Childless by choice + pressure of spouse

Hi SS - I am in a Reddit group about this, but I get drowned out/overwhelmed a bit by how aggressive some of the comments are to my very delicate, isolating situation. I married an older progressive Mexican man, who is lovely and I am happy with. He knew when he married me that children weren’t something I wanted, and I thought we had that settled. But - in the 2 years or so we’ve been together (I moved to Mexico during COVID, normal, wise life choice), he’s shifted a lot in how often he talks about his desire for kids. I am all for kids - if it is something that everyone involved is supportive of.
But - I know I am not meant to be a mother, and just doing the math, if I had a child now, by the time they were 20, husband would be 75. I have friends visiting often now, with kids, and I love them and seeing them. But every time, I am wracked with anxiety that it is going to restart the children conversation. He is one of 10 kids and his MIL doesn’t accept me for lots of reasons, my refusal to procreate and “Accept God’s will” is top of the list. I just…I feel so sad and desperate. I fluctuate between irate that he/she dare try and force me into a literal LIVES decision, and feeling guilt/shame that I don’t have any urge for children. I am absolutely committed to animals, which oddly, works against me. I apologize for how non-linear this is. I’m just so sad for him, because I am never going to make him a father. And I have told him he can leave me, I won’t make a fuss, I’ll be hurt but if he feels his life won’t have been well lived if he doesn’t have kids, I can’t bear that guilt. I guess this is top of mind with IWD as well - I don’t know. Any tips on how to manage? I am going home to Canada next week and maybe that will help clear my mind. Right now, I’m just a mix of sad, lonely, defiant, indignant, sad, hopeless, defiant - and the cycle continues.

4 Likes

@Kimber What a tough situation to be in and yet I would guess one that comes up often in partnerships. I knew friends who were married and the issue of children came up time and again when one partner would want kids but the other didn’t and it would flip flop. It must be hard too to be there away from your family and friends and not have that support you would normally have. That’s very tough if MIL is adding to the pressure, and honestly I think it’s a situation where he has to step in and put distance between his mother’s feelings and thoughts and you. When he married you, he accepted who you are and what your decisions were. That is a vow he took. This is one of those differences where I think needs to be resolved or over time it will seep into every aspect of your marriage and will end up in heartbreak. Is he open to mediation or couples counselling? A formal process can help work out both your feelings and thoughts and at least to a point where this may be resolved or perhaps both parties realize it’s not going to work over the long term.

2 Likes

Thank you so much for the considerate, kind and helpful, even hopeful, response. You are right and I do need to remind myself (and him!) that he has to remember who is priority is. The cultural pervasions are rampant and I think maybe even subconscious for him, women as caregivers/life bringers - even though he knows he married a strong, independent and feminist Canadian. :heart_decoration:

3 Likes

Kimber - wow. So incredible of you to share. Thank you for that. I have 3 kids, am 43 and recently divorced. I’m back in the dating scene now and obviously kids is top of mind now that I’m back in it, or shall I say my desire to have no more. I cannot even imagine getting up in the middle of the night to feed a newborn at this stage in life. But, as I start dating and meeting great guys, I sometimes think to myself, would I be up for it? Even if I didn’t carry and used a surrogate (I had terrible diastasis and had to have my abs sown back together after my third), would I be able to do it? My youngest child is 6 right now and so independant, life is so good and easy. I still go back to no, I don’t think that I can. I went to dinner with a friend my age last night who just had a 1 year old with her very new husband (she also has a 16 and 17 year old) and while I’m happy for her, I just couldn’t see myself in her place. Honestly, someone once told me that there are 3 dealbreakers in relationships - kids, money and religion. Now I see why. I will also never get married again. Don’t let society (or anyone else) tell you what’s right for you. Your journey is your own. This is leading to so many more thoughts…

1 Like

That’s really rough. It’s crazy in this day and age they think a woman will still automatically change her mind and want kids. You were totally upfront about it.

