[Contains mature themes] A woman realizes she doesn’t want to have children and comes to Esther for help expressing this to her husband, who passionately wishes to be a father. But often the stories people come in with are not the ones they take home.

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00:00:00what you're about to hear is an unscripted one time couples counseling session it contains mature themes and listener discretion is advised for the purposes of maintaining confidentiality names and some identifiable characteristics have been removed but their voices and their stories are real when we were engaged and when
00:00:26we got married we made a promise parents and family for her she shared with me she didn't want to have kids until she met me and that was really exciting and and and a great knowledge and I had in my mind was like I'm gonna do this alive
00:00:46forty five and then after forty five I'm not here as a short now like heading towards we've got %HESITATION pregnant and the like sherry also excited and then we found out for so that was really really disappointing for us he wanted to be a father you know like
00:01:11since he was a little boy and you know and he felt like maybe some regret I'm marrying an older woman and maybe you know it might not work out press I sure was there are that %HESITATION I was considering the possible leading her to find a woman I
00:01:28would want to have kids with the and then I was like well how can we make this happen you know in a more creative way and then the other day I had insight when I was like well I would be totally forgiveness he wanted to have a child
00:01:44with another woman can you repeat to you what I'm hearing and tell me if I'm getting it K. we are together nine years we are married we have a strong commitment to each other we are at the moment where one of us very much wants to have children
00:02:09or a child one of us has realized that that possibility minnow non to be the case even though there once was a shared desire about it how can we stay together and honoring your needs to have a child and your needs to no longer have a child exactly
00:02:31tell us exactly couple comes in with a story and my goal in the first session is two X. see to what extent they can leave with a different story because by the time people come in there is an implicit agreement a tacit agreement about what is okay to
00:02:51talk about and what is the unspoken and people have coalesced around of a narrative a way of describing their life there issues there conflicts their solos but sometimes they actually get come stuck there and there's a whole other story that needs to be uncovered in order to really
00:03:12deal with the issues and that's what's going to happen here this is where should we begin with esoteric her out this is a transitional moment yes %HESITATION I think I would be an amazing mother but it there's just been something resonating for me like you know like a
00:03:40very clear voice that says I don't want to be a mother anymore and then I recently had this sort of revelation and the like the possibility of you know opening our marriage and you know having a child with another woman which was very inspiring to me but that
00:04:00just feels like it's a big stretch end we got married herbal free before they were talking about okay because the plan was we would get our partnership in a firm foundation have have children and then at that point after a certain point after that then start exploring and
00:04:23how did you received this suggestion at first shock a bit of a shock for me the first reaction when I said like %HESITATION they'll be complicated communication would be a key %HESITATION yes like the thing does the things I said when you're in your late when I support
00:04:43you all yes where you'll can I mention it financially yes and that's another thing that sort of thing where we're dealing with this financially where and a loose fitting right now she has a membrane money and for some five months so money is really tight right now so
00:05:02that's where that was like okay I'm having trouble supporting us home support three plus one so there is a conversation about wanting a giant yes there is a conversation about what it means to be a father yes yes there is a conversation about what it means to be
00:05:29a mother for a chance that she would have with another woman %HESITATION there is a conversation about the economics of family life yes he had a conversation with me little while ago where he shared how important it was to be a father and that he they didn't realize
00:05:53how important it was and that's when I wanted to see how can I be open to creating this because he just spoke the truth like maybe he felt some regret marrying an older woman maybe you know we should separate so that he can do this and I just
00:06:13really felt Spain and I doubt I don't want to deprive them of something that's like a core value what was different about that conversation he was so vulnerable was and how he shared that his father was so amazing you know that you know when he was little he
00:06:40said he wanted to be a father like the way his father was in that really moved me that's what they knew that I wanted to create something out of the box because it was that movie for in the conversation that like I was really being with you know
00:07:05what being with a desire on my late K. where where that come from and then it's like looking back him and and my childhood in just and how I idolize my father it's like and how so many children out there not given such great parenting it's like I
00:07:21want and I know we be phenomenal parents that I want to give that to us to to somebody and you will manager of you have used yet is the loss loss loss yes if I wouldn't have the opportunity to be for someone else the way my father was
00:07:49from me yes lasted we wouldn't have a job which entity to share this experience together this mission lasted I wasn't able to give him something that was so important to him a child lasted I wasn't able to have my own child no statute miscarry yeah we're talking about
