- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I love my husband immensely, but I don’t want children and he does.

He doesn’t know I’m on birth control pills. I am putting up this facade, making him think I like children and want children of our own.

Before our marriage, I knew he wanted children. Initially, I did too, but over time, I have become more honest with myself, and I don’t want children. It’s even evident to me that I don’t like children. I try to entertain his nieces and nephews, but basically, it makes me sick to my stomach.

Since I initially thought I wanted children, I don’t believe I tricked my husband.

Ms. Vicki, I think having children is overrated. As women, society makes us feel like life is all about giving birth and motherhood, and we are failures if we don’t have children.

Now I’m surrounded by military wives who do nothing but push babies out like nothing, and have another one within nine months. I think my husband is buying into all of this pressure. Why do I have to fall victim to this thinking?

What do I say to my husband? I know he wants children, and I don’t want him falling prey to other women who are willing to give him a child. — Uninhabited Womb

Dear Womb,

I’m a firm believer that people who don’t want children should not have them. In this, I support you unreservedly.

As a mother of three sons, I can’t say that carrying a child for nine months or motherhood is overrated. I can say the job pays no money, and you don’t get employment benefits, perks or pensions. Conversely, what I do receive daily are phone calls and visits from three great young men who continue to say, “Thank you for being a great mother and for always being there for me.” What else could a mother ask for?

I don’t see a problem with you not wanting children, but you are making your husband think you do. Furthermore, every month he is waiting for a positive pregnancy test. You get my point.

You are lying to him, which calls your character into question. You knew before you married him that he wanted children. If you are honest with yourself, you likely knew before you married him that you didn’t. You married him anyway.

Now you are afraid he may step outside his marriage and father children with someone else? It’s time to tell your husband the truth. I know it’s your womb, but you said you love your husband. Show it by telling the truth. Also consider marital counseling to help guide you both through this communication process.

By the way, please stop trying to entertain your husband’s nieces and nephews. It won’t go over very well if you happen to get sick right in front of them. Leave the entertaining to someone else.

Reader response to a previous column:

Thank you for your thoughtful answer to the Wiccan family. I have a military ministry for Wiccan soldiers through Circle Sanctuary, one of the oldest Wiccan churches in the country, and I am writing to offer support to the family who wrote to you. Circle Sanctuary’s senior minister, the Rev. Selena Fox, is a mental health counselor and we also have a sister organization, Lady Liberty League, that provides assistance to Wiccans who need help with issues related to religious freedom and religious accommodation. I know from personal experience how much their support can make a difference. — the Rev. Paula Johnson

Vicki Johnson is a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three. Her Dear Ms. Vicki column runs in The Washington Times on Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at dearmsvicki@yahoo.com.

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