My husband is a sweet, generous, and caring man. He buys all of the groceries, cooks all of the meals and is an extremely hands-on father. He showers me with affection and love even when I’m feeling gross, unwashed, and unkempt. In my opinion, he’s essentially the Gold Standard for husbands and fathers everywhere.
“But, Lisa, if he’s so great, why do you want to cut off his balls?” you might be asking.
Indeed, he asked me the same thing. To which, I replied, “You don’t have to if you don’t want to but then you’ll need to find another woman to bear your children because I. Am. Done.”
We discussed the Big V—as in, vasectomy—and mutually decided it was the best option for closing our reproductive cycle as a couple or for him to find another woman to bear his children. We concluded that I had served my time. I was a good soldier. I had altered my diet, abstained from alcohol, carried two children to full-term, and birthed two completely gorgeous human beings—my work was done here, folks.
Up until this point, it has been my body, my fertility, my everything that produced and nourished our two children. Of course, he helped after they were born, but anyone who says pregnancies and breastfeeding are easy on the body must have a horn and a tail because they are a unicorn. No rainbows over here. Neither of my two pregnancies were fun for me, and I had no desire to repeat it a third, fourth, or fifth time. Nope.
In my mind, a relatively painless, 18-minute procedure where he felt slightly uncomfortable was nothing compared to the 20 months of pregnancy, 30 pees in 30 cups, three blood draws, four finger pricks, five “undercarriage exams,” the actual birthing of two new human beings, twelve months of bedsharing, 35 months of breastfeeding, and five years of a career timeout/pause/redirection I had invested in creating, nurturing, and raising the two children we already had. His cute little 18-minute procedure looked like the equivalent of a finger prick compared to my experience. And while I know that sterilization is a big decision, it was quite literally, the least thing he could do with the greatest impact.
However, according to my husband, parenthood was a blast. He had all of the fun jobs—constantly playing with the kids, wrestling before bedtime, train building, and reading bedtime stories every night. What’s not to love about another baby? Let’s have eight kids! The more, the merrier.
The hard, stressful, and less sexy roles of parenting still fell to me. I am the one who gets our kids ready in the morning, does drop offs/pick-ups at preschool, attends the parent-teacher conferences, and networks with local moms to arrange for birthday parties and meet-ups. I’m still the only one balancing five hours at home with the kids with my entrepreneurial endeavors. To say that another child would negatively impact the momentum of my career, and derail my personal goals would be an understatement. And while I would love those newborn mews, snuggles, and teeny tiny clothes, having another baby was not in my five-year plan for myself.
When my husband waddled out of his vasectomy appointment looking as if he had gone horseback riding for five hours, a wave of sympathy and appreciation washed over me. Here was the man who saw my point of view, understood my feelings, and accepted the idea of sterilization so we could focus on our children and move onto the next chapter in our lives.
However, when he tried to describe the horrors of having his testicles brusquely washed by a gorgeous Swedish nurse (of course she was gorgeous!), all sympathy quickly vanished. I mean, the most this man had to endure was being subjected to was the Dr. Phil Show in the waiting room while he waited with other Swedish dads anxiously hoping the ball chopping wasn’t as painful as they imagined. Don’t worry, my husband returned to work, good as new, after a relaxing 36-hour break. It was hard to watch him suffer through with such dignity, but the strong guy pulled through in the end.
So, while I can’t really empathize with his vasectomy—it will never happen to my body—I can sympathize with the humility experienced when baring your privates to complete strangers, being clinically probed, and on display to whoever happens to be in the room. I love my husband’s willingness to make sacrifices for the good of our family, even if it means a little snip and sew.
Nevertheless, I regret nothing. My husband’s vasectomy didn’t hurt me at all, and if given the choice, I—I mean we—would do it over again.
My husband is a true saint and a devoted father. You can read his chapter about how parental leave with fellow dads isn’t the secret Swedish fraternity he thought it was in Knocked Up Abroad.
This post is part of the #stayclassy link party