What would you do? Husband has cancer do I have a child?


This is probably a personal dilemma that each person would handle differently and I believe there is no right answer, no clear answer, and definitely no "one size fits all." My husband and I were planning to have a child then he got cancer. We're in our 40's so knew it wasn't going to be easy. All child bearing plans were put on hold the last 18 months during his surgery and treatment. He is not terminal, but it is likely the cancer will recur. The future is uncertain and we're not getting any younger. Would you just care for your husband and focus on your health and making the most of the life you have? Would you bring a child into your life at this point knowing that maybe he/she would never know their father as being strong and healthy? My mom has AD, and husband's parents both passed so the child would never know grandparents, but younger members of extended family would be in our lives. Those who easily had children, I hope you know how lucky you are. Please be kind with any replies. Thank you.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing


Gingermay, there is always so much emotion around childbearing but many people do not have to go through your situation.
You and your hubby both want to have a child. It will bring your husband so much joy even if it turns out he is at the end of his life.
One thing you must realize is that the decision to become pregnant is not really ours. That is left to powers greater than ours. Whether you are a believer or not it is something none of us can control.
You are both in your 40s which carries greater risks to the mother and child. It is often not very easy to become pregnant. This has no bearing on hubby's health.

Are you capable of caring and supporting a child and yourself as a single parent. Likewise could your hubby care for a child if something happens to you especially if the cancer returns. Do you have someone close to you who would raise your child if neither of you was alive. It sounds as though both sets of parents are out of the equation. Are there aunts cousins etc who would provide a loving home.

Having raised all the negatives, the decision is yours and hubby's alone so follow you hearts but set up as many safeguards as possible. Have you considered life insurance for yourself.
One last thought is to consider banking some of hubby's sperm so if the worst happens you still have a choice.
A child born to loving parents is the greatest gift of all. Blessings.

Just putting this out there....my dad was 42 and had a disability when I was born. Though we didn't play baseball or go hiking together, we had an intellectual and emotional connection like I've never had with any other person. He died when I was 32. I still miss him like hell, but I was never blind to how old he was, so I was prepared to lose him when I was still young. And perhaps it was because I was younger and fitter then, or perhaps because my stepmother and I shared the work, but I never felt burdened by his care needs either.  (Not so the case now with my mom, now that I'm 50 and caring for her on my own and constantly want a break.) 

GingerMay — Bless you and your husband. Such a hard time. Do stop thinking of what other people may/not say. This is a very personal choice between you and your husband. If you’re ready to be a mom and he a dad, go for it!! We have 6. They get expensive, but goodness, they are fun! I’m 45, hubs is 50. I’m too tired and out of shape to have another baby, but if it happened, I wouldn’t be sad. ❤️ Hugs and much love to you. ❤️

Ginger May,
     I’m sorry you have been going through this,  and I am sorry you felt the need to ask for kindness from this forum. I think everyone on here wishes to be helpful and to ease the suffering of those who come limping on to this website, but sometimes our good intentions don’t come across in print.
      There is a saying in Spanish “El hombre propone y Dios dispone”, which loosely translated means that mankind plans, but God determines the course of events. I believe it comes from Proverbs in the Bible. Of course we plan, and try to make sensible decisions for our future, but ultimately, we are not in control. 
      I could say that this is what I would do in your situation, but even though you have given us some background, we are not in your situation and can only guess at what we would do. I agree with other posters that I would detach myself and my husband from anyone else’s opinions as to whether you should have a baby or not. Bring the question back to the two of you and let go of others’ opinions or even what you think they might think. I go by the adage “whatever you think of me is none of my business”.
      Once you have made this decision truly personal - between you and your husband, you might be able to see more clearly. Maybe this was your plan to have a baby, but now circumstances have altered those plans and desires. Maybe you are emotionally drained from the cancer ordeal. Has his cancer treatment hurt his ability to father a child?                                                                    Or maybe your heart’s desire is still for a child, but fear of the future has taken up residence in your present. So the cancer could come back, and you both are in your 40’s. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Having a baby is an extension of your love for each other. It is an act of faith. Having one in your situation just requires more. Your husband wants to be a dad and you want to be a mom. ..........  May God grant you wisdom and peace daily.

