Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

“There’s nothing about creating another human that appeals to me” Meet the 29-year-old who's decided to get sterilised

sterilisation.jpg

Women’s autonomy over their own fertility is a recent phenomenon. Birth control and abortion rights were only introduced in the UK as recently as the 1960s, and even today, women in Ireland and Texas, are battling for their right to choose. The first UK abortion clinic was closed in July following pressure from so-called ‘pro-life’ protesters.

Today, a 29-year-old woman has spoken out about her decision to undergo sterilisation so that she doesn’t have to partake in such battles, having decided long ago that she does not want children.

Holly Brockwell, 29, from London, has spoken with BBC 100 Women, about her struggle to get sterilised. Brockwell has revealed the difficulties she has faced in order to be referred for the procedure, having: “been told four separate times that [she] was ‘too young to even consider it’, despite the fact that there’s no minimum age for sterilisation in the UK.”

But after a long process, Brockwell "finally got referred this year."

There remains a stigma around women who don’t want to, or haven’t had, children. Recently, actor Kim Cattrall spoke out about her frustrations at being labelled as 'childless', saying the implication is that she is lacking in something. 

“As a woman, there are four little words I can say that invite more condescension than almost any others: ‘I don’t want children,’” says Brockwell.  

But Brockwell, whose own mother didn’t want children but was persuaded by her husband, is adamant that motherhood is not for her.

Kim Cattrall

Kim Cattrall has spoken out about her frustrations of being labelled as 'childless'

“The fact is,” Brockwell says, “there’s nothing about creating another human that appeals to me.”

Every time she explains this to people, they seem to recoil, or question what she sees as an emotional conviction, attempting to rationalise it.

If she says she can’t see it working with her lifestyle, people respond saying she will “find a way to manage.” If she says she wants to focus on her career, she is told she’s “selfish,” or patronised by friends who say she will change her mind.

Whatever her response, Brockwell says that:

“There’s no acceptable reason to not want a baby, it seems.”

Following her mother’s experience, Brockwell made a decision to “try getting my tubes tied – to take the choice away in case I’m ever tempted to betray my beliefs for love.”

“You may wonder why I don't choose another, less drastic, form of contraception,” she writes, “but the pill has been making me sick for years and the only other option is the coil, which I'm not willing to have because I know two people who've experienced horrendous side-effects.”

sterilisation

Holly Brockwell found that the pill made her sick

But making the decision was only the first step. When Brockwell approached the NHS for the procedure, she was refused four times.

Writing in The Guardian, earlier this year, Brockwell describes how, aged 26, she had decided to end her fertility, but was told by doctors that she was still “so young” and that they couldn’t “in good conscience” refer her for the procedure.

She highlights the contradiction that, at age 29, she is “considered old enough to be the mother of unlimited children, to create as many new people as I want without answering to anyone, and be trusted to look after them appropriately,” and yet, that (at the time) she was not considered old enough “to know that I don’t want that, ever.”

“It feels like a double standard,” writes Brockwell, “We’ll agree that you know your own mind as long as your decisions align with ours.”

Now that Brockwell has been granted permission to undergo the procedure, she won’t be turning back, whatever the traditionalists think.

“I’ve never been one for tradition,” she tells the BBC, “I recently started a tech website written by women – I’m proud to say it’s the only baby I’ll ever have.”

Holly Brockwell will be taking part in a Q&A on the 100 Women Facebook page on Tuesday 24 November at 3pm.

Related

ThinkstockPhotos-187281784 (1).jpg

Report: thousands of Texas women are attemping home abortions

Ireland abortion law protest.jpg

Women tweet Irish PM about their periods in bid to legalise abortion

rexfeatures_507983g.jpg

What it feels like to be harassed on your way to an abortion

maternity pregnant.jpg

Maternity leave: we uncover the shocking truth

rexfeatures_4131130i.jpg

#ShoutYourAbortion trends worldwide as women breakdown stigma

rexfeatures_4131130b.jpg

TV scriptwriter and wife urge change in Ireland's abortion law

caitlin moran 4

Caitlin Moran on womanhood, abortion and female-only quotas

gloria steinem.jpg

Gloria Steinem's book dedication on abortion brings people to tears

abortion yeast.jpg

See this woman's ingenious ploy for breaking up anti-abortion protest

More

The best possible gifts for when flowers aren’t going to cut it

17 unusual and thoughtful gifts for when the s**t hits the fan

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

This Battle of the Sexes legend wants you to STOP asking about McEnroe

“I would like to see John McEnroe win a Grand Slam tournament while pregnant”

by Susan Devaney
22 Sep 2017

“The real reason we should all be upset about Uber”

Grow up: your bank balance really isn’t what’s at stake here

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Sep 2017

There's a huge sherbet fountain coming to London - and it's free

Bompas & Parr are planning a weird, wonderful and nostalgia-filled event

by Helen Brown
22 Sep 2017

Rick and Morty creator responds to sexist trolling of female writers

The show hired four women. Cue cries of “Worst. Episodes. Evah.”

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

Everything you need to know about Uber being banned in London

The taxi firm has had its license revoked by TfL

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

The new Baileys flavour you’ll want to drink well beyond Halloween

Perfect autumn cocktails ahead

by Amy Swales
22 Sep 2017

This unexpected town has been voted the best place to work in the UK

We didn’t see this one coming

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

Harry Potter fans, this epic Hogwarts goblet is actually magical

It's perfect for Butterbeer (or prosecco)

by Megan Murray
22 Sep 2017

The hidden meanings behind the nation’s most popular baby names

Prepare for lots of girls’ names ending in ‘a’

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017