When I was 22 I had a vasectomy. The surgeon said that I was rather young for such an operation, but I was certain.
There’s some things one should know about the procedure that isn’t really in a pamphlet or mentioned by the doctor as they are consulting you. For instance, if during the procedure, the surgeon says that you’ll feel a slight tug, there’s nothing slight about it. Oh yeah, you’re awake for this. Sure, the local anesthetic does great and you don’t feel any pain at the surgical site, but you do feel as though someone has grabbed ahold of your insides right above the belt line and are yanking downward with the same level of force that’s reserved for large dogs getting a little too into a game of tug of war. Another thing they don’t tell you is that the local anesthetic they give you will start to wear off about the time you get to the parking lot. That bumpy ride home gives you plenty of time to reflect upon your life decisions thus far. The last thing that bears mention, as I’ve spoken with other men whom have had this done, sometimes it’s incredibly painful at that special moment. Double you over pain, I mean. That’s not just an immediately after the procedure thing, either.
So, why a vasectomy at 22? I’ve only told one other person the real reason that I had it done. The rest I was fine telling them that I simply didn’t want kids. The real reason though, is that I didn’t expect to ever turn 30. That was my cut-off point. I knew that at some point between 22 and 30 that I’d take my own life. I was certain of it. Since I hadn’t sworn off relationships and everybody has needs, a vasectomy seemed the best solution. I stand by that decision to this day. There’s no way in hell that I was ready to be a parent at 22, much less by the time I surprisingly turned 30. I didn’t want to have a child that would grow up without a father. Not to mention my rather strong fear that I’d somehow pass on the f’d up gene to a child and be horrible at parenting.
Fast forward 15 years, my wife and I talk about having children now and then. The thought doesn’t terrify me anymore, but it’s not a decision that can simply be made, either. Vascular surgery has come so far in recent years that it’s not only possible to reverse a vasectomy, but they can extract sperm and freeze it as a backup plan in case the surgery doesn’t work the way it was intended. Either way, it’s a decision that will have to be made, appointments, follow-ups, scheduling and since it’s an elective surgery, there’s the cost to plan for as well.
Some days I feel ready to be a father. Other times I’m not so sure. Am I ready? Is she ready? Are we both ready? Will I be stable enough to raise a child without screwing them up? Are my wife and I ready to face our own childhoods? I have friends that having their own kids brought all that up to the forefront of their mind. Both of us had a pretty terrible time from 0-20. Can I say with absolute certainty that I won’t end up getting really sick again and cave in on that impulse?
Obviously this isn’t something that will be decided right away, but a decision needs to be made at some point in the near future. On that note, I’m going to try to get some sleep.