Thanks Countrymouse. I guess it's something about limiting the amount of space we allow others to occupy in our heads, especially if what's coming from them isn't very good. Anyway, yes I am fine. While I don't have everything I want, what I do have is indeed blissful.... yes, blissful. My health, the love of the best man in the world, a good job and pretty home. Even with the subject of my post here, I do feel very luck and blessed. Thanks.

"At this point, whichever way it goes we will be misunderstood for selfishly having a child when we're older/ill - or for "choosing" not to have kids when actually it's not anything I would have ever chosen. "

Right. Listen carefully. One thing you DEFINITELY need to do is stop giving a monkey's what uninformed, uninvolved people may or may not be thinking.

More seriously, you do sound very despondent. You okay? - generally, I mean.

Gingermay, I do feel for you. Man, I hate cancer. So unfair. I really do detest it. I am impressed with your thoughtfulness. It is a personal decision, but, I would follow what I really feel is right for me. You sound like you have given it a lot of consideration. I'd try not to concern myself with what others say. It's your family and I'd focus on having peace from within. I wish you all the best.

I can see your dilemma.

I can only state that my 5 kids are the absolute light of my life. The 5 best and most wonderful achievements of my life. And my hubby's.

Not to say that these children did not bring with them all kinds of trials and problems, children have a way of doing that.

Nobody can guarantee you a perfect life--well, you know that! When my DH was dxed with Primary Liver Cancer, these kids rallied around me--and I knew I could very likely lose my DH, but I had such wonderful support in my family, I would have been OK.

Was it easy to go through this? Of course not. Life is NOT easy. But then end result is that my hubby received a liver transplant, but will not have a "normal" lifespan, most likely. I have love and unconditional support in my kids.

We have set up our long range goals and finances in such a way that our kids will NOT have to care for me as I age. The women in my family live forever. I assume I will reside in some kind of long term care facility---and my kids can be as much a part of my life at that point as they chose.

We also are blessed with 14 amazing grandchildren.

You are right: the future IS uncertain, for all of us. You seem realistic about your husband's prognosis, and are aware you could be alone for many years. This decision is one to take seriously, but I can firmly state that w/o my kids and grands, my life would be so empty. I know when DH was waiting for a new liver, and he was getting to the "almost too late" stage, the thing that kept him going was the LOVE that we had created and nurtured in our family.

Gods Bless you in this choice.

Thanks for being kind and for your replies. I'm pretty sure if we pulled the trigger, I'd be pregnant quickly with a child or perhaps twins. I know my husband wants to be a dad. I'd love to be a mom.
At this point, whichever way it goes we will be misunderstood for selfishly having a child when we're older/ill - or for "choosing" not to have kids when actually it's not anything I would have ever chosen.
Cancer is a thief I suppose in many ways. It takes actual lives, but also takes hope of futures. I am on a road not many have traveled. Yes, I have found support for the emotional aspects of this situation and it is what keeps me going. Thanks.

I would like to bring up a few thoughts. I don't want to hurt you in any way by what I say, I'm just trying to think of things you may not have thought about.

You say you're in your 40's. You will be in your 60's when your child is 20. Do you think it may be physically challenging to be involved in your child's activities in your late 50's? How is your health?

If your husband gets sick again (God forbid), would it be difficult with a child making noise and running around the house?
Would you need to tend to your husband when he's ill and have to postpone your involvement with your child?

You state your mother has Alzheimer's. What will your involvement be with her when her dementia gets worse? Will you be her Durable Power of Attorney? Just by reading this forum, you know how much time and attention it takes to be a caregiver. Could you do that job while caring for your husband (if the cancer comes back) with an 8 year old?

We all have dreams about having children and how they will grow and who they'll become. We envision great things for our kids. But sometimes that doesn't work out. Sometimes our kids have physical or mental problems. My gifted child turned into a heroin addict. I'm not saying that would happen to you but would you be prepared for any type of limitations with your child?

I waited until I was 32 to have my son. The medical profession told me that it would be more risky to have a baby after 35. The risk of Downs Syndrome increases drastically as the mother gets older. Were you planning to become pregnant or adopt? If getting pregnant, could you cope with a handicapped child?

What are your husband's thoughts on having a child? Does he believe he's up for it? Would you be OK raising your child on your own? Do you have a good backup system for childcare?

There is no "right" answer to your situation.
All the avenues need to be explored. You've got a big decision ahead of you. I wish you and your husband well.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.