How far would you go to have children? What would you be willing to sacrifice? A reader who is calling himself Anonymous Max has commented several times on my Sept. 27 post “Are You Ready to Accept Childlessness?” Clearly there are no limits to how far he’ll go to be a father.
AMax has two stepchildren, but he does not feel like a father to them. He has tried mentoring and working with other people’s kids, but it’s the not same. He will not be happy until he has his own biological child. Following a miscarriage and years of trying, he and his wife have realized they won’t be able to have children in the usual way, but he’s not giving up. He plans to hire a surrogate to bear their child, implanting sperm and egg into another woman’s body. To afford it, he is working three jobs and investing as much money as he can.
The cost of surrogacy varies. Estimates online range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Insurance is unlikely to cover it. A lot of emotions become involved when you’re asking someone else to carry your baby and give it up when the pregnancy is over. AMax says his wife was hesitant at first, but is “on board” now. It’s a difficult path, but they’re determined to take it. I hope AMax will keep us informed about what happens.
Most often here, people ask about whether or not to leave their partner to find someone who will have children with them. Leaving someone you love is a huge sacrifice and an equally huge risk. What if you never find a new partner? What if it’s too late to get pregnant when you do?
“Lifeasitisbyme” reported recently that her husband is divorcing her so she can go have children with someone else. She says, “I’m completely heartbroken as I still love him. He doesn’t feel it’s fair that he’s holding me back on having a family and doesn’t feel he’s been fair to me. At this point I’m confused. I love him dearly and I’ve started to wonder if having children is more important than losing my soulmate.”
What if your spouse or partner suddenly said, “I’m letting you go. You need to have children and I can’t give them to you.” What would you do?
Is your need to have children so strong that you will sacrifice anything to be a mom or dad? Do you want it as bad as AMax? Do you feel guilty if a voice inside says, “I’m not sure.”
Think about it, friends. Perhaps it will answer some questions for you.
In the wake of the NotMom Summit, I have added some new books and websites to the resource page. Clink on the link at the top of this page to check it out.
12 thoughts on “How Much Would You Give to Have Children?”
After my husband told me he didn’t want to keep trying to have a baby and he didn’t want to adopt, I thought about whether I would rather have my husband and no baby OR a baby and no husband. (In fact, I actually wrote a blog about this.) For me, I decided that I’d rather have my husband and no baby. We made marriage vows and for me, they cannot be broken. Might some say that I didn’t want a baby “bad enough?” Well, yes, they have. But they don’t know what my husband and I went through. In fact, even those who struggle with infertility cannot fully understand someone else’s journey–only their own. We must each do what is right for us individually. But it does sadden me when marriages end because of infertility.
I feel that it is wonderful of a spouse to choose their marriage when they discover that their spouse is infertile. That is an amazing love and a strong decision, and I also feel that the relationship will become even stronger because of that loss and that decision. But I do feel that those couples shouldn’t always be lumped in with those couples where one spouse does not want a child. It causes major problems when a person goes to their family and says I want a baby, but DH won’t let me have one, and that family member goes on to talk about so and so who couldn’t have a child and THEY are still together, so what is your problem? Well, the problem for me, simply put, is a breach of contract. I was very straightforward when I started dating at the beginning that I wanted kids and I didn’t want to wait a lifetime for it either. When we got married, he wanted to wait “a few years.” So I waited. Then I was told he needed to have “a few years of fun first.” Well, that didn’t make any sense to me because we had been having lots of fun. We went on trips to Maui and the big Island and all kinds of fun things. When I questioned him on his reasoning, I was told that I had no right to argue. No right? I had every right.
I still to this day do not understand what happened and why. I chose to leave because in my mind and in my religion, the marriage was a scam for him to mooch off of. It destroyed everything we had built upon for years. It destroyed my trust in him when he said he wanted to look out for me in his decisions. I begged him to just admit he didn’t want kids. He would not admit it. He was adamant about using protection every single time.
So for me, the answer to how far would you go to have children, is I would go anywhere and do anything. My ex even suggested that I become a surrogate mom to “get it out of my system.” I replied, well, considering that I am Catholic, I don’t really think that IVF and all that stuff is the right thing to do. He replied, well that’s fine, the baby could just be ours and then we give it to someone else. Apparently that is what a “traditional surrogate” really is. Since I knew he was treading water in the crazy tank at that point, I said sure, I’m up for that idea. So then he went and looked up how to be a surrogate mom and found out that no one would ever hire a woman to be a surrogate if she hadn’t already given birth.
It is a breach of contract. I don’t know why people don’t get that. Is there more to this comment? It seemed to end in the middle of a word. I love “treading water in the crazy tank.” I have never heard that expression before.
Crystal, I’m really sorry you had to go through all of that. It doesn’t sound like your husband was honest with you. You were strong to leave and protect yourself.
I am lucky as my husband was always very honest with me. We were able to talk through our struggles and come to an agreement about our childless life. I am very blessed in that.
I do hope that you find peace and joy in the path you take.
When I knew that the reason we, as a couple, couldn’t have children, I thought that maybe my husband would be happier if he left and found someone who could make him a father. But he has proved over and over again that this isn’t what would make him happy.
