Child Flip-Flop

personalgrowthFebruary 11, 2009

DH and I have been together 10 years, married 4. We LOVE each other, we work together, we are best friends, we make each other laugh constantly. I really don't see myself bonded to another man the way I am with DH, and he feels the same about me. We have been very fortunate financially and for the last 5 years or so have been able to travel to exotic places, have nice things, bank some $$ has been blissful.

We originally didn't think we wanted kids (in our early 20's) but it was not a deal breaker or totally off the table. We starting having our niece and nephew over nearly every day as I am tutoring him in reading. Niece and nephew ADORE him, he is so imaginative and playful, I didn't even know men were capable of being that great with kids. This experience gave us the rare opportunity to see how we would be as parents. Was great: same values, same disciplinary styles, shared responsibilities well, it worked. So around the time we both turned 30, we mutually decided that we would like to start a family of our own.

We have been trying (well not preventing...we weren't ready to *try* as we feared it would ruin the intimacy) about 9 mos. Then came the week I was late. I was getting ready to go out and pick up a pregnancy test when he hit me with a train: "I want to wait to have kids." Great timing, right? I was devastated. Thank goodness I wasn't pregnant as I would have been so conflicted about the news.

That was a couple months ago, and since then the sex has been non-existent. Tension galore. We finally had it out a few nights ago where he confessed that he's not ready to have kids and might not ever be. He was crying as he feels so guilty about it, and apparantly consulted everyone he knew who had kids in what he calls "market research" to try to change his own mind...for me. He is the sweetest, seriously, I know this really pains him.

But I am so sad now hit with this realization. I was totally in baby mode. I would be a great mother and he a great father. I feel I am ready for the next phase in my life. I had this vision of my future going down path A and now I am really struggling to see my life going down childfree path B. I don't know what he thinks we are going to do instead, what he feels he'll be missing out on that we can't do if we had kids. I don't want to put him on a constant guilt trip, but right now I just can't even look at him and not be so sad, and he knows it. I feel like we ruined such a wonderful thing. I don't know how to bring the intimacy back between us...there's no question that it will be on the forefront of our minds if he puts on a condom or I pop a birth control pill. Akward.

I'm 30 so I know there's time, but if he ultimately decides he's in the "never" camp, I just don't know how I'll feel about that, or how long I'm supposed to wait for him to decide. I would never force him to compromise if that's really how he feels, it wouldn't be good for the child to have an unwilling or miserable parent. But at the same time I can't help but think that he's just scared as our life is so comfortable now, but once in the situation he would absolutely love being a dad. It's so sad, we had the best marriage ever. If anyone has any advice or words of encouragement it would be appreciated.

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I think this is one of those biggies where you two just HAVE to go to marriage counseling. You have a great marriage it sounds like, so it really needs to be on the table for discussion and his fears about this out in the open. Then you can decide together how to proceed..

I wish you all the best, sounds like you two are great together. I'd strongly encourage you both to get all the fears out in the open with a non biased professional to help you sift through..


    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 10:52AM
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You're doing a lot of thinking, and IMO, thinking the right thoughts. You're also talking about it, and neither of you are behaving badly. So lots of good points --

Cattlettuce's suggestion about going to counseling is a good one, I think. Especially if you can both genuinely regard it as "We are working together to make a major decision and getting an objective third party to help us." rather than as "We are gong to marriage counseling." (Which I don't feel would be an accurate perception.)

But if one or both of you don't want to go to counseling, I also suspect you will be able to work through it together on your own -- though perhaps not as neatly and with more hurt feelings and less 'closure' to the decision.

For now, I'd say that a "No" by either party needs to translate into a clear "Not right now" for you both. So tell him that and go back to whatever birth control method worked for you both before. Let him know the issue isn't resolved for good -- but that it's postponed for now until you've both agreed on a course of action and are sure of it.

For what it's worth, there is no one best decision -- just the best decision for the two of you.

So what are his main reasons for not wanting kids? And are they work-around-able?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 2:03PM
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I am not sure guys "want" to have children... My DH just went along with it. He liked the idea, so did I...just had the children. But I was younger than you..26 when I had my first one. Now...he is thrilled to have a son and daughter, greatest thing he ever did !

We didn't think about it and analyse it as much as you. Maybe that is a generational thing, and maybe it is a good thing that you are giving so much thought to having children.

Now..22 years later, has been fun! You certainly won't regret it, especially if you have a stash of money to make things secure for you.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2009 at 9:17PM
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I know that children are a blessing, but in this world as we know it today, is it really a blessing to that child....we are leaving them debts that they can never repay, a world full of stress and fear. I worry about the kids/grandkids I already have and hope there won't be any more...but love all that God has blessed me with. Maybe these are some thoughts and fears that your DH is having also.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 10:55AM
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some men want to have children. i know my dad did. he really wanted to have the first child. he wasn't as sure about the 2nd one though.

My X actually wanted to have children. He wanted us to get pregnant wiht DD as soon as we were married. and he has 2 younger children now and neither was an accident. I wouldn't be suprised if he has another one. some men like the more the marrier. but it is true that many men just go along wiht what woman wants. i would hesitate though to have children with a man who clearly does not want children or is not sure. i think counselling is a great idea. you want to be on the same page.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 11:48AM
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That window of opportunity closes much faster than you think! Men do not understand this at all. I waited with an ambivalent spouse for so long, I finally had my daughter when I was 38. Spouse is long gone, daughter was the best thing I ever did in my life, bar none.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 4:14PM
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Thanks so much you guys for the variety of perspectives. And Scarlett, thank you for that thought, this is my biggest fear that he'll take years to finally make up his mind and it will be decision by default, or we'll have to do IVF (which I dread, I know so many people who have had to do it and the process sounds awful), or my parents will no longer be around, etc. For me the sooner the better.

By the way, I finally coaxed the 'reasons' out of him, and aside from just basically enjoying the freedom right now, I think 'diapers' came up about two dozen times...he can't see past that for some reason, you'd think diapers was a pit of poisonous vipers to hear him talk about it!

So after a week of fighting, making-up, heartache, tears and laughter, we agreed to put the plans on hold for one year, and then we could revisit it. I'll be 31 at that time, so hopefully with child by 33, I can live with that. In the meantime I'm going to keep busy with hobbies, traveling and reading, in the hopes that I'll have no regrets if I use the time wisely to do things that would be more difficult to do with kids. Me time! Try to turn lemons into lemonade, what else can you do, right?

Thanks again, everyone...I love this many positive insights, and so few judgements. Rare for a messageboard.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 10:02PM
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PG, We didn't have our first child until I was 33, the second one came at 36 years old. You still have time to decide what is right for you. We did not want children right off the bat after we were married. We wanted to travel, build up our savings, buy a home with a yard for the children we planned on having, and that is exactly what we did. So you are doing the right thing for you.
You would not believe the pressure my MIL put on us to have her grandchildren early in our marriage. Whenever we went for a visit she always would make comments about when are we going to start having her grandchildren. It got so we did not want to go for visits any more. We finally told her we will have children when WE want them, not when she does. Her harping stopped after that.
Good luck with the counseling. I think a year is long enough to think about a subject as serious as children. You may also want start thinking about what you will do if your husband decides that he does not want to have children after all. Can you live with that decision? NancyLouise

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 1:49PM
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