The decision of having children is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your lifetime. One of the key compatibility tests for any romantic relationship is determining whether or not you have the same vision and the same overarching life goals. While it’s true that opposites attract to some degree, there are some non-negotiable aspects of life you’ll want to be on the same page for. Choosing to become parents is probably one of the most critical choices you’ll make as a couple.
Family planning can’t be left too late in life if starting a family is your goal. If you’ve always wanted to have children, it can be pretty disheartening to find that Mr or Mrs Right isn’t sure about the idea of having children. Below, let’s discuss what you should do if your partner feels unsure about having children, while you’re confident you want kids.
My Partner Isn’t Sure About Having Children; What Do I Do?
Many relationships are faced with this conundrum at some point in their relationship. Luckily, there are a couple of steps you can take to get to the bottom of the situation.
1. First, clarify your stance on kids and your hopes for the future.
Before speaking with your significant other, make sure that you have a firm understanding of your stance on kids and what that looks like over the course of your life. Do you truly want to have kids? Have you given it enough thought to be sure? How many kids do you want to have? Are you open to adoption? What’s your ideal timeframe for having kids? Ironing out these details will make it much easier for you to communicate with a clear head when speaking with your partner.
If you’re having trouble determining where you stand, it may be helpful to write out your feelings or even make a list of how your life would look like in either scenario. Speak with parents and those who decided not to have a child about their experiences. Most importantly, determine whether or not having a kid with your partner is a need: Be honest with yourself and try to craft your position as though you weren’t already intertwined in a relationship.
2. Open a discussion with your partner sooner rather than later.
Once you’ve solidified how you feel, it’s time to open a discussion with your partner. Don’t worry too much about it being “too early” to broach the subject– Ultimately, if parenthood is something you both want, knowing so ahead of time can help build a firm foundation for your relationship.
Do, however, make sure you’re broaching the subject when you have your partner’s full attention. You could even carve out a block of time in your schedules to make sure you’ll both be able to speak clearly and thoroughly on the topic at hand. With that in mind, don’t be surprised if you don’t get an “answer” during the first conversation. Your partner might need to spend some time on their own to figure out how they truly feel– Though this doesn’t mean sweeping the issue under the rug.
3. Identify the core reasoning for your partner’s position.
When your partner shares his or her position on parenthood, try to listen openly without judgement as much as possible. This is also a key time to piece together the reasoning behind your partner’s position. Is this clearly something he or she does not want? Or do they feel like they haven’t reached an ideal point in their lives to have children? Are they worried about being a “good” mother/father based on the past?
The reasoning is important since it will determine whether or not your partner does not want to have kids now, or just doesn’t want children at all. You should also make your feelings clear to take away any ambiguity.
4. Consider other alternatives.
It’s possible that your partner is terrified of the prospect of having a newborn, but would be willing to embrace an older child. Be sure to discuss all options such as adoption, co-parenting models, etc. with your partner. Make sure that any proposed alternative doesn’t feel like you’re giving up your dream as a parent.
5. Speak with a professional.
Oftentimes, it can help to have an outside opinion from someone who is trained to help you parse through the politics of your relationship. If you and your partner have consistently tried to have “the talk” and aren’t getting any clarity, seek out sessions with a couple’s counsellor. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, it will save you and your partner potentially years of heartache, so it’s certainly worth it.
Some couples counsellors who have a lot of experience counselling couples who are having trouble deciding whether they should be having children, encourage thought exercises.
Thought exercises often involve each of you taking a weekend alone to vividly imagine life with kids. The exercise is often repeated, this time imagining life without kids.
A counsellor might also suggest taking time and space apart from each other, to reflect and think about this decision alone.
6. Be honest with yourself and your partner.
As said wisely by Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” This is an important premise to keep in mind while opening these discussions with your significant other. It’s all too easy to hold onto false hope that your partner will change his or her mind down the road, or spontaneously realize it’s what they want after getting married.
Resist the urge to believe these fantasies and listen to your partner if they’re firm that they do not want children. Avoiding the truth only delays and exacerbates conflict down the road. If being a parent isn’t something your partner wants, it’s probably not something they’re going to want in 5 years, either.
7. Do what’s best for you.
The most difficult part of this process is feeling like you don’t have control over your plans. Obviously, you love your partner, but there are some needs that are impossible to ignore, like the desire to be a parent.
Fortunately, you do have control: You can decide to truly listen to your partner’s feelings, and base your decisions on whether or not his or her plans align with your needs. Listen to your inner voice and if you need to cut the cord, so be it.
After all, we only get one life, so it’s critical that you are able to carry out your deepest desires to become a parent, even if that doesn’t align with your current partner’s needs. You deserve to be a parent as much as your partner deserves the right to exist child-free. Oftentimes, making a decision on these matters is simple, but not always the easiest. Be brave for your future self.
Another thing that could help you and your partner decide about having children is genetic testing. You can find out through CircleDNA if you or your partner are genetic carriers of certain conditions that would potentially be passed on to your offspring. If neither of you is a carrier, it makes the decision to have children a little easier.