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Thursday, May 3, 2012 03:31 pm

Baby makes flee

When I married five years ago, I was on the fence about having kids. I thought some parental gene might kick in, but it never did. Now, at 40, I’ve accepted that a childless marriage is best for us, given my wife’s fertility issues and my ambivalence about parenthood. My wife, however, sees no purpose to life without children. It upsets her to see me happy without kids while she pines for them. She is also upset that I won’t try all possible alternatives, such as adoption and fertility treatments, and is generally angry and outright hostile toward me. –Nobody’s Dad

There are things it’s okay to procrastinate on, like cleaning behind the toilet. If you’re like me, as soon as you look back there and see new plant life cropping up (and, okay, maybe a woodpecker and a couple of deer), you break out the bleach and it’s all good. But, procrastinate on figuring out whether to have a family? There you were: “Let’s see, should we create another human being, spend 20-plus years and hundreds of thousands of dollars raising it? I dunno…let’s just sign this contract to spend the rest of our lives together and figure it out later.”

Chances are, you both had baby-related plots brewing in your heads. You maybe thought you’d ignore the issue and it might go away. Your wife maybe figured she’d get pregnant, you’d just have to go along, and the moment you saw the baby you’d melt into a loving father. But, whoops, fertility issues crept in. You can get accidentally pregnant, but you can’t accidentally adopt a child, as in, you’re driving along one day, glance into the back seat and notice a 6-year-old Romanian orphan coloring on the headrest.

Although you can’t offer any solutions that work for your wife, you do see a number of alternatives that work for you: not having kids, having no kids, remaining childless. There is one other alternative: getting divorced so your wife can try to find a man who’s interested in being a dad…as dim a prospect as that may be for a fertility-challenged 40-year-old woman competing with pert-breasted, fertility-iconish 20-somethings. Obviously, this option is not exactly the fast track to happily ever after. Then again, that’s probably not in the cards here unless you two can somehow find some wiggle room in how she “sees no purpose to life without children” and how you aren’t up for adopting anything you can’t pat on the head and leave tied to a chain-link fence.
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