Abortion Is Legal Here In New Zealand — Why We're Booking A Vasectomy Anyway

Photo: Photo on Adobe Stock Images by santypan
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I hadn’t worried about pregnancy in years, but then I found myself single again. Long-term birth control and abortion are both free, legal, and easily available in New Zealand where I live, but for several reasons — medical and emotional — they’re not options I can or want to take. 

If I got pregnant, planned or not, I’d be going through with it.

With this in my mind, I nervously approached dating.

Was staying single and celibate my only safe option? I enjoy being in a relationship, but I really don’t want another baby.

RELATED: A Failed Vasectomy Changed My Life

I’ve had three pregnancies in my life.

I miscarried my first and then my next baby was born prematurely after only 32 weeks. She arrived in a hurry. The emergency staff whisked her away to intensive care, my husband followed behind, and I was left alone with the midwife.

My tiny daughter was fairly healthy for a preemie but, after weeks in NICU, she came home with severe reflux. 

I’ve never been more exhausted. She slept in short bursts and cried non-stop from pain when she was awake.

Her feeding issues took up most of my days and nights. “She’s a three-parent baby,” my husband and I joked. Although it didn’t feel funny at the time. We needed all the help we could get.    

I’d always dreamed of a large family, but my third pregnancy changed my mind. 

The medical team put in every effort to avoid another premature birth and it worked. I made it to 38 weeks, but it meant spending almost the entire pregnancy in bed.

“Resting all day? That sounds pretty good!” people said to me. It was, initially. Finally, a break from being a busy toddler mom. But relying on other people to do everything is far more difficult than I’d imagined. 

The bedrest kept getting stricter.

Eventually, even the smallest tasks were off-limits. I wasn’t allowed to get up to make a cup of tea for myself or answer the door.

I couldn’t play with my oldest daughter or make her a snack. I needed a helper 24/7 and that’s not an easy thing to find. 

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Any extra movement started contractions and bleeding and sent me to the hospital. Sometimes that was a relief.

If I had an early birth at least I was in the right place and not at home, an hour’s drive from the nearest hospital. And, as a bonus, the people there are paid to bring you a hot drink and the apples and cheese I was craving! 

Getting pregnant was no problem, but carrying my babies to full term was almost impossible.   

Holding another tiny daughter in my arms, I turned to my then-husband and told him, “I’m done. I can’t go through that again.” 

He nodded. The whole thing had been scary and stressful for him too. Without hesitating, he booked a vasectomy. For the next decade, I was able to put any unplanned surprises out of my mind. Until we got divorced.     

I’m so grateful my two daughters are here and healthy, but being in my 40s now I’m at an even higher risk for miscarriage or premature birth.

If it happened unplanned, I’d deal with it. But they’re not experiences I’m keen to repeat if I can help it.

I certainly didn’t want to be a single mom trying to manage a difficult pregnancy on my own. 

RELATED: We Were Done Having Children — Until His Vasectomy Failed

When I started dating my new man, the issue of kids came up early on.

I was happy to hear our ideas matched. He has two kids of his own and doesn’t want more.

But he’s only in his early 30s, and while we were dating I started to worry about how we’d deal with it all. 

When the topic of vasectomy came up I was reluctant. Is 30 too young to have a vasectomy? What if we broke up? Would he want more kids with a younger woman?

A vasectomy had been such an easy decision with my first husband, even though we were both in our early 30s too then. Why did it seem different with this new partner? 

He insisted there was no way he wanted more kids, but I wanted to be sure.

Until then, we’d just have to be really careful. By the time we got engaged a year later, he’d convinced me. We planned on booking the appointment before our wedding, but then the pandemic hit and delayed all non-urgent surgery. 

Now it’s a waiting game, but it will happen. We’re done with growing our family.

As a woman, I carry most of the physical and emotional burden of reproduction and there’s not much my new husband can do about that. He can, though, easily step up and do this final part. 

His vasectomy will be quick and simple, like going to the dentist to get a filling.

For women, getting your tubes tied, long-term birth control, or having an abortion, are all far more complicated with higher risks and side effects than a vasectomy. It’s a no-brainer for us. 

RELATED: My Husband Had A Vasectomy — And We Both Regret It

Kelly Eden has been a writer for over 12 years, she has her own personal essay course, and her own Medium publication. She mostly focuses on mental health, writing, and relationships.