Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Trapped into parenthood...

Maybe I'm naive, but I don't understand people who claim that other people "trapped them" into becoming parents.  It's one thing if you've been raped.  I certainly understand that pregnancy can happen that way.   But boyfriends and girlfriends and married couples who are having consensual sex... I don't understand how one can claim the other "forced" them to conceive.

Okay... so I know when things are hot and heavy, couples can get "carried away" and that can lead to unprotected sex.  So that's why a woman who doesn't want to get pregnant should take birth control.  Don't want to take a pill?  Wear a diaphragm.  Get "the shot".  Get your tubes tied.  You're a guy who doesn't want kids?  Wear a condom.  Get a vasectomy.  Don't have sex if you don't want to have a baby.  It's just that simple.

Today on Dr. Phil, there were two couples.  In one couple, a woman "tricked" her husband into getting her pregnant.  I related to that story, not because I've ever been pregnant, but because the story was somewhat similar to what happened to my husband back when he was young and dumb.  His ex wife claimed to be on birth control and it supposedly "failed", resulting in her pregnancy with their older daughter.  I remember when we first met, he told me this story in a wistful tone of voice, explaining that he was delighted to have a daughter, but they really weren't financially prepared to have a child.

I remember snorting and saying, "You really believe the birth control failed?  Sounds to me like she was lying to you."

Make no mistake about it.  I do empathize with my husband.  He trusted his ex wife and he should have been able to trust her.  She was his wife.  However, both men and women have a responsibility toward controlling their own reproductive actions.  If you are not ready to have a child, you have the right and the responsibility to prevent pregnancy, even if you are married.  That means either abstaining from sexual contact with another person or using birth control.  That means not relying on the other person to "take care" of the birth control.  Men, that means using a condom every time you have sex.  Women, that means using the pill or some other form of effective birth control.  Don't take a chance on the "rhythm" method or early withdrawal.  You can prevent pregnancy.  You can prevent yourself from becoming a parent when you're not ready for parenthood, and you should!

The second guest on Dr. Phil was a woman who had one son when she met her husband.  She did not want more kids, but he did.  They have now added three more kids to their family-- three more than the wife wanted.  She claimed the first time she got pregnant by accident, she and her husband were fooling around and he claimed he didn't have a condom.  He promised her he would "withdraw".  Of course, he didn't.  She got pregnant.  Later, she found a condom in his pocket... which, to me, was kind of like throwing fuel on the fire.  I mean, why carry a condom if you're going to claim you don't have one?  They had a son.  One time, he even got her pregnant while she was sleeping, which to me, is completely unforgivable.

BUT---  Mom, if you say you don't want to get pregnant, there are many things you can do to prevent pregnancy!  A visit to your friendly neighborhood gynecologist can be most helpful.  The gyno can set you up with birth control, which you can take to prevent pregnancy.  No birth control is 100% effective-- only abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.  That's why you insist that your partner uses birth control, too, and you make sure he or she does it before you consent to having sex.

If either mom or dad really doesn't want to have kids again, he or she can have surgery to prevent it permanently.  Trust me, I know.  My husband got a vasectomy when he was with his ex and it's been 100% effective, despite the fact that he later had it reversed.  Please note... because this happened to my husband, I don't recommend permanent sterilization unless you are absolutely certain you don't want to have more kids.  But it is an option for those who know they're done... and getting the surgery can be the most responsible thing you do in your life if you know for sure that you don't want to have a child.  Kids deserve to have two parents who want them around.

Bottom line... I think this really comes down to people not wanting to be confrontational and not wanting to take responsibility for themselves.  I know that's what happened in my husband's case.  It was easier for him not to confront his ex wife about birth control and putting on a condom himself than it was to be certain they were protected from an unintended pregnancy.  It was easier for him to marry her, even though there were little voices in his head SCREAMING at him not to, than it was for him to call off the wedding until he was more sure.  In both of these situations, not taking action led to much bigger problems down the road... a horror show of a first marriage and two kids who are completely estranged and refuse to have anything to do with him anymore, despite the fact that he's a good man who would have been a great dad had he had the chance.

Save yourself!  Don't have kids if you don't want them or aren't ready for them.  Don't have sex with someone unless you are prepared to share a child with them.  You owe it to yourself and to any kids you might have.

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