Having a baby ranks pretty high in the list of life-changing experiences. However this can mean different things for either partner; so while your partner may want to do it all over again, you feel what you have is enough. Unfortunately this difference in views can create significant stress in a relationship. So if you find your partner is looking to have more kids while you are in no mood to oblige, here are a few things you can do.
There are all kinds of arguments about how many children should a family ideally have. But the most important thing is not two families are alike – each has its own set of strengths, challenges and resources. So if you feel that your partner wants more kids simply because his/her parents had them, his/her siblings have them or they have been advised so by their neighbors, try and highlight the fact that comparisons shouldn’t come in the way of making decisions which are strictly about you and your family. Likewise, if you are reluctant to have more children, don’t let your decision be influenced because your parents/cousin/co-worker couldn’t handle more than one kid. Keep in mind the dynamics of your own family and then weigh the pros and cons of having more children.
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Identify the source of your reluctance
If your partner wants more kids and you don’t, there must be strong grounds for the difference in views. Before you get into a verbal confrontation with your partner over the issue, ask yourself why this is so – where does your reluctance in having kids lie. It could be that your finances are already stretched at present and incurring any more expenses in the form of another baby to look after would take it to breaking point; or perhaps the loss of an earning member in the form of a pregnant partner would destabilize your finances. If you are a woman, it could also be that after all this time spent in raising your toddler, you have finally found a work-life balance and don’t want to disturb it again or from now on you want to focus on furthering your career. Very often it is not just about money and career – the lack of a support structure in the form of family members who could take care of the pregnant or new mother is often a deciding factor against having any more kids. This is particularly relevant if the mother had had a difficult pregnancy earlier and thus she may be reluctant to become pregnant again, knowing that kids bear the brunt of neglect when a mom is physically indisposed.
Seek a middle ground
Identifying the source of your reluctance over having any more kids will go a long way in looking for workable solutions. If your wife wants more kids while you feel your finances are already stretched, you could look for ways to cut down on unnecessary expenses like eating out, buying lifestyle products, taking luxury vacations or entertaining a lot. The money thus saved during the pregnancy may act like a nest egg till your wife can go back to work again. Alternatively if you are reluctant to have any more kids because your first pregnancy was complicated or because you felt left alone after the baby arrived, you could ask your husband to commit a great part of his time to the family, especially after the birth of the new baby. He could take full paternity leave or take on less work load and do away with out-of-town tours altogether so that he can look after you all better. The trick is finding a meeting point between your own needs and those of your partner – after all, every relationship is about seeking a balance between fulfillment and adjustments.
Stand your ground
However if you believe that your decision not to want any more kids is based on foolproof logic and plain reality, then you are perfectly within your rights to stick to your ground. But while discussing these, ensure that you adopt a calm and rational approach instead of taking recourse to emotional outbursts or hysteric attacks. For instance if finances are a major issue and you simply cannot afford the expenses of another child, ask your wife how she intends to come up with the additional money required to bring up another child. Put down your present and future expenses along with all sources of income and present it to your partner for greater effect. On the other hand if you don’t want to be saddled with caring for a baby all over again, ask your husband how he intends to take out time for shared parenting and whether he is willing to spend all his leisure hours looking after the baby when it comes. Issues like a job promotion, higher studies, care of aged parents and the prospect of overseas travel are all pertinent when it comes to negotiating the difficulties of expanding a family.
Look for other options
Every couple differing over having more children is dealing with a unique set of issues and challenges. And yet sometimes it may help to think outside the box. One of the most effective ways is to explore the possibility of adoption. This does not require a woman to endure a pregnancy or be physically incapacitated and yet at the same time, it allows another member to join the family as a young child. If expenses are an issue, think about joining a day care or working with kids which will allow you to love and care for children without being saddled with the financial responsibility of bringing them up.
If you and your partner are entirely unable to reach a consensus over having more children, the best option would be to seek professional help. If there are health issues, take your husband along the next time you are going to see your gynecologist and the latter will be able to explain why you should not endanger your health for the sake of another pregnancy. On the other hand if there are relationship issues like you being unhappy in the marriage or feeling neglected by your partner, then it would be a good idea to see a therapist. He/she would not only be able to identify the actual cause of differences between you and your partner but also suggest ways you can work out a mutually satisfying solution.