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bcmckeehan, Social Worker
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 2
Experience:  Clinical Social Worker Associate, licensed with the State of California
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I have a dilemma that I have grappled with. I apologize

Customer Question

I have a dilemma that I have grappled with for years. I apologize for the length.I turned 38 in September. I have been undecided about children and have been since my late twenties. I knew that I didn't want to have children with my then-husband because I didn't want to be connected to someone whom I wasn't happy with. We were married for 10 years. I hadn't met anyone whom I'd willingly have a child with. Then I found my current boyfriend (he's 45), and despite both of our online dating profiles saying that we were undecided about them (and I have the screen shots of both of our profiles in case there was any question in the future about what was on there), he has made several anti-children comments during the 20 months of our relationship. We have lived together for a year, and the end of April will be our second anniversary. He is a good 'dad' to my five pets who moved in with me last December.His unmarried older sister (lives 35 minutes away) can't stand children, but I'm fairly certain that his parents long to have grandchildren. Neither of his siblings have children, and neither my brother (older) nor my half siblings have children.I finally meet someone I want to share my life with, and who treats me well, and this is what I get. I don't know if I would be able to take care of a child successfully. I am educated, but I can barely take care of myself. I have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and many symptoms that are associated with them, little income from my VA disability (I am waiting on my hearing date for my Social Security disability determination), and little social support locally, but I thought it was open for discussion. His parents live about 40 minutes away from us and they are ages 66 and 72.So far, the best reason not to have children was from my 60 year-old friend who has been with her husband for 44 years and married to him for over 20 years. I think that she is a well-adjusted individual. She said that she had an extremely dysfunctional upbringing, and has spent the rest of her life dealing with the damage. It would be like drowning, and still having to try to save someone else. She gets along really well with kids and has the benefit of being at a distance, so she can see what their parents cannot, and help them out.I know that many people have children for the wrong reasons e.g. to have something to hold and nurture, the expectation that they will take care of them when they are old, that's just what you do after you get married.This evening when I was talking to my boyfriend about my women's issues (heavy menstrual bleeding, painful periods), he asked about a hysterectomy a bit too eagerly for my liking. :( I paused because it's a delicate subject. What I wanted to say was that I don't want to eliminate the possibility of having a child with you, but I said, "I'm kind of young for that," even though I know that I am not.Years ago, I researched reproductive specialists to pay out of pocket to be tested. My medical insurance did not cover fertility testing unless the couple had been trying to conceive for at least 6 months. My thought process was if I was infertile to begin with, that could help me avoid even going down that path to begin with.I'm not sure how to make the decision and to broach the subject with my boyfriend, and am seeking guidance. Thank you in advance.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  bcmckeehan replied 1 year ago.

Wow, that is quite a dilemma a lot for you to consider. The first issue is your health. Can yo physically and emotionally care for an infant and a child in general? Have you been a caretaker for a child in the past? Have you considered fostering a child? There are over 300,000 foster children in the US who need a home at any given time and it sounds like you are a very compassionate person. Honesty with your boyfriend sounds like the best option. Coming from a place of your feelings. For example, you might say something like, I am feeling like I have finally met someone who I can conceive the idea of having a child with; however I am afraid of my ability to care for a child. When you foster a child, you have the benefit of substantial resources at your disposal to help manage the care for a child. You can also try being a respite care provider to other foster parents or volunteering at a preschool, which will give you the epxerience of parenting a child, but from a slightly different perspective.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your quick response. Wow...I wasn't aware that so many foster children in the U.S. That's a lot of people who were not prepared to be parents.In the past, I have babysat for children as a teenager and an adult, and have mentored children. I usually did okay if the child had a good temperament. The difference is that I could give them back and wasn't responsible for their care on a long term basis, day in and day out. I have a low tolerance for human feces and vomit, but I was told that it's different when the child is your own. During the past several years, I have read Facebook statuses and messages from friends where they are venting because they are sleep-deprived and stressed out, among other things. But then I also see the the posts about the good times. I think that a part of me wants to see a better reflection of myself, and have that connection with the man I love. (We actually haven't told each other that we love each other yet. I don't have a problem telling him first, but I have a huge fear that the feeling wouldn't be reciprocated, although his mother has told me that they (his parents) love me and consider me as part of the family. His actions have shown me that he loves me, and I try to show him with my actions. So the topic of marriage has not come up yet.) My 60 year-old friend once told me, "He already has a child - you! :)" She has a point.Something else I should have mentioned was that I rely on two antidepressants, and cannot function without sleep. Sleep deprivation was different before fibromyalgia; I could recover from it then. My anxiety and depression started a year or two after my mother remarried. Both of my biological parents and my step father came from financially stable, but abusive households. One if my fears has been that I wouldn't break the cycle.I have cared for my pets their entire lives because I made a lifetime commitment to them (my oldest is 14). Pets are more independent, though.The older I have gotten, the more pressure I have felt about this. No individual has pressured me, but I feel it nonetheless. My boyfriend's parents have been married for 49 years. On the other hand, my parents divorced when I was 4 and my brother was 14, and life with my mother and step father was unhappy most of the time, primarily because of my step father.