Can our love survive a childless marriage?

I’m 39, and only got married at the age of 34, as I finally found a man I wanted to commit to, and who, surprise surprise, wanted to commit to me!

I adore every bone in his body, and every word he says, and everything he does. At 24, he was certainly a toy boy, and I think that my level of sophistication was something that attracted him. He also said that I’d make a great mother, which touched me very deeply, because having a baby of my own was always my secret dream.

My mum walked out on us when I was five, and I wanted to give a child of my own the idyllic childhood I never had. That loss of my mum, I think, caused a lot of what I now see as my “problems” although in my teens and 20s I didn’t see them as problems, just as fun times.

I have also had several bouts of Chlamydia, and one of something much worse, which fortunately responded to antibiotics. I was almost 30 then, successful at work as a hair stylist, and the scare put a brake on my crazy life. So I toned the act down to almost a full stop, and by the time I met my husband, I was more or less a reformed character, with my own hair salons (he was one of the few straight hair-stylists I met and pure brilliance!).

But the thing is that our big dream isn’t likely to come true. Last year, a doctor finally told me that I can’t have babies. The bouts of Chlamydia had destroyed my reproductive organs. And I’d always thought it was a pretty mild thing to have.

So, since then, five months ago, we’ve been on eggshells. Neither of us will really and honestly get this out in the open. I can feel my lovely husband slipping away. He just wants kids, as I do, and his repro system is fine. We had one round of IVF which didn’t work, and he says we just keep on trying. He’d be better off finding a girl without problems, and having beautiful bouncy babies. What do I do?

Barbara says: OK, first get into therapy. You should have done this years ago after the childhood and teen years you had. Ask your GP. Next, come clean about your feelings to your husband. He deserves to know how bad you feel about this – but don’t do this without the guidance and support from a psychologist. Also, try not to be extreme in your thinking. There are other things in life that support loving, caring relationships.

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Stay positive. IVF is often a very long process. Meanwhile go on holiday. Think about alternatives to giving birth to a child – adoption, surrogacy, fostering, for instance. None of those may be right for you, but think about them and talk about them. Be honest, warm and loving. Save this relationship.