A 2010 Pew Research poll found that childlessness in the U.S. has increased across all racial and ethnic groups and now 1 in 5 American women end their child-bearing years maternity-free compared to 1 in 10 in the 1970s. With advancements in fertility treatments, the decision not to have children is often one of free-choice and it’s one that many women have a sense of early in their teen years just as many women know from a very early age that they want to be a mom.
Today, I’m introducing Donna F. Donna and her husband had one child together even though early in the marriage her husband had said he didn’t want children. Donna felt very differently. Here’s Donna:
I wanted children my whole life and after I got married, my husband decided we would not be good parents. So in our first year of marriage, we were going to get divorced, because I wanted kids and I wasn’t willing to stay married without kids.
Because we both came from alcoholic homes and I guess he thought I was emotional and unstable and he had that in him too. His home was very abusive. Everyone in his family is dead.
His dad died from alcoholism, his brother died from drug addiction, his mom was mentally ill and his sister died from cancer and another brother died year ago. When I met him he had no contact, communication, no relationship with his family so coming from such a really dysfunctional family he just figured we would bring that to our own kids.
I’ve done a lot of personal work. I got sober in my early 20’s. I did a lot of therapy. I have worked very hard to not be my parents and to not repeat a lot of patterns of abuse. So, I knew that I wanted to be a parent. And he was pretty set that we just didn’t have the skills.
We both worked in drug and alcohol rehab with teenagers. That’s how we met. So his plan was that having children wasn’t going to work.
We ended up going to counseling and he was pretty much, “OK, let’s split up our stuff. I’ll leave. You can keep the house.” All this stuff and I was devastated, because again, we were newly married.
We went home that day and had this really great conversation and he said, yeah, we could have kids. It was a couple of years from then that I got pregnant.
We ended up being married for seven years.
I, truthfully, was looking to have more than one child. I never had really planned on just having one.
I think it is a gift to have a strong sense about something, whether it’s having children, your career, where to live or an activity. That sort of clarity provides a decision-making criteria that is difficult to ignore and nor should you and you should be cautious of partnering with someone who doesn’t share your passion.
If your partner doesn’t share your passion, the danger is that you’ll lead that part of your life separately and when that passion is kids, the consequences are potentially devastating.
How did/do you feel about having children? How did you feel about this as a teenager?
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