There are two things that are crucially important to a marriage: 1) communication and 2) intimacy. Typically, in my experience, you can’t have one without the other.
Recently, a fellow Dad of the Round Table exhibited great transparency and vulnerability when he posed the question, “How many is enough?”
I’ve read and re-read his article and the mass of comments that followed. Regardless of the number of children – one, two, or ten – his is a question that haunts many men and families. In his post, we discover that the couple has come to an impasse, and the ultimate decision is, “We don’t have sex anymore.”
I’ve had no trouble being candid about the vasectomy I had this past year, as evidenced here and here. The reality is, I knew it was coming six plus years ago before my oldest son was born. For me, it seemed like such an easy discussion with my wife. Knowing that we would have to delicately plan our pregnancies, due to her having a medical condition, and that it would be necessary for her to have a c-section, there was no question that I too would be subjected to going under the knife.
The discussion went something like this…
My beautiful wife: “I’ll be getting cut open to have your children, so you’ll be getting cut when we’re done having children!”
Me: “Yes, ma’am…” what could I say, she already had my balls in her purse.
Of course, I’m kidding (mostly), but there was one thing that my personal research and discussion with doctors told me; a vasectomy was the only permanent birth control there was. Condoms break, rings are just creepy (my personal opinion stemming from little dead girls climbing out of TVs), and I’ve heard too many stories about tube tying being ineffective. Even the IUD my wife had was not guaranteed.
Sure, there are those very rare cases that a vasectomy ends in a surprise pregnancy… can you imagine the finger pointing and accusations!? The chances of a vasectomy failing are estimated at 1 in 2000 or 0.05%. Guys, you had a better chance of being a professional baseball player than that. Compare the failure rate of tubal ligation and you’ll find a clear choice of which is the safest, more permanent choice. Siting Comprehensive Gynecology, Babble.com states that, “Failure occurs in about 5 per 1,000 (0.5%) women after one year and 18 per 1,000 (1.8%) women after 10 years.”
Whoa! 10 years after the fact, my wife is more likely to get pregnant after getting her tubes tied than after the first year. Not just, “No,” but “Hell, no!”
So, fast forward two kids later and our decision to move forward with the vasectomy. The hardest decision was deciding we were absolutely, 100% done with kids. We had baby fever off and on even just a few months before I took my turn under the knife.
At six and four, our kids were fairly self sufficient for their age. Potty trained, feed themselves, sleep through the night (mostly), and we don’t have to pack up the house and take it with us when we go to visit the grandparents. Naps are even becoming optional… except when I need one. Bottom line, we have a ton of fun with our kids because we don’t have to worry about whether or not we forgot the baby wipes or staying on a schedule ’cause the baby will get fussy.
Having a son and a daughter, for us, is perfect. Stopping after two children is right for our family. A vasectomy, even decided before our children were even conceived, was the right permanent birth control for my wife and I.
At the end of the day, these decisions were made based on two things that are critically important to a healthy marriage: 1) communication, and 2) intimacy.
Have you had the conversation with your spouse about permanent birth control? When the time comes, what choice will you make?