Child hanging out on sleeping dad


Birth Control Is a Man’s Responsibility Too

May 31, 2019

When my husband and I came to the decision that we were done having kids, he immediately scheduled an appointment with his doctor to discuss getting a vasectomy.

I didn’t ask him to make this appointment.

I wasn’t prepared for the people who giggled and cracked jokes about who ran the house.

After years of taking turns hopping on and off the one-more-baby train we spoke candidly about what the future of our family looked like and came to the agreement that our family felt complete. He took it upon himself to discuss birth control options with his doctor.

Many of our friends shared their own vasectomy stories but I wasn’t prepared for the people who felt that this decision was something that I forced on him. I wasn’t prepared for the people who giggled and cracked jokes about who ran the house. They were shocked to learn that he had made this choice for himself. I sat stunned in silence as some of these people claimed that birth control was not their responsibility.

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My shock turned to pride as my husband made his opinion known; birth control was both of our responsibility. He was done having kids so why should that responsibility rest with me? Up until now, it was me who managed the birth control and I had given birth to two children and endured one miscarriage. Why, he wondered, should I continue taking a hormonal birth control pill for the next 15 to 20 years or have major surgery when he could take care of it with an out patient procedure that would heal within a few days? When he continued to probe why someone would object to the idea that he wanted control over his own fertility it was radio silence.

This is what it looks like to have a feminist husband.

Our life is a partnership. It’s a back and forth.

Both of us handle household responsibilities. Cooking, cleaning and laundry tends to fall on whoever has the least busy day or week.

When we bought our first house and the furnace stopped working, he held the flashlight while I attempted to fix the furnace and get us heat.

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He took paternity leave despite warnings from his friends that he wouldn’t be able to handle being home alone with a baby. He had an amazing few months bonding with our son and the transition back to work was so much easier on me knowing that our baby was at home with his father.

What’s most important is that our children are being raised in a home where they don’t see tasks being divided into pink and blue.

Sometimes I’m the one bringing in more money. Sometimes he is. When his job has less flexibility, I step in for sick days and early pick-ups. When my job has me working late hours or keeps me away from home for days, he picks up the slack at home. When I’m travelling for work, co-workers have often asked if his mother or my parents are stepping in to help and are surprised if I say no. Why do we still feel as though fathers aren’t capable of caring for their own children without help?

He supports my ambition and my career goals. When I went back to school, he happily took on baby duties while I was in class and encouraged me to attend the graduation ceremony when I earned my post grad, cheering me on in the crowd.

My husband has never treated me as someone that he has to take care of. We take care of each other. He has never felt the need to make me weak in order to show his strength.

We are proud of each other’s accomplishments and truth be told, neither of us would be where we are today without the other. Our achievements belong to each other. The success of our family depends on both of us.

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What’s most important is that our children are being raised in a home where they don’t see tasks being divided into pink and blue.

I want them to have choice in their lives and I don’t want those choices to be dictated by their gender.

I hope this helps them if they decide to share their lives with someone. I don’t want my daughter to think that she can’t have a career if she wants to be a mother or to feel the heavy burden of caring for the home and children while building a career without support. I don’t want my son to feel pressured to choose a demanding career over being a father or that he is solely responsible for the financial stability of his family.

As my kids grow up, my son will be taught the importance of safe sex — just as my daughter will. They both need to have control over their own bodies.

I want them to have choice in their lives and I don’t want those choices to be dictated by their gender.

Here is the thing: we don’t always get it right. Sometimes we catch ourselves in situations where we default to gender norms. And sometimes that works. But I love the openness we share when it comes to these situations. I love the ability we have to call each other out and question ourselves and each other. I love that my husband is willing to learn about life as a female and to act as an ally when he sees something that just doesn’t cut it.

At first glance you might not make the assumption that my husband is a feminist. He’s big, loud and a little aggressive. He loves boxing and steak and wrestling with our kids. 

When you think of the stereotypical male he fits the bill.

Feminism is really simply about having equal rights and equal access to opportunities for all.

It took my husband about a week to recover from his vasectomy. One week took away years of worry.

Article Author Natalie Romero
Natalie Romero

Read more from Natalie here.

Natalie’s passion for writing was reignited as she blogged her way through the pain of her son’s health issues and NICU stay. She is the wife of the world’s greatest foot rubber and mother to an amazingly loyal little boy and a fiercely independent little girl. An HR professional by day and a freelance writer and blogger by night, Natalie is getting a crash course in the juggling act that is the life of a working mother, though she does occasionally drop a ball or two! After spending much of her life trying to be perfect she has learned to rock her shortcomings and is not afraid to admit when she’s failed. This parenting thing can be tough and Natalie believes the best way to survive it is by keeping it real and by leaning on your tribe.

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