The contraception chat!


Photo by steakpinball via Flickr Creative Commons

Just had a baby? Your doctor wants to talk contraceptive options. Nikki Thomas wonders, “Isn’t a newborn baby isn’t contraception enough?!”

It is that time of year, isn’t it? A few weeks back at school, the kids are tired and the unwanted bugs arrive at your door. Coughs, colds, bizarre high temperatures that come out of nowhere, strange viral rashes. It happens in our house every year around this time and as a consequence, so do the endless trips to the doctors surgery. Now, our surgery is not in my list of top five places to visit for a number of reasons, but as I have been there a few times recently, I am starting to feel a little harassed. Every time I sit in the chair and look at whichever medical professional I have been assigned to, at the end of the appointment, they turn and look at me and ask me gravely: “And what are you doing about contraception now?”

Seriously. Whoever I am going about, whatever the problem, they ask the question. They must have a large sign on their computer system that flashes up – This woman MUST not get pregnant again, whenever I venture in with any of my offspring. Each time, I vehemently reassure them that they need not worry and that I have taken a vow of abstinence, but they don’t seem to believe me.

In spite of the harassment, I know that I should probably appreciate their concern and efficiency. I have four children; the youngest of whom will be two in December and they were all delivered by Caesarean Section, so I really shouldn’t have any more children. People do, but they really don’t recommend you having any more than three. Interestingly enough, I didn’t find that out until I had my first consultant appointment when I was already four months pregnant. I did mention that it might have been useful to have known that beforehand!

It was a very memorable appointment, not only for me telling the consultant (jokingly) that I had changed my mind, but also because not content for me to have the limelight for five minutes, my husband passed out when the consultant made no bones about the risks involved of having a fourth C-section. There I am, pregnant, abandoned and in shock and there he is being rushed down the hospital corridor in a wheelchair and being fussed over by six nurses.

On a serious note, the risks involved of having multiple C-sections are quite scary, due to the scar tissue. People often underestimate the severity of having this procedure done. I didn’t choose to have my children delivered that way. My eldest son was breach and a big baby, so I didn’t really have a choice. I tried everything to get my second to come ‘au naturel’, but it wasn’t to be. After two C-sections, there is no choice as a natural birth would put too much pressure on the scar tissue.

Luckily, my beautiful daughter arrived a few months later and the same consultant was at the delivery. As my husband held our baby girl for the first time, the consultant told him that under no circumstance could I have another baby. This theme has continued on and on, to the point that I expect an alarm to go off when I enter any medical premises and I will be carried off by a SWAT team and sterilised on the spot.

My answer is always the same: I have four children. One of them doesn’t sleep, one of them is a baby, and one of them is a teenager who stays up until the early hours on his laptop. Apart from exhaustion, the fact that my husband and I rarely share a bed, general apathy for the whole idea and if the rare urge came over me; the thought of my fifteen year old son in the room below is deterrent enough.

It makes me laugh that you have the “contraception chat” with the doctor when they pop in to see you after the birth. You know the stage when you haven’t washed, slept, got dressed yet and you feel utterly rubbish. What possesses them to discuss contraception with you at that point? If a newborn baby isn’t contraception enough – what is?

At some stage, I will send my other half along for the chop. I feel that I have done enough and it is the least that he can do under the circumstances. Until that point, when he gets that look in his eyes, I either start talking about the joys of Caesarean sections or remind him about the resident teenager listening to everything we do and that usually does the trick.