 23 is often used at funerals but this Psalm is written for the living. Every word is true and speaks of the path I’ve taken over the past few years, not openly but inwardly.
I’ve only spoken of this guilt to a few people outside of my husband. Every situation is different but I do know life is precious, trusting in God is the best way and seeking His will before our own is always the best path.
I’m not the only one who has felt similar feelings, there are forums, groups, counseling and studies to help women who have had the procedure and later regret their decision. Often, help comes from women who have had the procedure but have great words of wisdom to help those who may be struggling.
If you have had the procedure and never felt any of the regret I’ve mentioned you may be able to help those who have had it. God allows us to go through different things in our lives so we can help others.
I still feel like we have room for more and one day God may call us to adopt. It’s something we’ve prayed about but even if it never happens, we are thankful for the three children placed in our care and praise Him every day for their lives.
Life is better with Him leading the way.