Childless, Married, 40, and Angry, Sad, Numb, You Name It

I am 40 years old, married for 12 years, and childless. We tried fertility treatments on and off to no avail for a number of years, and I finally got pregnant after my first round of IVF at 37, with triplets. Going into my 6th month I developed a rare life-threatening infection (sepsis), almost died, and lost the babies. It was horrific, and I still have nightmares. 

I tried several more rounds of IVF (unsuccessful), endured a number of painful surgeries, and ended up needing a hysterectomy last year. So, that's it for having a child for me, at least through that route. 

And now I've discovered that my husband does not want to adopt, and the bottom-line is that he doesn't even want to have a kid at all. When it comes right down to it, he doesn't want to be responsible for anyone other than himself. Never did. He doesn't want me to quit work or cut back on my hours to take care of the child, nor does he, he just doesn't want to be a provider. Never did. Period. 

In fact, he has nothing but disdain for the whole family thing. He makes fun of "mom jeans" and mini-vans and Docker Dads. I went along with the jokes for years, maybe because it made it a little easier for me to deal with not getting pregnant every month. But now I realize, he was serious. He really does think he's too cool for all that "family crap."

I guess I should have figured this all out years ago. He kept putting off having a child, and when I finally insisted on us trying as I was facing serious health issues, getting older, and I knew the window on my fertility was rapidly coming to a close, he went along with it. But now that I can't have a baby I think he is relieved and the truth is coming out. He never wanted any of it. 

He wants to be the cool guy, the artist, the musician. Seen the movie Juno? Yep, that's me, and that's him. I rented that movie in a hotel room when it first came out (I travel a lot for my job), and it freaked me out. Literally. 

So, now that I am 40, do I leave my husband and pursue having a child on my own? That's not quite the picture I had in my head... single mom in her 40s. And now I am a high-powered executive, so I'd have to quit my job I guess, so how would I do it on my own?

How did I let this happen?

Sometimes I am angry, and I mean in an absolute rage.

Sometimes I am so sad that I actually fantasize about dying on a business trip. Quick, painless, and most of all, over.

But most days I am just numb. Going through the motions, working myself into the ground everyday at a job I hate to pay for my big beautiful empty house. 

And off he goes to band practice. 

kikiD kikiD
36-40
22 Responses Feb 17, 2009

oh, god, we're living the same life!

There is not a lot to be gained either way. I left after two miscarriages and my ex was worse. Vicious opinions about traditional family life. I tried ivf once on my own. $600 for ***** off the internet... Couldn't afford IVF again. Plus, it was a sad experience to know I had to leave my husband to fully experience life. So confusing. Still alone. I could foster, can't afford adoption, and am mourning the life I never had. It is lonely, upsetting, and I am ANGRY, but there is nothing I can do about it. I can only accept and move on. 41...

You should really move on & start a new life with another man. You are young enough to have a baby & should try while you have time...

wow i was hoping to hear some good news but basically my options are to choose between my man and a child-that is as likely never to happen anyway.I feel like even if i accepted that we wont have kids and stayed with him,..that i will just spend the rest of our life together resenting and blaming him. doomed :-( it is nevert he less really good to hear other peoples stories !! thank you all for sharing!!!

After 3 years of battling infertility, my husband wanted to quit. He decided that we were in our early 40's and were too old to have babies. We were both tired. I gave it a few months then, brought up adoption. He was simply done. It has taken a while to not be angry with him over the decision he made for both of us. I chose my husband and he is my family to the end of days, children or not. I chose also to be thankful for his love and cherish it. I chose to not be angry over not being able to have children. Holidays make me sad sometimes and I'm sure I'll always have some sadness in my heart over our loss but, I am so thankful my husband is here to give me a hug! I find a lot of peace in prayer and meditation. God is my rock!

I would give all of you a baby if I could, but sadly, I can do two :(...let me kno if you want me

wow, if I could help you i certenly would, I would have to have invitro, if you can find a father thats interesting, I would be happy to help.

Thank you for sharing your story. I am in a similar situation, except that my husband is great and overall we have a good relationship. But is that worth giving up the possibility of ever becoming a mother? I never thought I would be in tis situation.

Oh, how I empathize with you. I saw your posting and I cried. My husband has a daughter and although I love her, I am 38 and childless. I am so full of resentment that I want to implode. And I am a teacher, so I have to take care of everyone else's child all the time. I love my job, but it's killing me emotionally. I wish I had the strength to leave. I haven't yet because I will have no help getting pregnant (man) and I will miss my step daughter terribly. It is always on my mind, though. I feel for you. You will resent him for the rest of your life. Adopt alone. Do something for yourself. I am heading down that path and I think in the long run it will make for a happier life. Pain now, joy later. Or anger and resentment forever. Your choice. Our choice. It's hard. But I think you already know what to do in your heart.

