You’ve decided with your partner that your baby-making days are behind you and he’s scheduled an appointment for a vasectomy. You’re ready to say goodbye to diapers, infant carriers, and late-night feedings, and the decision feels like what’s best for your family.
So why do you feel so emotional?
Dealing with your husband’s vasectomy
After giving birth to two kids in just under a year (355 days, to be exact), Toni Hammer and her husband decided they were done having children and agreed that a vasectomy was the best way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
But, she says, she struggled with her surprising emotional reaction in the months following the vasectomy, and describes that feeling as “the void.”
“In this space is where my desire to have more children resides,” she says. “It’s very strange when you realize that your body, which has housed and pushed out two pretty awesome kids, will never do that again.”
She and her husband even went so far as to throw caution to the wind once he had healed from the vasectomy and avoided using back-up contraception, as his urologist had advised (it usually takes about two months for all residual sperm to clear out following a vasectomy), in hopes of a “surprise.” While that third baby never happened, Hammer says she doesn’t regret their decision to get a vasectomy. “I love our little family and believe it is perfect just the way it is,” she says.
The mixed emotions of vasectomy
The decision to shut down the baby-making factory often comes loaded with ambivalence for a lot of women. Molly Shalz, a mom of three, celebrated the end of birth control pills and a fear of an unwanted pregnancy after her husband had a vasectomy following the birth of their last child. But she also wonders what a fourth baby would have been like.
“Would it have been a boy or girl? What would his or her name have been? Coming up with baby names is so much fun,” she says.
One mom says that seeing pregnant moms and newborns might make her a little teary, but it’s more nostalgia than sadness that’s bringing on the waterworks. “Then, back to reality,” she says. “I know with confidence that my husband and I made the absolute right choice for our family. (And for SLEEP.)”
Dads experience post-vasectomy grief, too
It’s not just women who struggle with mixed emotions following a vasectomy.
Laura Shovan was surprised when her husband, whom she described as “rarely emotional,” expressed sadness after his vasectomy. “It’s the end of an era,” he told her.
“I don’t want any more kids,” he added. “I just feel a little sad. That part of our lives is over.”
Although the closing of that chapter in a couple’s life can come with some sadness and nostalgia, the threat of more severe symptoms of depression can be avoided if it’s a mutual decision made after careful deliberation.
Coming to terms with the vasectomy
Once you’ve moved through all the potential stages of a vasectomy—like denial, bargaining and a little depression—you’re ready to move onto the acceptance phase. Once there, it’s time to have your partner check his vasectomy’s success. SpermCheck lets men check their sperm count after a vasectomy, discretely and accurately, right at home.
The baby-making door may finally be shut for good, but there are a lot of advantages—like better sex and not having to get up in the middle of the night to change a diaper. Don’t worry, you’ll be losing sleep again soon enough though, when those babies you do have become teenagers.