“I did a pregnancy test yesterday at home, Thank God it was negative. Hadn’t slept since I missed my last cycle.” A friend confided over lunch.
“Don’t you use protection?” I was genuinely surprised.
“A large number of men find condoms uncomfortable, we go the traditional early withdrawal way. So at times, I get anxious about a sudden pregnancy. You know, what if…” She replied.
“Same here. I tried Copper-T though, but Uff, that didn’t agree with me. So we too prefer it this way.” A third one quipped.
“That’s exactly why I got my family planning operation done after 2 kids. No more cycles, no more tension.” Another one in our lunch group solemnly declared.
We nodded, though difficult, statistics proved that more than 40% of Indian women prefer sterilization to other contraceptive methods.
I had myself depended on pills for some time, but then they weren’t advisable for a long-time use.
But then, all this discussion got me thinking, none of us, or our men had ever talked about vasectomy, an economical and far less painful procedure.
Google shows that in our country, only a meagre 6% of men went in for Male Family Planning. And a little research and reading left me astounded, with the reasons why more than 90% of women in India considered contraception as solely their responsibility.
Men and their manhood go back a long way. And even in the 21st century, this relation is holy and precious, shameful to be snatched from them. In fact, in many parts of India, a man’s masculinity is judged by the number of children he sires. Trust me, it’s not restricted to rural areas alone. Nor is this phenomenon restricted only to India.
Most of the so-called educated and modern-day sophisticated men harbour precisely the same notion. And though they watch and perhaps sympathize with their partners or spouses who suffer silently with painful contraception, sterilization, unwanted pregnancies or abortions, not once do they consider vasectomy as an option. And to think, it’s a far simpler process, there’s no major surgery involved and the man can return home from the clinic the very same day.
What surprised me the most was, studies show that in most cases in India, when a man plans to undergo a vasectomy, his relatives, his close friends, especially his parents discourage him. For the simple reason of him “giving up his manhood” – a complete misconception!
The wife is generally blamed for encouraging such thoughts in him and then many a times, the woman takes the final call, to go under the knife, just so her man’s ‘virility’ isn’t affected. Many wives consider their own sterilization more convenient than being forever accused of their husband’s emasculation.
I had a word with my husband and he was quick to respond, “I use protection all the time and I’m aware of my responsibilities. Then why should any of us undergo a surgical procedure?”
That’s what I guess many of our husbands would say, and until then, we, even those amongst the educated and emancipated category will continue to fret over a missed period.