On Making (mostly) Final Decisions

Update: After I hit post on this post and Ross went off to get it done, he was informed he was “not a good candidate” for a vasectomy. I won’t get into all the personal details why, but we are now back to the drawing board. This may mean surgery for me. It was… unexpected things would turn out this way, although I still feel the same. 

Today Ross and I are saying goodbye to having any more children that are genetic mash-ups of ourselves and Ross is seeing the very capable Dr. Pollock for a vasectomy. This is a big day. This is a new chapter.

I’m delighted about this, and a little bit sad, although not for the reasons you might think. I’m sad because I seem to get nostalgic at the the start of any new chapters in my life, regardless of those chapters. I’m delighted because I feel like we made a decision, and have acted on it and action feels good.

Now that Kale is over three, we routinely get asked when we are planning our second child, and Ross and I uncomfortably answer. Those questions started long ago, to be honest, by well intentioned people who love us and love Kale. I remember the first time I was asked was around the 3 month mark of Mr. Pants’ new little life, and I very nearly smashed my fist through a wall. I could barely remember to shower and brush my teeth in a day, let alone consider having a second child.

But the truth is, that when we moved to our house in July of 2010, we were trying to conceive in a very half hearted way. We were in that horrific world of buying / selling / moving / unsettledness,  and both of us felt incredibly stressed out and one night one of us (I can’t remember which), after hearing the news of a friend’s miscarriage, admitted that you know, actually, maybe, possibly, we really didn’t want a second child.

And the feeling? Was relief. Whoosh.

And so in summer 2010, I asked Ross to get himself lined up for a vasectomy. We talked with some friends who had already gone through it, did some Googling, read some materials, and we knew that a vasectomy was the right choice for us rather than me undergoing a permanent or semi permanent solution.  Things happened, though – life got busy and other priorities came up and well, Ross just never managed to schedule the appointment. We found other (not really that reliable hoo boy have we been playing roulette!) means of preventing pregnancy that weren’t really awesome for either one of us. But it worked.

Also, if we’re speaking truthfully, I have to admit that despite a very awesome pregnancy, my birth experience was not what I had hoped for, and it’s really changed the way I feel about getting pregnant. I was two weeks overdue, was induced, and laboured for 17 hours only to have an emergency cesarean birth, the scars from which still gives me issue. I didn’t do well in the early days of managing a newborn and transitioning to my role as a mom, and felt I was losing my mind more than once. It took months and months and months (did I say months?) to feel like I had my feet under me. I love being Kale’s mom, it is a role I treasure and relish now that he’s 3 and a half (even on the days when I put him up for sale on twitter because he’s being so goddamned 3 and a half) but it took an awful long time to get comfortable in these shoes. In my heart of hearts, I can finally admit I simply don’t want to go through that again. I just don’t. The idea makes me flat out queasy.

Had Ross wanted a second child with more conviction than “maybe it would be nice” I could probably have gotten over myself and my issues and become more positive and interested in another child. But both of us have been so “meh” about the whole concept, I know this is the right choice for our family. We’ve talked that if we change our minds five years from now, we’ll consider adoption – we’ve been witness to family members who have gone through it and have a decent working understanding of the process and the implications and they don’t put us off.

I don’t feel like we’ll be missing out on anything, and I don’t feel like Kale is going to suffer as a result of not having a sibling. For every study or anecdote about how important siblings are, I can find another one that points to only children being more ideal.  Right now, things just work here at Chez Arbo. We manage to balance our work and our play, and we spend time as a family, we encourage being social and participating in the community and we enjoy our lives. There are days when I am pulling out my hair trying to meet all my targets for work and play and there are days when I simply know I am not as attentive to Kale as I could be. But we manage and we’re happy, all of us. This is what we wanted when we made the decision to start a family and this is what we’ll achieve after today.

Thanks for taking one for the team, Ross.




10 years ago


  1. Congrats on coming to a decision… I know how awkward it is to answer the “When are you having another” question!!! Despite the crazy early months, you have raised an amazing little man! I am honored that you allow us to follow your journey.


  2. We’re sticking at one, too (!) after “we” (!) took the very same route last summer. So far, so good. Ross is in safe hands.

    Not once during the seven years after having the Wee Guy did we have a burning desire for a Wee Guy no. 2, and eventually the health implications of a pregnancy later in life outweighed the “perhaps?” thoughts. No regrets at all. One is a very good number, and it means the Wee Guy and I can still make crazy trips back to Europe 🙂

    As for the “when are you having number two?” questions – well, they started within the first three months of birth, and right at the time when we were in and out of emergency, battling with a lack of diagnosis and effective treatment for our very sick wee guy. At the time I just couldn’t believe the insensitivity of people; it was as if they were urging us to get going already just in case we needed to replace the first one in a hurry.

  3. Oh man, I used to get envelopes full of pamphlets from Dr. Neal Pollack when I worked at Health canada..b/c I worked for a “doctor” even though he was a bureaucrat — and it used to crack me up. Like, does anyone else even DO vasectomies? Dr. Neal Pollack is the GUY! And so close to home! SA has not yet submitted but only because he needs a referral, we don’t have a GP etc. and suchforth.

    Congrats on your new chapter and I know what you mean about getting sad even when you’re happy and I really know what you mean about getting queasy when considering more children. Egads. Even though I should be ‘trying for a girl’ — talk about roulette. Roulette that ends in a HUMAN. Geez,people.

  4. Update: After I hit post on this post and Ross went off to get it done, he was informed he was “not a good candidate” for a vasectomy. I won’t get into all the personal details why, but we are now back to the drawing board. This may mean surgery for me. It was… unexpected things would turn out this way, although I still feel the same.

  5. Congrats on your decision. I remember G and I looking at each other when J was about a week old and one of us said, “I think I only want one” and the other said “Oh thank God because I was thinking the same thing.” Now when people ask (and they still ask), I always say “One is enough of a blessing for us.” Our parents had the toughest time with the whole thing, but when I told Mom that up until six months after G and I started dating, I didn’t want ANY kids, she kind of shut up. One is just right for us. (And Dr. Pollock really is THE guy. Sorry it didn’t work out.)

  6. When we had our second, I knew I had to have a c-section so I elected to have a tubal ligation at the same time. Once I made that decision, I knew it to be the right one. Kudos to knowing what’s good for you and your family.

  7. Good for you for deciding. We’re about 85% sure we’re done with one. Even though I feel a little sad about pieces of that, the idea of another one just generally freaks me out instead of making me want another. But that 15% is enough to keep me from “officially” deciding. So I’m kinda jealous of you. Even if you end up having to have surgery.

  8. I’m very curious what makes Ross not a good candidate. The Mister and I read through all the information for him and we decided it wasn’t a good option for him but I’m not going to get into the reasons on here (you can e-mail me though – I have a very charming nickname for him). I JUST started the pill a couple days ago after failed attempts at getting an IUD so at least we are done with the Baby Roulette version of birth control (alternate names to that version of contraception are Moira & Fionnuala – but at least we planned on having two “at some point”). Anyway, I think the hardest part is making the decision. I don’t want to get pregnant again EVER but sometimes I like the idea of a third genetic mashup because I like to think that the babies we make are magic (rage inducing magic somedays…). My plan is to get my tubes tied around my 40th birthday. It just seems too soon to do it before then.

    Oh and one of my really good friends who has a daughter Moira’s (they are BFFs) age is the ONE AND DONE type and it is great because she LOVES Fionnuala so while the older girls play F gets spoiled with love. It makes for great playdates. 🙂

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