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Old 11-18-2007, 10:50 PM
Location: Boise / Eagle, Idaho
306 posts, read 1,100,935 times
Reputation: 227


Originally Posted by doglover29 View Post
Thank you for all your responses. I have been feeling very stressed out about this issue for nearly two years....but lately I've been thinking about it every day. Part of it, interestingly, is that new show on HBO called "Tell Me You Love Me"--not sure if anyone here has seen it, but in the show, one of the characters struggles with this very issue--the husband does not want kids, but the wife does. I think the show was a springboard for me to really examine my thoughts on this matter.

Anyhow, I am interested in the concept of feeling a calling to be a mother, as someone on here mentioned. I have never felt this. What does it feel like?

I am kind of afraid to go to a counselor...that would be confirming that there is a problem, and that terrifies me. We have a wonderful marriage--we have never argued or had disagreements about anything--we are so alike in our outlook on everything--except this. Really, we had never even talked about it at all until the past year or so. I guess it's because we met in our early 20's so kids weren't on the radar, and I just assumed that although I never felt a desire to have children in my early 20's, that that desire would just naturally develop--but it hasn't. Could it still develop? What can I do to try to get it to develop?

My DH thinks that if I am around kids I will start to like them or start to feel that calling to be a mother--what do you think? Like I mentioned before, I don't have any friends who are pregnant or have kids, so I'm never around kids.

Personally, I have no problem with not having children--or deciding at 40 that I want kids and adopting.....but my husband wants them now and wants his own biological kids....I feel really torn about this because I don't want to deny him the experience of fatherhood--but at the same time I feel so indifferent or negative towards motherhood. When I think about having children, I think of all the negatives and few of the positives. I know there are lots of positives but they seem overshadowed to me by the negatives.

I think in the end I will end up giving in and having kids--but I know I will be doing it before I am ready.
Wow, you wrote all of the above as I was responding to you. Now I read this and am very encouraged. You two are soooo ahead of the game when it comes to relationships and you will likely make great parents based on the quality of your relationship.

Let me just add this:
I did not get married until late - never really wanted to - I loved my freedom. I also never had a maternal instinct either ... by the time I was 35 I wasn't married, had no kids and wasn't worried about it.

When I met my guy he was the marrying kind ... so we got married and had two children. I was scared about everything ... but, let me just say - corny as it sounds - when that child comes into the world, your heart will melt and everything will be ok.

Most of my friends do not have children ... most of them regret it and wonder aloud about their choices. They love my kids and think I was brave ... I just think I was lucky.

God bless you and your husband.
I'm sure you two will be fine no matter what you decide.

But, PLEASE keep us posted
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:53 PM
Location: Boise / Eagle, Idaho
306 posts, read 1,100,935 times
Reputation: 227
You should read the posting thread with the POLL on having children:

Does having children expand your intellect... or limit it?
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:55 AM
768 posts, read 1,890,759 times
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It isn't only women who didn't have children who wonder what might have been if they had chosen differently. I have a friend who had children and has always pushed for me to not follow her "mistakes". I think it is human nature to wonder about the different paths we might have chosen.

I was terrified of the idea of having children because my parents, while I'm sure they probably did the best they could, really shouldn't have been parents but it was "expected" that you just had children. It was a miserable household, love was a completely foreign concept. Understanding the cycle of abuse as well as I did, I figured I would probably suck at being a mother myself so I was terrified of it. However, I started the nurturing with my pets as an adult and realized that I had more patience than I gave myself credit for. I wasn't turning into my parents. Yes, I could get mad, but that didn't mean I was beating them, or screaming at them, or being hateful to them, or any of those other awful behaviors that I grew up with. That was when I began to be less afraid of becoming a mother, and even WANTED to be a mother. I realized that I could be a good mother and I really wanted to prove it to myself.

Apparently all that personal growth was for another purpose as Life has had other ideas for me. It amazed me that I could love something so much before I had even set eyes on it, despite the morning sickness, discomfort, etc. it caused me, but the end result was the same--I don't have any living children--although at least it wasn't out of fear.

Whatever decision you make, you are the one who is going to have to live with it. If you decide to have children to make your h happy, that child will be your responsibility for the rest of your life. Most mothers love their children, even when they don't like that child at the moment because it's misbehaving or whatever. It's hard not to love something that you have created and carried with you for so many months. Nature has a way of helping you adjust--and those maternal hormones are nothing to play with, whew! (Of course, postpartum depression is nothing to play with, either, ugh.)

