I’m pregnant with my third child, which my husband and I both agree, is also our last child. I’m 34 years old, he is 40, and we have a 9-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son, and of course, a much-loved and wanted baby on the way.
Three children fits our family, but four would be too many for a variety of reasons, including finances, our ages, and my certainty that my body would simply give up and fall apart with another pregnancy. Like many things in our marriage, our desire for our third and final child was something we mutually agreed upon.
Which is why, in preparation for our sex life after this pregnancy, I had no problem insisting that my husband get a vasectomy — even though some of my friends thought I was crazy.
“My husband would never do that,” several of them chimed in. “He said he would feel less manly,” said one friend. Another friend laughed and said that her husband was too chicken, explaining, “It’s just easier to get an IUD, than talk my husband into getting snipped.” Yet another sighed and mentioned that her husband flat out refused, instead suggesting that she have her tubes tied.
As I sat there listening to all the reasons my friends (and not their husbands) were expected to bear the brunt of their family’s birth control, I started to feel like maybe they were the crazy ones.
I’m not naive to the fact that there are a number of valid considerations that go into permanent birth control. But listening to my friends (who have all agreed that they were done having kids) complain that they were tired of the pill making them moody, or were “stuck” getting their tubes tied all because their husbands didn’t want to get snipped, I began to wonder why so many women are fine with their husbands simply refusing to be a team player.
It takes two to make a baby, and it takes two to prevent one.
I am tired of the assumption that birth control is a woman’s job. A vasectomy carries significantly fewer risks than long-term pill use, has a shorter recovery time than a tubal ligation or hysterectomy, doesn’t need to be replaced like an IUD, and stands as a perfectly viable option.
Why is it OK that I subjected my body to swallowing hormones every day until the time we decided we were ready to make that baby?
Why is it OK that when we decided to have that baby, my body would be the one to go through all the changes necessary to make it possible?
And why is it OK that I’m the one who will go through the pain of birthing that child and the recovery that follows just to bring this baby into our family?
It’s OK, because it’s what I agreed to do.
But what is not OK is putting in all that effort just for my husband to turn around after and say, “I know that we don’t want any more kids, but I’m expecting that you will be the one to continue to prevent them.”
Nope! If we aren’t using condoms, it’s not going to be on me. Thankfully, my husband didn’t say that, because if he had, he would be facing a very celibate life after the baby is born (I joke … kind of).
So one morning last November, I found myself making frozen sanitary pad ice packs, while my husband texted me from the urologist’s office where he was having the procedure done. Two hours later, he emerged a little bit sorer than he was when he went in, but not enough to really slow him down. And a few days later, it was as if nothing had ever been done; except that he was smiling about the freedom the two of us had just gained.
I’m proud of my husband for taking an active role in the fertility that affects us both, just as I have done for years. I’m proud that I brought something to the table when I brought three children into our family, and I’m grateful that when it was my husband’s turn to step up to the plate, he did.