Post # 1
I thought about creating a second username and all that but clearly I am pretty lazy, and I guess there’s nothing super secret going on here that my fiance would be upset to see. But something has put a serious damper on my wedding excitement lately – my fiance has the baby rabies.
It’s totally adorable, but at the same time, I have been clear from day one that I don’t see myself having children. When we met, he was absolutely in the same boat – it wasn’t something he just said to relate to me. It’s just that as he’s turned 30 and as the first of his friends have started having kids, he’s started to feel that maybe he does want kids. I’m trying not to say that I’m set in stone about this, but I turned 29 recently and every day that passes, every friend of mine that gets pregnant or has a baby, the LESS I want one.
I haven’t closed myself off to compromise… I’ve told him that if he wanted to make a real commitment to being a more involved parent, if he could work a flexible schedule or stay at home, I would be 100% willing to reconsider… if he can make the child-rearing happen, I can deal with this. Yet he sees the first wave of friends who have started to have children, and they’re mostly couples where the woman is currently staying home, or in a career that makes it really easy to make children a priority (like working at a daycare). He sees his friends getting to be fathers and getting out of a lot of the grunt work. Which is cool for couples that are drawn that way naturally, but NOT for me.
I guess I should be grateful that at least he recognizes that his baby fever doesn’t extend to actually wanting to take care of a real-life baby and that he at least realizes how ridiculous his expectations are, not particularly in this day and age, but particularly with a partner like me. (hell, I get the sense that even with a stay at home partner, he would not be happy with the amount his life would have to change to accomodate a child.) But I can’t help but shift between guilt that I’m denying him something he wants, and anger at him for having unrealistic expectations, and fear that ten years from now we are going to regret being together.
Has anyone else gone through this? Is anyone else not 100% on the same page regarding children, or some other major issue? How do you deal with this? If I really thought that having children was important to him, then I would make the tough choice to tell him to find someone who wants them, but we’ve already talked the issue to death and I feel like it’s more the *idea* of having them he likes, and he’d hate the reality of it. But I can’t help but wonder if the issue is going to drive us apart someday.
Post # 3
Valid concern. One I think about often. Mine wants two children, and as the person potentially consigning her body out to grow these people, I’m not sure I’m even on board for ONE, which he’s known from the beginning. I told him adoption is an option, but he does not want to go that route at all. I told him I could perhaps birth one, but agreeing to two before knowing what ONE is like, heck no.
I know my breezy reply isn’t what you’re looking for right now, but I don’t have time to delve into the feelings and meta-cognition aspects of it. I just wanted to drop in and say I know exactly how you feel, and you are not alone. Maybe I’ll come back after work for more discussion.
Post # 4
@StuporDuck: Even just a short comment to say you know what we’re going through and are dealing with something similar is helpful!
I feel like sometimes guys get this idea in their head that women want children and while there are lots of women who truly do want children – sometimes lots of children – there are plenty of women I know whose responses is “you want me to sign up for WHAT?!” Sometimes I think about the thread a couple weeks ago about abortion when the man and woman disagree, and while those are totally different issues, in both cases, because life and childbearing isn’t equal and fair, women end up the gatekeepers to the uterus which is kind of an awesome responsibility but also a really stressful one. I mean, ultimately, if we disagree, I’m the one who has more say, logistically, except that I then have to deal with the ramifications of that.
Post # 5
Oh dear. This is a pickle. Maybe as a nanny I can offer some advice.
So you guys have all these pals who have just had kids. Usually in situations like this the new parents are looking for ANYONE to help or to give them a break, so my suggestion to you is give it to them as a “test run” for your sweetie. Either plan a night for the new parents to have a date out (which I’m sure they desperately need) or loan your fiance out to the new mom for some “daddy duty”. Believe me, for most men when they are face to face with a nasty poop or a spitting, screaming, inconsolable, colicky baby, they will quickly remember how lucky they are that this isn’t a 24/7 gig for them and be thankful for that little nugget of clarity.
Then again this little venture might back-fire and your fiance’s biological urge might grow. However, I really doubt it. Men aren’t set up to be the ‘nurturers’ in parenting, so if he is put to this and sees just how hard it is and how much you WILL have to give up to have kids, it more than likely will put him off the idea.
Let us know how it works out!
Post # 6
This is something that will really affect your lives together, so I suggest babysitting for some of the friends. That will give you both a little bit of an idea of what would be involved; not just for a couple of hours either; for a couple of days.
Post # 7
I can totally understand where you are coming from. I do not want kids, and the older I get, the more I know this is the right decision for me. I have told hubs that since we started dating, and once we were engaged I continuously asked him if he was willing to never have kids in order to be with me. Trust me, I gave him every chance possible to get out of marrying me, which some might think is crazy, but I take marriage very seriously, and wanted no regrets on either side. We came to an agreement that ultimately, I get final say in baby making department, since it is mostly all my sacrifice to have one. So far, it hasn’t really come up, and any time he thinks it might be a possibility, we babysit one of our friends kids, or our nieces or nephews, and he changes his mind really quickly. We could never agree to be able to raise a baby where we would both be happy, and I am not willing to give up my life and the way I live it to have one
Post # 8
I agree with PPs….I can recall with great clarity the moment that solidified my desire to wait a while to have kids, if ever. It was about a year ago, and it was a 72-hour babysitting gig.
