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The S Word

- 21st Jun 17

This blog is about the ‘S’ word, or to be more accurate, I guess it’s the ‘V’ word.

Whatever you call it, it doesn’t make it sound any better. The ‘snip’ makes it sound like something’s being cut off, which is never good, whilst ‘vasectomy’ for some indescribable reason makes me think of ‘vivisection’. The thought of a rodent being operated on for the purposes of research gives me the heebie-jeebies, especially when I relate it to my precious jingle-berries being treated in the same way.

However, having had the ‘chat’ with wifey about never ever, ever, ever, EVER wanting to conceive child number four (I think that’s what she said), we’ve discussed the option of the snip. I must admit, I’m not particularly sold by the idea. Okay, no operation is meant to be a Disneyland thrill ride, but just the thought of something being cut in that area really does freak me out. This is where mothers roll their eyes and tell me to grow a pair… maybe I’ll need to if I choose the op?! Okay, I’m not denying childbirth is far worse than the Snipathon, but you’re comparing apples and plums (sorry couldn’t resist). I agree giving birth looks undeniably awful, like the world’s worst depiction of The Shining’s ‘Here’s Johnny!’ fright scene… (think ‘Heeeere’s Baaaaby’). However, think of the beautiful by-product of that terrible process, compared to something where you have alternatives with less severe consequences. Okay, those alternatives aren’t great but they are alternatives.

Anyway, despite my reservations, I thought it would be a good idea to book an appointment with the GP to see what was involved. I’d heard some doctors were reluctant to approve vasectomies if they felt that the father was in any doubt, or they might want to re-consider the options. For example, if a father is quite young, they may make you mull it over in case you might decide later in life that sleeping is overrated, or you have an epiphany that a constant stream of new-borns is a perfect way to accelerate that mid-life crisis.

Wifey was out with our two daughters so I had to take our eldest son (four-years-old) to the appointment with me. For once I was secretly hoping that he would do something absurd like take a dump on the doctor’s desk just so I could emphasise how bad I had it, and any more kids should be banned from being produced by me. Unfortunately, he’s one of the best behaved kids I know, so there was no kicking the doctor in his nuts madness to be had.

Instead, what happened was this; when asked about what risks were associated with the snip, the GP made me wait whilst he printed off the vasectomy summary from the NHS website and pointed to the risks section. To assist me he said that it was worth reading the whole list but the main risk to note was ‘long-term testicular pain’ (‘basically ball ache’ – his words, not mine). By this point, I was sweating. With the risk affecting 1 in 10 men reverberating in my mind, I decided to ask about what the procedure actually entailed. This resulted in the GP opening YouTube and finding a vasectomy clip for me to watch. Sitting and watching an operation on someone’s genitals with a total stranger (he was not my normal GP) was somewhat surreal. It was like watching a trailer for the worst movie ever and then giving an awkward review at the end of it, ‘So that looked interesting, I must catch the full thing when I get home’. I had no idea what my son was thinking by now.

I left with a couple of printed pages from the NHS, still with a huge doubt in my mind as to what to do about the whole thing. But I’ve had an idea! I thought it would be appropriate to put this down to a public vote – a fertility referendum if you will. So, feel free to vote on a Remain or Spexit decision. What could possibly be a better way of deciding? It’s worked and provided great results for all the other important decisions made recently that I can think of…

Hmm…

 

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I am a father of three young children (boy, girl, girl - in case you were wondering). It took a while to get to this stage, spanning around five years of trying for children and suffering the heartache of miscarriages before having our son in 2012 via IUI and subsequently "naturally" conceiving our two daughters in 2014 and 2016. It's been quite a trip. From my experience so far, the path of fatherhood has had its mix from silky smooth to belligerently bumpy. Some days, I feel like a parenting titan, successfully conquering all child generated challenges with ease and deflecting all awkward child queries effortlessly. Other days, it feels like I am a tired and superfluous man-thing who, at times, struggles to repress an inner Hulk-like rage and urge to sell the children to my in-laws. Irrespective of how smooth or bumpy the parenthood path is on any given day, the one thing that is always a constant is that I know I am ridiculously lucky. Having kids is a privilege and an absolute blessing. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that these little alien creatures are just exploring and testing out the boundaries of the world and it's not anything personal. Even if, at times, they drive you to the point of questioning whether being waterboarded with Calpol would be more preferable than having to endure the kids' incessant nagging. I understand it might be.​ So, about that vasectomy...

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