Last week my husband had a vasectomy. When I passed this information on to a well-meaning mum at soft play, she replied, “Wow. Brutal.”
Perhaps, but not as brutal as sacrificing my body for another ten months while a miraculous but life-sucking squatter takes up residence in my uterus. Perhaps not as brutal as hoofing another small human out of a love tunnel clearly designed for ingoing, rather than outgoing, traffic. Perhaps not as brutal as putting my career on hold for another two years while I keep three humans alive. Perhaps not as brutal as panicking about whether we can afford childcare for three, or shoes for three or food for three. Perhaps not as brutal as ensuring I would have to wear a Tena lady pad everyday of my life for the rest of my life. Perhaps not as brutal as the inevitable destruction of our marriage because we genuinely believe that a third baby would not work for us.
Myself and my husband have both decided that we do not want any more children. It’s that simple and as I have spent the last twenty years taking full responsibility for contraception by pumping hormones into my body, frankly, it’s time to hand over the baton.
It was my husband, four months after the birth of our second child, who put the idea on the table. Looking back, it was almost certainly a reaction to the previous four months of zero sleep, zero sex, zero time to ourselves, a lot of crying, shitty nappies and baby crap littering our lives. When he went to our GP, she gently turned him away and told him to come back when our youngest was at least a year old.
Disappointed but unmoved we ploughed through the following few months wondering where our sex life had gone. Frankly, it had become too much trouble. It was a miracle if we both found ourselves in the mood, awake and willing but to worry about what time of the month it was and whether I was ovulating and did we have any condoms left and how effective is the withdrawal method really…it was just a massive buzz kill.
Finally, our youngest became ‘of age’ and back he went. After a few questions about whether we’d considered the ramifications if we divorced, or if one of us died or, rather unsettlingly, if one of our children died, he was booked in. Did I have a wobble? Yes. For sure. Having been 100% certain that I definitely didn’t want any more children I found myself whiling hours away considering the possibility and wondering whether that was the case. I felt comfortable with my decision not to have anymore kids, but I wanted it to be my decision, right? Would I feel ok if the decision was taken out of my hands?
In the end, I was sure. I didn’t want any more children. I’d be lying if I said that there was a small, small part of my heart that wondered if maybe I could do a third but it hardly felt committed to the cause and anyway, my head was pretty damn persuasive. I found myself considering the exciting possibilities that an uninterrupted future could hold. With the idea of more children firmly off the table, I could commit 100% to building my business and facilitating an amazing life for the family I did have. Drawing a line under Project Procreation felt like a new start; it felt like the really tough bits were done. With my youngest coming up to to two and my eldest starting school in September I felt excited about enjoying them and the whole experience rather than waiting for the next time and the inevitable step backwards into the land of newborns and nappies and night feeds.
I didn’t want to go back to that.
So he did it. Yes it was an injection in the balls. Yes it was sore and yes he was in bed for two days. Yes there was bruising and yes he had to wear tighty-whities but now, a week on, he’s fighting fit and (almost) raring to go but you know what’s really cool? Sex seems pretty exciting again. It’s risk free, fun-filled and finally all about making the two of us, as a couple, find each other again. It’s not loaded with the heavy weight of potential consequence. It’s all about spontaneity. It’s all about us.
Look, the vasectomy isn’t for everyone but for us it was the perfect solution to a problem we had. Now, all I have to worry about is what I’m going to do with the blog when I’ve run out of kids to photograph?