I just don’t want to be pregnant: why I chose adoption over pregnancy

Guest post by WHanna

Eyed through hands
Photo by Mads Boedker, used under Creative Commons license.
I remember being four years old and imagining how good it would feel to have a baby come out of my tummy. I assumed my belly button would open in some sort of orgasmic ecstasy (well, as much as a four-year-old can assume such a thing). It wasn’t too long after that I realized that babies don’t usually come straight out of tummies and that giving birth probably didn’t feel too nice. That is when I decided that I would adopt.

Fast forward a few years. I joined a church, I married an amazing man whom I love intensely and I assumed that I would want to have all his babies when the time is right. We started talking about baby names, I watched beautiful home-birth videos and read profiles of doulas and midwives. But when I went off birth control we didn’t start trying to conceive a baby — we stopped having sex.

I was incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of getting pregnant. I have always been sensitive and have suffered with anxiety and digestive disorders my entire life. I stand about 4’11” and only weigh about 89 lbs. The idea of pregnancy and all the aches, pains and nausea terrified me. The idea of my body trying to sustain another life seemed impossible. I kept telling myself that my body was capable, that I was supposed to have babies, that I was being immature, that I was letting my emotions get the better of me. I even went to hypnotherapy to try to help me “get over” it.

That is when I realized that if I needed to be hypnotized in order to want to get pregnant, pregnancy might not be for me. Perhaps my mind, body and spirit were trying to tell me something that I had known all along. I wanted to be someone’s mommy, but I didn’t necessarily want that someone to come from my body.

This was a difficult realization: I was supposed to want to birth a baby. I was supposed to see my husband holding an infant that we biologically created. My Facebook and Pinterest boards were full of pregnancy photos and baby announcements. People re-mortgage their houses in order to get pregnant; TV and movies tell stories of the pain of infertility. I was the only woman in the world who didn’t want to experience the miracle of bringing a baby into the world. I was going against biology. I felt inhuman, guilty and wrong.

Then, this amazing thing happened: I told my husband that I had officially decided against pregnancy. I wanted to adopt. I told him that this wasn’t a fear that I was going to “get over.” I told him that I had looked into adopting from the foster care system, and I told him it was going to be hard. I waited for him to be sad, to be disappointed, and to cry — but he didn’t do any of that. He held me close and told me that he was relieved. Although he too wanted to be a parent (even more than I did) he had the same fears and reservations that I had. Adoption felt right to him, too.

We have applied to adopt from our provincial Ministry of Children and Family Development. We are taking courses and have a social worker assigned to us. It is happening slowly but surely. The best part is that although each step is nerve-wracking and intense, we are happy and excited instead of fearful and agitated.

We always knew that families came in all shapes and sizes. We have queer friends and relatives and we know many different kinds of families. We weren’t intolerant towards any of them but what we didn’t realize is that we were being intolerant towards ourselves. On the outside, we were the picture of ‘normal’ — white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant, working class, heterosexual. But appearances can be deceiving. So deceiving, they had fooled us. We were trying to fit our family into a box that it just wasn’t meant to fit into.

We don’t know what our family is going to look like in a couple of years but we trust that it will look just the way it is meant to. We are eager and nervous, just like any first time parents-to-be. Sometimes, I still feel like I’m doing something wrong, I don’t know anyone else in our exact situation and that makes it a little lonely. But when that moment passes, I finally feel like I am normal, natural and true to myself.

Comments on I just don’t want to be pregnant: why I chose adoption over pregnancy

  1. Before anyone chooses anything other than foster adoption, I highly suggest you search for birth mother blogs…the ones that aren’t glowing brightly about their experiences. There is a lot of coercion, both overt and direct, in infant adoption.

  2. I actually really really want to be pregnant someday. Ever since I was little I’ve been completely fascinated by the whole concept and I really really want to experience it. But I also really want to adopt, so we’ll probably do both, provided we’re able to. My husband and I actually are both completely on the same page about it, ideally we’d adopt an older sibling group of 2 or 3 out of the foster care system and then have one biological child. But that’s a bit down the road because we’re still really young and getting ourselves established in our careers, etc. It’s really awesome that you were able to articulate what you wanted and have a partner who was supportive and shares your vision for your family! I consider myself equally blessed. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I knew from a young age that I was not a kid person and never wanted to have kids. So when I was told I was infertile due to a hormone imbalance that’s been with me since puberty, i was just fine with that. Still took every precaution against pregnancy, and when The Universe/Mother Nature/Fate decided to screw me over and I found myself pregnant, it was a nightmare. I found myself having to choose between two options, neither of which wholly seemed acceptable to me. I opted for the one that I felt would leave me (personally) with less psychological damage in the long run – have the kiddo.

    I won’t say it was a mistake, since in the six months that she’s been with me she’s grown on me to the point where I can genuinely say that I love her, but it wasn’t easy getting to that point. I struggle with bi-polar disorder and my medications were inaccessible to me during pregnancy. I live in a mental health desert, so finding viable alternatives to those medications was impossible. My anxiety flared up big time. I found myself having flashbacks to my rape many years ago thanks to the non-consensual touching and movement that was occurring from the inside out.

