I remember right after my first child was born, my OB asked if I’d thought about birth control. I laughed in his face. I was already 40, and my fertility was clearly in decline, as evidenced by the three miscarriages I’d had before conceiving my daughter. Plus, I was hoping for a second child, so no way was I throwing up any barricades when time was of the essence (tick, tick, tick). Also, sex? Ha! I was still healing from major tearing during the birth and it would be a while before I put intercourse back on the table. For all of these reasons, I didn’t bother with any birth control.
It turned out I was…right. It took years to get knocked up again. We probably had a better chance of winning the lottery, but I’m glad we got a baby instead. Now that I’m nearing the third trimester of my pregnancy, I’m wondering if my OB will soon be asking me about birth control again. The big difference in our situation this time is that with two kids, my husband and I both feel our family will be complete. We are definitely not trying for a third, so birth control would be a logical next step. Except part of me does not want to go there. I’m trying to figure out why.
I think I can chalk up some of my hesitance to infertility PTSD. That’s a thing, right? After so many months of doing anything and everything to conceive (my list includes ovulation testing, acupuncture, herbs, supplements, meditation, psychics, energy healers, IUI, IVF, and insane amounts of scheduled, mandatory sex), it’s weird to switch gears and actively prevent conception. It feels like I’d be giving nature the finger.
Also, I’m not sure I’m crazy about my birth control options. The IUD freaks me out. A diaphragm is too complicated. The pill worked great for me in my youth, but now I worry about all the hormones.
My husband has likewise made it known he has no interest in a vasectomy. He’s just not okay with a scalpel anywhere near his junk. I could guilt him (I carried, birthed and nursed your children–you can’t do this for me?) but I won’t. God forbid something ever happened to me, I’d want him to meet some nice woman (inferior to me in every way, but nice) and that woman might want children. Yeah, pregnancy makes my brain go to a lot of strange places.
I also don’t think we really need birth control. Even if we had daily unprotected sex, a viable pregnancy in my mid-40s would be pretty unlikely. And let’s face it, we haven’t seen daily sex in a long time. I’m convinced that given everything I learned about my body while trying to conceive, I would be really good at simply avoiding my most fertile days. When in doubt, there are always condoms, or the ever popular pull and pray.
Deep down, I suspect there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to close the door and lock it. But maybe after a few months of newborn sleep deprivation and raw nipples, I’ll get more excited about going back on the pill.