00:08:17boats right loss and creation and conception I think I when I miscarried I don't know if I really totally Kreeft and there is definitely a loss of Phil loss of like not I mean I think that's what I'm interested in doing it with another woman is I still
00:08:49want to have that experience but I %HESITATION I think I have concerns of having a child of the energy it takes in what it can do to a relationship and %HESITATION there's a part of me that in a box at that idea they do it to feel there
00:09:17has been times I've been sad about the thought of us not having a family %HESITATION dissing other I don't know they don't the shaking his head well yeah they do so set up I think I've just been trying to be positive and she created something else is I
00:09:51really don't want to let you down you know when a Lucy she has tried to deal with her loss by making it something that she didn't want so that leads to the way she has some control over the experience instead of I call it becomes I don't want
00:10:12to and so now it became more of a discussion about age appropriateness for conception which is a complete aside but she hasn't shared with him is the loss itself so she's busy seat seeking opportunities which are wonderful all kinds of wonderful podium responsibilities but the specific it is
00:10:33at this point con graft country anchor because they're sitting on a foundation that called absorbing the foundation is a reactive foundation and she's trying to immunize rather than the foundation that can absorb a new idea and then spring into creativity that's the alchemy that needs to happen in
00:10:51this session because I feel like a failure yeah anything they feel selfish right just would have us us so I get that like if you don't become a mom that you feel like you're a failure act choose that you agree with us occasionally grieve about the the loss
00:11:32of of of being a mother make you feel that's what I want it now has a make me feel it feels more real what is that it sharing with your experiences what you're going through said I put on a happy face this is a couple that is actually
00:12:07highly attuned to each other he repeats what she hears her say she summarizes it and day demonstrates a fluidity in a vocabulary that places feelings and emotions at the center the same time because they are so attuned to have actually inadvertently conspired together around a mistaken understanding of
00:12:32their central issue my sense is that subconscious ibn said thing that there's been something else there maybe because if I haunts have my own show and then I turn it into I don't want to yes you haven't given you serve the permission to say I wanted to you
00:13:03take the stance of I don't really want to type fast agents and all of these as if you don't feel need you too much since icon to have it since icon give it to him you know this is such an old fashion right icon give him a child
00:13:23that's an entire cultural system right there well I feel like I could give a child through adoption you know we could we could do that I just when I think about it and it will probably take like two years to happen and then by that point I'll even
00:13:43be older and that just sort of overwhelms me to think of having a baby when I'm almost fifty on the other hand you've gotten a few more things done in life and you more available and you more mature and you've done harder things and changing a diaper I
00:14:10think I am mother so much in my life Nick I am just known as a mother figure in in all my communities I think I have it really felt the loss because I feel like I get so much mothering express expressed the daily and so on when I
00:14:34think that is a relief you but I don't I think that covers up the covers of that size and we say so I would agree with that I'm willing to do wonderfully attuned to each other thank each of you translates the other person is feeling the need to
00:14:54tweet I believe that it's wonderful for you to parent like dead mother like that but they agree with him that part of you because you could not have your own child in a natural way fees that's there is something deficient and that does not allow you anymore therefore
00:15:14to be sat and two experienced a loss for what it is then you'll have loads of options a child you would have if a child you want it just won't happen from the place that you originally match that's okay we need to see it the self very with
00:16:09the story for we say is do it a civil I'm sorry I didn't give your child yeah give your child sorry the page where one but she didn't changing lanes she changed her mind as a way to not feel so sad or something that you don controller and
00:16:47so if it becomes a decision in becomes less a matter of biology and faith in nature and more mature of choice I mean there are women who decided not to have children but that's not your story he is the front you fell for this Mr yes if she
00:17:25managed to convince herself and you when you wear unemployed you put this entire project on hold why well I didn't feel safe it didn't feel safe for us to really go for it when we were in such a precarious financial situation yeah every night I it was like
00:17:53a the room is closed yes you know is that he said that I was like you have to get a job before we go there because I I just I was so scared and then when we had some worse security and then we we tried and it actually
00:18:14happens but that one wasn't viable in anything I was it broke apart expected I think it would be viable one of the consequences of the advances of technology is assisted reproduction and contraception never before could we stop pregnancy nor artificially create pregnancy and that's in a world where
00:18:55people are so much into their own choices and decision makings and freedom and possibilities has led a lot of people to think that it's all in their hands and that it will happen when they're ready and we have lost a little bit touch with the forces of nature
00:19:14that day off and decide for us and they decide with a force that we cannot resist you're listening to where should we begin with Esther Perot will be back in a minute now back to where should we begin what happened to me because you're always imagine just send
