Planning to start a family is a big deal. With the decision to have a child comes a million different responsibilities that no parent should take lightly.
While raising a child is certainly rewarding, it’s also undeniably stressful and all-consuming, which is why one woman, who recently turned to Reddit, was so distraught after agreeing with her partner that one child was enough.
Confident in their decision to have just one child, the couple decided that to ensure they could continue on with a healthy physical relationship with no surprises her husband would get a vasectomy. After months of taking care of their firstborn, the husband continued to push off the procedure despite his wife’s reminders, and suddenly, the surprise of a second pregnancy came.
After he agreed to only have one child, a woman ‘cut off her husband’ from physical activity until he got a vasectomy.
This wife took to the AITA subreddit to get readers’ opinions on her situation, claiming that she “tolerated” his behavior and had to make a decision to ensure another pregnancy didn’t happen.
“I’ve decided to keep the pregnancy — now I’m determined to keep my word and will only consider having intimate relations with him after the vasectomy.”
The couple agreed on the reversible procedure, but the husband continued to push it off blaming fear and a busy schedule.
Over 500,000 men in the United States have vasectomies each year. While for different reasons, the most common is as a form of birth control in a relationship. The usually reversible procedure for men ensures that pregnancy is not possible from physical intimacy, making it a great alternative to female birth control.
The discourse around birth control at large illuminates the idea of the “female burden” in physical intimacy. In a traditional sense, a woman is capable of pregnancy, and thus, she’s generally the one who deals with the financial, physical, and mental struggles of birth control.
Instead of a quick 15-minute procedure for men, women typically take on years of harmful side effects with modern-day birth control methods, like the pill.
So, for this woman, her husband’s procrastination was not only unnerving but disrespectful. The agreed-upon course of action, to ensure safe and responsible intimacy, was not taken seriously, and now the couple must unexpectedly take on the responsibility of another child. Not to mention, it is the wife who will deal with the struggles of pregnancy, labor, and birth for a child she didn’t plan for.
Many commenters empathized with her, reminding readers of the burden of female birth control, with one person saying, “I hope my comment helps others who are hesitant about going through with a vasectomy. I’ve been able to come off birth control for the first time… men, you have no idea how life-changing this procedure is for the women in your lives.”
Many men struggle with the idea of getting a vasectomy — not for the procedure itself, but for gendered misunderstandings.
Studies show that while vasectomies are highly effective and convenient, many men choose not to have them due to “the burden of erroneous understandings” that equate vasectomies with traditionally gendered flaws lilke “impotence and weakness.”
So, even though research proves the procedure to be simpler to perform, less invasive, safer, and more cost-effective than female birth control methods, less than .09% of men rely on it to prevent pregnancy.
While many commenters believed that she was “withholding” physical activity from her husband, others argued that she was simply making a responsible choice to ensure her husband followed through on his word.
Some wondered if the husband had second thoughts about the couple’s family planning decision in the hopes of having more children.
While the debate about the burden of birth control was interwoven into their story, the heart of this Reddit post was the couple’s family planning discussion. When they made the choice to only have one child, it was not taken lightly. So, her husband’s procrastination felt disrespectful to the trust she had in that conversation.
Commenters wondered if the two were interlinked, adding, “Are you sure you two are on the same page regarding family planning? I would dig deeper — is he afraid of the procedure itself or does he want more kids?”
Others completely disregarded the debate about the procedure itself and empowered the wife to make the choice she did in refraining from physical activity. “Statistics on pregnancy and childbirth are terrifying,” one wrote, “women have their health in danger when they get pregnant.”
Photo: ilonakozhevnikova / Canva Pro
“It is your health at stake, it is your body, it is YOUR choice,” the comment continued, “You’re not forcing him to do anything, you’re simply saying you refuse to take this risk anymore.”
Ultimately, their family is growing despite the initial plan. Moving forward, in order to maintain trust and intimacy, this husband and wife need to discuss their next steps without threats of limited physical contact and deflection.
Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.