Anyway, I'm glad you and your h seem to be so alike and hope that with a lot of discussion you are able to resolve your issues to both of your satisfaction.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:22 AM
3,636 posts, read 9,241,215 times
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Just wondering out loud if there are any babies or toddlers that you can "borrow" for a week to see how the two of you react when they have needs and the needs conflict???
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:34 AM
3,893 posts, read 9,366,643 times
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There's NOTHING wrong with not wanting to have children. I have tremendous respect for people, especially women, who are able to stand up to family and societal pressure and say it's not for them. I'm surprised you and your husband got married with such a huge unresolved issue. I know you said you thought your feelings would change with age. That just seems like a pretty big gamble! Unfortunately now you have to deal with your husband's valid desire for children, and your equally valid desire not to have them.

All I can say is, it's hard enough to parent when you're desperate to be a mother. I can't imagine how hard it would be if I were in your shoes. Even more important than that, though, is what a sad situation that would be for your child. Every child deserves to have a mother who is crazy about them. I would hate to grow up knowing I was born because my dad coerced my mom into it, and she only agreed because I would be cared for by a nanny. (Not a slam on nannies- I was one.)

Just take your time with this decision. You deserve happiness. You have every right to remain childless.

I admire your honesty. This is a tough subject. I hope this all turns out well for you both.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:42 AM
Location: Dallas, Texas
3,589 posts, read 2,978,500 times
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Originally Posted by doglover29 View Post
What do you do when one spouse wants kids and the other doesn't? My husband and I are in our late 20's/early 30's and have been married several years, and been together for 7. My husband wants kids and I do not. I've never had the desire to have kids, but when we were dating it never was an issue b/c I was in my early 20's then, and I figured by the time I turned 30 my feelings about having children would change. However, they haven't and now that the clock is starting to tick it's becoming an issue. My husband wants to start having kids soon, and I am nowhere near ready. I would prefer to wait another 5 years before revisiting the issue, and then see how I feel in terms of readiness. I'm also very open about the idea of adoption, but he is very insistent about having biological kids.

My reasons for not wanting to have kids are several. One is that I have never felt the "baby itch" and have never desired to have kids. I don't feel that my life is incomplete without children, and I feel strongly that one can be fulfilled without kids. Also, I don't want to give up my career and want to work full-time, so since my husband also wants to work full-time we would need a nanny. Furthermore, I just don't feel ready psychologically to have kids. And I also have no desire to go through pregnancy and childbirth, nor do I have any interest in breastfeeding. And last, I just have very little experience with children. I was an only child, and the last time I was around little kids was about 20 years ago when my cousins were young children. I don't have any pregnant friends or friends with kids, so I'm never around kids. And I guess overall I just don't feel any maternal feelings. I thought they would have been there by now but they're not.

I don't know what to do. This is a huge issue not to be on the same page about. One of us has to give in. Either I give in and have kids, and have them before I want them/am ready for them or he gives in and doesn't have kids and feels resentful about that. He understands that since neither one of us is willing to stay home we need to have a nanny, and he's ok with that.

Anyone in a similar situation or have any thoughts?
It sounds like this is going to become a serious problem in your marriage. If one partner wants kids and the other doesn't, that's usually something that can't be overcome (in my experience).

You definitely should not have kids if you don't want them; there are enough unwanted children in the world already. It does sound as if you are disgusted by the thought of pregnancy and you have no desire to stay at home with your kids; a lot of women agonize about the decision to return to work and they feel incredibly guilty for doing so, whereas you're happy to hand them off to a nanny before they're even born. I agree with your self-assessment: you don't seem to want to become a parent. If this is the case I would urge you to not have children to please someone else...only have them if YOU truly want to be a parent. It's not fair to them otherwise.

On the other hand, it's not fair to your husband either. I think maybe you two should both consider whether you want to continue being together. It may sound harsh, but a lot of couples split up over this issue. You two would in no way be unique.
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Old 11-19-2007, 09:58 AM
12,845 posts, read 24,496,680 times
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I speak as someone who is happily and voluntarily childfree. I might have lost one great guy over it, but having a child to cement our great friendship wasn't an option.
I must warn you, if you go to some therapy or something, you are unlikely to find someone who can be neutral about your and your husband's different desires and visions of life- and you, as the one not wanting parenthood, might be viewed as the problem that needs fixing. A good counselor should be neutral on the issue, and that's hard to find, especially if it's a woman or parent. You are not a problem to be fixed- you and your husband have different desires in life that could well be deal-breakers. And I doubt you "aren't ready." I suspect you "don't wana." That's OK, that's real.But it seems in collision with your marriage. Believe me, you wouldn't be the first couple to break up over this life-changing issue. You might have to let each other go- him to find his life as a parent, you to live your life as you want, not as a parent.
Good luck. There is little support or understanding for women who don't wish to have kids, but we're out here.
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:06 AM
Location: Texas
8,668 posts, read 19,925,871 times
Reputation: 21277
Smile Some thoughts about motherhood...

