When you get married, the popular question becomes, “When will you have babies?”
When you have that first baby, then the question becomes, “When will you have another?”
When you have that baby and then have another, the question persists, “Are you going to have any more?”
And now I have the ultimate convo shut down.
After baby #2 my husband and I mutually felt that our family was complete. Like many couples, we discussed our options for permanent birth control and decided that I would get my tubes tied.
On a crisp winter morning in 2013, I went to an outpatient surgery center to undergo my tubal ligation. It was a laparoscopic procedure and my first surgery ever.
I was mentally prepared for things like never feeling a baby move inside me again, watching all the “firsts” of my second child also be our lasts, and selling away the baby gear that had become household fixtures over the last several years. I was cool with future family vacations only being the four of us rather than four and counting.
I knew we were making the right decision for our family, yet there were still a few things I did not expect after getting my tubes tied.
Like having to explain myself… This is actually really funny. I don’t get asked why we don’t plan for any more children but rather, why was I the one who had the procedure? Some women who have strong feelings about this subject say, “If you carried and delivered the children, the least he could do is take this one for the team.” Or men who have already fallen victim to the snip jealously wondering how my husband “convinced” me to volunteer as tribute. I could list all of the reasons and details, but it is more important to express that we made the decision together. Neither of us convinced the other one. We didn’t flip a coin. I wasn’t the loser of Rock, Paper, Scissors, Snipped, or Tied. We decided as a team, as leaders of our family.
Like the relief I feel on a daily basis… I don’t have to remember to fill a prescription, pick up a prescription, take a prescription, or wonder how an antibiotic affects said prescription. I no longer have that wonder that I might be pregnant because my head hurts or because I feel nauseated or because I am bloated. I don’t have to plan for maternity leave or make any additional childcare arrangements. Due to my permanent birth control situation, my mind doesn’t go to all of those places that it once did. I can’t speak for everyone who has had the procedure, but I, personally, don’t feel resentment, guilt, or sadness over it. Ending one chapter in life allows a new one to begin, and I look forward to our future.
Like the indubitable awareness of closure to that era of my family’s life… Gone are the days (for me) of pregnancy announcements, gender reveal parties, baby showers, and birth stories. Gone are the days of nightly feedings, monthly pictures to mark baby’s growth, quarterly pediatrician appointments, and 1st birthday smash cakes. I will never transition another little one from formula to food, from bottle to cup, from crib to bed, or from diapers to undies. And do you know what? That is okay. I enjoyed being in those stages with my two children, but I don’t yearn to be back to those days. I don’t see or hold a baby and ache for just one more. Like I said before, we decided that our family is complete. It goes beyond a thought or a decision- it’s a mental feeling of certainty, and getting my tubes tied just sealed the deal physically.
No matter the birth control (or non-control) path you take, the point is: There is life after the baby season. The future can still be bright!