Hearing this week that Wayne Rooney had a vasectomy has me thinking about my own decision to go under the knife. If I’m honest, in the three years since the procedure, I’ve often wondered if it was the right thing to do. But every time my mind wanders there, I take a moment and, with a clear mind, consider it one of the best and most important decisions of my life.
Already blessed with children from previous relationships, I met my current and forever partner. She also had two children from a previous relationship, so between us we had a larger than average family. This is probably not uncommon in a stepfamily situation, but the realities of having such a large brood quickly became apparent – the logistical hurdles and the need for larger vehicles, among other things.
But like many new couples, we both felt what I can only describe as a sort of “need” brewing beneath the surface. I guess it’s one of the most primal urges we feel: to give birth to a new life with the person you love.
We talked about it very early in our relationship. I don’t remember if it was by chance or on purpose, but it was definitely early. I think she was quite determined to be done with having more children – perhaps more than I was at the time. She was almost 40 and we talked openly about the increased risks of pregnancy. In the end, we were fortunate to have a good handful of very healthy children between us. Was there a need for another one? Has our strength of feeling for each other clouded our rational decision-making?
When you both have a nice, quiet cup of tea in bed on a Sunday morning because all your kids are with their respective other parents, it definitely becomes a little clearer. Well, much clearer. Gone are the days of car seats, heated milk bottles, folding strollers, packed travel cots, diaper changes and late nights of crying. No more moaning from tired legs or desperate cries to be picked up.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. In fact, most of the time it’s wonderful and exciting. But the roller coasters too…
As a new couple, those lazy, peaceful Sunday mornings without the kids felt like a gift we didn’t ask for, but received by accident. This definitely made us think very seriously about going back to “square one”. Life was getting easier – not only because our children were all getting older and more independent, but also because two child-free weekends each month meant that opportunities to travel more began to open up.
We both love traveling – it’s one of the first things that brought us together – and so once we got into the habit of going abroad more, the idea of strollers and diapers took off. started to look less and less attractive. And that’s the point – it’s not to have be attractive. You don’t have to go back to move forward in a relationship. Our baby hour was over.
Bringing a new life together would have been magical, but perhaps unnecessary. Why risk something great for something that could change everything? At least, that’s the conclusion we both came to.
This is why I went to see my GP one morning in January (and why I was black and blue down there and had to sit on a donut cushion for a week ).
I offered to have a vasectomy. In fact, until I suggested it, I’m not sure my partner had thought about it. I felt empowered by what I could give to the woman I loved: the need to not have to use hormonal contraceptives, which she did not like; or potential discomfort and heavy bleeding from wearing the coil. It felt like a proactive decision and, in many ways, a sign of my love and commitment to her.
In fact, once I started seriously considering a vasectomy, I started to think it would be selfish of me. not for this to be done. Sitting there “all in” just for “maybe” and “just in case it doesn’t work out” was putting myself first, doing nothing – a passive self-centeredness that didn’t convey how I really felt about her.
I’ve read a lot about vasectomy (but not too much!) and found that the procedure itself is very simple. My partner dropped me off at the clinic, I stood there for five minutes max with two nurses chatting to me about the weather, and that was it. A quick cup of tea and a slice of toast and I was back in the car within 30 minutes.
We made our decision based on a number of factors, but in the end, it was one of the easiest choices I’ve ever made. Do I have any regrets? None. We still talk very occasionally about what it might have been like to have a baby together, but it always ends with us both saying “Thank God we didn’t do it.”
I know how lucky we are to have been able to have children, but I often wonder why more men don’t choose to have a vasectomy. It’s like keeping a lawnmower after moving into an apartment.
I don’t feel any less of a man for doing it. In fact, I’m happier than ever – and I’ve never felt more like a man by doing something so important for the person I love.