00:19:58thirteen the pregnant the woman is what I'm used to getting what I what I was gonna and that's when the ship with the other ones for he used to getting what I would it made I had said I would be pregnant you know by burning and which was
00:20:23the end of August we got pregnant this cycle and then nobody ever told you that if you want to make god laugh you should tell him your plans she and then if you think that you can control things that we don't control it doesn't happen the phone is
00:20:50bigger I think of Eric it with what expectation and I do feel very humbled welcome to come in our tools but also when we come to a different story because the way has begun to look at this as he wants children I'd domes but I don't want to
00:21:22deprive him so I have to think creatively how I can make that happen for him and that's off we want children it hasn't happened away and the timing that we hoped for we need to rethink how we can have children together and what is feasible for us given
00:21:48our age given our economic situation given our values etcetera smart creation rather than reaction thank you she is a very astute insight into her own process which is the word seem to be creation was in fact reaction doesn't make sense they came here thinking this is going to
00:22:19be all about getting him ready to like go for my creative idea with that realizing the joke is actually we I'm glad you caught that that is exactly where we are I am glad we are editing the story because it was off and and not true not honest
00:22:43that doesn't mean that you may not make a decision or make a choice but not because you don't feel need you too much do you agree if or to what you consider is your failing him you know I say I'm sorry I deserve for you to go elsewhere
00:23:07because I'm not worthy is what you're really saying that is not about the Emory and that is not a creative idea that has nothing to do with that on a good knowledge grief yeah you know I'm of Nasreen's state suggesting foremost then you and then we started then
00:23:28you can start brainstorming zillion idea yeah and now we can begin to make space for some of these innovative ideas as such rather than them being pain prevention strategies enough to who needs to be parented and we need a family safe harbor and there is a lot of
00:23:58people who are looking for someone to have a child with but before any of that can happen you have to change to use notion I came here you know to prevent him from leaving me in to see that's what I'm offering him miss because I have to make
00:24:15up for what I call and give him you are not responsible unknown at this these are things that that part of the life of a couple can I ask you something I have a sense that your wife needs to hear from you that she's not the lesser yes
00:24:41because she count have a child with you or at least not as of now the ways that you're going about and she's not able to believe in Denton off on her own Italy not less than my love just because we can have we haven't had a child yet
00:25:05I can tell you I can be compassion about biologically that's can come up can be perceived as a failure in society can be perceived as a as a failure especially when your mom hasn't doesn't have a great child bill you for you is what about what he feels
00:25:29okay because he's just talked about your mother and about you and the next thing is going to be the neighbor petition fingerless hi this really cared I feel like you're talking around something new something straight with me all on it is a disappointment and it is Angelus I
00:26:02don't feel mad at you or upset you or anything because as it happened yet subway is did you like wish link yes in when you say that you have regrets wearing the older will but I think that really hurt me crazy thoughts he do you have regrets we
00:26:32know I have no regrets so what the **** go I can't imagine not living without my life without you it's just so much there somewhere I heard you when they said that send more that's the question she's been home thing yeah yeah first my frustration my my sadness
00:27:19tell me what about the the frustration of trying putting attention on it and the frustration of being unemployed for two years and like feeling that though can they do enough was enough to have to like have that like when the time was like optimal to not be able
00:27:42to generate it and give me the safety that you're asking for a new but that was like for you time it's like each of you Xining crisis that you contravariant you compensate economic security you compromised children a TV team in each of you wondering a mine of the
00:28:18north yes yeah in nineteen these two years of unemployment to an extremely significant was your father and our unemployment no never that's been a struggle like sh because I feel like to them I'm not worth it to them like they failed and I failed them see more how
00:28:48is your father when you were struggling with the work how was he was he there fail were you afraid to tell him I'm not making it I'm scared I have to get up every morning and look for work and then when I'm gonna do I condone this I
00:29:06can have a child because I am come be a father because I found another provider I have no legitimacy to father who can just remembering when your last laid off and we didn't tell your parents for months yes yes your scared I didn't tell my parents I was
00:29:30laid off because instead of getting there seem to team I would get their worry that there were and I would have to reassure them about the very thing that I myself am worried about was it a worrying watch do this once you that do do do do do
00:29:49do do do do do like the little dialogue as a reference I want to go back to engineering stuff you're good at that and I feel like if I went down the path that they're telling me to do that I'm going to take part of my soul will
00:30:04get killed off I'm not doing that Tennessee something yeah is that what your dad did probably at least partially I would say you do what you have to do but if you happen to like it on the way you lucky in other ways that's life yeah that's the
00:30:25conversation like you like along the way that's that's like a bonus like their what want to go where the jobs are move all keep move around the country and like no I'm staying put this is my home and he moved seventeen times but to times did yes when
