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Old 11-18-2007, 06:33 PM
662 posts, read 5,148,492 times
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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?
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:54 PM
Location: Missouri
1,554 posts, read 4,066,856 times
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Wow that is a really big issue.... Ummmm He knew there was a chance if he married you that you might not want children.... Ummm I am really confused that you would adopt but not want to have your own.....What are your really afraid of? not being a good mom? What???? You don't have to breastfeed and their is nothing wrong with having a nanny but honestly if you have a child and not love or involved in your child life. Your going to have problems down the road. I really think there are other issue.... I am sorry I am no expert on this.... I would get professional help to really figure out what is holding you back or is this what you really want is no kids..... There is nothing wrong with you if you decide you don't want kids.....It is perfectly ok but if you spouse wants some kids your marriage might not last. I remember as a child that I wanted kids more than anything when I grow up and I am sure you spouse had that same dream when he was little. Like I said I would get professional help that you can talk to and help you decide what you want. Good Luck
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:10 PM
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My husband never wanted children but when it came down to us deciding to get married, that was the BIG issue we had to address. I would not agree to get married unless he genuinely could say he wanted children and he fortunately did arrive to the conclusion that he wants to be a dad...badly!

But - that doesn't help you. I think you both need to run to a 3rd party to really talk about this. You either will need to reach compromise one way or another or make some drastic moves in your relationship. Obviously, if you're not ready, you're not ready. However, as someone who waited to have children, I can tell you that fertility drops off dramatically for a large number of women after 30. It's not everyone but in my experience over the last 3 yrs with infertility and the number of women in their 30s who have had major problems conceiving, it's better not to wait IF you want children. Infertility just rots and dealing with it is very emotional and expensive.

You really sound like you have no desire to have children at all - which is fine! But you & your husband really need to talk this out. Obviously, you have to both be comfortable with whatever decisions you make so that one party is not resentful of the other.

Best of luck to you.

ETA: now I have a better understanding of why pregnancy terrifies you. Motherhood is not for everyone. You have to follow your heart in this.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:13 PM
Location: Between Here and There
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I think you and your husband should go to a marriage counselor and try to come to a compromise. I don't think it's fair for him to have to wait if in five years you will still be on the fence, you need to deal with your real feelings on the issue now and so does he. Good luck.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:25 PM
Location: Chicago
2,467 posts, read 11,119,300 times
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Originally Posted by irishmom View Post
I think you and your husband should go to a marriage counselor and try to come to a compromise. I don't think it's fair for him to have to wait if in five years you will still be on the fence, you need to deal with your real feelings on the issue now and so does he. Good luck.
I totally agree. This is a HUGE issue that often leads to divorce when it's not settled. Now, I'm not saying that that will happen or that either of you should change your views just to appease the other, or you will end up resenting eachother/resenting your kids, etc. You definitly need to seek out help from a 3rd party to negotiate this issue.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:41 PM
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
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It never occured to me to have kids till my younger sister got pregnant. I wasn't afraid of it, I just never thought about it.

I figured if I had enjoyed family life as a child that I would be a good mother, and I was. It's a 20 year project, for starters, and one of the most fulfilling things I've done in my life. Each stage is different. I was close to my parents and am equally close to my kids. The difference is when my parents are gone I still have my wonderful kids. It's something to think about.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:51 PM
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It sounds like you have really thought about this, so you know how you feel. Has your h given it as much thought as you have?

Do you feel you need to talk through your concerns with a counselor, or are you satisfied with your analysis? My main concern about marriage counselors (and counselors in general) is that there are some out there who really stink--and badly, as well as being some who are really good. First you need to find someone who you both can relate to, and who can relate to you, and who can understand you both without having her own agenda or working out her demons in your lives. My h and I tried one and she was awful, always trying to paint me as a b**** despite the fact that my h was right there saying, "No, she didn't do that, it was me who screwed up." I mean, he was even admitting it in the session, and she still was almost attacking me, like I had really pi##ed her off. It was shockingly bad. Poison like that is not helpful, so don't be afraid to shop around and try different counselors until you find one you are both comfortable with who seems rational and able to assess a situation and help you both work through the issues at hand.