Post # 9
I agree to have him babysit for one, either for an evening, or for a weekend so the parents can have a weekend get-away. It will probably cure him of his baby fever. If it doesn’t though, I would recommend being on the same page before marriage. Or at the very least, establish if having kids/not having kids is a deal-breaker for you. I remember in HS one of my favorite teachers was getting a divorce largely in part because he wanted kids and she didn’t, (several years later I saw him in a store with his second wife and their little girl).
Post # 10
Regarding this bit:
“I haven’t closed myself off to compromise… I’ve told him that if he wanted to make a real commitment to being a more involved parent, if he could work a flexible schedule or stay at home, I would be 100% willing to reconsider… if he can make the child-rearing happen, I can deal with this.”
Whatever you do…please don’t have kids unless you’re willing to parent them the way you’re supposed to. I would feel incredibly hurt if I felt that my mother didn’t like to parent me, or wasn’t super happy about having me in the first place. The attitude of “I’ll birth them, but YOU have to take care of them, because I wasn’t the one who suggested we have them” cannot end well.
Post # 11
@ThingsThatShine: Yeah I have to agree with you here.
OP, I don’t think you meant that to sound the way it did but I honestly couldn’t imagine feeling that way and still having a child. You should 100% want to be a mother not be just willing to birth the kid and hand it off to the father to take care of cause it’s not really your thing. (Again not saying you said this but that is how the previous statment can be taken).
I would say really really do soul searching before having a child.
Post # 12
Oh, that’s a little tricky. I completely know what you mean about it seeming like he likes the idea more than he would like the reality. If I’m understanding you right, it sounds like you’re not so much against having children flat out, as the imbalance of responsibility you see coming out of it? Makes a lot of sense to me–but then, from other threads, it’s pretty clear that you and I have some similar viewpoints. I guess the way I see it, the issue is less about whether he’s sure he wants kids and more if he understands that you wouldn’t want to be the full-time parent, and that his friends’ lives are not the same as his life would be with a kid. The above suggestions about having him spend some “real life” time with other peoples’ kids make a lot of sense to me.
I had always figured that I would sort of get “stuck” having kids because everyone else I ever dated KNEW they wanted them. But Fiance doesn’t, and it’s both a relief and a surprise to me. We have a sort of relationship clause whereby we’ll revisit the idea of kids when I’m 30 in case I do finally get baby fever, but I’m pretty sure I still won’t want them then. I can see what you mean, though– it’s a little worrying to feel like you’re becoming less interested in having kids and he’s getting more vocal about it, or whatever it is he’s doing.
Post # 13
Thank you guys so much for the babysitting idea. Fiance really hasn’t spent more than an hour or two at a time with children (and even then, with the parents around) since his sister was little, so all this kids stuff is very unreal to him.
@ThingsThatShine: and @Crisark: Yeah, that probably came off harsher that I meant, but he has made it pretty clear that while he’s got the baby fever, he doesn’t really want to put much effort into being a parent which is why I’d want him to make some sort of concrete adjustment in his life to show that he is ready. Obviously my intention isn’t really to drop the baby off and say “your turn now” but I don’t think it’s necessary for the mother to be the primary parent. I think in our case, neither of us wants that much involvement and you guys are totally right.
I fully admit to not being cut out to be a parent! I will own up to it and I don’t think that makes me a bad person, as long as I don’t force a child to suffer through my parenting. My post was already seriously long, but there’s two things I’m terrified of – the first is that ten years from now he realizes that he really does want kids more than he wants to be with me, and the second is that he convinces me to have them.
@TankGirl: I think it’s part that I’m against having children but I’m even more against the imbalance that he wants. I mean, it’s not that he doesn’t get that he’s being unfair. I guess he’s just kind of envious of his friends who are with more nurturing women who want to have kids and put a lot of energy into raising them. Which is both natural and unfair of him, since it makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me.
But, I don’t want kids, and as I get closer and closer to 30 I get even more sure of it. He’s actually the first person I’ve dated who didn’t want kids and now he does. Ugh! What is it about me that could possibly appeal to baby making dudes and dudettes?!
I love the babysitting idea, you guys, though. Seriously – I think in my panic and fear and guilt I had somehow missed this idea. I will have to suggest it to him – it will be both an opportunity to spend time around cute children and an chance to gives him (and me!) a more realistic view.
Post # 14
@Entangled: I think you really need to calm down. It doesn’t seem like he really wants kids, he likes the idea of it. I really don’t think you have anything to worry about. I point blank asked my husband if being with me was more important, or having kids, and without a second thought he said I was most important, and he has not changed his mind, 7 years later. Sure, I see that gleam in his eye sometimes, but its really just the idea of having our own spawn walking around, something that only the 2 of us were able to make. Its an awesome idea, but honestly, I couldn’t imagine having to rear a child. And neither could he
Post # 15
@MrsSl82be: I probably do need to calm down. It’s one of those things where mostly I’m OK with knowing that not only am I saying yes to some choices and no to others, but so is he. Then every now and then, we get stressed about other things, and it comes up and I start to wonder if I’m setting us up for failure. It’s good to know that other people deal with this too and that a little bit of wistfulness at not being able to have everything is normal in life.
Post # 16
Darling Husband and I discussed kids before getting married as well and decided they weren’t for us. I certainly hope this doesn’t happen to us. I hope the pressures of family and friends don’t inspire any changes.
Maybe you can do the babysitter thing. Watching children for hours usually removes the exciting mystique.
Edit: oops, I didn’t refresh the page after coming back to this and I see other people already offered the same advice. It’s good stuff 😀