He forgot to mention his vasectomy?

Dear friends,

Have you ever been tempted to lie to get your way in the baby debate? When I was young and fertile, some of my older relatives suggested I simply stop using birth control without telling my husband. He would come around once I got pregnant. I’ll bet some of you have heard that advice, too. Leave out the diaphragm or don’t take the pill and pretty soon, oops we’re pregnant, I just don’t know how that could have happened. I always argued that that wasn’t fair, that you didn’t deceive someone you loved like that, but I suspect that quite a few women have done it.

What about you? Have you been tempted to secretly skip the birth control so you could “accidentally” get pregnant? Or have you gone the other way, not telling your partner you’re on the pill because you didn’t want to have a baby?

If you’re a guy, have you ever lied one way or the other about having a vasectomy in the hope of either making a baby or preventing a pregnancy you didn’t want?

Men and women, have you been the victim of this kind of secrecy? You thought you could or could not get pregnant, but your partner was not telling you the truth?

I received this comment at the old site today:

Anonymous said…

I am in my mid-30s and my husband is mid-50s. We have been married eight years. Before we decided to get married, we agreed to have at least one child together (he has two adult children). We have never prevented pregnancy. I thought something was wrong with me! Why couldn’t I get pregnant when everyone else around me was popping out babies left and right?

Just before our second anniversary, he casually referred to the vasectomy he had over 15 years before, after the birth of his last child. What? All the time we had talked about and planned to have a baby, he had not once mentioned a vasectomy. We even had baby names and schools picked out for our future child!

To say that I was (am) devastated is a true understatement. Six years have passed since then, and I still have not come to terms or in any way accepted this “forced” childlessness. My heart hurts so much sometimes that I don’t feel like I have the strength to take a shower or brush my teeth. The only thing I ever really wanted to “achieve” in life was being a mom! I know that adoption or IVF are out there, but I sure don’t have the money.

I try to tell myself that having a good relationship with my husband and no kids is better than having a poor relationship with him and lots of kids. This doesn’t heal or even soothe my ache; I just hope if I repeat it enough, I will start to believe it someday.
I wish I knew what to say to all of us suffering from childlessness. My hat is off to you, Sue, for trying to help.

Oh, by the way, I had a vasectomy 15 years ago?!! I don’t know what I would have done. The thought makes me so angry I want to punch something.

I think this kind of deception goes way beyond “little white lies.” What do you think?

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.