Let me say this: you women have the right to have children. It's something you dreamed of your whole life, something you feel very viscerally. I have always been a nerdy loner and knew it would be hard to find a husband, and I figured I'd have kids myself if I didn't meet someone by 36/37. Then I did meet someone in the nick of time, who changed his mind after getting married! After a lot of tears, mishaps, and problems, we did (luckily) have a baby. But I had to consider whether I would leave him. Eventually I realized that yes, I would. I didn't want to get really old and realize I wished I had a kid, and he could leave me at any time and go on with his life. He also can be a very mean person sometimes, which may make the difference. He wasn't worth giving up kids for. I don't have a big family, and so creating my own new family was important to me.<br />
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To the person who said that God has plans for those who can't have children: Excuse me, but if a woman wants children, she shouldn't be made to feel bad for not adopting (which is very hard, expensive, requires a lot of social worker visitis, and isn't as easy as you think; there aren't tons of children out there waiting). She shouldn't be made to feel satisfied with just volunteering. There are lots of immature, cruel people who can get pregnant easily - is that God's plan too? A responsible woman can't get pregnant once, and you have teenagers aborting? Doesn't make sense. <br />
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A child is not like a car or some other material possession. It's a person to raise and love. Most people have kids without effort, and no one questions their desire. To have it taken away is devastating. And losing triplets - I can't imagine it!!<br />
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So for anyone who came to this site because you're in a similar situation - I understand your heartbreak. Figure out how important children are to you. Can you bear turning 50 without having had them? Or do you want to do whatever you can to have them? Donor eggs and embryo adoption are expensive but pretty successful. If you can save up your money or beg on the 'net for donations, maybe that's the way to go. Maybe if you tell your husband you are going to leave, he'll have to concede. Maybe if he sees how devastated you are, he'll understand. This is your dream.<br />
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Just wanted to validate the fact that any woman has the right to want children. Again, they're not a material possession - they're something the heart craves. You deserve to be a mom if it's in your heart.

Let me say this: you women have the right to want to have children. It's something you dreamed of your whole life, something you feel very viscerally. I have always been a nerdy loner and knew it would be hard to find a husband, and I figured I'd have kids myself if I didn't meet someone by 36/37. Then I did meet someone in the nick of time, who changed his mind after getting married! After a lot of tears, mishaps, and problems, we did (luckily) have a baby. But I had to consider whether I would leave him. Eventually I realized that yes, I would. I didn't want to get really old and realize I wished I had a kid, and he could leave me at any time and go on with his life. He also can be a very mean person sometimes, which may make the difference. He wasn't worth giving up kids for. I don't have a big family, and so creating my own new family was important to me.<br />
<br />
To the person who said that God has plans for those who can't have children: Excuse me, but if a woman wants children, she shouldn't be made to feel bad for not adopting (which is very hard, expensive, requires a lot of social worker visitis, and isn't as easy as you think; there aren't tons of children out there waiting). She shouldn't be made to feel satisfied with just volunteering. There are lots of immature, cruel people who can get pregnant easily - is that God's plan too? A responsible woman can't get pregnant once, and you have teenagers aborting? Doesn't make sense. <br />
<br />
A child is not like a car or some other material possession. It's a person to raise and love. Most people have kids without effort, and no one questions their desire. To have it taken away is devastating. And losing triplets - I can't imagine it!!<br />
<br />
So for anyone who came to this site because you're in a similar situation - I understand your heartbreak. Figure out how important children are to you. Can you bear turning 50 without having had them? Or do you want to do whatever you can to have them? Donor eggs and embryo adoption are expensive but pretty successful. If you can save up your money or beg on the 'net for donations, maybe that's the way to go. Maybe if you tell your husband you are going to leave, he'll have to concede. Maybe if he sees how devastated you are, he'll understand. This is your dream.<br />
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Just wanted to validate the fact that any woman has the right to want children. Again, they're not a material possession - they're something the heart craves. You deserve to be a mom if it's in your heart.

