No more worrying about pregnancy, infertility, miscarriages, or what-ifs.
The last six months of my marriage have been some of the best I can remember. I notice the change in even our smallest interactions, the way we talk to each other or how we try to sneak a moment alone to hold hands on the couch while the kids eat their dinner. We are laughing again, dreaming again. We are finally engaging with each other instead of focusing solely on our kids. We talk about our future and there is no looming unknown. The reason things have been so good is simple: My husband got a vasectomy.
We have lived the last six years of our lives in constant limbo, either preparing for another baby, living through baby’s first year, struggling with infertility or hemming and hawing over whether our family was complete. Our focus was completely wrapped up in the uncertainty of being immersed in our childbearing years. We rarely focused on the marriage itself—ostensibly the foundation for this entire family thing in the first place.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant with our first child, my attention shifted toward our baby and away from my husband. I figured we would find our groove after our son was born, but by the time I had adjusted to motherhood and had some room to start thinking about my husband again, I was pregnant with my second child, and the process started all over.
Over the next few years, whether I was pregnant or not, I was constantly thinking “What if?” I would want to plan a romantic getaway for our anniversary but would shy away because what if I wanted to have another child? What if we had a new baby to care for? What if we needed to save for additional hospital expenses? Whenever we were planning another pregnancy, the what-ifs amplified. What if I had another miscarriage? Will we want to try again after that? What if there ends up being something wrong with the baby?
Those what-ifs didn’t only keep me up at night, they kept me away from my husband. We both knew well the demands of having a new baby, and never knowing whether or not we would have more kids put stress on our relationship. There was financial worry, emotional stress, and the physical dangers that naturally come with pregnancy. Beyond those concerns, I wondered how I would ever really know when I was finished having kids.
I loved having babies. I longed for the newborn phase even as I was in the midst of it. Time always seemed to move too fast, and with each child, time seemed to move exponentially faster. When our third child was born, I found myself thinking about whether or not I wanted a fourth child while I was still in the recovery room at the hospital. I looked at our new baby and wondered how I could ever say no to this experience.
I knew the thought was crazy. I had no desire to become a Duggar-like family, having kids until my body would no longer allow it. I already felt spread too thin, and I knew that having more kids would only rob me of the time I so desperately needed. Though I wavered back and forth for quite a few months after our last child, I knew that I couldn’t handle another baby, even if I wanted one.
Still, when we decided on my husband getting a vasectomy, I was nervous. I felt sure, but what if that feeling changed? Once again the what-ifs surfaced. I wondered if this was too final, but no other option seemed right for us. I couldn’t use hormonal birth control and natural planning left me too open to the whims of wanting a baby one day and changing my mind the next. We knew it was the right choice, the reasonable choice, but that didn’t calm my nerves.
I waited outside the doctor’s office, expecting to be overwhelmed by sadness or regret when the procedure was over. But the moment I saw my husband come out the door, I knew we’d done the right thing. I was flooded with relief. All I could think was, “I’m so glad this is finally over.”
I loved pregnancy and childbirth, and I loved my children enormously, but I never realized until that moment how much I hated the uncertainty of the whole process. When I saw my friends having babies after the vasectomy, I expected to feel a pang of longing. Instead, knowing I was done with that chapter of my life brought me joy. I saw their relationships becoming undone by children, while I was finally able to mend my marriage. Arriving on the other side of actively having kids felt good.
A huge weight was lifted from our marriage. We were able to shift focus back onto our relationship, and even onto our kids—because I wasn’t wasting energy wondering about some hypothetical sibling. This was our family. We were done.
We can now look forward to the demanding early childhood years ending in the foreseeable future, leaving more time for us to enjoy one another, and not just parenthood. Our conversations reflect the early days of our relationship, talking not just about our kids’ future but about our future. We talk about the kind of house we want to buy when the kids are grown and gone. We talk about the vacations we’ll be able to take without needing to bring along a breast-pump. There is still uncertainty and there are still what-ifs, because, let’s face it, that’s life. But the possibility of a child does not figure into that equation anymore, and it’s made our marriage so much better.