I went to hospital one time with my husband for postpartum check-up and to get my contraceptive. This was after giving birth to my last child so we were thinking of the best long term method of family planning.
When I got to the doctor’s office, she commented on how I was in good shape and then I told her I will not be the same once I start using contraceptives. From my past experience I knew I was going to put on weight (this happens to many women others loose weight). She told me how unfortunate and asked me “why can’t your husband go for a vasectomy instead”. I told her to ask him because he was present and I said how true why not. My husband laughed and said he would take an injection instead if there was any for men. She said not yet may be there will be one in the future. I also concurred with her and asked why not him if we believe we have enough kids.
When we got home I told my husband the doctor had a point, why is it that mostly it is women going for family planning methods and not men, he answered that family planning is a woman’s concept meaning that it is women who do not want more children, but an African man would want as many children as possible if he can afford to bring them up. This left me bewildered because it is quite expensive to raise many children in the modern world, not like the days of our parents/grandparents and could not believe that an educated African man would believe in having a big family.
Yes Vasectomy is done in Kenya but what I know and from my husband’s response is that very few African men would be willing to go for a vasectomy, thinking they will not be able to perform after the operation and that it is irreversible. So I am left wondering why men cannot also participate in planning their families. Most men only use condoms with women who are not their wives to protect themselves from diseases and pregnancy, but when it comes to their family it is their wives who have to go for other family planning methods. When a woman and a man feel they have enough kids, it is the woman to use a long term method like Tubal Ligation (TL). . As women fight for equality, I think this is one area they should also advocate for.