Is it wrong to decide not to have children? to deal with parents desperate to be grandparents?


Long story short–I had a type of ovarian cancer last year that caused me to have a complete hysterectomy. I’m 31, DH 42. We’d been TTC for a couple of years, finally went to a gynecologist for help, and found out why. I’m fine now, there’s a very low risk of recurrence.

We looked into adoption, took all the foster/adoption classes, completed our homestudy. Towards the end of the process we started thinking that maybe adoption wasn’t right for us, for many reasons. We’re definitely not ruling it out, but we’re trying to pray about this and figure out what God wants of us. Is it morally wrong for us not have children? Are we being selfish by not expanding our family? We are planning on keeping up our license so that we can keep our options open. I’m just praying that God will show us what He wants us to do with our lives.

DH and I are on the same page with this. It’s my mom that’s becoming a problem. I talked to her again today and she brought up how she wants to have grandchildren. A few weeks ago she started crying about this. I appreciate her desire to be a grandma, but how can I make her understand that this isn’t her decision to make? It’s not like I chose to get cancer so that I can’t have kids, or that we may not adopt, just to spite her.

It’s so hard. I’ve always had such a good relationship with my mom, I don’t want this to come between us, but it might. I know that I can only control myself and how I handle the situation; I can’t change her. I just wish she would try to see our side. It always becomes about her–her wanting grandkids. DH and I don’t factor into her equation. After talking to her today, I’m really depressed. It makes me not want to talk to her or see her, because I know that this is going to come up and ruin our talk or our time together. I’m really resentful that she’s placing this burden on me.

Thanks for letting me rant. I just don’t know what to do. Any suggestions or prayers are appreciated!


No advice… but just wanted to offer my prayers for you and your family.


Does you mom cry every time she sees you? Does she demand that you adopt? Or has the whole thing of seeing her child go through cancer and then the sad fact that she might not ever be a grandmother just gotten to her?

Just a thought, and a hug for you while you get through this.:console:


No, it was directly related to the grandkid issue. I have two younger brothers, one of whom is married, so she probably will have grandchildren. She’s not demanding that we adopt; it’s just that it always seems to be about her and not about us.

I do feel like a moron, though. She has had a really rough year. I got diagnosed last May, then my dad got diagnosed with prostate cancer in August (thank the Lord, his surgery was successful, and he’s doing fine!) It’s been a hard time for all of us this past year. I honestly hadn’t thought about her grieving process for what I have been seeing as my life. I hope I haven’t come across as a selfish twit!

Thanks for the prayers, Em, and thanks for the post 'Burbs; you’ve definitely made me rethink this. It’s not like I was going to cut off contact or anything (I’m way to close to my family for that), but I’m going to be praying that God will show us his will for us, and give me the strength to be more patient with my mom.


Perhaps the two of you could find something special to do toghether? Volunteer together to teach a CCD class at the Parish? At a Children’s hospital or at a crisis pregnancy center?

Helping others is a great way to heal.


I am so very sorry this has all happened. Infertility is a heavy cross.

Aurora, I am sure this took some getting used to for you. And I suspect it will take some time. Perhaps it is the same with your mother. Especially with all that she went, both you and your father’s illnesses must have been very worrisome, if not downright frightening to her.

I do not really have any advice, but only wish to extend to you that there are people here echo respect you and will pray for you and your family. :slight_smile:


No it is not morally wrong if you choose not to adopt. Not everyone is called to be adoptive parents. That is it’s own special calling.

While I agree your mom may be doing some grieving, if you cannot talk with her rationally and tell her that it hurts you when she goes in to the “I want grandkids” speech then you are completely justified in telling her the topic is off-limits.

To evaluate her actions, have you looked at how she acts in other areas? Is it all about her all the time, or is this something out of character for her? If it’s like this all the time, then set your boundaries and stick to them-- this topic is off limits. If this is unique, set aside a time to talk to her and kindly tell her that this topic is hurtful and you would like to refrian from it, and also that it’s your and your DH’s decision so please don’t bring it up again.


No, you’re not doing anything wrong at all! You and your DH are discerning whether or not you are called to adoption and while your mother may be extremely intrested in the outcome of that discernment, it is not her decision to make nor is it one she should try to pressure you to make.

Like a PP said–she may be overwhelmed or just very eager for you to experience the joy of children. However it personally struck me as rather selfish on the part of your mother to be pushing you to adopt without respecting your wishes. After all you are the one who went through the cancer treatment, you are the one who had to give up the dream of having biological children as a result, and you need to be the one deciding when or if to adopt because you would be the mother…not her.

I wouldn’t avoid your mother without sitting down with your parents, your husband, and you. Tell them that you and your DH want to be 100% positive about adoption because you think a child deserves that and you will let her know when you get to that point. Explain that this is you and your DH’s decision and she needs to respect that. Tell her you are so happy she wants to be a grandmother and she may very well get that chance, but she needs to be patient and stop pressuring you.

