He Might Have Been a Bad Dad

On Thursday, we talked about the situation in which one never finds that special someone they want to spend their lives with. Some people end up both single and childless. Well-meaning friends suggest they find a sperm donor, adopt or take in a foster child, but those options are not as easy as they sound, especially if you’re doing them alone.

But what if you have that special someone, a life partner who is wonderful in many ways, but you don’t think they’d make a good parent? I have talked to women who held off on motherhood because their husbands had problems with drugs or alcohol or anger. Others worried about mental illness that ran in their families. Maybe there were physical problems that would make parenting difficult. In some cases, the marriage was shaky, and they didn’t want to bring children into an unstable situation.

In my first marriage, we had some of these problems. My ex was a sweet and gentle man, but he drank and he cheated on me. Should I have done as one relative suggested and secretly stopped using birth control so I could have the baby I longed for? No. Bad idea. As much as I know now that that was the time in my life when I should have become a mother, I also know that my husband would not have miraculously changed when I handed him a baby. I suspect he would have run away. I wish I’d had a child, but I know it was probably a blessing that I didn’t.

What about you? Have you been in or observed couples where both parties might have been willing to have children, but it’s just not a good situation and they wouldn’t have been good parents? Let’s talk about it.

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