I love WordPress. One of the cool things it does for you is keep track of how people find your blog through search engines.
A few times, I have gotten hits to my blog from someone typing into a search engine something along the lines of “living with regret from vasectomy.” Oh, how my heart aches for the persons googling this topic.
I believe that many, many people live with regret from the vasectomy decision. You see, when you get a vasectomy, you hear from the doctors and websites that there are only a very few reasons a man would regret his vasectomy. Those include such things as getting re-married due to divorce or widowhood or having one of your children die. In fact, many of the questionnaires ask you to make sure you are in a “stable relationship” before having the vasectomy done.
We had answers for these questions. For one, we weren’t going to be divorced — our relationship was plenty stable, thank you very much. And if I died, I wanted Ron to marry a woman who could love my kids as her own and not feel that she had to have her own biological progeny (don’t we all hear such scary stories of step parents?).* If one of my children died, I would hardly think of “replacing” him, as if he were a goldfish or something!** (We also felt that we would not find the room in our home and hearts for an adopted child if we kept popping out homemade ones, and that getting the snipping done would be guaranteed motivation to follow through with adoption.)***
Well, I have come to think the vasectomy information sites are sorely lacking another reason or two that people consider reversal. I joined a yahoo group called VasReversal to find out information about reversal doctors and such, and only a very small number of the guys and gals on that list were in a re-marriage situation, and none of them had children that died. Most of them simply decided they wanted more children, and that the vasectomy had been a rash decision. A good portion of them felt that they needed the reversal to “make things right with God” (many of these folks were satisfied that they did what they could to undo the vasectomy, whether or not they end up having more children). Several others had the original vasectomy done in a moment of crisis — dealing with a major childhood illness in one of their children or even being overwhelmed by September 11th (not wanting to bring any more children into the evils of this world) — and somehow the parents have come to think more optomistically about life. A few of the parents made the vasectomy decision in a time of financial crisis, and have since found themselves more financially stable.
My own discoveries shocked me — I had no idea how common were these reasons for people to seek vasecomy reversal. I really expected the group to consist mostly of folks in a re-marriage situation, that I would be the oddball. Instead, I found myself in good company.
If you are looking into having a vasectomy done, I would recommend a few things:
Wait at least FOUR YEARS after your youngest is born (definitely don’t be dummies like us and get it done while your wife is pregnant!). Wait until you are pushing the age where babies don’t come naturally (after 40, at least), so you can feel like you are just speeding up Mother Nature a bit instead of cutting her off at the pass. Consider why you do not want any more children in light of scripture. Make sure you research all the possible side effects (or click here for a few stories from the UK). Read a few stories of others who have gone through vasectomy-reversals to make certain you won’t find yourself in their saga. Remember that you have many other birth control options, and strongly consider any and all possible reasons why permanent birth control may not be the answer for you.
I was talking recently with a cousin who sincerely regrets her cute little ankle tattoos she had done 13 years ago. She said, “I don’t have any clothes in my closet from 13 years ago! Why did I think I still like the same sun on my ankle after 13 years?” A lot can change in 13 years — or 1 year or 3 years — you may end up regretting something that sounds like a good idea today.
Vasectomies are permanent. You may change your mind, and it just may be under circumstances the doctor didn’t warn you about — circumstances much less sinister and much more likely. I just don’t have much advice for those who are “living with regret from vasectomy.” Vasectomy reversals are possible, and we have certainly felt much better after getting the vasectomy reversed. But they are expensive, and there is a good chance you will not be able to conceive even with reversal. What I hope for is the chance to dissuade a few folk who are wavering on the vasectomy fence. You know what They say, An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Please take your time to think and pray before making this dramatic decision.
And, you know, the truth is, I actually don’t even know if we would be in the position we find ourselves in today of wanting more children had we NOT had the vasectomy in the first place (and thus I can thank God for what I now see as a bad decision — for this decision led us to change of mind that has already brought blessings in our way of thinking). Perhaps it is as my brother-in-law might say, “Sometimes You Have to Kill Uriah.”
*I have since changed my mind on this issue! I have read so many incredible stories of godly step parents, mostly from our history studies (folks died at younger ages in the pioneer days and the smart thing to do was to find a new spouse to help with the kids and farm. Think of Abraham Lincoln, or the fictional story Sarah, Plain and Tall). I know if I die that Ron isn’t going to marry some knob who won’t love my boys! I can trust God to lead Ron to a lovely wife who will adore my boys just as Abraham Lincoln’s step mom adored him. For some reason, I now have more faith in God to take care of my children. I can’t imagine not wanting Ron to have the chance at receiving more blessings — even if I am not around to share them.
**I have changed my mind on this one too. I wouldn’t want to “replace” my child, but as my friend Allison said, I could see missing the hustle and bustle of children, and the chance to influence the next generation in such a direct way — and I may want to replace THAT.
***I still have a hope for adoption in our future. My husband is still interested in this, but doesn’t feel that this is the right time.