3 Likes

Regrettable update: husband thinks because I enjoyed being around kids when I was visiting home, that something has changed. Reader: it has not. A friend of mine is so desperate for kids that she’s out having unprotected sex trying to get pregnant, and an insane part of me thought she not have my husband’s kid. I did not bring it up, thankfully. Because today’s little “let’s have a real talk about our future” chat that I initiated didn’t go so well, he more or less told me it doesn’t matter that he’s 54, he’d have no problem finding a fecund young woman who wants to have his kids. To which I replied, if he’s looking, then we should cut it now because I am not being his tide me over while he perves on potential receptive wombs. It has been a day. So like any sane person, I went swimming with my dog, came home, ate a bag of mini eggs and then half a raw cabbage to compensate. Life! I realize this is verbal meandering of no value but I am awash with confusion. No answers expected. Just putting down words.

4 Likes

Kimber!!! What an update… I’m so sorry that the “talk” didn’t go so well. They say that they big dealbreakers are money, kids, and religion… and it really is something that I don’t think you can really ask someone to change. Since he’s 54, I’m imagining that he wants to have a kid and wants the woman to take care of all the childcare because I can tell you that it’s a rare 50-something year old man who has the energy to wake up in the middle of the night to calm a crying baby or ALLLLL of the other endless kids things. I’m obviously not dishing out life advice, but you are a beautiful woman and I know that you could also find a hot, fun guy who appreciates that you don’t want kids. Also, there are a lot of younger guys who love older women because of they don’t have the pressure of the biological clock and can just have fun, it’s more of a thing now… anyway, also rambling but I think you deserve better than to be threatened with younger receptive wombs. That does not sound like a loving approach.

Fun kinda unrelated article on dating younger men:

4 Likes

Hi Jade,
Thank you, I feel like you understand me and that I’m not being irrational. We see our lawyer today. He keeps saying he doesn’t want divorce but now I wonder, do I? I don’t know how much is cultural, but really, it doesn’t matter. I just feel extra lost because I am in a foreign country and our lawyer is a friend of his, Mexican, and I think she’s also of the ilk that it’s my duty. Task at hand today is to ensure I legally own the house we’re building, and then just one step at a time.

I don’t even think I want anyone else after this, if this implodes. I really like me. Anyone who takes away from that instead of adding to joy seems obviously a bad match. Still, my heart feels like it’s going through a wheat thresher. But the kindness of this group is giving me strength, hope, and resilience, so thank you, Jade, and all you kind, safe souls.

3 Likes

Omg Kimber!! I am so sorry! But also wtf is wrong with men? You are a PERSON!!!

2 Likes

Big hugs to you my friend :heart:I’m so sorry he’s not understanding it. This must be so stressful for you. Just please know you have lots of friends and family who care and love you, and if you need to vent or talk there are women here who can help. My DMs are open too

2 Likes

Thank you :heart_decoration: it is nice to have the support. I’m very thankful for this community. xoxo

2 Likes

Many thanks, you dear soul. I may darken your inbox.

3 Likes

@Kimber a lot of this resonates with me, in different ways, but my heart wrenched when I read this thread just now. I’m so sorry that you are going through this, especially when you have been clear about the life you want, that is just unfair to be put in this position now. I feel the pressure on us as women to be mothers, caregivers, while working hard and being successful, ‘pretty’, and basically be all of the things is exhausting. The expectation some people have that we should just pour out all of our energy into all those who we support, is unfair, unrealistic, and dated. We ARE people, yes, and we deserve the lives we want to live for ourselves, not to be boxed in by what people who are supposed to love us are trying to dictate. This is NOT your problem, but you’re now in this tough position, which really sucks.

I have always thought that I would have kids, but I was career focused, enjoyed a busy social life, and was not in a hurry to settle down. To me, finding my person, and creating a strong foundation was most important, and the rest would be gravy. It took me longer to find my person (I was 32 when we started dating), and we wanted to enjoy time together for while before having kids. Then there was saving to get married, selling his place, buying our new place, having a wedding, all while taking care of my FIL, who insisted we do everything for him so he could live ‘independently’. There were times I was not ready, then when I think he was overwhelmed, and before you know it I was 38 and finally trying. My attitude was we’ll just be chill about it and see what nature does, though my husband really wants kids, we agreed we didn’t want to be ‘sex robots’ about it LOL

Here I am at 42, and I am not sure if we will have a kid, though I’m still open to it. After going through a year of testing and health issues to be diagnosed with epilepsy in 2019, on and off all kinds of meds for a year to find out the one I was on was ‘not good for trying to get pregnant’…like the Neurologist just didn’t ask me, and assumed at my age I didn’t want kids?! WTF. The stress of work, and my FIL mounted, but we finally managed to get pregnant, I found out shortly after my 40th in FEB 2020. Yep, I found this out just as the pandemic started. I had 0 prenatal care or tests, and it was super stressful but we were super excited. Sadly, my first pregnancy was followed by my first miscarriage, which was already into the second trimester, so I ended up in the hospital. I have not felt the same since, and honestly, I am on the fence now. What will be will be, I am ok with either outcome.

