“… Two days before she died, my wife (of 43 years) said God was punishing her, not for her lifetime smoking habit, as I expected, but because she had taken birth control pills for 20 years without my knowledge. Worse, she had had two abortions without telling me! Of course this completely blew me out of the water. I told her I forgave her, but that’s not really true...”
This heartbreaking letter, written to Slate’s agony aunt, Dear Prudence, shows what can go wrong when two people with differing ideas on children get into a permanent relationship.
Whatever were they thinking getting married without discussing children? When one party in a relationship wants children and the other does not-that’s a deal breaker.
We will never know the full story. Maybe she wanted kids at first then changed her mind. Maybe she feigned a love of kids just to get married to him. Or did he lie to her saying he didn’t want kids and later changed his mind, pressuring her to have kids? We will never know.
But what I know is that what she did was wrong. He wanted to be a father and she denied him, snuffing away their children’s lives.
However, it is not the first time I've heard of a situation where one partner in a long-term relationship secretly tampers with his or her reproductive organs to avoid pregnancy.
A friend of a friend came to her in tears after finding out that his wife, a mother, had chosen to abort their child without telling him because she thought they could not afford another child. The husband was devastated and the couple's marriage was never the same again.
Read our #dignifieddivorce series to learn more about issues around divorce
This unacceptable behaviour is not limited to women alone. Some men have been known to have a secret vasectomy to avoid having a child with a partner who is ready for motherhood.
This kind of behaviour is definitely unfair. Honesty is always the best policy. If you love someone and they want children and you do not, the loving thing would be to let them go. You will never give them what they want.
When an unplanned pregnancy occurs, embrace parenthood. It might be hard or inconvenient but you will live with clear conscience that you did not deny your child the precious gift of life.
How would you feel if your partner secretly did something to prevent a pregnancy?
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