Consumed With Conceiving: The Ultimatum
Dr. Phil talks with guests who are divided over decisions about having children.

Samantha and Randy have been trying to conceive for three years. Samantha desperately wants a child and says it's a "deal breaker" for her if she can't start a family with her husband.


"If I'm not pregnant by the time I'm 28, which is next year, I will divorce Randy," she says. "I'm obsessed with it. I've considered finding somebody else to get me pregnant while I'm still with Randy."


Randy says he wants kids, but believes nature will take its course. "Having a baby is a lot more important to Samantha than it is to me," he adds.


The doctors say they are experiencing unexplained infertility, and the next step in fertility treatments would cost them $2,000 a month, which Randy finds too expensive. "We've literally spent almost every penny we've saved on fertility treatments," he says.


"I think it's worth everything we have," says Samantha. "I feel like he owes this to me."

Samantha thinks it's pointless to have sex because she feels it's not going to create a baby. She is ready to consider other avenues such as a sperm donor or adoption, but Randy is not comfortable with those options yet and wants more time. "If Samantha gave me the ultimatum today about using a sperm donor or adoption, I would have to say no," he says.


Samantha turns to Dr. Phil for help. "Do I have the right to say, 'I only love you if you provide me with a family'?" she asks. Because Randy would rather spend money on a new truck than fertility treatments, she says, "I want to know who is being selfish."

Dr. Phil asks Randy if he's against fertility treatments or if he's just not ready to start a family. Would he rather have a new truck than a baby?


"Honestly, yes, right now," he answers. "Because I think we're just so young, that naturally it's going to happen, instead of trying to push it, going to infertility doctors and trying to speed up the pregnancy."


Samantha feels that since they didn't conceive after three cycles of fertility treatments that were scientifically perfected, how is it going to happen naturally? "We're almost 30. I don't want to wake up and I'm 35 and I don't have any children," she says.


Dr. Phil asks Randy if he recognizes the strong mothering instinct that Samantha has. "That is a powerful force coming from within her and that's a force to be reckoned with. Men don't have that," he explains. Randy says that he saw that instinct in her and that's why he married her.

"Do you think it is reasonable or productive for you to be dealing with this, with ultimatums, in your marriage?" Dr. Phil asks Samantha.

 

She explains that if she doesn't, Randy will get his way, spending money on things she never bargained for like a boat, a motorcycle, or two vehicles.

 

"Based on results, how's it working for you?" he asks.


"It's not," she says, "but I feel that my only chance to be productive is to give him that ultimatum."


Randy says he just ignores her ultimatums, but every month it gets worse. "Sometimes I feel if she gets up and leaves, I'm just going to let her go," he says.


Dr. Phil asks Samantha about her feelings for her husband. "I still love him, but it's like something has taken over where it's a constant struggle between love and that drive for a family," she explains.

Dr. Phil gives them his opinion: "You need to fix this marriage first before you decide to have a child." He explains that bringing a child into a marriage with their kind of conflict, resentment and bitterness is unfair to the child regardless of how badly Samantha wants to be a mother. "Why would you bring a child into that situation?" he asks. "If you have that maternal bond, it goes beyond carrying and delivering."


Dr. Phil tells them that they've mismanaged their relationship so much, that if he worked at an adoption agency and evaluated them as a couple, they wouldn't even make the first cut. He reiterates that Samantha's ultimatum is only making things worse. "If you told me, 'You've got six months to make me pregnant or I'm replacing you,' you wouldn't have to wait six months. I'd give you my keys right now if that's what it boiled down to." The audience applauds.

Dr. Phil suggests they set up a calendar and make a plan.
1. Ask yourself, based on how old you are now, what a reasonable time is to give nature an opportunity to take its course and work. Is it one year? Two years? Eighteen months?


2. When you decide on that date, then you should assume it's not going to work and plan for that eventuality. You need to get busy right now and start making financial, psychological and life plans so that if you get to that point and haven't been blessed with a child through the natural process, then you've made alternative arrangements. For example, both partners can go back to work, start to save a certain amount of money each month, start investing, or get a line of credit. If you line up your resources now, you can maximize your possibilities.

Dr. Phil tells Randy that, as part of the preparation, if he's still uncomfortable with raising a child that is not his biologically, to have an open mind and get some fertility counseling. "Talk to someone who can help you understand that parenting is not about biological connection. Parenting is about commitment, love, investing in another human being and nurturing them into a wonderful, caring, and giving citizen of this world," he says.


Dr. Phil says, "Don't wait 18 months to start all of this, make the plan today, execute the plan today, start saving the money today, start making the arrangements today, start getting the counseling today. Do all the things you need to do so if you come up to that point you can say, 'Together we tried, now together we will get to the next phase.'"