Q&A: Choosing between man and motherhood

A Choice Mom wrote that she had tried on her own for three years (3 IUI, 3 IVF). Next up was embryo donation. But while she was taking a break, she met a wonderful man, who she has now been with for 1.5 years.

He is more than 10 years older; she is approaching 43. They have talked openly about the children question, and he has decided that he doesn’t want children. She is feeling tortured trying to decide whether she should attempt to have a baby on her own, and potentially lose the relationship, or not. She wonders if perhaps her long unsuccessful attempts are a sign that she was not meant to be a mother. She wonders if she can be content with a potential lifetime with this man, and no children. She wonders if she has the strength to attempt another cycle, and potentially fail.

She got wonderful advice from other women on the Choice Mom discussion board.

One woman wrote that she had both children in her 40s, and she understands why he might feel too tired to raise a family. But she also knows that not having children with someone would have been a dealbreaker to her. No matter how many methods she would have to try, she was determined to become a mother. She asked the big question: on your death bed, would you most regret not having this man in your life, or not having children in your life? “Good luck to you in your decision. It is a tough one!! But ultimately only YOU know what is in your heart and soul.

Another woman also wrote that she should find what is most important in her own heart. Adding, “I broke up with a guy, who I had been very in love with because he wasn’t sure when he would want kids and I knew I was out of time. I was 40 then, I’m 42 now and the deliriously happy mama of twins. My delirium may be from lack of sleep, and my happiness is challenged on a regular basis (my son is still in the nicu @ 6 months), but I know this was the best decision I EVER made. I will get back to dating someday, and I look forward to being in love again, but right now I am who I always wanted to be, I feel fulfilled and blessed.”

Another woman wrote that she herself moved ahead to motherhood, but she has a friend who decided the husband was more important, “even though it meant she gave up her window of fertility. She found the husband and the last I saw was very happy, although she chose not to continue with fertility treatment because she found it too stressful. We are each so different; I couldn’t imagine stopping fertility treatments so soon and being content just being a childless couple, and I’m sure she couldn’t imagine becoming an SMC as I did. It might help for you to get some counseling for someone to help you ask yourself all the right questions to help you determine what is right for you.”

Another wrote that she had faced the same dilemma. She and her boyfriend broke up over the issue. He was an older man who already had two children. “I decided after we broke up that if children were that important to me, then maybe I needed to go ahead and have them on my own. I turned 41, tried IUI three times this summer, and am still single, and still childless. I have other extenuating circumstances, which means switching to IVF probably will have to wait until next summer. I wonder still (we’ve been broken up a year) if I made the right decision. What if I never get pregnant? And/or never find The Guy? I don’t know. But after a year of being single, my ex hasn’t changed his mind, even though we both miss each other terribly.”

Another: “A man cannot fulfill the desire to want children. Children cannot fulfill the place of a relationship. Many of us want both and for whatever reasons that didn’t happen. That doesn’t mean it won’t… I adopted my son at birth when I was 40. That was three years ago. I would love to find companionship and love. I continue to have hope about that. In the meantime, I’m blessed with my son.”

What do YOU think? I’d also love to hear from women who opted to stay with the relationship, so if you know others who have faced this and chosen to remain childless, can you ask if they will reply?

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