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Loss Of A Child - Not By Death


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I have lost a child...a couple times over, and I am finally trying to deal with the grief I feel.

I have been married for 13 years, most of them very happily. After 3 years of marriage, I found out I needed a hysterectomy for some pre-cancerous tumors. Neither my husband nor I had any children; I was only 27. While I ached, my husband found a sense of relief...he was not sure he wanted children.

Two years later, my nephew, who was 8 at the time, needed a home due to behavior management. My husband and I agreed to take him in. I took it as God's plan...the "reason" I had my hysterectomy and my chance to have a family. After raising my nephew, B, for nearly 6 years, his step-dad, who had custody of him prior to my husband and I, decided he wanted him back. His reasoning was that my nephew and my husband didn't get along, which was true.

So, after 6 years, I had the only child I had ever known just snatched out from under me. I went from being a parent back to being just the aunt. At the time, I told myself that it was for the best, that it didn't bother me, that now I would have my freedom back...Well, after 9 months, I have realized that those were lies. I miss my nephew, I miss being a parent, I resent my husband for not agreeing to have children earlier in our marriage, and then pushing my nephew away.

I am 37 years old now, and I am faced with the decision of whether to remain (somewhat) happily married to my husband, knowing that I will never have children, never have a family; or leave and move on with my life in hopes that I find someone who makes me equally happy who already has children, or is willing to surrogate or adopt.

I welcome any and all advice or input...

Sincerely,

Tammy

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Guest Nicholas

Dear Tammy,

That really is an exceedingly difficult question and one, I feel personally, that only you yourself can answer. I doubt very much any of the wonderfully caring people on here could possibly advise otherwise - I couldn't imagine anyone on here recommending you leave your husband. Perhaps your closest friends (or relatives) who know you intimately MIGHT have an answer but surely not a stranger?

I hope you make the correct decision whatever that may be.

Nicholas

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This story is absolutely heart breaking. It sounds to me like you have spent a "more than normal" amount of time thinking about this and in turn, have already made your decision. Before taking any action, two things are to be addressed. First, do you see yourself ever being able to move past the desire to be a mother? Do you ever see yourself moving past the resentment toward your husband for driving your nephew away? If the answer is no, then I think the next step is clear. Secondly, I think your husband deserves fair warning -so that he isn't caught completely off guard. Ask him (it doesn’t have to be in a way that sounds as if you’re offering an ultimatum, or be threatening in any way) …just ask. Communicate peacefully. Express your overwhelming desire to be a mother and have a child of your own, and express that you will not be able to live happily until that is met. See what he has to say about it. If his ideas don’t match yours and he is unwilling to recognize your pain –or be compromising in any sort of way, again, the choice is clear.

If you aren’t happy, it isn’t to your husband to blame. It isn’t your brother’s or your nephew’s. It is yours. You are responsible for your life. For your growth and your change. You have one life, and it is yours to go through. I believe that God sends us messages in the form of a whisper to our hearts. Sit quietly in a room one day, and just listen for that whisper. Connect with yourself. Do what you feel.

And I ask, that you keep me updated.

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I am thinking that you might consider separating the decision to leave your husband from your desire for children. Perhaps looking just at your marriage will give you the answer you need. You may end up staying and doing some volunteer work with kids or you may end up leaving but it seems separating those might be a starting place...with the help of a marriage counselor even if just you attend. Just a thought. Mary

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Thank you for the reply, Nicholas. I think you are absolutely right, no one can answer this but me. At the same time, I still seek guidance, advice, and any insight that people may have, be it a stranger, friend or family member (of which I have none whom I am close to).

Thanks again, for your reply.

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@ Mary, the advice to separate my decision to leave my marriage from my desire to have a family is good advice, although I am not sure how practical since they are very tightly interwoven. My marriage and my husband are really quite pleasant, however I am not sure it is strong enough to fight this aching I feel to be a mother, to have a family, which I know is not possible with my current husband.

@haveFAITH, thank you for recognizing that this is not something I have taken lightly. I have indeed given it a great deal of thought! In answer to your questions: No, I do not think I can see myself not being a mother. The nearly 6 years I spent raising my nephew provided me with some of the best memories I have. It was like a taste of something great! Don't get me wrong, it was not by any means perfect, but nothing is! #2, Yes, I can get past the resentment I feel towards my husband for driving my nephew away. I think that is where my difficulty comes in. I know that I can get past that feeling towards him, but I cannot get past the feeling of wanting a child. My husband says he is willing to "talk about looking into adoption" (sounds like a definite maybe) however, after my experience with my husband/nephew, I am very hesitant to look at raising another child with him...especially when he is not interested in children. If my husband doesn't want to have a family, I do not want to "talk him into it" or anything like that...it wouldn't be fair to myself, my husband, or most importantly a child.

Thank you both for the response. I truly appreciate the insight and advice.

