99 Problems

Published on February 24th, 2014 | by Sarah Bregel


SARAH BREGEL Asks Her 29-Year-Old Husband to Get a Vasectomy

Four years ago, a daughter came bursting into my world, splitting it, and me, wide open. The pregnancy was long and difficult, filled with nausea that lasted until the day she was born. When she arrived she cried harder than I ever knew such a tiny person could. I loved her instantly but she was one hard as hell baby.

Motherhood took a lot of adjusting for me. I’d been living a booze-fueled life for as long as I could remember. But my daughter became the change I never knew I wanted. Luckily, my relationship with her musician-by-night, electrician-by day-father survived the earth shifting beneath our feet and four years later, we were ready to “try” and have another baby.


It’s a strange thing, trying to get pregnant. It happened to me twice before, both by accident, the first ended with an abortion in college. It wasn’t easy, but I have never really regretted it, either. Now, knowing what it takes, I know just how far I was from having what it takes to be a mother. And by far, I mean light-years.

I hadn’t been completely negligent with my sexual health, but birth control hated me, or I hated it. Every patch or pill or plastic ring made me bitchy and irritable. I wanted to crawl out of my own skin. I tried every kind before I swore it off altogether. In some ways, I think my body knew better. And every lawsuit commercial or Facebook ad directed at just about every one on the market makes me feel lucky it did.

The female body is a truly incredible thing. Recently, as I stared up at the ultrasound screen with a full bladder and my stomach covered in warm jelly, I almost couldn’t believe it. There’s a tiny penis in my body. A heart. Two arms, a brain. It’s unbelievable. And I will never be ungrateful for what my body can do and has done.

In just about twenty weeks, I’ll have a son- the final piece to complete our family, no doubt about it. I’m about a million and a half percent certain that my work in the baby-making department will be done and I’m thankful for that. Very thankful. In fact, I may even do a back-flip. Well, maybe I’ll just have a marg. That seems easier.

sheknows image

I’m totally ready to be unpregnant, and without a patch, a pill, a ring or even a condom! And so, before we even “tried” getting pregnant again, I told my husband, “you know, you’re up.” I don’t care that he’s only 29. We are a family that’s decided we are done having babies and I feel it’s his turn to share some of the responsibility for that. That’s why in a few months, my husband has agreed to get a vasectomy.

While we’ve only shared this information with a select few people, there’s been a lot of feedback. Mostly, “just have her get her tubes tied.” This doesn’t surprise me. Sexual health and pregnancy prevention has always been up to a woman, even if that procedure happens to be far more invasive.

But having my tubes tied is something I will never do. Not only because I watched my mother throw herself on the bed, screaming in agony, suffering a tubal pregnancy when I was eight years old. Well, maybe partly, but also because I want my husband to play a role in creating the shape of our family. I don’t believe it should be completely left up to me and it means something to me that he’s willing to take one for the team. It means a lot, actually.

Why are women the only responsible party when it comes to making or not making babies? Female birth control, in every form, is pretty much complete and utter crap – and where is this male birth control everyone keeps talking about? We can grow buildings with 3D printers, walk on the moon, and we’ll likely be able to teleport before there’s a male birth control, or a female one that doesn’t kill us.

I thank my lucky stars that I have a husband who gives a shit. “You’ve done enough,” he told me. And I think he’s right. After all, he’s watched me vomit more times than either of us could count, and come May will have seen my vagina ripped in half not once but twice.

first hold marsh

There are many that say its emasculating, and most men would never do it, certainly not before their thirtieth birthdays. But personally, I think it’s the most masculine thing a man can do – to stand up for their family and get the old snip-snap.

In a few months, my brood will be complete. I’ll be able to enjoy a certain kind of freedom I’ve never had. I’ll never again have to worry about whether or not I’m going to wind up pregnant. And to me, that is a beautiful thing.


