My partner is terrified of having children(3 Posts)
My partner and I are getting married this year, and we've agreed that in a year or two we'll start the process of trying to have a baby. Her brother has agreed to be the sperm donor for any child I carry, which is wonderful as we'll both be able to have a biological connection, etc.
The problem is, she is EXTREMELY apprehensive about having children. It's something she knew was important to me when we got together, and she's basically agreed to go ahead with it to make me happy. Left to her own devices, I am fairly sure she'd never have children.
She is very worried about the impact on our relationship/lives/sleep etc. and is worried she will regret becoming a parent. She wants to know (and she knows I am posting this), has anyone here had children in spite of not really wanting to, and been happy that they did?
I happen to think she'll be fine once we have children. She is generally quite anxious about change, and I suspect that is a driving factor here. She is warm and affectionate and silly and a homebody. She loves dinosaurs and cuddles and weird science facts and would probably have lots of fun with kids. But that's easy for me to say, isn't it?! I don't want to dismiss her anxieties and blithely declare she'll be fine, but I think hearing from others may help.
Has anyone here been apprehensive about children and then loved it? Or had the opposite experience and really regretted parenthood?
I think being apprehensive is normal.
I think agreeing to have children to make your partner happy is not normal, and it would worry me a lot.
What is she apprehensive about, exactly? Can she see any bit of parenting that she'd look forward to?
Because I get hugely worried I'll never sleep again, and my career will be ruined, and we'll never be able to afford a house, and all of these things scare me, because I'm a worrier. But I am also delighted with the thought of other bits of parenting, and that reassures me, deep down, that it cannot possibly be an unmitigated disaster - there would always be some bit of me thinking, sadly, 'well, we didn't have kids and now I'll never do x and y that I was really looking forward to'.
I think if she doesn't have any specifics she could imagine enjoying, it's a real worry.
Is it a decision you need to make in the near future?
I wasn't sure about it but went for it anyway. I'm not a very confident person and worried about coping, whether I'd be a good parent.
I don't think it would be helpful for me to lie. I found the first ten years incredibly difficult. But it was also a joy.
I think it had never occurred to me what having a baby would mean. I ended up as a housewife (for various reasons that gradually unfolded) and it seemed obvious/fair that I cooked, cleaned, went to toddler groups. But I did look round and think how the hell did I get here? I agreed to have a baby but none of this! I felt my identity had gone.
So I would think carefully which of you is going to take on the main carer role. It just unfolds gradually sometimes. Dh was paid more than me - he carried on working FT. Then his job moved. So we moved. Then I had no job. I applied for some but found it exhausting dropping/picking up from nursery then working in between, with sleepless nights (dh couldn't because of his hours).
I struggled through because I do love/want the best for my dc. But I'm glad they're older now. I find it much easier. But I would say dh is definitely more tolerant than I am/more willing to play. I would be the one to remember that they have a Sats meeting tonight or we really ought to invite that friend round because we haven't done for ages.
So on the whole it's about team working for us. Where I lack, dh fills in. I don't regret it at all. I've just found it difficult and that's definitely taken a toll on my health/our marriage/my career.
So maybe it's a lack of confidence thing. In which case you do just muddle through anyway. Nobody can predict what issues their dc will have (they all have some). But if it's that she really doesn't want that lifestyle, I think you may have a problem. Because it definitely impacts on your social life, your sleep, your relationship. It adds something different in return. But life changes for sure. I don't spend weekends reading the paper, going for leisurely brunches. My holidays aren't spent lying on sunbeds reading books. That's all changed. Generally something needs doing all of the time. And that can sometimes include the time I'm sleeping in my bed at night.
It's hard to describe what it adds. A new life for us. A whole new dimension. Of craziness, laughter, fun, chaos sometimes. A whole new world of people with having to pick up/drop off from nursery/school every day for a decade at least. My dc are like extra arms. They're part of me. I feel their joy and their pain. I don't regret it at all. But it can be hard if you're not that way inclined I think. Particularly if you end up as the main carer in the early days like I did.
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