Marriage Then Children Or Not And Otherhood

by Yvonne Chase on April 20, 2014

I love my husband still…13 years later…I love him. He loves me.  He wants children.  I can’t have children and I don’t want children.  If I really love my husband the way I say I do, I have to leave him because he is meant to be a father.  And then I have to think about how am I going to watch the man I love have a baby with someone else.  It feels so devastating! Chenoa Maxwell

Breath Of Fresh Air
That’s the story of Chenoa Maxwell on the new reality show Love In The City on OWN.  Oprah and her team got it right this time.  I really like this show so far.  It’s being called the new modern Sex In The City and I totally get it.  Cast members Bershan, Chenoa, Kiyah and Tiffany have been real friends for many years just like Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte.  They’re helping each other navigate life and their genuine friendship and love are a breath of fresh air to watch.

children

I’ve Never Wanted To Have Children
While watching tonight’s episode, I could totally relate to Chenoa.  Let me tell you something about me; I’ve never wanted to have children. Nothing about being pregnant and childbirth have ever appealed to me.  I think pregnant women are beautiful I just never wanted to be one of them and somehow I knew that at a very early age. Furthermore, the pain associated with childbirth scares the crap out of me.  I want nothing to do with it and cringe at the thought of it!

I Felt Like A Laboratory Rat
In addition,  I’ve suffered from severe endometriosis for many years. I’ve had at least five laparoscopies, a D&C, countless ultrasounds and cat scans…I’ve taken all sorts of medication, done acupuncture, lived at the nutritionist office and changed my diet repeatedly to find relief. There were times when I felt like a laboratory rat because doctors were just trying stuff and nothing worked. It began to disrupt my life. My speech teacher in college told my mother she should take me out of school because I was disrupting her class.  She’d had just about enough of the ambulance showing up to scoop me up off the floor and haul me off to the ER.

Still No Baby
Like Chenoa, I used to say I wanted children to avoid getting the side eye and because according to her, “That’s what you’re supposed to say to fit in.” That’s why she said it.  You’re supposed to say you want to get married. You’re supposed to say you want to have children. Something is wrong with you if you don’t want those things.   I could easily have been Chenoa. She’s been married 13 years and can’t get pregnant.  I’ve never been pregnant and honestly don’t think I could get pregnant. Chenoa and her husband Carlyle have tried fertility drugs, invitro, acupuncture and endless visits to nutritionists and still no baby.  He asked her for a separation because he wants a family. God spared me that heartache and for that I’m thankful.

Come About By Choice
I’m reading the book Otherhood by Melanie Notkin where she talks about her journey as a single woman desiring marriage and children.  Kiayah can relate to Melanie.   She’s forty and is looking for a baby daddy, not a husband, unlike Melanie who says, “Often, a woman’s involuntary childlessness, such as mine, is misinterpreted as having come about by choice.  In fact, I’ve always envisioned motherhood as part of the romantic wholeness of marriage and family and in my mind, it still is inseparable from love. Without one, I haven’t had a chance at the other.” Otherhood is a term used to describe single women of a certain age who want marriage and motherhood yet are approaching the end of their fertility.

Childlessness Is Fundamentally Bad
She continues, “The one thing a woman cannot do without scrutiny, without being made to feel less than, is to aspire to have a family while waiting for love.  The latest studies show that even as progressive lifestyle choices gain acceptance, nearly 40 percent of Americans still think childlessness is fundamentally bad.  The independent, childless woman does not feel like a qualified member of the social order but rather is made to feel hopeless, hapless and just plain ol less than everyone else.”

Sparing You That Additional Heartache
Here’s what I believe and to steal Oprah’s words, know for sure, if I were supposed to have children, God would’ve provided a husband because for me, unlike Kiyah, having a baby outside of marriage is not an option.   I’d like Melanie and other women to embrace this thought. If you’re a woman of a certain age who wants to have children yet there’s no husband or prospect in sight, maybe…just maybe you’re not supposed to have children or like Chenoa, you can’t have children and God is trying to spare you that additional heartache. Remember, just because you want to have children, doesn’t mean you can have children.

Something to think about…

What say you? Have you ever been made to feel less than because you don’t want children? Must every woman want to have children? Is something wrong with a woman if she doesn’t want to have children? Do you think childlessness is fundamentally bad? 

Here are 2 things I’d like you to do now:

1.  Leave a comment below

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

AwesomelyOZ April 21, 2014

I was pregnant out of wedlock at the age of 19 and I’m not regretful of that, could it have waited? Yes, without a doubt and I encourage others when I encounter them in a desperate frenzy to have kids to do so however, my son is the greatest treasure but on that same note I feel God intended for me to have that child. My son is the most amazing gift and will one day be a great contribution to society however, do I want more kids? I’m on the fence. I have a partner but I’m not sure we want that responsibility – should I get pregnant we’d keep of course but right now I’m 50/50. It’s a decision you have to be 100% for and like Chenoa claims she’s being selfish – that’s great as long as you are aware and don’t have kids on that mentality. Be selfish but on your own terms. Don’t bring kids into the mix if you’re still feeling selfish because they end up paying the price – just be selfish, there is nothing wrong with that. Kids prevent you from being 100% selfish and that is when resentment can grow. Whew great topic definitely have a lot to say on that matter. Have a great week Yvonne and never feel bad about being sure of what you want! -Iva

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Yvonne Chase April 21, 2014

@Iva,

I don’t feel bad at all. So many women want to have children yet never check to see if they can. I’ve never seen or heard of such high levels of infertility. Something must be in the water!

