She Wants a Baby But He Doesn't

Q: Last year I met and fell in love with a man online. We had an instant attraction and were very compatible, except for one issue: I desperately wanted kids and he didn't want any more (he has one from a previous relationship). For that reason, we decided to stop seeing each other, but we stayed in touch and found ourselves dating and breaking up a few more times. We are right for each other in every important way, except this one. Is there any chance I will be able to convince him to give me a child? Could I ever just be content to help him raise the one he already has? Do I give him up for good and try to have a baby on my own? It all feels so unfair. --Nancy, 41

Dr. Susan: If you've known for a long time that this man doesn't want any more children, he's not likely to change his mind. Having one already, he knows what it takes to raise a child, and he has made up his mind about this. I would recommend you stop trying to convince him otherwise.

Now, as to the unfairness of the situation, sure, it is very unfair of nature to give women a biological clock and make childbearing after a certain point riskier. Having a child on your own at your age involves that risk also, plus many more complications if you'd be a single parent. I don't know how old his child is, and how involved a parent he is, so it's hard to know how content you might be helping him raise his kid. Your mistake was getting back together when it was clear that your desperate desire for a baby conflicted with his decision not to have one. So what now? We all have to make choices, and those choices tend to narrow as time goes by. Perhaps see a counselor to help you determine what are your most realistic and potentially satisfying options.

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