Ask Audrey: 'My husband backtracked on getting his vasectomy reversed'

Audrey Griffen
Contributor

Audrey is a mother to a 15-year-old with another on the way. She probably should have taken into account who she was marrying (Osher Günsberg) much earlier, as she’s far more comfortable behind the camera as a freelance hair and makeup artist, than a TV host’s wife who doesn’t know how to work her angles for any on-camera duties.

Audrey loves to cook, decorate cakes, gardening, DIY and is very handy with a flat-pack, few of which you would pay her to do for you, but she’d happily give it a shot for free.

Audrey dishes out the advice for a woman who's husband of seven years has cheated on her. Photo: Supplied

Dear Audrey,

Given your own experiences and family, you may be uniquely poised to give advice on this!

My husband was going to reverse the snip so that we could have our baby. I have no kids, he has three sons to two BMs (18, 14, 8)... He knew I wanted kids and said he wanted to have a kid with me and that I was the first person he actually wanted to have a kid with.

We saw a specialist about the surgery and have all the paperwork, we hadn't done anything as we've been away and just busy with work. I'd mentioned filling in the forms a few times but we never got around to it. So eventually we actually fill out the papers... he signs but then does a total backflip and says he told me he didn't want another kid (no he did not).

This all boils down to him associating having kids with bad relationships. He feels like he was forced into having the three kids he has (all unplanned, doesn't regret them or love them any less). I was shellshocked, gutted, I feel betrayed.

Our relationship has had this in the picture for two and a bit years since he told me about the snip. I was scared enough about pregnancy and birth but now I feel totally alone.

He's since said he wants to do it (have a baby) for me but I don't know that I can do it if we don't both want it. I hate always living in the shadow of two women who really broke him. Decisions he makes and fears he has are not because of anything I do, they're because of his previous relationships and the issues they had.

He's afraid having a kid will mean he loses me and we lose what we have. I had this (possibly unrealistic) idea that because we have something so good it would be even closer and better with this, and that we are already "parents", particularly with his 8yo so this wouldn't change things between us as much. Perhaps this was naive but I honestly thought having a baby would bring us closer together.

I'm at a loss. I choose him above all else but I am devastated and heartbroken. A truth I thought we had has been splintered into a million tiny pieces. It doesn't help that it seems everyone on my Facebook/Instagram has little kids / babies or is pregnant.

Thanks,

Step mum

This step-mum is upset her husband has gone back on his word. Photo: Getty Images

Dear step-mum

The heartbreak surrounding your situation is palpable and I really feel for you.

To have discussed having a baby with your partner and feeling like you’re both on the same page, only to realise that they have more deep seated doubts than you realised must have come as quite a shock.

It’s not uncommon and we often hear others in similar situations, but until we’re in it ourselves can we fully understand the impact it has on a couple. Suddenly having to wrap your head around the idea that your partner wasn’t on the same page, that your hopes of having and raising a child together are in question, and that you are now in a position of choosing between the needs of your partner’s or your own… It must be heart-wrenching.

Osher and I went through a somewhat similar situation. Osher didn’t feel the need to have a child of his own. He was more than happy to be Georgia’s step-dad, and like yourself, found being a step-parent incredibly rewarding.

Secondly, the way he felt about the state of the world (global climate and political issues), the thought of bringing a child into that negated any paternal desires. He was always in two minds about it. On the one hand, he’d love to share the experience with me, and on the other, he was concerned about the idea of what kind of world that child would be born into.

Audrey is pictured here with her husband, Osher, and her daughter, Georgia. Photo: Getty Images

At that stage, after our wedding and about two and a half years in, I’d say I was pretty ok with his decision. While raising a child together would be wonderful, I didn’t want us to be doing that if we both weren’t on the same page.

I did put a caveat on the final decision though. If we were going to have a kid, I’d like to have given birth by the time I turned 39 (our due date is 11 days before my 39th birthday so we’ve just scraped in!) No real reason apart from the fact that the age gap between Georgia and the new bub would become more and more vast, and my tolerance for lack of sleep would decrease in equal but opposite measures.

Over time, it was a topic that we discussed fairly regularly pre-decision, but it didn’t have much pressure behind it. That doesn’t mean there weren’t tears, and sometimes anger and confusion, but in the end, we just kept talking.

We’d discuss what our lives looked like with a child, without a child, the impact on Georgia, our lifestyle, our relationship. We tried to be as realistic as possible, give reassurance where needed and some big reality checks too. I believe that what made the most impact was that Osher did a lot of work on himself over this period, facing his fears around having children and seeing if they were valid or actually in relation to something else. It took a lot of introspection but he came to view bringing a baby into this world as a source of hope, and not of fear.

The step-mum said she disappointed and still wants a baby of her own. Photo: Getty Images

While your feelings of devastation are perfectly normal considering what you are going through. It would be very easy to slip into resentment and lash out at your partner. And if it were me, I’d find it very hard to let go of that sense of betrayal from being lead to believe something to be true, then having that belief shattered.

However, I don’t think this means you have to give up on the idea of being a mum with your partner. He sounds like he believed that he was ready to have a child with you, but upon facing the reality of it, was shocked back into that place of fear and uncertainty which he seems to be coming from now.

You can recognise where these fears originate which is a great first step, and discussing them with him might really help to dissect them. Reassurance alone may not be enough to help him see that your relationship is different to the ones in his past. Let him know that having a baby together will change your relationship, that there will be times where you feel like you lose each other and are just solely focussed on the baby. Let him know that the fact that you are both able to openly discuss this together is just another indication of having a different relationship than his previous ones. And allow him to be honest with his feelings, as well as you with your own. You don’t seem to have been putting pressure on him as such, but it sounds like there was an underlying mounting pressure for him the whole time. Hence why it took so long to get those forms signed.

Counselling would help your partner a great deal if he is willing to see someone about his past relationships and how they’re still having an impact on him, and you. One thing I know from experience is that your emotional baggage has a nasty habit of finding you wherever you are, until you’ve spent some time and done some work to unpack it. At the very least, it becomes lighter.

If the honest chats and counselling still leads you both back to this same place, which I hope it doesn’t, then you’ve got two options left to you. You’ll need to be really honest with yourself about whether you can accept not being a biological mum. You may come to the conclusion that you are ok with it, that your desire for having a child doesn’t exceed the happiness you get from the relationship with your partner. If you find that the desire for a child is greater, or that you can see it as being a sticking point for you in the future, you will need to either work on moving past it, or unfortunately leave your partner. The resentment and anger that will naturally build and spill over into your relationship would be so damaging to you both, adding to that emotional baggage.

I sincerely hope that with a bit of time, support and honesty that you find a resolution together.

Best of luck!

Audrey x

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