Contraceptive Advice

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2011
Contraceptive Advice
Thu, 03-17-2011 - 1:08pm

Alright, I am hoping to get some advice on an apparent impasse my spouse and I are engaged in regarding contraceptives.

My spouse and I have been happily married for 2 years. We bought a home and we both have jobs making decent money. Decent meaning: we are never late on any sort of payment we may have and we are not living paycheck to paycheck.

Before we were married we decided about the number of kids we would like to have, the approximate amount of time we wanted to have to ourselves after being married, and the general financial and career standing we wanted to be in before we started to have kids. We have not gotten to those goals yet.

As far as contraceptives go, we have been on the pill for most of the time we have been together. Not just marriage but through the dating process as well. Also, we have used a condom every time we have had sex...except once. I like the comfort in knowing that we are being safe and doing everything we can to alleviate getting pregnant.

Where I need advice is: My spouse wants to stop using condoms and rely exclusively on the pill. We have had some heated conversations about this and I feel like we have come to a standstill.
Their arguments are:

1. we are married we shouldn't have to use condoms

2. we would be OK financially if we had a baby

3. it just feels better.

I agree totally on all of those points.

However, they take exception to my arguments:

1. I don't feel it is fair that one of us should have to shoulder the entire burden of contraception. We are a team and we should both do our part as it is as much my responsibility as it is theirs.

2. What was the point of laying out a plan on how we wanted to build our lives and our family if we are now going to totally disregard it?

3. Why, if we are both in total agreement that we are not ready to have kids (but that we would be OK if we had one) would we increase our chances of having a child by taking out a layer of protection?

We have talked about alternatives to condoms, but they don't seem to be satisfied with using anything more than just the pill. I would appreciate any advice on this matter either for their arguments or for mine.

This is NOT about:

INFECTION: Neither of us have an STD, so the condom is NOT for that purpose, only to prevent pregnancy.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2011
Thu, 03-17-2011 - 3:43pm
Is there no one that wants to weigh in on this?
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-17-2009
Thu, 03-17-2011 - 4:50pm
Hi and welcome!

It sounds like your DH has a bit of baby fever if he doesn't mind an oops! I don't have much experience with birth control as we only use condoms, but I'll let others chime in!

Do you have a TTC date? We have buddy groups down below, feel free to join one! I'm looking forward to getting to know you!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2011
Thu, 03-17-2011 - 8:21pm

Well its not necessarily the guy. I left my description ambiguous so that people coming into the discussion didnt come with preconceived notions.

Do you still believe that my spouse wants a baby if we have had a plan in mind (which i will admit has altered a bit as time has gone on) for several years...and we both agreed less than 48 hours ago that we were not ready for kids?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2006
Thu, 03-17-2011 - 11:36pm
I would suggest an IUD; it's more effective than the pill and there's no inconvenience or way to mess it up whatsoever (other than getting it put in, and taking it out when you're ready to TTC).

I also think the pill is perfectly reasonable, many people use it as their only means of protection with great success and it is by no means "totally disregarding" family planning.

I will also say that agreeing on a plan for timing doesn't mean your minds and feelings will not change as you go along. But I really don't think wanting to rely on just the pill is somehow asking for a child.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-17-2011
Fri, 03-18-2011 - 8:31am

Thank you. See that's my feelings as well. I have gotten flack from other people regarding my viewpoint on this. "Don't you know how much better it feels?", "The pill is safe, you wont get pregnant if you use just that." "You're overthinking this."

My response to those are: Yes, I KNOW how much better it feels, but does that mean that I want to increase my chances of getting pregnant just because it feels better?

Also, the pill is not infallible.

Maybe I am overthinking this.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2006
Fri, 03-18-2011 - 9:14am
None of the methods are infallible, but it's a risk/benefit analysis. Less hassle and better sex (you might argue this betters the relationship) while you're WTT could be a reasonable tradeoff for a small chance of pregancy - it's still only something like <1%. Even having your tubes tied there is a small chance of pregnancy. And since you are married and stable and a surprise pregnancy wouldn't be a catastrophe, just not ideal timing, is it worth having such a fight over? Possibly damaging?

