I Can’t be a Mother; Am I Worthless?

08 January, 2018
Q As-Salamu alaikum. I have been married for more than 10 years now. My husband is from the Middle-East. Since he joined me in the US, I have been the main provider. I suffer from polycystic ovaries and have not been able to have any children. I have had an IVF treatment which was not successful. It was struggling to get him to agree to any treatment even though it was my money that was being used. My husband only wants a blood child. I tried to talk to him about adoption and surrogacy but he refuses them. Recently, I found out that he has re-married. I confronted him but he denied all. We have been separated now for a few months. I cannot bring myself to think of divorce, but I cannot share him and my rights with another person. I have been waiting patiently for a child and have full conviction and trust in Allah that he will bless me with a child that will be the coolness of my eyes. My greatest fear was that he would leave me because I have not been able to conceive. After all, I still love him. I feel content just seeing him and holding him. Why am I so indecisive? I have divorce petition papers at home but cannot bring myself to sign the documents. My husband is just thinking about his needs, but what about me? Do I not have desires to be a mother? Am I worthless? Do I not have feelings? Why? Why is he not seeing my tears and pain? Please help me! He says he loves me but needs a child and does not want to divorce me. But how can he do this to me after all I have gone and done for him? How will my life be with now that he has taken another wife who will be bearing him children? What will happen to me? I am scared and fearful.


In this counseling answer:

“When we let fear determine our actions we walk ourselves into situations where we feel resentment, bitterness, and despair. We are clinging to a situation that cannot change and breaks our hearts over and over again. You need to determine what’s right with your heart and not let fear move you.”

As-Salamu ‘Aleikom,

Thank you for your question and writing in. I can sense the heaviness in your words. I pray that you can find some comfort and support soon for this test you are experiencing.

It sounds like there are a number of things for you to work through right now.

1) Your husband has never provided for you financially.

2) You are unable to conceive children with your husband.

3) You desire to adopt a child, but he disagrees.

4) He decided to get married to another woman and not tell you about it.

5) He will soon be a father to a child with another wife.

6) You have experienced financial and emotional abuse.

Each of these points is major points that need to be considered one by one so that you can make an informed decision about what you want to do moving forward and with your future.

He has presented himself to you as a person and it’s not likely that after more than ten years of marriage things are going to change.

He has married someone else. He will be a father to her child. He is still in the same financial position as he was before, and you are still the one providing for your own roof and clothing. He has made decisions despite how you might feel about them. A hard pill to swallow, but this is your reality, my dear.

Only you can determine if this is a reality you can make peace with and live through or not. No one else can decide that for you.

I do want to reconsider what you’ve said here:

“My greatest fear was that he would leave me because I have not been able to conceive. I never got any support from him. Instead, I have been financially and emotionally and mentally abused. Yet, I still love him. I feel content just seeing him and holding him. Why am I so indecisive?”

Do you love him? Or do you love the idea of him and the idea of the marriage and family life you’ve been waiting for?

I am asking a super tough question here because you deserve to answer this honestly. I don’t normally ask questions this tough unless I’m working with a coaching client because finding the true answer to this isn’t always easy.

The answer can still be yes; you love him despite the challenges you’ve faced. The answer can be no, you do not but are afraid to be alone. Any answer is acceptable but only the true answer is going to help guide you as to what you should do next.

When you are guided by your real truth, you will be able to stand in front of Allah and know what the right thing to do is for your own well-being and future. Do you stay and accept the reality as it’s come? Do you seek divorce and start a new chapter in your life single? You too deserve to find love, happiness, and a family life that is enriching for you. But the way to get there has to be guided by what you feel and want the most.

On the flip side, when we let fear determine our actions we walk ourselves into situations where we feel resentment, bitterness, and despair. We are clinging to a situation that cannot change and breaks our hearts over and over again. You need to determine what’s right with your heart and not let fear move you.

Of Course, You Matter

It is hard to read that you are asking these questions, but I can understand why you are asking them.

I can see you have been extremely patient with your husband all these years. Both with the financial situation you’ve found yourself in as well as the exhausting and expensive process of trying to conceive a child. Along with all of this, I am not sure of how strong your emotional connection has been as a couple, but it sounds like there is a lot more that could have been done from his end.

A wife should know she is loved, is deeply valuable, and that her husband would never want to hurt her. That is the minimum requirement for a loving relationship.

Unfortunately, not all people come to a marriage having the emotional maturity required to take care of another person’s feelings. There are men and women who, in the face of emotional need or problems, simply run away, shut down, or close off to their spouse leaving the other person lonely and unfulfilled.

Many couples struggle when there are painful issues to face like the inability to conceive a child or a spouse who isn’t able to find success in their career or financial stability.

Know that Allah Sees and Hears You

While you may feel incredibly alone, the reality is that your Lord sees you and hears you when you call out to Him. He knows of the trial you are going through.

Ask Allah for help and ask Him to grant you the strength to make whatever the next decision is that you need to make. Ask Him to help you make a decision that is best for this life and the hereafter. Whether that is to stay with your husband and the current challenges you have faced and will continue to face or to divorce him and take on a new set of challenges in your life.

Search for the lesson which Allah is sending to you. In this test, there is an opportunity for you to grow and develop emotionally and spiritually. You first have to trust that there is goodness here for you even though it is hidden right now.

Stand Up for Yourself

You have a right to feel the feelings you have with your husband. However, crying and being depressed around him isn’t going to change him. He sees the pain you are in but hasn’t responded to it. Stop looking for him to recognize your hurt and do it for yourself.

Witness your own pain and then stand up for yourself. Determine what you will tolerate and what you want. Stop letting him come and go like a woman with no standards. Otherwise, you’ll continue to wait for him to be someone he is not and continue to turn yourself into a woman you also are not trying to vie for his attention and change.

Stand up for yourself and give yourself the respect you deserve. Take care of yourself so that your husband’s actions aren’t what define your life’s value anymore.

Find your strength again and lead to it.


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Megan Wyatt
Megan Wyatt is the founder of Wives of Jannah where she offers training programs, live workshops, and relationship coaching for wives and couples. She is a certified Strategic Intervention coach with specialized certifications for working with women and marital relationships and has been coaching and mentoring Muslims globally since 2008. She shares her passion for Islamic personal development in her Passionate Imperfectionist community. She is a wife and homeschooling mother with four children residing in Southern California.