    Add to that feeling suicidal, puking from day one until three days after having her leave my body, not being able to sleep, ligaments torn out of position and an absolute inability to orgasm (yeah, it seems like small beans, but not getting off for 9 months really, seriously has a detrimental effect! Especially when you don’t take the hint and stop trying.)

    I opted to get my tubes tied and IF (A BIG IF) my mister and I ever decide to expand our family, we will be adopting for the plain and simple fact that I am not cut out to be pregnant. It was too much for me.

    When I tell people these things, they look at me as if I’ve got lobsters growing from my head. I’m thankful that there are others out there who feel similarly – just one of the many reasons I’m a chronic lurker here at offbeat mama!

  4. Congratulations on your decision to become parents! It doesn’t matter how you do it, so long as it’s a process that really works for you.

  5. Just wanted to add I’m another that has always felt the same way. No desire to get pregnant. When the time is right for my husband and I, we will adopt.

  6. As a teenager I was told I might not be able to have children – and if I do they might be physically deformed. I wasn’t upset since I only wanted to adopt anyway, but lately (as I near 30) I’ve been worried about my dreams of adoption.

    I’m not married, I’m on disability, I’m a renter and I have health issues… I feel that adopting will be next to impossible for someone like me ๐Ÿ™

    • I’m pretty sure being a renter isn’t a problem as long as there is a room for the child. Thiry is young, that is when a lot of people choose adoption due to trying to get pregnant for so many years. There are plenty of independent adotions. If you health problems are life threatening most agencies will wait until you have overcome these medical difficulties. But chronic issues can be dealt with. I didn’t adopt until I 39 my husband was even older. If you can physically raise a child and nurture and love that child, what you described doesn’t need to be a problem. You can also adopt as a single woman, I know people a lot older than you who were single and were able to adopt.
      Don’t give up hope there could be a child in the universe just waiting for you.

    • Hi Krysta, I just happened on this discussion when I was doing an internet search for a Nigerian adoption scammer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Have you heard of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids? It’s an organization started by Dave Thomas – the other Dave Thomas, the one who started Wendy’s restaurants. He was an adopted kid and his foundation works to find homes for children who are otherwise left in the foster care system. They work to find homes for kids, rather than to find children for would-be parents – their focus is on the kids. I have no personal experience with them, but they seem to be open to all kinds of parents.


      There is information there (links at the bottom of the page) for contacting “recruiters” (the workers who look for parents for kids in the system) in whatever province you are in. In Canada, they seem to work out of the CAS and similar agencies (we do not have the kind of private adoption agency system they have in the US), with designated contact persons in each city.

      Best wishes!

  7. I am so happy to read this. I have wanted non-bio kids since I was a teenager, and have felt judged by so many people about it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something like, “don’t you feel guilty wasting your fertility when so many couples are desperate for their own children”. It makes me feel bad, and if I controlled the universe, me and one of those women could trade. But really, my uterus has nothing to do with anyone else’s. I was so worried I wouldn’t find a man who would be ok with not having “natural” children, but have been blessed with an incredibly understanding and loving fiance. We’ve had some very emotional discussions on the topic (and to be honest, its been difficult to explain why I don’t want to ever be pregnant), but now I think he sees that our different journey will still be full of joy, anticipation, and a lifetime of love. We can’t wait to be parents, and biology has nothing to do with our capacity to fully love our children.

  8. So interesting to read this from the opposite perspective. I have never wanted to raise children. But I am so curious about pregnancy. (Ultimately – no children or pregnancies for me.

  9. This is wonderful! I am eight months pregnant at the moment, and I LOVE it! I feel glowy and lovely and so happy with it. That being said, I feel incredibly lucky, as I know many women do NOT love all the literal and emotional baggage that comes with gestating a human. I am always so proud when I hear women speak up who choose the birth, adoption or life story that feels best to THEM.

  10. I was aprehensive about getting pregnant as well. As my husband I started to try I kept getting my ovulation time wrong. We went to a specialist and were looking into what may be wrong with me.
    I was worried about being able to deal with the change in my body. I had been pregnant in my twenties and became very sick and I couldn’t imagine going through this again. At the time I was too young for a baby especially single motherhood and I terminated the pregnancy. I was devistated because I also wanted the baby. But I feel I made the right decision.
    When I became pregnant with my husband I was happy but completly freaked out. Six weeks in I started to throw up, all day and all night. I had hyperemisis and I lost ten pounds in one week. I had to be hospitalized two times. It got so bad I thought I would literally lose my mind. I just couldn’t stand the pain and the idea of possibly nine months of this was too much to imagine.
    I decided to terminate the pregnancy and told my husband, “Let’s adopt” He said, “That sounds good.” But I also felt like a failure and guilty and I even thought maybe it was a sign that I wasn’t mother material.

    I have yet to meet another adoptive mom who shares my story. I never went through fertility treatments and I don’t think I would have endured that either.

    I have two beautiful children now and the road to them was filled with doors that shut. But I always kept my eye on another door opening. I still doubted my ability to be a good mother and worry I’m not good enough for my kids now. But I know in my heart these are my children and were meant to be mine.

