Thoughtful Thursday: Prevention
July 30, 2009
Note: There’s still a winning answer (and therefore a pottery prize) available for my Blogoversary Contest. Go submit your guess right now! We’ll wait…
Answer submitted? Good. Okay, time for Thoughtful Thursday.
As you may recall, last week I quipped about the reactions I might get if I went to the drugstore to buy condoms.
As much as I’m sure you would all have enjoyed whatever happened, my fuse is too short right now to deal with wisecracking clerks. I told DH that he’d need to go to the store if he wanted to take advantage of the temporary respite from pelvic rest — but that I could not guarantee that I’d be able to overcome my concerns enough to actually use the condoms.
Always thrifty but more now than ever with the babies on the way, he refused to spend money on condoms unless they would definitely be used.
I told him that if we didn’t use them now, we’d use them eventually — if not later in the pregnancy, then certainly after the babies are born. He was dubious, but I guaranteed that we’d need them later. This led to a discussion of post-baby pregnancy prevention. Let’s continue that discussion here.
(In case you’re curious, at this point, no condoms have been purchased.)
It’s a funny idea, preventing pregnancy after years of infertility and a mind-boggling array of drugs, assessments, treatments, alternative treatments, healings, nutritional supplements, fertility charms…
Once upon a time, when I thought we were fertile, I assumed that we would practice sensible family planning after the birth of our first child to ensure ideal spacing between children. After we’d built our family to our desired number, we’d probably choose a surgical option to close the door on future conception.
(Pardon me while I point and laugh at my old self.)
Then, a subsequent once upon a time, when I knew that we were not fertile, I assumed that we would practice family planning immediately following the birth of our first child. Despite the low likelihood of conception, back-to-back pregnancies would be bad for my body and for the second baby’s health — and at that point, I had plenty of time (“You’re still young” was still true!). After a reasonable wait, I thought that we’d let nature take its course for a while, then eventually pursue more treatments if necessary.
Later, when I knew that we were really really not fertile, with basically zero hope of ever conceiving without a team of doctors, I guessed that after our first child was finally born (because I never stopped believing that treatments would eventually succeed if we tried long enough), we’d try for #2 without intervention just long enough to satisfy the doctor’s and the insurance company’s requirements, then jump back into treatments.
More recently, when I knew that I was pregnant with twins but did not yet know the sexes, I decided that I would never go back to treatments, but that if the babies were the same sex, we’d let nature take its course after they were born. It’s not impossible that given a decade of trying, a woman in her early-mid-30s could conceive a baby boy unassisted after having twin girls, or baby girl after twin boys. Not impossible, not likely, but somewhere inbetween. For the record, DH prefers to stop at two children, but would have gone along with this, knowing that I’ve wanted the experience of parenting a son and a daughter, if at all possible.
Then, most recently, since finding out that we are having a boy and a girl, I just don’t know anymore. DH is 100% satisfied to end our family building efforts with these two. I am probably satisfied, but I am currently unwilling to make a final decision. Maybe raising twins will scare me away from having any more children, or maybe I will yearn for more. We have firmly agreed that, assuming these babies successfully enter this world, we will never go back to treatments (hallelujah!). We will also prevent conception for the first year or so after the babies’ birth, for the health reasons described above (hence the guarantee that the condoms will eventually get used). But prevent conception forever? Or let nature attempt to take its (likely futile) course? Not a decision I can make today. But maybe some of you have your minds made up…
If your family-building efforts are complete, have you taken steps to prevent future conception, even if conception is extremely unlikely? I’m sure that infertiles will have very different answers than those who have dealt with recurrent pregnancy loss, that long-time infertility veterans will have different answers from those who struggled for a shorter time, and that those who needed third-party reproduction will have different answers from those who conceived with their own gametes and body parts.
If you are still family-building, what plans have you made in your mind for future pregnancy prevention, however distant and unnecessary it may seem? (Building off Mel‘s metaphor of having an empty seat at the table…) Once you have filled all of the seats at your table, will you take steps to ensure that you don’t need to pull up any more chairs?