I have mentioned this before on this forum and some people kinda took me to task for assuming everyone would feel the way I did. So I will just say this is how it was for me...your mileage may vary.

I was never maternal. Never wanted kids. Said I wouldn't have them. Kids got on my nerves etc., etc. But I, like you, was married to someone who wanted kids. We were married about nine years and I developed a medical problem which made pregnancy not impossible but not a good option for me medically either. We were blessed to be able to adopt a beautiful newborn baby boy. I was absolutely crazy about him from the very beginning. I loved being a mother.

So that's the story of one very "nonmaternal, rather play with Barbie dolls than baby dolls" woman... I would just make the observation that from my experience you don't necessarily feel the same about your own child as you do someone elses. (Many children STILL get on my nerves big time, but my own child didn't.) I guess that level of love increases your tolerance level! As for waiting till you feel "ready" I would caution you that this may be an attractive option on an emotional level, physically you can't depend on it. The proverbial biological clock is ticking. Yes, many women do indeed get pregnant in their late thirties and forties, but the fertility level does go down substantially from about thirty-five on, as I understand it. Plus, like me, someone can develop other problems not related to fertility. In other words, waiting is a gamble physically IMO. As for adoption, yes we were able to adopt a healthy newborn through a private adoption, but if you want a newborn, it's not always that easy. There are long waiting lists here in the U.S. or at least there used to be. So if you want a newborn, that can be a gamble too.

So ... you obviously have to make your own decision. I just offer these thoughts to you because I also didn't think I wanted to be a mother, but motherhood ended up fulfilling me in ways I never imagined. It scratched an itch I never even knew I had... and I never would have dreamed it would be that way for me.
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:36 AM
Location: NJ
9,216 posts, read 20,231,422 times
Reputation: 6325
Originally Posted by AnyDayNow View Post
My mother didn't want to have as many children as she ended up with, but birth control prevention is more reliable now. She wasn't exactly an attentive mother --definitely NOT from the school of "What Would June [as in Cleaver] Do?", lol.
I think some of us are in the same boat. Not sure if mine ever wanted them, but growing up I didn't feel any love from her after I grew out of the cute little blonde girl age. Some people shouldn't be parents, and I've known women that have had kids, realized they weren't meant to be a mother & leave. In the end, it was the best thing for the kid as they grew to be really fine, adjusted adults.

Originally Posted by doglover29 View Post
I personally don't think he has. I don't think he truly understands what having kids is all about. I think he sees all of the positives and none of the negatives, and there are many major negatives about having kids. The problem is that many men don't understand exactly what is involved in terms of sacrificies for the woman. Because traditionally, the mother is the person who mainly takes care of the children, with the father just seeing them after work and on weekends, etc., I don't think some men fully understand exactly how much effort, energy, logistics, etc. is involved in bearing and raising children.
There has to be a way to get him to realize what parenting involves, especially the life style change. Who knows, he may thrive at it and be more then willing to give it all up.

I have a 1/2 brother that was given up for adoption. We found him a few years ago after he had his 1st child in his 40's. They now have 2 children, he does a wonderful job with them from the little I've seen. He's even taken them on vacation by himself. Some men are prepared to be the "mom" and step back to let the woman earn the money while they focus on raising the child(ren). Who knows, maybe you have a man like that?

I will say that after reading some of the stuff you wrote, you are willing to have the baby as long as he realizes that the next few years will be sacrifices. I also agree that you need to figure this out soon because as others have said, people do break up over this. Going from a loving couple that never fights / argues to one that always fights will not be good for either of you or the relationship. Hopefully you both can figure this out while you are both young enough to enjoy kids.

Good luck
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Old 11-19-2007, 11:44 AM
2,775 posts, read 2,584,820 times
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Originally Posted by doglover29 View Post
What do you do when one spouse wants kids and the other doesn't? ...Anyone in a similar situation or have any thoughts?
You should not have kids. Simple, straight-forward, and the best for the future even if it means that you and your husband separate and go different directions so he can find a woman who wants to have children.

If you have children without wanting them it'll be one of the worst things you've ever done in your entire life - without exaggeration. Not only negatively impactful to your own life and lifestyle but adult parents who never wanted children 'many times' are the worst parents. Just don't do it. It is too big of a deal and responsibility, and the impact will be life-long for you and any children.

I think a lot depends upon your husband right now - we know where you stand and I don't think you should change your mind at this point. If he wants kids passionately enough, then he just needs to find another wife. If that is the case, just don't be resentful. One of you must've fibbed or had a change of heart from when you originally were dating and talking about this but I wouldn't hold it against anyone. The two of you obviously have had a good run and love each other. That is great, but when it comes to something like children you don't compromise because everyone's life will be forever altered dramatically - long-term.
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