All I can say is, women take on all of the risk, pain, discomfort, appointments, fears of death in labor (is it just me?), gaining the weight, delivering the baby, figuring out how to breastfeed and care for them, losing the weight, losing the sleep, its SO much, so it really pisses me off that ANYONE still thinks it is okay to judge someone’s decision to have, or not to have children. I am a mother to my pets, to some of my friends who lack a supportive mother, to some family members who need mothering, to staff I have managed who referred to me as ‘mama bird’. We have so much to offer this world, and we deserve to choose our path, and how we offer ourselves up, in ways that fulfill US as women <3

I am always down for a chat, or to listen. I could talk about this topic alone for ages. I am sending you love and strength, this sounds really hard, but we’re all here for you.

5 Likes

Wow. That’s tough. I am not at all qualified to give life advice but I have found through lots of trial and error that any decision I don’t feel 100% with and get “talked into” doing I have either regretted or not gotten what I wanted out of it. I can always chalk these up to “life lessons” but what I have learned FINALLY is trust your instincts. One of the best things you’ve got going for you is you KNOW. You already know you don’t want kids, HE already knew you didn’t want kids…the issue is with him not receiving or accepting the information you communicated with him and continue to communicate with him. Furthermore you sound unhappy and pressured…and you KNOW yourself and what you want and don’t want. TRUST YOURSELF. I stayed way too long in a marriage I never wanted (I got pregnant and married the father even though I was one foot out the door already.) I will never regret having my daughter but…I knew I didn’t want that guy or that life then and I still feel that way. Meaning, I did what I thought was the right thing to do per society and my family and the father etc. and I ignored my instincts. When I find myself in a hard, life-altering decision, I say the same thing to myself I am saying to you now…I think deep down you know what you want, don’t be afraid to trust yourself. There’s a great community of women on here that have your back… :metal:t3:

3 Likes

Wow, thank you for sharing about your journey. I can feel your heartache with the lost pregnancy. Where we are in this stage of life (mid-life) is such a critical time, for us to redefine our lives and really live the second half. I’m excited for you, I know great things are coming your way!

2 Likes

Thank you, your response was helpful, heartful and made me feel less alone. I’m typing through tears so I’ll be brief. But thank you, from the bottom of my heart. Your story is also heart-wrenching. I’m glad that you were able to make the right decision for you. I am scared that you’re right, I know what my decision should be, but my head and heart aren’t ready to fully commit to the many steps needed to make it a reality. This is a wonderful community, and I am grateful to have found it.

3 Likes

If only I could reach through this screen and give you a hug right now I would! My heart aches for you.

1 Like

When the time is right, you will know it! You can’t rush being ready but eventually, you won’t be able to stand it anymore and the idea of being free will be more overpowering than the fear of starting over.

2 Likes

We are all here for you :sparkling_heart: I don’t have the right words either, I can only imagine how you feel, life can be so painfully complicated. Trust yourself, listen to yourself, and don’t rush this, you don’t have to do anything yet, and reflection time is so important. Meditation…it can be a life saver, even if you cry through most of it, over time, the answers come out clearly once you have some time to process and be quiet.

3 Likes

Hi all of you lovely souls. Thank you for your words of care, support, sharing your own stories - I feel embarrassed for being so vulnerable, but also - I suppose that this community is meant for allowing oneself to be vulnerable.

We’ve spent time apart (but together, but also apart because I have COVID) and I have been talking with my dearest friends back home and figuring out what steps may be taken, or not.

Where I’m the most embarrassed is - if this gets resolved, do I look like a drama queen who was desperate for attention and this was just a lover’s quarrel? In any case. I don’t know what will happen, the fog of COVID has been intense, but also forced me to rest and not make any huge decisions.

We have found a therapist who we’re meeting with once I am negative for COVID.

Thank you all, and I appreciate and feel the thoughts, care, helpful suggestions and just overall goodness that you’ve shown me.

3 Likes