I feel life has short changed US...I am married 27yrs and when we married it was to start a family...have children, I was 27 and my husband 30. Well that was in 1983, and we tried and tried. Went thru all the tests, ME first, then they started on HIM...basicly, they said there was NO ***** count at all. My husband went thru 2 operations, the second very painful. THen still nothing. I had artificial insemination from a donor for almost a year two or three times a month...well this all went on over a 2 year period or so. I finally decided to give it a rest...they couldnt find anything wrong or a reason why I wasnt conceiving....now also back then w/the whole AIDS scare my Dr. suggested frozen *****...after awhile I said well the donors must be shooting blanks too !!! We took a summer off, I'll never forget, I could not take the anticipation of waiting each month to see if I was pregnant or not. My husband wanted a child as much, as I and was willing to try most everything...now mind you health ins. did not cover any of this, at all, and there was no invitro fertilization then....we were writing equity checks from our home that we were only in a yr or so to pay doctors....So, by the time they started talking adoption, the fees, we were so tapped out...I just said NO....I am now 56 and some days it still hurts so much I cant stand it....and NO, Im not all that hopey hope stuff....somehow lately, I feel I got gyped, cheated.<br />
I was a good Catholic girl, NEVER EVER was pregnant in my life no abortions...matter of fact my periods were so regular it was sick....Funny tho, for ME it just hurt too much to work with kids....my path in life has led me to work with the elderly...it use to be part time...after retail got to be too much....now I work a full time job w/senior citizens...I mean a 92 year old couple, everyday...before that many, many other women, men, mostly Alzheimer patients...*my newest ones are not* and it is SO VERY rewarding each day...So I guess you never know what paths in life your going to go down or learn from.. I would never have chose this one, but it's going okay...p.s. altho, if someone dropped a infant, toddler, even a teen off I'd love to care for them....I guess Im just not going to go looking for that, or pay for it !!!!!!

Kiki you are such a strong person. When reading your story I feel like we could be married to men who just want women to support them financially. I met my husband when I was 29, he broke up with me when I was 30 but ended up together again when I was 31 because I loved him. He didn't marry me till I was 35. Of course I didn't realize he didn't care if he had kids. I should have asked him during the precana seminar but thought some day we would have kids. I was always busy working, going to bars, listening to bands with my husband that it never occurred to me to have children. Until I was 40 and got pregnant. I found out during my pregnancy that my baby will have down syndrome. I was devastated but my husband and I finally decided on having an abortion. That was 2 years again and now I am 42. My husband seems to have sex with my right after my period and if I am lucky maybe twice a month. All he does now after work is watch TV till it is time to sleep. I am so frustrated that I don't think It is worth it being married anymore. I know it is not the same with what you went through and my heart goes out to you. Have you found support groups for people who can't have children? If you do please keep us informed.

Mem22 - - - <br />
Wow. And more wow. It was awhile ago that you posted, so I don't know if you will even see this message ... but I hope you do. I have many tears in my eyes after reading your words, as your story is almost identical to mine. You are the only other person I have heard yet that believes as I do in the strong relationship before children ... precisely BECAUSE I believe SO strongly in the importance and sanctity of raising children. I am 41, and my 30s disappeared too - - - as did my marriage to my high-school sweetheart at the tender age of 21. If ANYONE had told me I would not get married again until 41, and would not have children, I would have never, ever believed it. I don't know if I was just so stunned from the infidelity (his) and pain of my divorce that I subconsciously picked ridiculous - although sexy and exciting - men to try and have relationships with ... for I spent many years doing that. Then, I meet the love of my life, who just happens to be 14 years younger than me ... and simply, plainly, does NOT want to have children. I could spend lots of time explaining all the various reasons for this ... but, it doesn't matter. I primarily end up trying to share that b/c it is so crazy for people to believe some people don't want children - but some just don't. And, I, of all people, should know better yet, I really did believe he would change his mind. After all, he married me, and he was set against that before we met. I figured - especially after seeing the uniquely loving and caring ways he babies our puppy - he would grow up a bit and recognize how important family is, and the blessings and joys only children can bring. But, now, we are just in this freakishly painful place ... full of conflict and confusion. We are simply and completely not understanding each other. He is angry because - and it's true!! - I knew he didn't want kids when we got married. That is a fact. I knew it. And time and again, it hits me (usually after my friend has a baby, or I have to once again try and explain why we aren't going to have children, etc...) and he is just plain old done with me and my pain over this. He doesn't have any empathy for my loss of a dream. I have tried to explain that it is precisely because I love him so much that my desire to have a baby with him is so intense, but it falls on deaf ears. And, while I wish I could, like you, revel in the intimacy and wonderfulness of our relationship, I can't see past the loss at this moment. We are doing all the things I hate to see in couples - sarcasm, superficial conversation, going through the motions, innuendo and indirect communication. I honestly feel as if I don't know him right now ... I usually describe him as the most loving person I know, but I don't know who this person is anymore. Insult to injury, my mom (as she would always do while I was growing up ...) said she needed me to call her back when I would be able to talk without crying because she is not able to understand my words. She has always dismissed me - one way or another - when I am upset. 41 years later and this hasn't changed. I could call my sister, who is crazy about kids, but she will just not get it either - really. Even though she is a hard-core Christian, she would rather see me bail a relationship that doesn't support kids before she would have me work at it ... a strange contradiction. Often, I can sound as positive and level-headed and accepting as you do in your comment, but right now, I feel as if my honesty about my pain is crushing my previously solid relationship, and I am drowning. I feel beyond hopeless in this moment - and that is always the worst place for me to be. I am glad to see your peace, and hope I may one day get back to that place.

