Having a baby ranks pretty high in the list of life-changing experiences. However this can mean different things for either partner; so while you feel you are ready to have a baby, your partner may not be of the same view. Unfortunately this difference in priorities can create significant stress in a relationship. So if you find your partner is closed to the idea of having more kids while you wish to become a parent, here are a few things you can do.
Get your thoughts straight
Wanting a baby is a natural desire for both men and women. There are a lot of reasons why people wish to have a family and yet it is equally important to recognize that there is nothing wrong if a person simply does not wish to become a parent. More importantly take some time out to ponder on your reasons for wanting a baby and be honest with yourself. It could be that you want kids to fill a void in your life or solve a relationship problem; it could be simply be because your biological clock is ticking away or you wish to leave behind a legacy in the form of the next generation. Whatever be the reason, be honest with your motives and your desire to have a child. Clearing your thoughts will not only help you discuss the matter more effectively with your partner but actually let you understand how important is having a baby for your personal fulfilment.
Had you discussed this earlier?
If you had already discussed not having children before entering into a relationship, your partner really cannot be blamed for holding his/her ground. Thus expecting him/her to change his feelings about this may not be realistic or possible. However people are usually more ambivalent at the earlier stages of a relationship and perhaps this was a subject that you both avoided or you thought that you could resolve later. If this is so, you still have hope. As people age and life circumstances change, people often change their feelings about parenthood and are more open to having a family.
Can you afford to wait?
If you are a younger couple, you still have time to think about having a child. Maybe your partner is not ready now but will be more agreeable to becoming parents in the future. Take your time and proceed slowly through this very complex area. In the meantime expose your partner to other families. Sometimes children are a foreign idea for couples. If you have friends that have children, attending social events together with them would be a great way to get used to the idea of having kids. Moreover, being around other happy dads or moms may help ease the transition from childfree living to parenthood.
Have a talk
However if you feel you cannot wait for long, then it may be wiser to have a discussion about having kids with your partner. Find out if your partner is not interested in having children right now or not interested in having children ever. Many times a person may not be intrinsically opposed to having kids but just not ready to settle down yet. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being patient. Bringing children into a relationship doesn’t need to be a rush. If your partner is open to the idea of having children but just not quite ready, try giving things a little time and approaching the subject again later. However If he or she is not ever interested in having children, then you may need to wade into the situation is a little deeper.
One of the ways to do this would be to identify the source of your partner’s reluctance to have a child. 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. 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 kids. Or perhaps your partner may not have had a happy upbringing which has put him/her off from having kids of his/her own.
Seek a middle ground
Identifying the source of your partner’s reluctance over having kids will go a long way in looking for workable solutions. If you want kids while your partner feels 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 the mother can go back to work again. Likewise if your partner feels emotionally ill-equipped to bringing up a child, you can attend parenting classes or seek the help of a therapist in order to deal with deep-seated issues. 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. In fact some couples find the ‘not trying but not preventing’ method is a fair compromise. Even if your partner is not ready to “try” to have a baby, he/she may still be open to the idea of not preventing. He or she may feel less anxiety if there is no pressure to commit to trying to conceive and may eventually come around to the idea of having a baby in case conception occurs. However make sure that you communicate this with your partner first since if he or she is staunchly opposed to the idea of having a child, he/she may feel cheated in case a pregnancy takes place.
Finally focus on strengthening your relationship. The baby battle can put tremendous strain on a relationship and obsessing over your partner’s reluctance or pressurizing him/her to change his/her mind will not only be useless in the end but may even lead to a breakup. Rather take a break from the issue and instead work on strengthening your bonding and communication. If down the line you still find yourselves at diametrically opposite extremes, seek the help of a family counselor or therapist to resolve the conflict and look at other options like adoption or foster-parenting. 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.
There are all kinds of arguments about what a fulfilling relationship or marriage entails. But the most important thing is not two relationships are alike – each has its own set of priorities strengths, challenges and resources. So if you feel that you want kids simply because your sibling or best friend is having them, or you have been advised so by their neighbors, keep in mind that comparisons shouldn’t come in the way of making decisions which are strictly about you and your partner.
Likewise, if your partner is reluctant to have more children, see if the decision is influenced because his/her parents, cousin or co-worker couldn’t bring them up well. Encourage your partner to keep in mind the dynamics of your own relationship and then weigh the pros and cons of having children.