Babies delayed means babies denied

Wildfires rage throughout the west. Parts of Texas and Louisiana have been devastated by the winds and floods of Hurricane Harvey. Florida is being evacuated in the path of Hurricane Irma. The world is going crazy. We won’t even talk about the insanity in Washington D.C. these days or the fear of Korea nuking the world into oblivion. It’s a time to pray or do whatever you do in times of crisis.

Meanwhile, a reader named Susie has written to me with a broken heart. Her partner kept putting off having children. Now in her 40s, she finds the possibility of never having a family unbearable. I feel so bad for her, even while part of me wants to shout, “What were you doing all those years when you were fully fertile? Why did you let him control such an important decision?” And then I remember, oh yeah, I did that, too.

Here’s what she wrote:

My partner of 8 years never said he didn’t want children. His standard line was,“yes, but not right now”. This went on for years until aged 40 I broke up with him. At 41 after a year apart he won me back over with promises of “we will try for a family.” And then his actions continued to be in the way. Obviously, me being “old” made things harder. At the same time, he did not participate in the process 100% (I mean he did not alter his habits of alcohol, smoking, and also reproductive behavior (that is, he was often too tired/stressed/maybe later). He was resistant to see a specialist and dragged his feet to attend tests and medical appointments. He postponed plans for IVF.

 So it never happened for us. And four years on from when we got back together, I am torn between the grief and sadness of childlessness and anger and resentment towards him. I am angry because he was not honest with me and I feel he kept me there whilst not really having the same view of what the future should hold for us. I was always honest of what I dreamt to achieve in this world (parenthood being a big part of who I want to be in this life). I feel manipulated into a life I did not want. Sometimes I take full responsibility for this outcome and see it as a result of my choices. And sometimes I feel I was cheated. I don’t know how to reconcile this. I love my husband. He is the best thing that ever happened to me. And then, he is also the worst thing that ever happened to me. And I don’t know how to go on from this.

 To be honest, I don’t know what to tell her, except that at this point, she needs to find a way to accept that they will not have biological children and move on. Much easier said than done. I could suggest adopting or becoming a foster parent, but that probably wouldn’t work either. All a person can do is grieve the loss and keep living every day. Find other things that give you joy. Find ways to be around children if it doesn’t hurt too much. And sometimes, if you’re like me, you curse and kick things because you just plain f—-d up.

What do you think? What advice do you have for Susie? Chime in, friends. We’re in this together.

 

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9 thoughts on “Babies delayed means babies denied

  1. I hope you are able to find forgiveness for yourself and partner.

    I could not, after 11 years of a similar situation at 37 I finally left. 2 years later now at 39 I have a new partner, but he has 3 kids and does not want more.

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  2. I have learned that the choices we make, don’t always lead us down the path we thought they would. However, I also have learned that although we thought that a certain path would be the best one for us, sometimes the new path given to us, can be even better. Time has passed, and now the life you are living is yours to live. Focus on the good things in your life, you are living and with life, there is a choice to be happy, even if it is a different life that you may have dreamed of.

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  3. I sometimes wonder if I was manipulated. He would have had birth children if possible, but made other options difficult. I struggle with letting go of resentment about his actions and his family’s attitude (ohh, you’re so lucky with all the holidays you go on and your trips away 😩). Now I’d advise the writer to build up your own life and circle of own friends. I see it as my insurance policy if things go wrong between us.

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  4. I have a dear aunt who had her first child at 18 and was married. Her child had cerebral palsy and passed away at age 12. Her husband was in a terrible motorcycle accident some time after that and had a severe head injury that left him completely disabled. After a year or two of caring for him he passed away while in the hospital. At this point she was in her late thirties/early forties. She decided to go to college and get a dog. Then she met a wonderful man and they got married and had two kids while she was well into her forties. So maybe it isn’t too late for this reader to have a child. Maybe she is able to accept being childless. But I do think she was cheated. He was selfish and uncooperative. It does take some teamwork in a marriage and that is what he should be willing to do while married. I hope she makes the choice that makes her happiest.

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  5. Thank you for sharing your story, Susie. It really reasonated with me. I guess it’s a matter of looking at what the relationship offers outside of children. I’m in a similar situation, and I find that what makes me angry is not my husband’s decision not to have children but the fact that he lied about it to keep me in the relationship. He is a very nice man in other ways, but I can’t reconcile that with knowingly denying someone the life they want. Even though I can no longer have kids, I’m still struggling with thoughts of leaving just to get some peace of mind.

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