Wanting babies but using birth control

Shortly after my boyfriend introduced me to sex, I found myself in the stirrups at the college health center getting my first prescription for birth control pills. I was still living at home, so I couldn’t possibly tell my parents about having sex or needing contraception. When my first prescription led to my first yeast infection, I had no idea what was going on and let it go way too long. That was the first of three different pills and some terrible side effects. It turned out The Pill and I were not compatible, so I switched to condoms and diaphragms, those rubber disks you fill with spermicidal jelly and slip up your vagina just before intercourse.

I wanted babies, but I didn’t want to be an “unwed mother,” as they were called in the days when it was a scandal. When I was married, my first husband kept saying not yet, not yet, not yet, until he just said no. He made sure I had my diaphragm in before we had sex. No accidental babies allowed. Divorce followed, for other reasons. Single again, I put that diaphragm to good use with other men. On my first date with Fred, who became my second husband, we were doubly covered because I used my diaphragm and he had his vasectomy, which I didn’t know about yet.

I wanted babies but avoided the chance of having them, except for a couple slips with one boyfriend, after which I prayed for my period to start. Birth control wasn’t so easy in my early days of adulthood. A lot of things we can buy over the counter now required getting a prescription and facing a certain amount of disapproval. Now they sell condoms at the grocery store.

Looking back, It seems crazy. All those years of pills, condoms and jelly to prevent something I really wanted and expected to have in my life. It was also against my religion, but I didn’t even know that then. Nobody spelled out the rules, and even if they had, religion did not speak as loudly as the parents who told me my life would be ruined if I got pregnant outside of marriage and the men who wanted to have sex but not babies.

I got to thinking about this because my subscription to wedmd.com recently brought a fascinating link to my attention. It’s a slide show that looks at birth control through the ages. This is all back before most modern methods existed. They seem kind of crazy now. Take a look.

I would love to know about your relationships with birth control. What have you used? How faithfully have you used it? Have you ever tried to sneak in some unprotected sex in the hope of getting pregnant? Men are welcome to offer their point of view, too. You can be anonymous. Your mother will never know.

7 thoughts on “Wanting babies but using birth control

  1. I was so scared of getting pregnant that I was on the pill and using condoms with my first boyfriend when I was in university! It seems ironic now that I was so paranoid about getting pregnant back then and thought that it could happen really easily when now that I’m trying it’s not so easy after all! Or not so easy when you’re in your 30s.


  2. At 20 years old, I married a guy with a vasectomy… I had this delusion that I would still get pregnant and it would all work out. Seriously???????


  3. I married a guy who had a vasectomy. He had it reversed and we were able to conceive and have our daughter. Now three years later, I have deep grief every day because we tried again, but we couldn’t get pregnant and he does not want more kids and is not willing to go back to the doctor to see if there is anything else we/he can do. I feel guilty, since he did have the surgery and we have our beautiful daughter, but I want to have another child. I cry every day and it doesn’t get easier. After reading so much about this, it seems like the pain will never go away.


  4. My first experience with birth control was using condoms. Soon enough though, thanks to endometriosis, I was on the pill continuously and did not take the week off. From a young age, I knew having a baby would be difficult, but I stayed in the pill religiously.
    I was engaged once and would sometimes skip a pill or a few but never got pregnant. After that relationship ended, I was diligent with the pill regardless of the relationship level–I was afraid to have a kid out of wedlock.
    Years go by, and I am faced with a hysterectomy. I had known it was coming and this difficulty is probably what kept me from really letting anyone love me. Who would want a woman who could likely not have a child??? I ran into an old flame, and I spent a year before my hysterectomy having unprotected sex with him. I knew I would never marry him or ever want a child with him, but I suppose I thought it was do or die time. So, we had a lot of sex, and nothing happened, of course. I broke it off and went ahead with the surgery.
    The doctor found some cysts and growths, and I had some complications. The chances of me having a baby without help were low and even with help, unlikely.
    In the past year, I have worked hard to come to terms with not having a baby of my own, and while it is not a picnic, I am in the best place with it mentally and emotionally. I am proud of myself for that, but there are times when it is still hard.


    • Catherine, thank you for sharing this. It sounds like you’ve been on a wild ride. Endometriosis is a nasty thing. I’m sorry you had to deal with it. And I’m glad you’ve come to a peaceful place. There will be hard times. We all have them, but I’m glad you’re okay.


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