Last week, one of my readers asked if I had written about forgiveness. It’s key to moving on past a lack of children, she said. I had not, but I think we should talk about it.
In a marriage where one partner can’t or doesn’t want to have children and the other one does, somebody is not going to get what they want. There’s just no way around it. Either you split up and look for someone who feels the same way, or one of you gives in. The person who didn’t really want kids agrees to have them anyway or the one did want them remains childless. It’s a painful situation. Do you love the other person enough to make this kind of sacrifice? And if you do, is part of you going to hate them forever or can you forgive them?
I was married twice. Husband number one let me know a couple years into the marriage that he did not want children, couldn’t stand babies and would leave me if I had one. Would he really have done that? I don’t know. After six years, we divorced. Looking back, I know that he was not an evil person. He was just young. He was not ready to be a father, even if I felt completely ready to have a baby. Should I hate him? No. It just wasn’t meant to be.
Then came Fred, husband number two. When we got married, he was 48 years old. His kids were 18, 16, and 8. He and his first wife had spent years raising them, and now freedom was in sight. He didn’t want to start over with another baby. In fact, he had had a vasectomy to make sure he and his ex wouldn’t conceive again. I know that he loved me enough that if I had insisted on having a child, he would have agreed to seek a way to make me pregnant, but I didn’t insist. I just ran around feeling sorry for myself. I can understand all that now, and I can forgive him. He didn’t give me children of my own but he gave me so many other things.
I’m still working on forgiving myself.
If you’re in the throes of unfulfilled baby lust, it isn’t easy to forgive anyone or anything who denies you a child. But try, just for a minute, to see things from their perspective. Maybe you can’t forgive them yet. Maybe you can’t live with this and need to find another mate or another way to deal with the situation. But try to see things from their side. What makes them feel the way they do? Understanding is the first step toward finding a solution you both can live with.
So, in this new year, however it turns out, whatever you have to do, try a little forgiveness.