I have been very happily married for five years to my best friend. We have both been married before, but while I don’t have kids, he has two with his ex-wife. His divorce was really bad and about a year ago, she got a judge to OK her moving across the country (her new husband, who she met while still married, transferred from Portland to New York). My husband fought the move but lost.
He misses his kids so much. They are still pretty young (10 and 12) and it’s killing him that he is missing so much of their lives. We have even considered moving to NYC to be closer to his kids but his ex-wife told him that if we did, she would encourage her husband to transfer again (he works for a multi-national company with offices all over). I can’t understand why she is so awful, because she is the one who cheated and wanted the divorce, and everyone who knows him agrees that my husband is a wonderful dad.
Here’s my problem: I stopped using birth control 8 months ago. I want to give my husband a child to help relieve the agony he is feeling over losing his kids. I haven’t gotten pregnant and I’m worried I won’t be able to. I am 40, by the way. I’ve never really pined for children as I have a really hard job, but I know I’d love a baby if I had one.
My husband has never indicated he wants more kids but he also hasn’t said he doesn’t. I want so much to surprise him with a baby but if I can’t, I’m scared I will feel terrible forever.
What should I do?
-Barren in P-Town
Sorry, I’m not going to call you “Barren,” in P-Town or anywhere else. First of all, you don’t know that you can’t get pregnant, you just suspect you can’t. If I had a dollar for every woman pushing a baby stroller with an unwanted (but cute) little bastard in it who thought she was infertile, I’d be a rich woman.
Second of all, the word sounds so negative – it is more suited to describe a toxic piece of land or a divorce lawyer’s soul, so I’m sticking with Sandy.
Your letter is chock full of material and I am struggling to write because I am so pissed off right now. What kind of a “mother” moves her children 3,000 miles away from their loving father? What kind of a “lawyer” takes this case? And what kind of a “judge” makes that ruling?
I am disgusted beyond words. Well, that’s not true because here are a few: that woman and her new husband are flaming assholes who deserve the worst that life can throw at them. These people are the reason voodoo dolls were invented. I hate them both, but mostly the mother because she made a choice to create little people with your husband and then when she decided to divorce him, she made a unilateral decision to divorce the kids from their father.
Please send me her address so that I can shit on her doorstep the next time I’m in New York.
I’ve been considering writing a book about the horrors of divorce, and centering it around cases like this one and especially awful divorce lawyers. Let me take this moment to beg my readers: please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to submit material (I will change your name) for the book.
I am especially interested in anyone who has been involved in a case with a lawyer whose style was aggressive, hostile and unethical. I’m looking for stories about “family lawyers” who created and stoked conflict, churned the file and were just generally an impediment to the proceedings rather than an advocate.
Extra points if you live in Portland and the attorney’s initials are JS. When my book is made into a movie, I’ve got someone in mind for the lead role:
OK, back to you. Sorry.
Children are not fungible, unless you are Angelina Jolie and you collect them each time you visit a foreign country. Your husband’s pain will probably not be lessened by your creation of a replicant, because he misses his children, not just children in general.
I don’t want to kick you when you are obviously feeling down, but I find it a little disturbing that you are actively trying to get pregnant without your husband’s knowledge. You know what’s fun to surprise a man with? A trip to Hawaii, or a blow job. A small, screaming shitting human being? Not so much.
So, Sandy, stop reading this right now and go ask your husband if he wants a child. Since it doesn’t seem to matter to you either way, finding out that your husband does not want to add to his collection of offspring would seem to be the easiest and most efficient way to resolve your problem.
If indeed your husband is pining away for a child it’s a little odd he hasn’t mentioned it, but perhaps he didn’t want to pressure you because he respects your ambivalence towards becoming a mother. While I think that’s awfully nice, I’d like to slap him upside the head, because you can’t get what you want in life if you don’t ask for it or at least rip it off from someone else. If he steals a baby he will serve time (unless he moves to whatever county Casey Anthony was tried in), so if he wants a kid he needs to speak up.
Whether or not you are truly infertile is not a question I can answer, as I am not a gynecologist. I strongly suggest you visit your doctor and have some tests done to determine why you are having trouble conceiving. 8 months isn’t that long, but you are kind of old (sorry) so your eggies might be dysfunctional or just lazy.
I’m also going to STRONGLY suggest you and your husband invest in some marital counseling, because while it is very noble of you to want to “give” your husband a child, babies aren’t things that you give to people, like books or social diseases. They are a lifelong commitment (again, Casey Anthony exception) and as the mother of this child you should know what you are getting into.
I’m not sure you fully grasp just how serious having a baby is, nor am I convinced it will make your husband less sad about his other children. As I said before, people aren’t interchangeable if you love them. If you hate them, they totally are. Just yesterday I re-arranged the seating on my Bus of Death* and put the top 2 people several rows back to make room for the entire Fox News Team.
Even if you are capable of getting pregnant, you should know that’s no guarantee you will. One of the most brilliant things anyone ever told me when I was facing a VERY difficult situation was: you need to be OK with the worst-case scenario. This woman made me realize that even if I was not able to accomplish this very difficult and important task I was facing, I needed to come to a place mentally where I believed I would survive if things didn’t go my way.
I did get to that place, and it was enormously freeing. But I ended up winning anyway, and pe
rhaps that was because I knew I’d be fine if I didn’t.
You sound very happy in your marriage, so what’s most critical here is making the decision that no matter what, your relationship with your husband (and best friend) will remain strong. I’m going to let you in on a little secret that some people know all too well:
No baby ever made any marriage better.
Babies are horrid little fuckers who drain your soul. As they get older, they drain your patience and your bank account. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally thrilled that I have one, but it didn’t make my marriage better. Come to think of it, Sprout’s dad and I divorced, so there’s that.
I suggest you make the time that you and your husband have with his kids very special, and try to open the door with the ex-wife to increased visitation. Unfortunately, she’s a horrible person and will probably say no. If you’ve got the money, you may want to consider suing that See You Next Tuesday. Even if you lose, you get the pleasure of dragging her ass back to Oregon and costing her some ducats.
(worse for HER, that is!)
In the interim, enjoy the freedom that comes with being non-custodial parents. You can screw whenever you want on the kitchen floor, you can fly off to Palm Springs at a moment’s notice and you can get divorced without ruining the holidays for your kids.**
Here’s my final piece of advice: even if you and your husband agree you don’t want or need to have a child together, keep trying, early and often! Sex is an important part of keeping your marriage hot and happy so keep it up, so to speak!
*The Bus of Death is a bus my dear friend Philip and I created. In the bus (which is destined to go off a cliff at a time of our choosing) are seated people we hate and whom we think the world would be better off without. Fun fact: we have one passenger in common!
**Parents: I’m joking. Sandy, I am not implying you will get divorced