News & Politics

What It’s Like to Get Your Tubes Tied at Age 33

Photograph by Lauren Bulbin

It took Kelly Carnes, a PR executive and entrepreneur, more than a decade to find a doctor who would help her live child-free.

“I frankly don’t understand how people can afford to have kids in DC. A big part of my decision, too, is the environmental impact. I don’t even like kids. I just think they’re obnoxious and annoying. Even worse than kids is usually their parents. Parents feeling entitled to you accommodating the reproductive choice they made. I find that to be really aggressive. You lose friends over it—they just disappear out of your life because they have other priorities, and that’s just sad.

“For about ten years, I would ask about tubal ligation when I went in for my Pap smear and was told, ‘You’ll change your mind.’ That was so infuriating. I was being patronized by doctors telling me they knew my mind more than I did. Especially doctors who were female and had kids.

This story is part of Washingtonian‘s feature “What It’s Like to Be a Woman in Washington.” For more:

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“I had kind of given up. Then I had to switch doctors and, bless his heart, Sylvester Booker at Howard University Hospital said he’d perform the operation. After that appointment, I literally walked an hour down U Street, got a jumbo slice of pizza, sat on a curb, and cried. I was so relieved. Six weeks later, I was in the hospital. I came home afterwards and took a black-and-white photo of an empty oven.

“My mother and I have a hard time with this. Everybody else has been like, ‘You know what? You came to my baby shower and bought me a present. I’m sending you a bottle of wine because you’re making your own reproductive choice and I support that.’ Without a child, I’ve been able to start a business, buy a house, take on professional projects and entrepreneurial projects, travel. I got married last year. There was no room for confusion. We get to do a lot of really fun things, like dress up in really insane cosplay costumes that we spend all our money on. I think I get to play a lot more.”

This article appears in the October 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

Mimi Montgomery Washingtonian
Home & Features Editor

Mimi Montgomery joined Washingtonian in 2018. She’s written for The Washington Post, Garden & Gun, Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Del Ray.