So, you’re dating a man with kids. Things are going well, and you start to envision a future with him. One night at dinner, you ask him if he is interested in having more kids, confident his answer will be an enthusiastic, “YES!” The response he gives you is not only unsettling, but also something you had never imagined before…
“I have had a vasectomy.”
You start to sweat. You’re not sure which direction to take the conversation, so in an effort to play it cool, you respond with, “But that’s reversible, right?!” He responds with a blank stare. Not knowing how to move forward, he responds, “It can be, but…”
The “but” is the turning point. The “but” is what women cannot comprehend. If the man you’re dating has a “but” at the end of that sentence, prepare for many emotionally loaded conversations to follow.
My husband told me from the beginning that he had a vasectomy, and had no plans to reverse it. He was direct. While we were dating, I knew with certainty that if we were to get married, my stepdaughters would be the only children I ever had. He asked me repeatedly if I would be okay with that… and just like a woman, I always responded, “Yes, of course! I love your kids!”
You see… a woman’s brain is complicated. Much of what our brain does is beyond our control, I’m sure of it. Anyway, despite how direct my then-boyfriend had been, I still was certain we would have kids one day. I knew that once he saw how good I was to his kids, and how good of a wife I was, he would be itching to give me a child of my own. I knew he would fully understand a woman’s strong internal need to give birth to a child, and I knew he would do his part to make my dream a reality. I knew that he would also want an “ours” baby… one that looked like us and had our traits. He was such a good father, and I knew that he secretly wanted another child- with me.
Boy, was I wrong.
Through the ups and the downs, I have finally accepted the fact that I have given up my ability to bear a child, all for the man I love. This is a hard, lonely road to be on, and if you have found this article, maybe you are on the road with me. I’m here today to share my perspective.
5 Stages of Grieving your Husband’s Vasectomy
Of course, he will get his vasectomy reversed! He doesn’t mean it when he says he doesn’t want to have any more kids. He thought he was done having kids with her… but now he’s with me. Of course, he wants to make me a mother! He is such a good Dad, he secretly wants more kids… he’s just too afraid to admit it!
Why does she get to share something with him that I never will? Why wouldn’t he want to have a child with me?! Does he think I’m not good enough to his kids? Does he seriously think being a stepmom should be “enough” for me? There’s no way he honestly thinks that could fill my void, right?!
I will get up every time the baby cries in the middle of the night. I will be the primary caregiver… he won’t even know the baby is here! If he gets his vasectomy reversed, I will let him buy that boat he’s had his eye on. I will let him sign a paper that he would not owe child support if we were to divorce. I’ll do anything!
Why doesn’t he think I’m worthy of being a mother? Why am I not good enough? Why will she always have- and continue to build- memories with my husband that I will never have? I am disengaging as a stepmom… it’s too much to handle. I don’t deserve to be a mother, anyway.
Our life is pretty great as-is. We are far more blessed than others. I can make a lasting impact on my stepchildren. My husband recognizes the sacrifice I made to be with him, and helps me carry the burden when I am feeling down. My stepchildren need me. I fill a unique role in their lives that no one else can fill.
This grief is not about him or her… it’s about you. As you work through the stages over time, you will realize that reflection and perspective will make all the difference.
Coming to terms with a decision you knowingly made- like marrying a man who directly told you he would never be able to give you a child- is hard. But you know what’s even more difficult? Doing it alone. Lean on your support system… your friends, family, and of course, your husband. They may not understand what you are going through, but they can certainly help you come out on the other side.
If you haven’t made it to the acceptance stage yet, just know that you are enough. You can live a long, happy, fulfilling life without having biological children.
For those who have hit the acceptance stage, know it is still okay to grieve at times. This void will always be with you in some form or fashion… it’s all about how you choose to live with it and move forward.
PS: It’s true you have a unique role in your husband’s life that no one else can fill. This is the metaphor that changed my perspective on being a stepmom.