A woman is breaking the stigma of choosing to get steralised – so now celebrates each child free year with a cake.
Proud Kara Jankowski, 36, said people have branded her “selfish” for her decision and some are appalled, even asking her “but who will look after you when you are older”.
Butt the child nutritionist said she has no regrets – and is speaking out to break the stigma of not wanting kids.
She celebrates their ‘no-kids-for-sure’ anniversary every November with amusing cakes featuring icing sugar wombs and slogans like “I ain’t afraid of no kids”.
Kara, from Davenport, Florida, said: “Growing up in St Albans, a small town in West Virginia, having kids is kind of what everyone does.
“First I waited for that moment where I wanted a kid, and it just never came.
“My friends started getting pregnant and I knew it wasn’t for me.
“Some people say it’s selfish, but I think it would be more selfish of me to have a child to please family or society when I don’t really want one.
“The worst responses are ‘who will take care of you when you’re older?’
“And, ‘I’m just afraid you’re going to regret it’.
“But I think it’s better I risk regretting this than I regret having a child.
“I really want women to see it and know it is okay and possible for them to make the same choice.
“I want to break the stigma around women not wanting children.”
Initially she put off sterilisation, believing she was preserving her choice to potentially have children later, but after a pregnancy scare in June 2017 she had both fallopian tubes removed.
She said she didn’t want to add any further restrictions to her freedom, and wanted to be able to go on holiday when she wants.
Kara said she also feels love very deeply – for her family and friends – so would be a “total wreck” if she had kids.
Her husband, Alex, 34 – who also didn’t want children – considered getting ‘the snip’ but Kara wanted to “take it into my own hands”.
She was worried her doctor would try to talk her out of the op, but said medics were supportive, and said she was back at work three days later.
She said: “I don’t want to only enjoy my sex life when I go into menopause, so I made the decision to go for the surgery.
“As soon as I had it done I realised that this is me making a choice not taking it away.
“It was such an absolute relief to be able to stop worrying.
“I’d been told partners stop finding women attractive after they’ve been sterilised, because we can’t give them children, but straight away he was all kisses and hugs.
“He doesn’t care that I’m not going to give him kids, because he doesn’t want any.
“It’s not that we live a lavish lifestyle, or go on expensive holidays, but I can go and see my friend in Vegas if I want.
“And we’re not without responsibilities, because we have a dog who caps our freedom, and we don’t want it capped more than that.
“Plus our dog’s older now and it’s hard enough to be woken by him in the night.”
She said she has great relationships with children of friends and family, but said it’s “perfect” because “we have a great time, then they go back to their parents”.
She said it didn’t feel like the right time economically too.
Kara and Alex, a criminologist Alex usually invite friends over to celebrate their sterilisation anniversary on November 10, and Kara takes cake to work.
To mark year one Kara covered her cake in red icing and added a picture of a uterus and scissors, with the words: “snip snip”.
Cookies for the second year were either shaped as zeros saying “baby”, or uterus shaped and guests at the celebration were asked to eat the fallopian tubes first.
This year her husband had one made professionally which featured a pic of a crying baby, covered with a line, and the words ‘I ain’t afraid of no kids’.
Kara shares photos on social media, and said the most common responses are people telling her how much they love their own children.
But also confusingly talking her through their traumatic birth stories – and then asking her if they have changed her mind.
She said: “My friends and family are very supportive, especially my mum Kim and my little sister.
“But I have been surprised at how my decision to be sterilised can ruin someone else’s day.
“I can see it in their faces, and shocked health workers have said: “What did you do?”
“I don’t know why it offends them so much.”