If you don't feel "called" to be a mother, even if you do eventually agree to adopt a child, you may end up feeling resentful and the marriage may suffer because of that resentment, so giving in just to save the relationship may not be a good choice, either. And it really doesn't sound like 5 more years is going to change anything for you.

Don't feel bad about not wanting to be a mother. There are plenty of women who have no business having babies but do it anyway. They just felt it was "the thing to do", the expectation, or they got pg by accident. 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. It is amazing and actually offensive to me what hoops adoptive parents have to jump through in order to prove themselves "worthy" of adopting, when all a drunk/drug-addicted/just plain ole irresponsible teen has to do is be irresponsible and she can have as many kids as she wants/doesn't want. Talk about a cruel irony.

It sounds like you and your h need to have some serious discussions about your future. I know of a woman who still regrets not having children because her husband was not at all interested. It never entered her mind to divorce him over it--but that was a different generation.

Best of luck to you, doglover! (hug)
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:30 PM
Location: Boise / Eagle, Idaho
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Post Growing up and hard choices

You need to have a major heart to heart with your husband and make some hard serious choices - sooner rather than later.

My Husband was in the exact same situation as you are with his first wife.

They were married 7 years ... he started wanting a child in their 4th year of marriage ... she was 31 at the time at not ready. She had the same concerns you did. He waited and bugged her for 3 more years until they began to resent each other. Sadly, she had an affair and left him for someone who did not want children either. My husband was heartbroken ... he always "planned" to only marry once. Now at the age of 34 he was divorced and didn't want to be. He tried for another year to win her back.

Three years later he met me, we've now been married 8 years and together we have two beautiful children. More importantly, he is a wonderful Father. Had he remained with his first wife, my children would not be here and HE would have missed out on something was clearly born to do - be a Dad.

He still cares about his first wife and they talk on occassion. She never had any children and is a happy free spirit.

You might assume, I am saying to leave him ... I am NOT, he might be your best friend and soulmate. What I am saying is TALK to him ... and find a compromise. And if YOU really don't EVER want biological children, you should set him free so he can find another love who may share that dream with him. It seems very clear that his dream is to have biological children. You too may find someone else who share your dreams for the future. .

However, if he would rather be with YOU than have children, MAKE SURE he means it and isn't just hoping you change your mind ... otherwise, you will both live to resent one another and end divorced anyway ... just at a later date. And that would be a sad loss of years for both of you.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:33 PM
662 posts, read 5,148,492 times
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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.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:48 PM
662 posts, read 5,148,492 times
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Originally Posted by AnyDayNow View Post
It sounds like you have really thought about this, so you know how you feel. Has your h given it as much thought as you have?
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.

A part of me feels that just as much as I need to give this a chance--and talk to pregnant women and mothers about what it's like to be a mom and have children, which I am willing to do and which I am going to do, because this needs to be a very well-thought out decision, before any final decisions are made, made with as much information as I can find--he equally needs to give the concept of being childfree a chance and learn about what the potentials of that lifestyle choice are and fully understand the negatives of parenthood--just exactly what he will be giving up in terms of freedom, free time, etc.

I think he does not realize that if we have a child, gone are the days of sleeping in as late as he wants on weekends, doing all his sports teams whenever he wants, staying up late and going out, etc. I don't think he has a full grasp of what he will be sacrificing. Right now we live like college students, in a way. I know he enjoys that and I enjoy it too--very much. I'm not ready to move toward a more settled lifestyle. But I think I have a more realistic--albeit more negative--view of what parenthood entails, including the negative effects on a marriage when the two people are working full-time and juggling the stresses of a full-time job, household duties, and child rearing.

Last edited by doglover29; 11-18-2007 at 10:59 PM..
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