Consumed With Conceiving: I Would Give Up My Fingers For a Son

Consumed With Conceiving: I Would Give Up My Fingers For a Son
Dr. Phil talks with couples divided over the decision of having children.

Shelly and Shane have two daughters, a 4-year-old and an 8-month-old. Shane is on a mission to convince Shelley to get pregnant again, all for the sake of having a son.

"I want to just try one more time for a boy," says Shane, who brings the subject up at least once a week if not more. "I would give up my fingers to have a son," he says.

Shelly says she is completely done with having children: "There's no way that I want to be pregnant again. No way. If it were up to me, he would've had a vasectomy the day I had my second daughter."

Shelly had a tough time with both her pregnancies and was bedridden for four months during her last one. "If he had to carry and deliver a baby he would feel completely differently," she says. She also feels very blessed to have two healthy children and doesn't want to take a chance with another one.

"We have our hands full enough already with the two we have," says Shelly, who comes from a very large family and knows what it's like to not get enough attention. "I don't want to shortchange what they have."

Shane wants his daughter Alexandria to play soccer, but she didn't want to. "She wanted to be in dance class," explains Shelly, "and I know he was disappointed about that."

She asks Dr. Phil for help: "My husband is bugging me for a boy. How do I convince him it's not going to happen?"

Dr. Phil tests Shane by asking him to argue Shelly's point of view about why she's done having kids. Shane tries to argue her side, but quickly shifts to his own viewpoint without mentioning how difficult Shelly's pregnancies, labor and recovery were.

"That's exactly it," says Shelly. "That's a guy's point of view. You carry the child and you have the baby. That's it. There's no emotion to it, there's no gaining and losing weight, there's nothing else. They think that you get pregnant and you have this belly and it just goes away and then there's a baby," she says.

"But there was a lot more to it for you, right?" asks Dr. Phil. Shelly agrees.

Dr. Phil asks Shane if he understands that his chances of having a boy are one in two. That even though he's already had two girls, his chances of having a boy are still only one in two. He illustrates that there were seven girls in Shelly's family before there was a boy.


Dr. Phil points out something that he saw during the videotaped piece about Shane's feelings for his daughters. "I often hear what is not being said. You know only seven percent of communication is verbal. I watched your face when you watched that tape, and your face lit up like I could not believe. Your eyes sparkled, your smile lit up, and it's not like, 'Well you know, these aren't as good because they're girls,'" says Dr. Phil.
Shane agrees.

"I think because you haven't experienced it, you have greatly underestimated what Shelly has been through," Dr. Phil tells Shane.


Shelly's pregnancies led to anxiety attacks and postpartum depression, for which she had to take major anti-depressants. "That is not just being blue because you got a little extra weight on, that is a very serious physiological reality from which you have to climb out of a dark and deep hole just to get back up where you can think and see and feel and function. And she's been in that dark hole twice, and my assessment is she is not going back. When she says she's done, I think she's done."

Dr. Phil adds, "It isn't fair to ask her to do that at this point. Nor is it fair to ask him to get a vasectomy."

Dr. Phil explains that having a vasectomy is no problem, but having it reversed can be tricky. He and his wife Robin decided to have only one child, so after they had Jay, Dr. Phil got a vasectomy. Four years after the vasectomy, he overheard Robin saying that although she agreed to have only one child, she regretted that decision. So Dr. Phil had the vasectomy reversed, and says that the reversal in much more difficult. The doctors told him he had a 50 percent chance of being fertile again within two years, but Robin was pregnant with their son Jordan six weeks later.

"So don't burn your bridges at this point because you're both young, healthy and vibrant and you don't know where you'll be in a year," he says.

Short of having a son, Dr. Phil suggests that Shane can meet those needs in some other way. He tells a story of when he and Robin first married. Robin really wanted kids, but they were both broke and in college, so Robin went out and coached a soccer team and led a Brownie troupe. "She was the only mother in Texas with a Brownie troupe and no Brownies," he says.

He sums it up with, "You need to give this some time and decompress each other for a while."