hi -- i feel your pain, i really do. i'm now 42 and because of a few missteps and then the loss of someone close to me, i lost my thirties. i've finally accepted i won't have children but am not yet okay with it. i never imagined i'd be single and childless but here we are. all i can say is that compared to some of the things i've experienced, losing this opportunity isn't the worst. i've seen people i love die young and remind myself that what i now have to get used to is nowhere near as painful. you will find peace with this. you'll need to have people in your life who are in the same situation, that's the best thing. a support network of other childless women will help you see that you can build a happy life without children. <br />
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one thing i should say is that it was always very important for me to have a good relationship first, and then a child ,i hoped, would be the product of that. i've come to realize that's a tall order and that very few people who do have children have a great relationship too. the divorce rate is as high as it is, in spite of the fact that most married people have the children they think they want. i think it's easy to look at that life from the outside and imagine they have something you don't, but intimacy and a rich, full life come first. if you are one of the few who is fortunate enough to work that out young enough that a family is possible, then you have it all. i just don't see that happenging very often. you are missing one thing in your life that you wanted very much, and that's painful. but you don't have to give up on the other things that make a good life. wishing you the best of luck in finding peace with this.

Well...let me tell you that when we finnaly gave up fertility treatments and thought the option of adopting my husband also didnt want to know anything with the idea..I thought the posibility of leaving him...I picturd my self alone,adopting a child and it didnt work in my idea of a family..then Ithought,okI will find a new partner d will adopt with him...didnt seem toeasy...After all those thoughts I ended staying with my husbandand ...must admit,some days Iask myself how I ended up here...those days I get furious...otherones I thank life for having him with me.<br />
I now the healing stp comes...sometimes it justcomes and goes...jijiji Big hug!!!!!

I came to this site to read other's who have had/are having the same kinds of experiences that I am, and I have to say that I too appreciate the honesty.<br />
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It seems like the other comments are from women, flowery and "hope-hopey", but I think you have the same inner anger that I do. It (all of it) doesn't make sense, and you are pissed off. Not only having to deal with the loss of a child, the loss of a dream, and the loss of the husband that you thought you had. <br />
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Forget about resolutions and resignations. Just feel what you are feeling; say what you want to say, to whomever you want to say it to. <br />
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Impotent anger. I'm not sure if we men handle it better or if women do, but out of the responses you've seen so far, let me be the one that says, "go ahead be angry if you want to be, if that is what is inside you." The healing, the next step will come, but let now be now.

I'm sorry to hear that your husband wasn't honest with you. Take some time to decide what you really want in life. Only you can make yourself truly happy, no one else. Since I can't have children of my own and adoption is too expensive, I recently decided to sponsor a little girl, Elisa, in Mozambique. She really has given me a sense of purpose.

Thanks so much for the ideas (I went online today and started searching for volunteer opportunities), and for your kind words and encouragement. It's so helpful to me to feel supported and understood, more so than I ever would have even expected when I decided to share my story on this site. It's empowering to give voice to how you really feel inside and share in total honesty with a community of people who just flat GET IT. <br />
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Anyway, thank you both. <br />
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Namaste,<br />
Kiki

Kiki~ You are such a good person, and I salute you for baring your feelings! It is awful when we are deceived by one who we think wants the same things out of life. My wish for you is this " Whatever you wish for in life, that is what I wish for you"! You have a good heart, and having a child is something you have always dreamed of. You've been through alot, but don't give up your dream. Don't look back, knowing what could have been. Since your husband is one sided, and not willing to be there for you, perhaps it's time to move on with your life. You sound like such a strong woman, you can be the female exec, and have a child too! I've seen it happen many times. It will be a little bit of a balancing act, but it will be the most rewarding experience of your life! Take some time to get away a bit, by yourself; some place tranquil and write down all the things you want, and you can have them. Who says we have to have a spouse to validate our life? There are so many newborn children awaiting adoption, who need a loving parent! Do you want a boy or a girl, or both? A perfect case in point, the movie " Mamma Mia". Women are very strong, nurturing individuals and you have alot to give. All your EP friends are behind you, and here for you! You are still so young, so do what makes YOU happiest! I applaud you! Any time you want to talk, just stop on by. (((HUGGGGSSS))))

BTW, travel to another country to help. If hubby does not care, i wonder if he would care for you in your old age. Men who act like this trouble me. Who did they think raised them!?

hi. I have long thought God has other plans for people who cannot have kids. There are so many kids in the world with no roof over thier head, no food, no parents. I had never planned to have kids to help other kids. Fill your heart with the joy of giving to other children. Whether it is donating time or money or caring for a foster child. you still have the love of a parent. try loving a child who has no parents. i hope it will fill your heart with such joy.