If after all that your mother still acts like that, I’d limit contact with her because she’s stepping over the caring line and becoming very interfering.

Just my :twocents:

Infertility is a very heavy cross and you shouldn’t have to deal with your mother trying to make you feel guilty or pressured as well…:hug1:


I think this is between you, your husband, and God, and grandma is not part of the process, although how you are going to make her understand this, I just don’t know. YOu will just have to say, “We are going to trust in God to give us children, by some means, if that is his will, so please, if you love us, stop putting the pressure on, you make it 100% harder to bear than it already is.”

If her action in this matter is of a piece with her attempts to control you or others, or other parts of your life, I guess you need more and deeper help.


And I should add that, like everyone else here, except the cruel ones, choose not to adopt is not morally wrong. You have clearly investigated it and prayed and considered it and have, at this time, come to the conclusion that it is not for you. There is nothing wrong with that.

May God grant you and your family peace.


It may sound cold, but you should live your own life and tell your parents to do the same. It’s not right for adult children to have to work for their parents’ approval throughout their entire adult lives, and parents who expect their children to please them are controlling. As long as you’re not shiftless, alcoholics, drug users, or living a life of sin and/or crime, you should be golden in their eyes.


Good grief! You’re a cancer survivor and your mom is pressuring you to have grandchildren? If my DD had survived cancer, I would be so grateful to have her in one piece (or even without some pieces) that I would never THINK of such a thing.

Sweetie, you do NOT need to live your mother’s life. You and your husband will decide whether you are “selfish” or whether the Lord has something else in mind for you.

I am a parent. Trust me. Your mother is not thinking straight.


This is unique for her. She’s not normally a controlling person. It’s just when the topic is her potential grandchildren that she gets wierd. When DH and I were TTC, she would bring it up. I finally had to tell her then that we were trying, it just wasn’t happening. I just need to sit down with her again. I’m just not used to it, so it’s tough!

I really hope I haven’t given the impression that my mom’s some kind of controlling freak. That’s not the case at all, she’s really my best friend. That’s what’s made this all so difficult. I don’t know why it’s having grandchildren that makes her get all wierd, but it does.

I do have to clarify, too, the question about us being selfish is not something that she raised. That’s something that’s been going through my head. It’s just so wierd to be in a position where it’s actually OK to decide whether or not to have children. We don’t want to make the decision lightly or for selfish reasons. That’s all I was asking about.


It does indeed sound like she is grieving at your loss of the ability to conceive. Perhaps you can have a quiet private, mother-daughter talk. Maybe what you both need is a good cry together. (But then I am a man so I think all women solve problems by crying. :shrug: Sorry, just trying to inject a little humor here. )



Personally, as a moderate Anglo-Catholic, I see nothing wrong with choosing to not have children.


sounds right to me, she is probably grieving your whole illness, I imagine she thought she had to stay strong for you during that time and maybe never had a chance to acknowledge her own feelings and to grieve properly for this loss. the heart to heart talk will help her understand that you are coming to terms with your difficult situation, and that in turn will help her. she is probably trying to express a sense of solidarity with you, letting you know she feels and understands your sense of loss, but has trouble separating your feelings from hers. cry or not, your call, but let her vent, get it out, lay it on the line for her. if she knows how distressing her attitude is that may help her get over it.

I do understand the weird never-a-grandma thing and can’t explain it, anymore than you can explain your situation to anyone who has not gone through this.

bottom line as always: Trust in God, totally
if you are meant to adopt somewhere down the line, you will both (you and your husband) know it with conviction at that time. If not, you will both be shown what direction your life is to take.


An update–she sent me a text today apologizing for the pressure. She said she just loves us (her kids) so much that she doesn’t want me to miss out on that experience. I understand what she’s saying. There is something so special about having children that I can’t even begin to understand. I thanked her for her concern and for letting DH and I work this out on our own.

Puzzleannie–that’s exactly what we’re trying to do. We’re not saying no to adoption, but just not right now. Thanks for your advice!


As moms we have a picture of how our children’s lives are going to go (boy are we wrong sometimes!) and our place and role in them.

When something like your illness – and I’m very happy to see you’re doing well – happens to drastically alter that picture we have to grieve the ‘life’ we have lost. That is probably what your mom is going through and I’m glad she made the effort to express it and that you’ve realized she means no harm.

That said, I don’t think anyone should be made to feel they have to adopt, or have a child, to fulfill their parent’s dreams.


Fulton Sheen said that everyone will be called before God and asked where there children are. He meant that everyone is called to have children, whether spiritual or physical or both and to try to get them to heaven. Love begets you know.

So if adoption doesn’t seem to be the way God is calling you, then ask him to show you your ‘children’ and what you should do with them or for them.

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