Beware of those easy answers

I was reading a question put online by a woman who is 40, childless and married to a man who doesn’t want kids. She says it’s too late for her to get pregnant. What should she do? She sounded really heart-broken. I’m betting none of the answers given will ease her pain much. It’s so simple for folks not in this situation to tell us what to do. It’s very likely this woman already thought of all possibilities suggested and knows why they might not work for her.

Commenters offered this advice:

You’re not too old to get pregnant. Maybe yes, maybe no. It is harder when you’re over 40, and the problem with the husband remains.

Adopt. First, a husband who doesn’t want to father his own child probably doesn’t want to adopt someone else’s. Second, many adoption agencies have age limits.

Get a dog or cat. Well, that helps some, but it’s not the same.

Get counseling. Maybe you’re depressed. Perhaps, but not having children (when you want them) is a loss and she should be allowed to grieve. It can help to talk about it with a therapist, but it doesn’t solve the underlying problem.

Talk to your husband. Maybe she has, and he is not going to change his mind. If she hasn’t told him exactly how she feels, she should tell him and see if they can work out a solution that makes both of them happy.

Leave the bum. Maybe she loves him and wants to spend the rest of her life with him. She just wants to have children, too.

Judging by the comments we get here, I suspect many of you already understand the dilemma. There are no easy answers. Someone has to sacrifice, and it’s going to hurt. The best hope is to make a decision and try to find peace with that decision.

12 thoughts on “Beware of those easy answers

  1. I have heard each and every one of these answers. I can add one more:”Stop taking your birth control and “accidentally” get pregnant.” Have these friends of mine who dole out this kind of advice lost their minds? Trick him? Are you kidding? What kind of a person would I be to trick my husband?? You BOTH need to want to have children. It simply doesn't work if you both are not on the same page. To those of you who have said “trick him”, I say you need examine your own scruples.


  2. I was told that too. Along with “You are still young” “Plenty of time” “You should just be happy” “He'll change his mind” “You can share my child” “Why don't you just travel”


  3. You are soooooo right.Many people don't consider either what it means to “leave the bum” or “talk to him and give him a deadline” and so on: Losing your partner. they don't consider what that MEANS. You have to choose between a person you love – and having together another little person you love…. AND do they ever consider how hard it is to find a new partner? How much time it will take – that it might well be definitely too late to have a child when you've found a partner? Do they ever remember how many years it took them to find their partner for life – and how many attempts they had to make which didn't turn out…??? No they think we are still 25 years old and willing to simply find a new boyfriend to have some fun with… when we were on the verge of founding a family….


  4. there is no solution which makes both of them happy. It's either a kid or no kid. That's what makes this situation so hard.


  5. My wife and I are both 36. My wife asked me about having a baby 5 years ago and I — being a jerk — said no then. Now we both want a baby, but she's really angry that I said no then. She feels it's already too late, and she's grieving, and I only make her more angry. Would you have any advice for me? Thanks.


  6. Anon,Unless there's a health problem, it is not too late, although the older you get, the more challenging it is to have and care for a baby (or so I hear). It's a new year. Tell her you were a jerk and you're terribly sorry. You CAN put the bad feelings behind you and have your baby, but you need to start working on it now. I hope it works out for you.


  7. Thanks! I have apologized a million times, but my wife is unable to forgive me. She had wanted to have children by the time we were 35, and she's deeply disappointed that that didn't happen.

    She's not willing to discuss conceiving a baby at this point. But she's not able to 'move on' either and is very depressed.

    I am unsure whether to push for us to have a baby, or to start planning a 'child free' life actively and figure out ways to move forward.


  8. Anon,
    It's so hard. I wonder if counseling for one or both of you would help you let go of the old plan and deal with the new reality. Forget everything that has happened in the past. What do you and your wife want to do right now?
    I wish you the best.


  9. Thanks! Will try for a breakthrough in the new year. Counseling is a big no-no. We'd tried it in a different situation earlier, and it seemed to have made matters worse, so we're very reluctant to go there. We'll just have to work through this by ourselves.


  10. I thank you for “listening” and for your excellent blog! As you've written in this post, there are no easy answers, and it's really really hard.


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