It's a Dads' World.

In early December 2020, headlines on the Zalondo Boss were clear that he quit his high paying job 'to prioritise wife's career', having earned €20.2m in 2018 (link). This story has remained, rent free, in my mind since.

"Mr Ritter, 38, earned €6.8m in 2019 and €20.2m in 2018, making him one of Germany's highest paid executives."

In late December, I had my copper IUD removed where it had sat in my uterus for three years. Having tried hormonal pills at University in 2014, these made me feel crazy and were not a viable option.

The copper IUD is non-hormonal and was a better option for me, although I was warned that periods can be heavier, longer or more painful in the first 3 to 6 months after an IUD is put in.

The IUD is put in by pushing it up your cervix and into your womb. It is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that sits in the uterus, and has wee strings that hand down so I can check it's still in and the Doctor can remove it, when required.

When inserted correctly, IUDs are more than 99% effective (link). My cervix did not like being prodded and after the first trip the the local GP, I took a trip into the nearest Hospital to anesthetise my cervix, after which the IUD was put up inside me. It hurt.

I've had debilitating period pain for the first two days of my cycle every month since it went in. There were times I couldn't move and I tried various medication to ease the pain. I had my ovaries scanned and I had blood tests. Everything was normal.

Except, that level of pain is not normal and although this debilitating pain was preferable to pregnancy until December 2020, where I could not take it anymore. The agony left me feeling faint, nauseous, aching, exhausted, lacking focus, and frustrated from the pain - every month.

Now, despite using condoms, there's a very real chance that I become pregnant.

"When used correctly every time you have sex, male condoms are 98% effective. This means 2 out of 100 people will become pregnant in 1 year when male condoms are used as contraception."

Those figures are from the NHS (Link).

This might seem a bit dramatic but since the age of 25, I have seen more unexpected pregnancies among peers. This is not to say the pregnancies were unwanted - there was no expectation from the parent[s] of becoming pregnant. Once pregnant, the pregnancy was carried through and it was exciting.

It just feels - to me anyway - that 98% is not a particularly satisfying rate when it comes to making decisions.

Consider, the Zalondo Boss and the below extract from his statement.

I feel that it is time to give my life a new direction. I want to devote more time to my growing family. My wife and I have agreed that for the coming years, her professional ambitions should take priority.

What struck me here was the element of choice. Aside from abstinence, in my current situation, I have a 98% chance of not becoming pregnant. Men - largely speaking - have a 100% chance of not getting pregnant.

I have a 98% chance of not getting pregnant based on the current contraceptive options available to me. If I became unexpectedly pregnant, I don't think I have the wherewithal to have an abortion and have felt this way for some time. In the same vein, I fully support access to safe abortions for those who require them.

The ability to conceive is also somewhat deep-rooted in my mind as a blessing of sorts. It strikes me as a privilege and one that I would not easily give up.

This puts the fear of god in me. I need better longer term contraceptives that don't hurt me.

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