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Tammy, could it be that he simply (And please don’t take offense to this. PLEASE.) but maybe he looked as your nephew as someone else's responsibility that has been dropped into his lap? Could it be that he always knew that this child would turn 18 someday and move away to be with his “real parents” …and that built up a defense. Perhaps there could be some built up sadness of not being able to have a child of his own with you after the devastating surgery, that he has completely built up a wall towards the idea of having any “other” children. Men are different from women. They are extremely egotistical and possessive. It is something to perhaps discuss –maybe therapy can help? Maybe a child adopted that your husband sees through its birth -might create more compassion in his heart? A sense that he is his father and that is his son. But again, I don’t know if that would solve the issue of personal possession. It is just an idea I am stemming to be discussed between those that are close to you, and know your situation better.

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Thank you, haveFAITH for your ongoing communication on this topic. I appreciate your candidness; I feel like our family and those who are closest to the situation have a hard time telling us what they are really thinking and feeling. My mother in law has said that she has heard horror stories about adoptions gone bad and she is concerned for us that this may happen with us; she "doesn't really want to see us adopt." That's easy for someone to say who has 4 amazing children!!

As for my husband and his fears of a child...you are absolutely right about his seeing my nephew as someone else's responsibility. It was a bad situation all the way around and I am sure it left my husband with a bad taste in his mouth, so to speak. However, prior to us having my nephew, B, and prior to my hysterectomy, we talked about children and my husband wasn't sure he wanted them. Not, "I'm not ready"...but I'm not sure I want them... Had I known that my desire for a family was going to become so strong, I would have left then.

The ideal situation here is to make things work with my husband and adopt a child that he could love. I am just not sure if that is possible. Only he can answer that, and thus far the only thing he has said is that "it would be expensive, I'm not sure we can afford it." What price can you put on happiness?!?!?! That sounds to me like he isn't very committed to making this happen.

Again, thank you for your honesty and for being open. That is exactly what I need. You may be on to something with the idea of seeing the child at birth, as opposed to 8 years old...that may help create some of those bonds.

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I am surprised to hear that you've said his answer to this is "it would be expensive, I'm not sure we can afford it". This is not a house pet we are dealing with. It is a family! Im not sure why he does not see that, and I can see how that can be frustrating for you. If by "adoptions gone bad" your mother in law means that the child either --goes back to his parents, or parents come back looking for the child-- I can see how they could be hesitant to go through something like that again. You are in a very tough position dear, and I am struggling with you, to find an answer to give you. I pray for you tonight, I pray for you to pull through this and for there to be light on the other side of it.

Also, Tammy, at the risk of sounding completely ignorant here –have you been to the doctor to discuss any options at all that may provide even an inch of hope, perhaps a surgery of some kind –that may allow you to ever have children of your own with your husband? Are adoption or remarriage really your only two options?

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Have the two of you considered counseling? I am not sure the issue is as much about having children as it is about your marriage. If it's truly a happy marriage, how can throwing it away be a consideration for any reason?

Many people have a child and lose them...I have...it takes a great deal of adjusting. Having another child does not replace the one lost. And then too, you can raise a child all their life only to have them leave and not look back...another heartbreak. You can raise a child and then lose them to death...there are many ways and reasons you can lose a child and in my estimation, it is not the giving birth that makes a parent so much as the "being a parent" to them. You've been that and those years were not wasted. A long time ago my (first) husband had a child with another woman while we were married. He brought the child home at the age of four months and I raised him for the next three years. At that time we were divorced and I had no legal "rights" to him. His birth mother took him and moved away and I did not see him for years. Now that "child" is grown and a father himself...he is now 38 years old and a better father than his ever though of being. I couldn't be more proud of him! And he has chosen to stay in touch with me and so has his sister, that I'd developed a relationship with as well. Sometimes things work out and have a good ending even though we only got to have a partial hand in their upbringing...we got to influence to a very great extent in their formative years. One thing is great and that is that this child has you and his stepfather that both love and want him, and to my way of thinking, there can never be too many love relationships in a child's life.

Not all people are cut out to be parents. Your husband isn't sure he is, even though he's already tried his hand at it for many years. It's good to respect that he recognizes it instead of bringing a child into this world and causing them to feel unloved or deficient in some way.

Your biological clock is ticking and that is bothering you...that is something I can totally understand because I was born to be a mother even though nature didn't make it very easy. This is something you alone can decide. We can give you things to think about and consider, but ultimately, it's you that has to decide.

My older sister wanted children...her fiance did not. They broke up. A year later they ran into each other and she realized that she missed him so much that she'd rather have a lifetime with him without children than miss out on him and have children. They have been happily married now for 39 years this week and she has never regretted her decision. After seeing him around my kids when they were little, I think he made the right decision...he gets very nervous around children and doesn't know how to be around them.

I hope you give this plenty of thought so that neither of you have a lifetime of regrets...it's a hard one but there IS life without children...ask all of us old folks. Good luck with your decision!

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