But this is really something you need to work out with your spouse - I wouldn't want my opinion or anyone else's being used to back up an argument. I think you need to examine the risks and benefits involved. Literally, make a list of pros and cons together. Since you've reached an impasse on the condoms/no condoms issue, I'd look for a third option such as the IUD or the implant, and maybe you would feel more comfortable with this.

You could also use the pull-out method. I'd feel very confident in doing that as a backup for the pill.
One more option - Fertility Awareness Method. If you abstain from sex when it's her fertile times (which I'd say is undesirable for the woman because it's the time of highest libido) there would be almost no risk of pregnancy if you're also using the pill.

My suggestions are just to make you feel more comfortable, however - the issue is not so much about statistic chances but about the level of comfort you have with the situation. If you're so worried about a chance of pregnancy that any chance more than zero will not do, you should examine the source of that concern together rather than worrying about the chances.
Avatar for sandyc299
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2008
Fri, 03-18-2011 - 1:35pm

Just a little info...I have been on the pill without any other protection since my husband and I were dating. I have taken it every day and not missed. I know a lot of oops pregnancies on the pill happen b/c people don't take it every day. I do know there is a chance of pgcy with any bc besides abstaining however I know if you use it correctly it is very effective without any back up. I was on the pill for 10+ years before I went off to have our son and I am now back on it until we are ready for #2.

David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 03-18-2011 - 3:42pm
Welcome to the board! The pill is only as effective as the person taking it. There are also other hormonal options that might work better for you both if you are worried about the pill failing, such as a ring, IUD, etc. Even still, you have to be careful about other medications interacting with it.

I do agree that both partners need to be in full agreement, but that feelings can change. You both need to be open with each other and willing to discuss it at any time. Communication is very important when discussing the right time to have children, and both partners need to be willing to see the other's point of view.

Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-28-2006
Sat, 03-19-2011 - 1:46am

I completely understand the issue of not wanting the burden of contraception to be on one person. The older I get, the more I realize that hormonal contraception is NOT for me. Right now we're using condoms as well as the Fertility Awareness Method (as described in Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which I would recommend you read if you are looking for a proven method of non-hormonal birth control, if you haven't already). Luckily for me, my husband also feels that if I don't want to use the pill than he is fine using condoms. However, like your husband he prefers not too, and right now we're thinking about moving strictly to FAM (rather than a combination of both) and using condoms exclusively while I'm fertile, if we don't avoid sex altogether.

When I weight the decision of using strictly condoms or strictly pills, I think there is a huge burden being put on the woman. And not just in the aspect of her being responsible for taking pills and remembering this that or the other, but for the simple fact that she is using hormones and chemicals to make physiological changes in her body for the purpose of preventing pregnancy.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I had several side effects from using the pill and the Ring over the years: mild weight gain, increased appetite, regular/cyclical headaches, etc. The only true benefits that I seriously enjoyed were the fact that I could skip periods, and the added hormones kept my face very clear (although I've been off the pill for three months now, and haven't anything bad in terms of my skin). Not to mention the fact that I have no idea what the impact of having extra hormones circulating in my body will have long term -- it may not be bad, but it may not be good, and who would ever know? I don't see the point of risking it. I've decided that we'll either be using FAM and/or condoms until we're done having children, and then I plan to move on to a non-hormonal (copper) IUD.

If you are uncomfortable with the hormonal issues, I think you need to voice those concerns to your husband. Which is more unfair -- you having to add a ton of hormones and chemicals to your body to prevent pregnancy, or him having to wear a disposable condom for a little while?

It honestly sounds like FAM (with the use of condoms during your fertile period, or abstaining from sex altogether at that time if condoms are so uncomfortable for your husband) might be a great compromise for the two of you.

Sorry that this got a little long winded. My husband and I had a very similar conversation a few weeks ago when he tried to pull a fast one and not use a condom even though we agreed that if I wasn't using the Ring, he HAD to use condoms. (He actually insisted that I stop the ring at a time when I was debating asking him about it, because in his opinion, the costs of buying Rings was far more than the cost of buying condoms).

Good luck, keep us updated, and welcome to the board!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2002
Mon, 03-21-2011 - 7:17pm

Personally I used the pill only for 13+ years as effective birth control and didn't feel I was "shouldering the responsibility" alone.