Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.37 13 Apr 2021


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On this week's 'So You Think You're An Adult', one listener says her husband is refusing to have a vasectomy after four children....

'My husband won't get the snip... what can I do?'

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The listener's problem

I am 38 and have just had our fourth child and feel that the family is complete and definitely don't want any more kids.

I feel like my body has been through so much producing his four kids that it's time for him to do something slightly uncomfortable instead of me taking the pill (which doesn't suit me) until I reach menopause.

Here are some of the things that I have had to do: Four pregnancies with hyperemesis (which is severe morning sickness). I was seven stone on this last pregnancy because I couldn't even hold down water until I was 26 weeks pregnant.

I've had blood transfusions, four labours with no epidurals, breastfed all of them for a year plus (which also meant no night feeds for daddy).

I've had cracked nipples, mastitis and was hospitalised with it as it got so bad.

Hemorrhoids, I pee my pants regularly and now it looks like I'm going to have to have surgery to have my stomach muscles stitched back together because I have a condition called Diastisis Recti, causing severe back pain.

I have asked him to get the snip and he refuses.

I really can't get my head around him not being willing to get a 30-minute procedure done and want to know how your panel feel about it.

Am I right in feeling totally pissed off at his selfishness? Lots of my friends' boyfriends refusing point blank too.

Barbara Scully's advice

"I hear this woman, and as a woman our biology is messy - and it's very often very painful.

"It certainly sounds like this woman has had plenty and enough to deal with in her pregnancies and in the aftermath of those pregnancies.

"So I want to say that first - but I think actually there might be two issues here.

"The fact that her husband is refusing to get a vasectomy, and I kind of don't blame her being a bit fed up about that.

"But I am curious as to whether she's asked him why: what is the problem about him getting a vasectomy?

"My husband had it done and no problem whatsoever, he was fine after it - and as a contraceptive it's fairly bulletproof, it's 99% effective.

"It's hard to believe that in this day and age that this could still be the case, but perhaps there are still men that have ideas about a vasectomy that just aren't true.

"For example, worrying that they're not going to be able to orgasm: that's not true. They're worried that they won't ejaculate: they will, there just won't be sperm in the fluid.

"I think it's important that she sits down and has a conversation with him, to make sure he's not going forward under these misapprehensions.

"Of course there's the other big elephant in the room which men feel emasculated, perhaps, by it... again, if that is the case she needs to talk to him about that, because clearly that isn't the case."

But Barbara said another issue comes across from this listener: "I get the feeling he hasn't, or she feels that he hasn't, fully appreciated all the things that she has experienced during pregnancy and childbirth.

"She certainly didn't have an easy time of it, and I get the feeling from the letter that perhaps he hasn't really acknowledged this - which is throwing into a much sharper relief the fact that he won't get, as she said, the 30-minute procedure."

She suggested counselling could also help the couple going forward.

Declan Buckley's advice

"It could even be just really low-key shame of not wanting to go and see the sex doctor.

"Women are a lot more in touch with their bodies, because they have to be, whereas guys can actually navigate the world without having to face a lot of these things front-on.

"I also think there is a certain weird equivalence that the woman has made: she kind of listed all of these things that she's done, and therefore automatically they just wash away any concerns that he could have about [the procedure].

"Nobody has the right to force anybody into any kind of a surgical procedure, whether or not they think it's the right thing for them.

"It's all down to the fact that when men and women are in these relationships together and they're talking about family planning, regardless of what the biological parts that each person is going to play, genuine partners are going to want to make sure that they shoulder some of that psychological or emotional burden involved.

"That seems to be slightly missing in here."

Main image by Triggermouse from Pixabay 

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Barbara Scully Declan Buckley Moncrieff So You Think You're An Adult Vasectomy

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