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Hi Dr. Robert,

I am 37, married and from Montreal, Quebec. My husband and I have been together for 8 years, married for 4. He has a son--now 19--who has always lived with us.

On our second date I asked my husband-to-be if he wanted more children and made it very clear that I wanted a family. He said, yes.  Time passed and no babies. Each time I would try to find out what the problem was it became a fight. Long story short, he has been very clear that he did not want us to have any kids. I finally conceded. But, I can't do it. I want to have a family. So very recently I have made him aware that I have a decision to make. Either I leave and do this on my own or find someone else to have a family with or. . . .  Now he says he will do anything to save our marriage, even have a baby. Everything about this feels wrong. I don't know what to do.
name withheld,

Montreal, Quebec.

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© 2007 Robert Saltzman


Since you want children of your own, and because you know that for purposes of child-bearing your biological clock is closer to midnight than to dawn, I can understand how you might be feeling rather desperate about this. And I understand that since your husband does not want to father any more children, you have found yourself considering other options, including ones that would end the marriage.

I really don't know how this can be worked out, but I feel very strongly that you must not allow your husband to impregnate you with a child he does not want just to "save the marriage." You say that "everything about this feels wrong," and I agree completely. It feels wrong to me as well. No one should become the father of a child to save anything, but only because the child is wanted by that man. I have already had in therapy several couples who followed the path of having child to "save the marriage," and all of those marriages were unhappy ones, with the child often suffering the consequences--first the consequences of feeling unwanted to begin with, and then having to live with a couple of unhappy adults as parents, or else to watch his or her home break up in a resentful divorce. Please don't do it.

Sorry I cannot suggest a way of solving the larger issue--that you want the family to expand, and your husband does not.

Be well.

On this topic, the May, 2010 issue of More magazine which has on the cover actress Jamie Lee Curtis, has an interview in which rather private Jamie Lee went into details about Janet Leigh's (her mother), failed marriage to her father, Tony Curtis:

"By the time I came along, following my sister, Kelly, by two and a half years, my parents' bond had deteriorated precipitously as their stardom grew. And like any other save-the-marriage baby, I failed.

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