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Is Your Family Big Enough?

Trigger: This post discusses the choice of when to stop having babies, which may be distressing for those struggling to conceive.

When you’re sure you don’t want any more children

You know when your family is big enough, by Confessions of a Hope Island Mum

After two children in four years, my husband and I had decided that we had the perfect family. If the truth were told, when I was 36 weeks pregnant with my second child I had already decided that I was going to end up with the perfect family. And so, even at the age of 32 I had a serious discussion about any future children with my Obstetrician. It went something like this:

Me: “I already have a boy, and now a girl on the way. I’m done.”
Ob: “Are you sure?”
Me: *hefting my massively swollen and sore body off the examination table with an audible grunt and groan* “Yes. I hate being pregnant! I’m really done after this.”
Ob: “Are you certain about that? You have such great pregnancies. Go on, have another one.”
Me: “Are you insane? No! Please, I really don’t want to have any more children. I’m definitely done.”

And so begun the serious discussion of what permanent contraception options were available. As I was going to be having a planned C-Section I could decide to have my tubes tied while delivering my daughter, or my husband could have a vasectomy later on.

Of course, I could have a tubal ligation done at a later date, but as my Obstetrician pointed out, it would be easier for my husband to have a vasectomy thus preventing a serious day surgery for me. Vasectomy is a relatively simple procedure, lower in risk and cost than a tubal ligation.

The ball(s) in my husband’s court. We had a few things to negotiate.

My husband always wanted two children, but people do change their minds, so it was decided that we would wait until after our youngest child’s first birthday to ensure that we definitely did not want to add to our brood.

I’m not going to lie, I was very keen to ‘shut the shop’ right then, but I saw the logic in prolonging the decision until I was not-so pregnant, so agreed to wait the one year so that we could review our options.

Our family is big enough

And, like it has a habit of doing, time passed quickly. Before we knew it two years had gone by when we had a close call that jolted us out of our complacency.

That one ‘close call’ – which was spurned on from having the Pill messing with my very regular cycle – gave us a huge fright. The idea of adding another baby to our brood, and the implications that had on the life we had planned for the future, confirmed what we both really knew deep down: our family was big enough.

So what now? We decided that we had had enough of using condoms and contraceptive pills. We also decided that the level of stress when selecting a home pregnancy kit in the supermarket was enough to kill us both if we were to ever have another close call like that.

Time for a permanent solution. The options discussed with my Obstetrician still rang true, so my husband booked in for the frozen bag of peas special, aka: a vasectomy.

That’s not a solution that works for everyone, but it was right for us. Depending on your circumstances, a permanent sterilisation procedure may be ideal for you too. Whether it’s decided that the woman has a tubal ligation procedure – with or without an ablation – or that the man has a vasectomy, the end result is that you and your partner are choosing to halt any further children via pregnancy or birth in your family unit.

While there are options for reversal procedures, 99.9 percent of doctors will tell you (repeatedly) that these procedures are to be considered permanent. So it is best to ensure that you and your partner are both certain that you do not want to have any more children now and in the future.

What next?

If the woman decides to have a tubal ligation, you will need a referral from your GP to an Obstertrician/Gynaecologist who can then assess your suitability for the procedure and provide a quote for the cost to you.

Alternatively, men are able to obtain a vasectomy on the Gold Coast from the Vasectomy Clinic without a doctor referral. If there are any other concerns in that region he can obtain a referral to an urologist for further assessment. Most of these procedures will attract a Medicare rebate however it is best to find out what options are best for your family personally, emotionally and financially.

Luckily, we are both very happy with our decision to have a permanent contraception put into place, and we look forward to the fun and ease that this will bring to our lives once cleared by his treating doctor.

Jess from Confessions of a Hope Island Mum is a – you guessed it – “Hope Island Mum”, living in Hope Island, Queensland Australia with her family. She’s currently on Maternity leave from her Day Job so that she can juggle children and life while building her new home and managing a business. 

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

2 thoughts on “Is Your Family Big Enough?”

  1. Wow so glad to see this kind of article but you make it sound like more of a walk in the park than it actually was to get permanent contraception, in my case a tubal ligation at the age of 23.
    I have always been childfree and finding out I was pregnant at 5mths gestation was the very definition of horror to me. During the pregnancy I asked about permanent solutions and could they just do it while I was already open (planned C-section).
    They said no, it couldn’t be done in combo with the c section and started out saying no no no at all. It took me 6mths to convince my obstetrician that I was NOT crazy and that I simply did not want to risk pregnancy with the woefully inadequate forms of contraception available (the pill is the worst, they say 98% effective but in all reality it’s more like 45% if you adjust for the real world) for the next 40 years. I argued that it was not healthy to be flooding my body with unnecessary hormones for the rest of my life. After many months of convincing he finally relented and said if my MOTHER approved he would do it…..luckily she did. I was 23 for heavens sake.

    • Oh wow, parents permission? At 23? That is so unreasonable. It is my understanding that younger women are counselled to ensure they are certain about the decision if they have not had children or just the one. BUT for OB to put you through that when you were definitely certain seems like unnecessary stress. Did they end up doing it at the same time as the c-sect?

      I had a tubal ligation a couple of years ago when my fourth child was delivered by c-section. It was pretty straight forward for me, however I was 38 and four kids in so there was not too much questioning of my decision. Perhaps that’s because it was all I asked abut at my checkups.

      “You’ve got me down for that, right? You’re sure the surgeon knows they’re doing this? Can you highlight it? Can you make SURE? What if I have to go under and have can’t remind them? Can they cut it twice? Tie it in a knot? Triple knot?”

      Yeah, I was certain. We’ve even considered my husband getting the snip too … just in case.


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