Between all the baby making and baby gestating, I haven’t thought about birth control in close to a decade. Now that we’ve completed our family, it’s time to put the goalie back in the game. So what’s the best birth control method for this stage of life? I used to rely on the pill, but these days I’m more likely to remember the kids’ Flintstone vitamins than my daily dose of hormones. An IUD lasts years, but I just got finished having stuff come out of my uterus — do I really want my ob-gyn back up in there? Just the word “cramping” was enough to make me cross my legs. And condoms are fine…for STD-ridden college kids. Don’t I deserve something a little less ribbed for my pleasure?
Underwhelmed by my options, I asked some mom friends what kind of birth control they’re on, and was surprised to hear the same answer over and over again: “Oh, I don’t use anything. I made my husband get a vasectomy!” That really got me thinking. I’ve been in charge of birth control my entire adult life — why can’t it be his turn now? Besides, vasectomies don’t seem too terrible. It’s just an outpatient procedure. Put a bag of frozen peas on your junk afterwards and you’re good to go, according to sitcoms.
So, I broached the subject with my husband. It did not go so well.
Me: Honey, what do you think about getting a vasectomy?
Me: No, you don’t want to talk about it right now…
Him: Just no. I’m not letting anyone near there with a knife. Why can’t you get your tubes tied?
Me: That’s a much more serious, invasive procedure.
Him: Isn’t there a pill you can take if you get pregnant?
Me: You’re thinking of the morning after pill and no, that’s not how it works.
Him: Well it should.
And so we are at an impasse. Yes, it has crossed my mind to withhold sex as leverage. No, I would never actually do that. For one thing, we’re both too tired to really care about sex right now, so it would be like punishing a child by taking away his broccoli. More importantly, it seems wrong to actually pressure a man to get an operation. I just wish he would volunteer! After all, I’m the one who had morning sickness and heartburn and backaches. I gained a million pounds and waddled painfully while our babies hung out past their due dates. I pushed their giant heads out a formerly tiny hole that had to be stitched up and later cauterized — oh yeah, that was a real barrel of monkeys. Husband, can you be a team player here? It’s just a snip!
Refusing a vasectomy is also a bit insulting to me, the wife. While I feel confident in our marriage, it would be a real show of commitment for him to shut down the baby-making facility. I am 99% sure that my husband’s anti-vasectomy attitude comes from squeamishness, but what if he’s secretly planning to start a second family in Utah? That would not be cool with me. Unless they had a ski house we could use.
As it stands, no birth control is being used by either one of us — just the good old rhythm method (that is, when we can actually muster the energy to have sex). And if it fails us, I’m not sure who will be more traumatized — the one who has to carry the baby or the one who will be forced to invest in a minivan and a giant house. Come to think of it, forget about withholding sex. All it would take to terrify my husband right into the doctor’s office is a good look at our budget.
Moms, has your partner gotten a vasectomy (or would he?). Any regrets?