Here is my situation: I have never kept my dislike of children a secret from my wife, and with the exception of a brief period of time during our engagement where I thought I had changed my mind on the subject, I have always been plain about my desire to not have children. From my perspective children are repulsive and disgusting annoyances; a lifelong burden of responsibility and the forceful mandatory re-arrangement of priorities. I have significant trouble being around them, and God help you if you try to make me hold a baby, read to them or change a diaper. These are all personal and selfish reasons of course, but I could go on and on about practical reasons for remaining childless, the most relevant are being financial and maturity-related. I have tried, time and time again, to explain to my wife the need to reduce spending on impulse purchases for non-essential things; that the reason that we live just a little past paycheck-to-paycheck lies in all the household knickknacks that occupy every flat surface we own. It is rare for me to come home and not find some new houseplant or kitchen gadget, newly purchased with no discussion prior, lying on the table. We just purchased a home in June, and are still getting adjusted to the mortgage payment and the high cost of heating oil. Conventional wisdom suggests keeping enough savings to weather several months of unemployment; we routinely pay off bills the day we get paid, and maintain less than $200 in the checking account until next paycheck. A financial safety net is a luxury I have never experienced with my wife. Maturity-wise, my wife was an only child and had a childhood full of getting what she wanted, with a mother who was more of a friend than a parent and an easygoing father who was always quick to bail her out of any mess. “It’ll be fine” is my wife’s answer to most problems, which typically means that it’s time for me to step up and deal with whatever new catastrophe life has thrown at us. Despite this, my wife is convinced that being a mother is her calling, even though we can’t afford for her to be out of work for any amount of time and that she is completely unprepared for the emotional and physical trials and tribulations of pregnancy and childbirth.
So recently, she made it known to me that she had missed her period, taken a pee test and had a “pregnant” result. She had recently discontinued using her birth control (not my idea, and one she did not discuss with me) and contraception fell entirely to me (we had always “doubled-up” before, with her pill and condoms). A 99.8% success rate doesn't mean much when you happen to fall into the 0.2%, which in no time at all is what happened to us. As you might have guessed already, I urged her to consider abortion as an alternative to a lifetime of strife and ruin. She was not receptive to the idea – neither of us are religious by any stretch of the imagination, and she had previously claimed to be pro-choice, so I was surprised to learn that she already considered the lump of cells clinging to her uterus to be a person, and to prematurely remove it to be unthinkably cruel. It is still very early in the pregnancy and a non-invasive medication-induced abortion is available at minimal effort, yet without her agreement it might as well be illegal.
I am stuck on what to do now. On one hand, I love my wife and when I vouched to stand by her side, whatever may come, I made an ironclad promise that I will never go back on. On the other, I am convinced that we are unprepared for the responsibility of a child and doubt that I will feel anything other than resentment for this kid from the moment I lay eyes on it. I know most people don’t feel this strongly negative about kids and I already know I must be a wretched person for feeling this way (just another reason I shouldn't be a parent & role model), but unless my wife changes her mind, or if she has the miscarriage I find myself already wishing for, I don’t see a way out of this future filled with misery and failure. I am at my breaking point and all I feel is despair and dread.
I feel completely alone with these thoughts that have tormented me since the moment I saw that positive test stick. I can’t think of anyone I know who would understand or approve of my position on this. This world is filled to the brim with people and pain; like it says in The Princess Bride: “Life is pain…anyone who says different is selling something.” Who am I to contribute to that? Doesn't it say enough about me as a person that I would wish for my wife to miscarry; that I shouldn't subject a child to the failure of me as a parent? Right now I would give anything for me to be infertile but a vasectomy was something my wife wouldn't approve of when I suggested it years ago. I apologize to everyone out there who has difficulty trying to conceive – I’m sure my “curse” would be your blessing.