00:30:43you yeah eating then was part of why you moved so many times because he moved to where the jobs were he's never even gnosticism that question sacrifice means you don't put yourself first yeah don't put yourself first you said the danger putting myself first and you say it's
00:31:14not vanity it's sheer survival yes of the soul yes and I've seen them like they don't they don't have community where they are where they have been I mean the need they must I think they've got resigned about that it's like I don't want that for myself that's
00:31:32why you have an answer for everything they say inside of you you speak to yourself elected to there's a leech early guess who can you get pissed yes aria my senses yeah they leave me the **** alone like that tact and what do you think is the hidden
00:32:00message what's the matter with you yes and eating there's a second message where he wonders where have I failed trust under that's underneath it yeah and none of this has ever been exposed now you've never sent I need you support rather than your criticism and they would say
00:32:30we're not criticizing we're trying to be supportive yeah you're misinterpreting and you would say you make machine I feel yeah Johnston Sheridan the owners judging shame there she that you can be proud of me yes Xander's words nine years and it does on my words what I years
00:33:01should that yeah they they're not proud of me like I failed them and you should listen to and her you felt the same toward her when you went on working yeah I felt it wasn't enough for you for us for the potential child what we get here is
00:33:34an inside an entry into one of the most our cake cultural legacies about manhood and mass community you're being a material provide your ability to your self worth is determined by your capacity to take care of your men have been known to commit suicide when they no longer
00:34:02if I'd to shame order tried that is wrapped around that aspects of their identity as men Jerry's across so many countries and throughout history super frustrated to get pissed at yourself yes you and expressing the oldest stories of men and you're expressing the older stories of women I'm
00:34:36not enough because I'm not providing materially enough because I'm not providing children you thought you were progressive yet if I don't provide for you mission stay with me a kind of a man in my if I could give you children you should stay with me what kind of
00:35:00a woman in my this is the subtext of what you are both saying to each other this is a new thought for you yeah like on a conscious level then I want you to make it more conscious put this in your own words now they have not been
00:35:17enough to provide for myself and for you and for a child I have a feeling as a man so now she has a question for him that he's not asking which is the same one that you asked for do you still want me despite all it would be
00:35:48with her good hand of here is a provider I would never leave you then you eleven good enough here where the good good enough you see the more you talk the more you are making a crack in his self critical she helped and from that please you can
00:36:34talk about how you want to have a chat from the place in which you both know that you're there for each other and going to be with each other when you calm conceive or when you compromise have a nice empty space yeah how is this conversation it's good
00:36:56to have it be clarified today helped me see that I had a hit in conversation of grief and not being enough that I can now give voice to them to share about it and and to allow myself to feel the grief when it comes up versus trying to
00:37:16just fix it because I hate I don't want to create what's next on top of that you know he has as a partnership we can not you know co parent with someone else with those two conversations happening here those conversations happening either and %HESITATION I think the value
00:37:42of today it was you uncovered something we weren't even looking at on both sides you know we were both looking to compensate so just give us a lot of clarity your transition to parenthood has started it's easy to imagine that the transition to parents would starts when people
00:38:10expect to chide but in fact the transition to parents would begins when one starts the process of expanding one's identity when I say to them child you will have if a child you want it is something that I learned in working with a lot of couples who were
00:38:30struggling we didn't for teaching because the hopefulness of having children is that you can bring a child into your life you may not bring your child that is biologically yours genetically years that even you give birth to but you can raise a child you may have to go
00:38:47to a series of morning trust to seize and grieving and acceptance of opportunities that you won't have but that didn't open the door to other opportunities that you hadn't considered may not be your biological child in a given beer genetic child to be a child you would raise
00:39:11for whom you would be to parents xterra trail is the author of meeting in captivity unlocking of Roddick intelligence and her new book this state of affairs rethinking infidelity both are available in audible the more episodes of where she began to unravel dot com slash S. there and
00:39:37if you're interested in being a part of the series or to sign up for us there's newsletter go to Esther Parral dot com where should we begin as an audible original production produced by living in that and even wash over for Houston sound designed by Paul Schneider recorded
00:39:55binary go a copy our executive producers are Estero and me Jesse Baker Eric museums are big box and we couldn't do this without Lindsey recounts ski Jim Cullen and most of all the couples who share their stories with us we would also like to thank Andy gaze Vanessa
00:40:15Harris don hall Brooke team Beverly see lush around Morgan Lynn Bartsch Norman pride that treaty Amanda Dechert Alexandria Solomon Joe and Christy Marquesas Liz Taylor and John Manulis Dan savage Julie stupor and Christopher Johnson Lea Hernandez Annabel bacon this is audible

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