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About the Author

Sarah Bregel is a mother, a writer, a yoga teacher, a feminist, a red wino-holic and a wellness junkie. Her work has appeared on Babble, SheKnows, Mommyish, MindBodyGreen and more. She is a contributor at 9Bliss and SheKnows Parenting Experts. She lives in Baltimore, MD with her husband, Marshall and their daughter, Piper and is expecting her second baby in May 2014. Her personal blog can be found at SarahBregel.com. Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/themediocremama and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SarahBregel.

9 Responses to SARAH BREGEL Asks Her 29-Year-Old Husband to Get a Vasectomy

  1. We made plans for my husband’s vasectomy while we in the hospital after our second child’s delivery. We actually had a nurse say to us: “are you sure? What if something happens to your kids?” as if keeping a fresh supply of sperm for possible replacements would be the obvious response to loss!

    Vasectomies are awesome–don’t let anyone tell you different!

  2. Emily says:

    Agreed that it’s a very manly thing to do. I never understand when people say the woman should just get her tubes tied. A tubaligation is more invasive and complicated. It’s actually a lot easier to get a vasectomy!

  3. Elaine says:

    When a man has a vasectomy, he increases his chance of getting prostrate cancer by 80 percent, so it’s no better than all the risks women go through with artificial birth control and tubals. Instead of having any more people risking their health to stop their body from a healthy function (fertility), consider fertility awareness / natural family planning. 99 percent effective, NO side effects and it is AMAZING to understand why you body does what it does, and being able to recognize any problems early on. The ultimate in health and the man and woman work TOGETHER at it. No more of one person accepting all the responsibilities and all the risks. Please take a look at it.

    • Meg at MUTHA says:

      Here are several links that cite large-scale studies debunking the claim that a vasectomy causes prostate cancer–you’ll find many more online.



      • Jody says:

        Thanks for the links as well as the article. I can state from firsthand experience that my husband’s primary-care doctor at the time (1982) blithely stated, when we inquired about a vasectomy, “Oh, no! You cannot ask a man to do that. It is much safer and better for a woman to get her tubes tied.” Needless to say, that scared my husband. I did not take the doc’s advice, either, but we relied on condoms until I was 54.

    • Sarah Bregel says:

      Hi Elaine, Thank you for your comment. However, in researching the operation, I’m pretty confident in saying it has been proven time and time again that the minor surgery does not increase a man’s risk for prostate cancer. Also, I agree that it’s great to be in tune with your body and it’s natural rhythms. However, trying to avoid pregnancy that way is how I personally wound up pregnant (twice). Now that I have two kids and am certain I won’t be having any more, I’d rather something a little more concrete. I’m sure that works great for some people, but I’m simply not one of them.

      • Cece says:

        Sarah – Sounds like the right decision for your family. I’m so glad your husband is awesome enough to step up, and that you guys are both happy with this!

        Just wanted to clarify for others who may come across this, that Fertility Awareness Method is VERY different from the Rhythm Method most people think of when they think of natural family planning, and it is 99% effective. As I mentioned, if anyone is curious, check out the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

        Again, sounds like you made the best decision for you, and I love the gist of this post.

  4. Cece says:

    Interesting! I totally agree that women shouldn’t have to take on all the responsibility of family planning. I never liked the idea of the Pill mostly for that reason- it messes with a normal, healthy system of women’s bodies, and puts all responsibility on women.

    That’s one of the main reasons we use fertility awareness method. It’s definitely more work than a vasectomy and I know it’s not for everyone, but it requires shared responsibility. I also love how it’s all about being aware of your body and appreciating it, and is all natural and doesn’t harm either person’s body. (I admit to also being happy that it’s in line with the Catholic church’s ideas about life-giving).

    Disclaimer: I’m not advocating for the rhythm method of natural family planning that has a sketchy success rate. Check out the book Taking Charge of Your Fertilty if you’re curious. The author is not religious.

  5. disquogirl77 says:

    I am currently pregnant with #2 (our due dates must be pretty close!) and the “snip, snip” is definitely going to happen after this is all done. I wasn’t quite sure I wanted a #2 but I am, like you said, I’m about a million and a half percent certain that I don’t want a third.

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