    The love I feel for them is so awesome that it hurts sometimes. I know how you feel, like you are the only one who chose the route of adoption over pregnancy. I too have felt the same way. My doctors didn’t want me to terminate but I knew in my heart I wasn’t meant to be pregnant and that my children were out there waiting for me.

    • Thank you so much for sharing such a personal story. I am so thankful that I’ve never been pregnant and never had to make such a difficult decision as yours. Enjoy your love for the family that you were meant to have!

  11. Thank you to everyone who responded to this article. It has given me so much joy and peace to recieve your comments! I didn’t realize that it had been published until now and I’ve just read what everyone had to say. Best wishes to all of you and your awesome families and families-to-be.
    I just wanted to clarify that my husband and I are planning on adopting older kids who are “crown wards” (meaning their legal gaurdian is the government). We are hoping to adopt in the 2-7 year age range. There are tons of kids out there who need homes and it does not cost a lot of money to adopt them (if any). I hope that those who have commented that adoption is too expensive will look into foster-adopt programs (I think that is what it is called in the USA). It might not be the right route for you but it might be worth cheking out!

  12. You described exactly how I feel. I have never met anyone else that feels this same way, and I am struggling with these feelings because of these “obligations” we have to have our own children. That is how I feel at least. For some reason though, I just don’t feel it either. I don’t want to go through the process of pregnancy or childbirth. I feel guilty because of those feelings and I keep going back and forth with myself about “is this right?” or “will I regret it?”. Yet just the thought truly scares me and causes me so much anxiety. It made me feel SO much better when I read your post and realized someone else feels this way and is comfortable with seeking adoption instead. I also have similar issues and find myself thinking ‘I want children, but don’t want to be pregnant’ which had really confused me before. I wish there were more resources/blogs like this so I did not feel so alone either. THANK YOU!

  13. Hello to those of you looking for baby to adopt, I’m Mr JELANI by name and am from Maryland USA, lots have a set of twins, boy and girl here, they don’t have all it takes to take care of them as they have made their decision to put them for adoption, interested couples looking forward to adopt the babies should please contact:[email protected] , they don’t just want the little children to suffer anymore please HELP by coming to take them from US thank you very much..

  14. hello i am sir thompson edwards from CANADA, It is adoption awareness week, and in Hull there are 16 children INCLUDING TWINS waiting for permanent families TO ADOPT THEM. We urgently needs new adopters family to provide a loving family care if youโ€™re thinking about starting the adoption process then please get in contact with us at: ([email protected])
    sir thompson edwards

  15. Just for the record:

    “sir thompson edwards from CANADA” is actually a criminal, probably in Nigeria. The Nigerian adoption scam is right up there with all the other Nigerian 419 scams (give us your bank details and we will send you $10 million, you just have to send us a big chunk of money by Western Union …). It is big-time major-league organized crime.

    Reasonable people know that reputable agencies and individuals do not advertise babies on the internet, any more than the send you $10 million for nothing. But there are a lot of stupid and greedy people out there, and they fall for the adoption scam just as they fall for the others. They send their money by Western Union, and The End.

    Google *nigerian adoption scam* for more info from excellent sources.

    Obviously, the same applies to “Mr. JELANI by name” from Maryland. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Best wishes.

  16. Thank you kindly for this. I’m 26. And I’ve always dreamt of being a mommy. In fact, I was a mommy before I had a chance to be a kid really. I raised my siblings because my parents had to work so much. Anyways, last year I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. And I actually almost had a heart attack because of how bad my anxiety got. So now that I’m living with my new medications and everything, I just began to think that I can’t afford to have my own baby within my body. I just know it myself that it would stress me out and I wouldn’t handle it well. I desperately want to be a mommy some day. Not even now but I’m just thinking ahead. And I think this will be my best route. There are so many miracles out there waiting for a home. They would make my life complete and in a safe way for my body. And you know what, even after all I went through last year, some people still judge this decision. They insist that I’ll be “strong enough”. But they are not my body. Or my tired heart. So I say screw them. Thank you for this. I’m so grateful to for all the supportive responses to your original post too. Best of luck to all. xx

  17. Thank you very very very much for this post. I’ve been a long time looking for people who felt that same way as you, me and apparently many others have been feeling about pregnancy. It just doesn’t feel right to me either. I’ve been experiencing all the same, I have health anxiety and although I’m seeing a psychotherapist, I don’t feel different about the idea of having a pregnancy. It still feels immensely wrong, having to suffer to have joy in the end, if everything works fine. I’m glad you’ve managed to put a end word to this painful process of feeling that you have to match boxes of normality. You are an inspiration! Thank you, thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!!!! I am literally in this exact situation! Even down to the anxiety and digestive issue and feeling like something is wrong with me for thinking this way. And feeling very alone and worrying so so much about other peopleโ€™s judgements on why Iโ€™m making this decision. My husband is thankfully also fully onboard. Yet we havenโ€™t shared our plans with anyone else yet because we already are constantly pressured and asked when we are having a baby. Iโ€™m curious how your family and friends reacted to this idea and do you constantly feel the need to justify/explain your decision? I worry so much about that aspect.

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