Nature vs. Nurture: For All My Relations

The vasectomy––what I call my V-Day––marked a new chapter in my life story. And it’s an unapologetic HIStory. I was very ware that a vasectomy is so much different than using contraception. Seeing the smoke rise from my burning vas deferens solderised a new recognition and acknowledgement of my maleness.

As a baby, I was adopted and later raised as an only child by two lesbian partners, who I call “my moms”. I have a great relationship with my adoptive dad (who is sterile and why he and my mom adopted) who has always been in my life (along with his wife). I have a very good relationship with my biological family: brothers, parents, grandparents, et al. I have had a lot of caregivers. I have a lot of family.

I have never felt to have a child, to be a parent—or at least not biologically. When I was old enough to be aware of my egoic self, I considered that such a desire would be stemming from my mind, and therefore not entirely trustworthy. And so I stayed open to the possibility that a desire to have a child may be born out of a relationship/couple/union that would be the wellspring from which a heart-based manifestation could offspring—a child born out of abundant love.

At 40, I closed that option. I had yet to have that shared desire with any partner. True, I’ve never been in a relationship for longer than two or three years. Nevertheless, I remained open. Of course, 40 is not that old. I had many years ahead in which that shared love could birth a desire to have a child. Yet, apparently I was ready for a different human experience.

Closing the door to the possibility of having a child does come with a certain chagrin. I won’t have that very basic of human experience, parenthood. I’m not alone in that, for sure, and yet I share here the context for this long-considered choice.

A Human Experience

Before my vasectomy—what I have come to call my V-day—I revisited the genealogical work that my biological maternal grandmother so generously and laboriously created in the form of a family tree album. As I traced with my finger the names of my ancestors as far back as the early 1700s, I imagined all the reasons they wanted to have children. I honour their decision with supreme gratitude in recognition that I am one of the direct benefactors of whatever inspired them to create more life. Perhaps optimistically, I imagine that it was love above all.

In the album is a photo of me at three months old. It’s a precious image, perhaps the only one of me in the care of a family who fostered my nascent being from when my biological mother gave me up to the family that would later adopt me. A ghost-like sadness arose as I considered that an infant such as this, like me, in my likeness, won’t be appearing. This image—me—has chosen that this will be the end of a line in this genealogical fractal.

Seed Carriers

Before V-day, a lover expressed sadness when I told her about the approaching procedure. She would have carried my seed, she tells me. She would have, alone, raised a child that I provided the seed for, as if I were to give away a cutting of my own branch. All I could say, from a place of reason, is that we are planting seeds all the time, be they genetic or not.

In one generation, there will be 9 billion germinated seeds, all in various stages of maturity. The human family flourishes. The tree is enormous. Perhaps my vasectomy is a sort of pruning. Yet it’s not that what could have come from me is unwanted. I trust that the creative energy that manifested me will swell and collect and that the foliage and flowers—albeit sterile—will be as colourful and abundant as can be, even though this particular branch will not extend any further.

I don’t have strong opinions about menopause, impotence, contraception, infertility, abortion, etc., yet I imagine being able to relate to those who are not having children—be it by choice or not (for example, my mom later had a tubal ligation). My family tree is comprised of branches that have no direct biological connection as well as those that do. I have been living the nature/nurture binary all my life as well as exploring the theories of attachment. The constellations of what ‘family” is to me are pretty unique and my relationships—with family members, friends, romantic partners—are somehow anarchical as a result.

The Will of One

The V-day marked a new chapter in my life story. And it’s an unapologetic HIStory. I was very aware that a vasectomy is so much different than using contraception. Seeing the smoke rise from my burning vas deferens solderised a new recognition and acknowledgement of my maleness.

I identify as cisgendered. And the cauterisation of one of the most male of parts brings to my contemplative mind how we co-create our reality, not just together but in concert with the larger divine will. My considered choice to halt, from me, the flow of new prospective humans is somehow a very male-willed act. It is my personal will. And I’m a male-bodied person.

I’m tempted to describe this act as a responsibility, though this may be interpreted as a moralistic stance. In any case, I think that my vasectomy is just as much a contribution to the human environment/story as is having offspring. I take responsibility for my choice to not be a progenitor by taking care of all my relations.

As I, as an adult, came to know my biological family, I realise that there was and is great care in having allowed this seed to germinate.

It was nature.

As one who was adopted, the many members who I know as family all took great care of me.

I was nurtured.

As one who is maturing amongst many trees in many places, I thank you for being part of my family.

May we nurture each other.

It seems to be a natural thing to do.





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