Surprise baby - never wanted children, but....

whazzupSeptember 18, 2002

The "childless by choice" thread has led to my posting this question. I have children myself, but I am curious about how unplanned children have affected the marriage/lives of couples who truly never wanted to have them. Most children are probably unplanned or at the very least come at a time when couples aren't especially ready for children. This question is for those who had made a conscious decision early in their marriage that neither of them ever wanted children. How did it change your marriage and outlook in general?

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This just happened to us- it was a failed vasectomy. My wife and I never wanted children, in fact we never really liked them. We don't hate kids, but we just don't enjoy being around them for very long. As I said, my vasectomy failed after about a year and in June my wife found out she was 6 months pregnant. If you're relying on a vasectomy for birth control, don't play around- get tested, get pregnancy tests. We gave birth to a wonderful 6 lb boy who we gave up for adoption- we don't regret doing so, and seeing how the adoptive parents responded (6 yrs trying childless couple), it was the best thing I've ever done for anyone. But the thing thats scaring the h3ll out of me is Janet seems to have gone off the deep end thinking about how nice it might be to have a child of her own. My feelings haven't changed at all- I love our son and he's in a home with absolutely commited, loving parents, but I really don't want to be a parent. If this is in fact how she ends up feeling after the post-birth hormones stop rampaging through her, I face the prospect of either divorce or somehow acclimating myself to being a father. I know many people must have gone through this, but I simply don't want it. Janet & I started out because we've always felt on the same page about this. I love her so much and I just can't see getting a divorce from such a wonderful woman over this- but I tell you I am possibly caught on the horns of a very big problem.

Anyone who says "Parenting is the Natural/Moral/Good/Right thing- or Its The Will of Some Higher Power..." as the reason why I should somehow welcome this can stuff it- the world is a big place and more diverse than anyone can really know, and its not fair to put philosophical boxes around people. Some may welcome and/or desire parenthood, more power to them- I simply don't want it. If I have to, I will do my best, but I feel as if I will be abandoning the last shreds of control I have over my own life- and having to accept the consequences of the choices only my wife wants- for the next 18 or more years. If she really ends up wanting children, its not fair for me to categorically refuse either.

I've been searching around for support groups speaking to this kind of issue, but they don't seem to have a very big presence.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2002 at 8:14PM
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I used to listen to Dr. Laura and she'd get calls like this: I want a kid, husband does not, or vice versa, and it was always her opinion that whoever says "no" rules the day. She'd turn it around and ask the caller if s/he'd like it if a loved one was so disrespectful of his/her wishes. If I'd remember correctly, she'd suggest things like babysitting, Big Brother/Sister, etc so the caller could get his "kid fix". Like I said, it's been a long time--about a year--since I last listened, and Dr. L may've changed her mind since then.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2002 at 4:09PM
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Greg - that's a tough one. Perhaps you wife could volunteer for some type of children's activity. She might consider helping out at a local hospital, teaching sunday school, becoming a girlscout leader, working saturdays at a nature center - there's so much she could do.

If you two can't resolve this new issue painlessly, then don't hesitate to try marriage counseling. You shouldn't be made to feel shame because you don't want to be a parent.


    Bookmark   September 23, 2002 at 4:51PM
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This is Gregm's wife here chiming in. I 100% don't blame him for feeling the way he does. Frankly I feel guilty for even feeling the remotest desire for another child since that certainly wasn't in the plans or the script. We got married feeling the same way and our lives have always been very peaceful and content the way they've been. However as I held our newborn son born less than a week ago I was filled with a maternal love that I never in a million years could have predicted I would feel. I will admit to having no clue as whether the feelings I'm feeling are a lot of hormones or whether they are a permanent change in me-again I am writing this when our son is all of six days old so I haven't even physically recovered from this much less mentally. We are seeing a counselor and plan on continuing to do so for the foreseeable future as we deal with issues of grief and beyond. I wouldn't in a million years entertain the thought of pushing the issue without spending a lot of time around children in volunteer activities, etc. However should 6 months-a year pass and I still feel the desire to have another child then I don't know where that leaves us. I don't think its fair to inflict parenthood on an unwilling parent but I also don't know that I could not ultimately be resentful for not being able to fulfill a desire of mine. Time will tell-I've never wanted kids before so in all likelihood the hormones will simmer down and I'll go back to my old self. We definitely plan on using the counselors services however since I truly love Greg very much and don't want to lose my husband.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2002 at 8:03PM
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The best of luck, whatever choice(s) you make.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2002 at 11:01AM
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My heart goes out to you and Greg. I hope you are able to find a solution that doesn't tear you both apart. You were very brave and loving to give your child up for adoption. I wish I could tell you that your love for the child is just hormones, but that's not the truth. That's maternal love and you will love your son always. Your pain will ease and you will deal with this. I have no solution or advice for you so I'll say a prayer for you both instead.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2002 at 3:03PM
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Because I've now sent a link to this thread from another thread on this forum I thought I'd give the following update on our situation...

First its pretty amazing to read back to these early days after our son's birth. Our son was born 9/17/02 so literally he was five days old when Greg posted this. I stuck with the adoption decision though during that first thirty days we could have reversed. I didn't feel it was didn't feel it was fair to our son or Greg to do this given Greg's feelings at the time. Unfortunately due to this choice I have faced, and will always face, the societal double standard-I MUST have cheated on Greg otherwise I wouldn't have stuck to the adoption choice. Since Greg has had FOUR normal swimmer tests confirming the vasectomy failure since the time of our son's birth the double standard really ticks me off. These days I offer DNA tests to anybody who openly questions me which has a tendency to shut people up real quick.

The hormones proved to be permanent. The maternal instinct is extraodinarily powerful and it cannot be willingly turned off. Little did I realize at the time of my husbands posting that our marriage would nearly fall apart by the time our son turned a year old. It took three different counselors but a year ago (January '03) counselor number three turned out to be "the one" and we finally put things back together.

Today, with nearly two years of therapy under our belts, Greg and I are in agreement on the child issue. He is no longer afraid of fatherhood, actually looks forward to it, and we are actively trying to conceive, actually now dealing with infertility (frikkin Murphy's Law!). We see our son occasionally and I think that this has helped Greg a LOT, to gradually adjust to the whole idea without it being inflicted on him. Actually our son is the spitting image of Greg-like "Mini-me" in Austin Powers;-) which I find most entertaining.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 9:57AM
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Correction-that should have read January of '04 for the "right therapist"

    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 10:27AM
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Wow, Janet, what a heart-wrenching situation. I don't know how I would have handled it. Congratulations on finding the right person to help you in your marriage. I can't imagine the pain you have gone through. Best wishes on your quest to have another baby. I personally am glad that Greg now is accepting of having a child, as there really is no joy like having children. I know my children (Teddy is now 14, Alexandra now 16) have saved my life. My prayers are with both you and Greg.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2005 at 10:43AM
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Janet - thanks for sharing such a sensitive and personal issue. Your story sounds similar to mine - dh and I are financially secure, both have graduate degrees, but neither of us had a desire for kids when we got married. Suprisingly, 10 years later right before I turned 35, my biological clock strangely started ticking. Makes me realize I'm not really alone. Thanks again for sharing!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2005 at 9:32PM
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