My sister, who was childless by marriage, said to me once that she’d rather have her husband and no baby, because she knew what a bad marriage was (her first) and because she knew he was “worth keeping!”
In my experience (of working with hundreds of women who’ve been through infertility and loss over a decade), most couples do decide that what they have – a loving relationship – is more important than blaming one partner who can’t give a child (whether physically or emotionally) or forcing them to agree to do so. For us, it was a case of us both taking on the other’s point of view/physical failings. That has made it much easier to reach acceptance.
I love this, Mali. Thank you.
I don’t blame my wife, and my wife does not blame me. Sometimes, life just gets in the way of growing a family, like diabetes and other chronic disorders. My wife doesn’t have to go along with me if I decide surrogacy. She could have easily said, “You are on your own, and I’m filing for a divorce.” But she never said that. Just because she is supportive does not mean it isn’t a difficult decision.
My advice to the other childless by marriage couples out there, it takes a long time to form strong, solid relationships. You just can’t say, “Well, I will find someone else who will give me a child.” Remember, true relationships take time to develop.
Also, my wife and I did have a child, but our daughter was taken too soon. That doesn’t mean we give up on wanting to add to our family.
The very worst scenario would be that I would do all this effort, but never live to see the day. Well, if misfortune that ever happens, the money I saved would go to someone else wanting to grow their family.
I can’t guarantee tomorrow, but I can do my very best. That’s what I’m doing.
One more thing, mentoring children has been a blessing to me. I knew from the beginning it was not a fill-in for not having children of my own. I still mentor, and I wouldn’t change it for a second. They are not my children, but that doesn’t mean I give up on them. Mentoring and fatherhood are different, but a lot of times mentors can act like father and mother figures for the positive examples that they show.
For me, adoption and surrogacy are things my wife and I pursue outside our busy lives.
And remember, we pray for restoration that my wife and I can have children of our own. I recognize that through Christ all things are possible. I know our Creator can do all things, and even if he doesn’t–He’s still in control.
You are so right! My husband and I hosted a foreign exchange student. While we know she has loving parents, it was amazing to take on a “parenting” role. Plus, we have become family and still keep in touch with her. We truly believe that God brought her into our lives for a reason!
An interesting topic, and one I’ve hoped would be discussed for a while.
I chose my marriage rather than walk away because the reality is that I fell in love with my husband first, made the commitment to be with him second and babies were “God willing” – even though we hoped that we would be chosen as parents. And yet naturally, and through IVF, it wasn’t meant to be. A sperm donor was considered an option, but my husband just couldn’t get his head around what that meant and questioned whether the child, if it came, would bond with him. The process of adoption was never going to work for us, but had it been an option, my husband couldn’t accept that as making him a father either. I struggled to understand him, and it did cause pain, but with time and space I came to recognise that the values he grew up with just made it difficult for him to accept these alternate options as a possibility to becoming a father.
So I’m okay with it now, even though it is painful to be childless. Life goes on and I try to fill that void in my heart with the children of my family and friends that make me feel like I could almost be their mum. The ones where your family/friends trust you implicitly to look after and be with their kids, and the ones where the kids accidentally call you “mum” because they feel that close to you. I try to focus on filling my life with other memories and positives so that I don’t regret making the most of that freedom you get with not having kids to tend to.
And I’m okay with having chosen my husband over the alternate – leaving him to find another path to have a baby that wasn’t guaranteed. We love each other and he is very supportive when I have my challenging days with childlessness, even if he doesn’t always understand what triggers might set me off.
But I do often wonder if, as I get older, I will come to regret the decision to stay. I don’t want to regret the decision because I don’t like to live a life of regrets and I don’t want to come to a point where I might despise my husband for it either. Like, when we’re old and alone and nobody is there to visit us, or help drive us around, bring us soup when we’re sick. Has anyone gotten to the place where they’ve been down this road and regretted choosing love/their marriage over walking away? Or has that decision to stay been the right decision, and stayed that way?
My second husband and I met at age 26 and we married when I was 31. I had a daughter from a previous marriage who was 11 at the time of the wedding. When I turned 39, my husband told me he wanted to have children. I wasn’t too keen but decided we should go to marriage counseling and discuss it. In therapy, I explained that I was tired and wanted to focus on my new career and that I was finally able to focus on me for once. My daughter was now 20 and I just couldn’t see myself raising another child for 20 years. We agreed in counseling to have him explore going back to school and getting a professional degree. He did and has done stupendously well. We sold our house, I quit my job and moved to a big city so he could move his career forward. I have been struggling to find work. We just bought a house. We are 47 years old now. He came to me a month ago saying he wanted out of the marriage because he made a mistake in not having children. He can’t be around me because it reminds him of that mistake of choosing a career over children. I found out three weeks ago he has been having an affair with a 28-year-old for several months. We started counseling, but we only had two sessions as a couple. He still wants to separate and has stopped counseling, but I am continuing. In the last eight years, he has never mentioned his desire to have a child. In fact, with school and changing jobs and moving up the ladder so quickly, he wouldn’t have had time for a child nor has he even shown an interest in children. He says there is no possibility of reconciliation. Anyone have any insight on this? Is this something that happens?
Anon 47, I’m sorry this has happened to you. Unfortunately, it does happen. People change their minds, can’t decide what they want and hurt other people in the process. It’s sad.