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  • Melissa Porteous

My husband is scheduled for a vasectomy.... and I'm having second thoughts

Let me just start by saying that I'm the one who scheduled this vasectomy. The idea first came up once I was pregnant with our fourth child. I was going to be having a scheduled C-section, therefore it would be easier and more logical for me to have a tubal ligation since I'd be opened up anyways and the doctor would be able to easily access the necessary parts. Now, if you know anything about my journey in motherhood, you know that there have been struggles to conceive and many years of disappointment to get to the place I am now. We had to go through IVF for our second child, and then had subsequent surprising pregnancies twice after that.

Throughout my last pregnancy, I had to consider that my body went through 4 pregnancies, 4 C-sections, and a journey with IVF to be able to bring our 4 children into this world. It just didn't sit right with me that I would now be asking my body to shut down production, almost feeling like I would be devaluing it, or simply casting my fertility aside as if it was no longer needed. Now, I do understand that is exactly what is happening when a woman has a tubal ligation or a man has a vasectomy. It is literally saying, we don't need to be fertile anymore - we have enough children. I guess maybe that's the part I'm struggling with, more then the actual altering of my own body. I don't know that I have enough children, I don't feel "done" having children. That is my husband, he knows he is done and does not want anymore.

During the pregnancy, I thought through all these things, and my husband reluctantly agreed that he would have a vasectomy instead. And I see now, that was just me delaying that issue of closing the door to more children. Now that this appointment is coming closer, I feel almost a wave of panic arising inside of me. When I really think about the finality of this procedure, it makes it hard to breathe, and to think of anything other then "I don't want to do this".

Since I became pregnant with my first child, 7 years ago, I have been in either a state of trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding (therefore experiencing lactational amenorrhea). I think to myself, what if we just use temporary methods of birth control, that way I have more time to think about this decision, and then when my youngest is older, we can move forward with his vasectomy. But then I think, why mess with temporary methods, which do carry some risk, when ultimately, according to my husband, preventing a pregnancy is now a permanent thing in our lives.

I guess what I need to process or more so accept, is that I most likely (see, I still can't firmly say "I won't") won't be having any more children. Now when I think about having more, at this time, I can agree with him that I don't want one while the other children are so young. I've got a 7 year old, 3 year old, 2 year old and 4 months. I can't imagine having another baby when my youngest is still 3 or under. It is very busy with 3 children ages 3 and under. I know I would not be able to handle having another child in the near future, not physically, emotionally or mentally.

Physically, I found pregnancy to be harder each time. Now I was extremely lucky to have easy pregnancies, but the busyness of a house of littles made it hard to find the time to rest when I needed it. I will say, I do think that it was harder in part to my age, even being 2 years older probably contributed to having more aches and pains. Also, it became increasingly more difficult to recover from a C-section each time. Again, probably because I had more children at home to care for, therefore less time for me to stay in bed to rest. Oh, and most likely that age thing again. (Remember that, we'll come back to it)

Emotionally and mentally, it is a lot being needed by littles every moment of the day. If it's not one that needs me, it's the other. I find I'm constantly prioritizing who needs what, because it seems as though most of the time they all want/need something simultaneously. Nursing a baby takes so much time and even though it's my fourth time, I've never been able to master the art of nursing on the go. No, I much prefer to nurse the baby in my chair where it's more comfortable. Of course, it's those times when a bum needs to be wiped, a major spill needs to be cleaned up or a fight needs to be broken up. So doing it again, with so many littles depending on me, doesn't sound like something I can do. I can definitely accept that, so then that makes sense that we shouldn't have any more children.

Then I start to think, well once our fourth is a bit older, around the age of 4, maybe then I could have another child. It would solve all the above mentioned issues. Except that I would be 4 years older then I am now, that would mean I'd be on the doorstep of 40. Remember those aches and pains I mentioned earlier, well, those aches and pains I'm sure would be greater once I'm 4 years older then I am now. Physical recovery from a C-section would be the most difficult of them all I imagine. Aside from all those points, I just don't want to have a child at that age. I've always said I wanted to be done having kids by age 35, and that's where I'm at now. It really does not appeal to me to have a child at any age over that. The whole point of us starting a family somewhat "young" was that we would be done having kids when we were still "young". Although I'm realizing the term "young" and "old" are such versatile terms depending on who is using the terms and what the topic is. Anyways, I digress. The bottom line is, I know I do not want to be pregnant and have a baby when I am 40.

I need to face facts, I think my husband is right, I think we need to permanently shut down the factory. I mean, we are, his appointment is booked, it's paid for, and while I may be experiencing buyers remorse, he most certainly is not. All I've asked from him is to be understanding and compassionate to my feelings, now, and the ones I will surely have in the future.

I'm hoping that once our youngest is at that age of early independence, no longer in diapers and able to dress himself, I will be at peace with the decision and will be enjoying the stage of life that I will be in, enjoying a bit more freedom and not aching for a stage that I can't go back to. I've spoken to a few mothers, and while some of them have given me the definite "I knew I was done - I don't yearn for another baby" there are many who tell me "I'll always want another baby - I always have that ache inside of me", I believe that I will be in company with the latter. With that being said, I know I should focus my energies on the blessings of my 4 children. It is not always easy to conceive and not everyone is so lucky, so I will give everything I have to them until the day when I am returned to the Earth.

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