Selfish or not, Chenoa can’t have children. She and her husband have been trying. Its not happening. Plus she doesn’t want children which creates a huge problem. They could adopt however, that may not work for either. Her husband seems to want his own child created with his own seed and Chenoa doesn’t want children. I wonder how much of this was discussed while dating. They’re in a tough spot!
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Kimberly H. Smith April 21, 2014

I am in love with this show too, Yvonne! I don’t know if you saw my blog post about it before it premiered. I tweeted about it the night it first aired and Chenoa Maxwell favorited it. I was ecstatic! This show is unlike all the others. It’s on Oprah’s network and these women have real deal life issues that professional, strong, empowered women battle everyday.

I have always wanted children. And when I was faced with cancer on the eve of starting a new family with my husband, I was crushed. Thankfully God cured me and blessed me with a child. Along the way, one of my closest friends supported me through it all. She has never wanted children and I applaud her for knowing it, owning it, and not making any excuses for it. Why bring a child into this world when you know it’s not what you want? The pure irony is she’s an educator and is passionate about working with kids.

Thanks for sharing this post on Traffic Jam Weekend!
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Yvonne Chase April 21, 2014

I missed your post Kimberly. I’ll have to go find it and comment.

Yea, I’m in love with this show. Watching it makes me want to move back to NYC. Chenoa and I exchanged a few tweets about it today. I’m in NY right now and I just might stay. Been loving the city!

I love the warmth of their genuine friendship. They’re real friends not four women thrown together to act like friends. Just found out a colleague of mine is the Executive Producer.

Like your friend, I love children and I’m passionate about enhancing their lives.
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Wilma Jones April 26, 2014

Yeah, I felt some kinda way when I watched that show the other night. I am a divorced mom of two sons, but I never really was pressed about getting married or having children. Although I am glad I did both, I can only imagine the pain of really wanting children and not being able to conceive. I understand her husband’s perspective, but somehow it feels cruel to me. He’s giving up the love of a woman he’s shared life with for 13 years. That’s the part that hits me the hardest. Stopping by from the SITS Girls. http://www.LivingHappierAfter.com
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Yvonne Chase April 26, 2014

Wilma,

Yea…that hit me hard too. I wonder how much of this was discussed before marriage. Many women marry assuming they can have children then end up like Chenoa. Khloe K comes to mind and so does Giuliana Rancic who ended up using a surrogate because she just couldn’t get pregnant and on the way found out she had breast cancer.

Is there something in the water? I’ve never heard of such high levels of infertility among women of childbearing age. I think every woman should find out if she can have children…find out if all the plumbing is working before she gets married.

Chenoa’s husband is in a tough spot because he wants to have a child of his own which is wife cant give him. My mother always says, you can’t get blood from a turnip so…
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karen April 26, 2014

great post, so thought provoking. I think this all goes back to women being women’s worst enemies. We fought so hard for women to be given rights and treated with respect and then all we do is attack each other…it saddens.

I think every person must do what is true to them, be themselves. It doesn’t make a women less then if they don’t want to have kids then it makes a women less then if she chooses to be a working mom.

The worst choice would be doing something you know you don’t want and spending your life hating your choice and taking it out on your loved ones.
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Yvonne Chase April 26, 2014

Amen to this: “The worst choice would be doing something you know you don’t want and spending your life hating your choice and taking it out on your loved ones.” Well said!
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Sonya April 26, 2014

I think it is ok not to want children. Women should not feel bad about not wanting children. I love being a mom, but I know it’s not for everyone. Stopping by from the SITS Sharefest.
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Yvonne Chase April 26, 2014

Its perfectly okay not to want to have children. Every woman that wants to have children can’t have children. No one should be made to feel bad about a personal choice.

Thanks for stopping by!
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Yulunda April 26, 2014

I LOVE It! I have several friends, including my sister who presently do not have children for various reasons, nonetheless, they are not mothers.

I am a mother and have never made them feel any less than me, in fact, at times, I have envied them.

We all love one another and respect one another and understand that there really are different strokes for different folks and it is all good.

Besides, they enjoy time with my children often and equally enjoy returning them to me. We all make up the Village.

My heart goes out to Chenoa at this point in her life!
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Yvonne Chase April 26, 2014

My heart goes out to her too. To be forced to leave a great marriage because you can’t give your spouse what he wants must be one of the hardest things to do. I’m sure they will figure something out.

And yes, different strokes for different folks. God has an individual plan for all of us and his plans are perfect! He doesn’t make mistakes.
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catherine gacad May 7, 2014

yvonne, i was like you. i actually never thought of myself as a mother, never envisioned having children. my husband is the driving force behind us trying to have a family. now that i’m two weeks away from my due date, i’m freaking out, but feel totally blessed…as if this is what God wanted for me.
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Yvonne Chase May 7, 2014

Catherine,

I am so happy and excited for you. I’ve been following your journey and praying for you every step of the way. I do believe that is what God wants for you and I can’t wait to meet your beautiful bundle of baby.

Blessings to you and Dean.
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Ellen November 4, 2014

Will Carlyle really be happy married to another woman who can give him children? And how will he approach dating? Will he insist that she prove her fertility first? Because if not, there are no guarantees that the next woman he commits himself to will be able to give him a biological child. Only God knows that for sure anyway.

I wish that he and Chenoa could have found it in their hearts to adopt in starting a family, but I guess it really came down to the fact that she really didn’t want children after all, and he desperately wants a biological child.

I wish both of them happiness and success going forward!

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