What to Do When You Can’t Agree About Having a Baby

Posted by on Oct 31, 2016 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on What to Do When You Can’t Agree About Having a Baby

Sometimes couples talk about children early on in the relationship. They think they’re on the same page. Then, later on, someone changes their mind. Or one partner reveals that they weren’t really on the same page at all and was simply holding out hope that the other person would eventually come around.

Either way, this could make for an extremely painful and difficult situation. Normally, we say the best decisions a couple can make should end in compromise. However, this is one of the very rare cases where you can’t easily do that.

You Can’t Have Half a Baby

Of course, you may be able to negotiate some decisions around having a child, such as when to conceive or what to do with your time and resources if you don’t have children. But the actual decision itself? You either do it or you won’t.

So, for a relationship to work, one partner is going to have to change their position on the issue and get on board with what their partner wants. Sadly, when couples simply can’t get on the same page, the relationship usually ends. Unfortunately, there’s no other way to resolve the matter if one person truly wants children and the other truly doesn’t.

Some couples approach this impasse the way they approach most issues in their relationships. That is, by trying to persuade each other to their point of view. Sometimes, one partner is successful in convincing the other to do what they wish. However, this can be a problem, especially if that partner feels like they’re sacrificing their own desires or needs. That’s a recipe for relationship disaster.

Down the road, that type of decision-making comes back to haunt the relationship. Thus, it will only be a matter of time before the sense of giving in to their partner’s wants leads to resentment. And from resentment, major relationship problems arise.

Be Very Sure If You Change Your Mind

Most of all, if you’re going to change your position on whether or not to have a baby, it really needs to be a heartfelt decision, something you truly want. Not something you’re coerced into to make your partner happy.

So, how do you know if you are willing to change your mind about having a baby? Here are some things to think about when trying to make the decision:

1.  You’ve looked at the situation from past and future perspectives

  • In the past, did you have a strong desire to have children or not have children? Were you indifferent?
  • Do you look at couples with children and wish you were in their position? Are you relieved that you aren’t?
  • Have you always wanted kids? Will you feel incomplete without them? How will you feel if you don’t have them?

2. You recognize that, once you make a parenting decision, the decision is permanent.

First of all, having a baby is a life-changer that you cannot reverse. Once the baby comes, you are permanently parents.

Similarly, proceeding in a relationship with a person who is against having children must be considered just as permanent. It is highly unlikely that they will change their mind. Again, trying to coerce your partner into parenthood is a recipe for relationship disaster.

3. You’ve considered this alternative scenario:

Say your current partner wants children, but the relationship doesn’t work out. Then your next relationship partner does not want kids. How would you feel? Would you be disappointed? Relieved? This may provide some insight as to how you really feel about becoming a parent.

4. You realize you’re desperately seeking opinions

If you find you are constantly seeking the advice of people close to you about whether you should have a baby it may signal that you are conflicted. You may not be resolute in your decision. Furthermore, you may want to be convinced externally because you are not internally ready to decide.

5. You’ve considered underlying issues that complicate your ability to make this decision

Ask yourself why you do or don’t want to have children. Is your decision to have children connected to your parents or your religious background? Did your own upbringing or past unpleasant experiences impact your decision not to become a parent? Is the stability of your relationship in question? Deal with those concerns, they are valid and deserve your attention. However, carefully consider whether your decisions are truly what you want or are being driven by these or other factors.

6. You’ve considered how it will be to tell others

Perhaps you’ve reached a point where you’ve made a final decision to become or not become a parent. How do you feel about sharing your choice with the people you care about? Are you upset or excited? That’s an important piece of information. Are you concerned about whether others agree with you? Or are you really upset because you’re undecided on some level?

7. You ultimately trust your own gut

There are times when we underestimate the importance of our gut instincts. Therefore, we often try to rationalize our decisions, talking ourselves into or out of things, despite the fact that our gut has already told us what is right for us. There is something to be said for trusting yourself.

All in all, if you take some time, consider these factors, and do some honest soul-searching, you may find that you’re really at peace with changing your mind and honoring your partner’s parenting preference. If that’s the case, good! You’ve done the work. Move forward, assured of your decision.


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