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Babies vs Marriage(38 Posts)
My DH and I are having an ongoing (ie. over 5 years) 'discussion' about having children. I am not completely unwilling, but have a lot of ishoos relating to my own upbringing, my body and my mental health.Essentially, I would rather not. He would be a perfect Dad and never really considered the alternative.
So you can see our dilemma. My position is not a surprise to him. We discussed this at length before we got married.
My question for MNers is - have any of you had a child for your your DH primarily? Have any of you NOT had a child despite your DH really wanting one? In either case, how did this affect your marriage?
Our problem is that we love each other and our marriage is good. DH is very curious about your responses, as am I.
Thanks in advance.
Sorry, should have mentioned. Have namechanged to avoid being outed IRL
I very strongly believe that nobody, male or female, should be forced into parenthood. Every child deserves to be brought into a home where it is wanted. A new baby puts so much pressure on the strongest of relationships and I cannot imagine how much that would increase where one parent essentially has only said 'yes' to a baby, in order to appease the other. Not everybody wants children and whatever their reason, they should not be forced into it. The difficulty is though, that whoever 'wins', could eventually be the target of resentment from the other.
I feel for you and also for your DH, it is a situation where there can be no compromise, one of you will get your own way and the other won't.
Sorry. A couple in my family did this. The are very happy 15 years and two children later. Theybcame to what seemed a very cold, business like arrangement which meant that she had the time, space and money to persue a burninginterest of her own "in exchange"-sort of- for having the children he longed for.
They are a very happy, robust secure family- it worked for them.
If you don't want kids and he does, he will most likely eventually find someone else who does want kids.
Which of the two outcomes do you want more?
It's a really bad idea to have a baby that you really don't want, just because someone else wants you to have one. It's bad for the baby if you find yourself unable to love him/her and filled with resentment.
Is it actually parenting you don't fancy, or the physical business of being pregnant and giving birth? If it's the latter, one way of possibly reaching a compromise might be fostering/adopting.
DH and I got married on the agreement there would be no DC's...looking back I didn't want any DC's due to indoctrination from my parents concerning children being nothing but a bind and both an emotional and monetary drain.
8 years into the marriage DH changed his mind, there was no pressure from him, he just asked me if it was something I was willing to at least think about.
I thought......and thought...and decided that as I loved him it was beyond my remit to deprive him of the chance to be a Father.
I was sure that if I said no I would have felt hugely guilty at depriving him of Fatherhood and would not be able to stay married to him...to say 'no' solely for my own reasons - for me - would have been too selfish an act for me to live with and stay married...DH was happy whatever I decided...staying married and saying no to DC's was totally my issue.
Finally I decided to say yes, we will start TTC and see what happens...but I was only willing to say a definite yes to one DC...any more depended on how I got on with Motherhood.
I was pregnant the first month of TTC.
We now have 3 DC's all aged early and pre teens.
I am happy with the choice I made.
I think if you've had an unhappy childhood, having a child can be the best way of healing you. You can be the mother you wanted.
If that wasn't your problem, then I apologise.
Have you thought about getting support to help you deal with your ishoos? That would be the first step to finding a solution to this dilemma.
Dh And I both decided we never wanted chidren, the doctor told me (due to various problems) that it was unlikely I would concieve. So we decided that was that!.
I found myself pregnant 3 years into our marriage and we were shellshocked!
Another "mistake" happened while I was on the pill 2 years later and the twins arrived 3 years on from that.
My family is so special to me. DH is a great Dad, and we have 4 fairly well balanced Adult children who are always telling us what great parents we are
What I am trying to say is don't overthink it! I have no doubt if you have a child you will fall in love with it the moment you give birth and with your DH's support you will probably be a wonderfull Mother.
You are so self aware of the problems regarding your upbringing I am sure you would not let history repeat itself.
My advice, perhaps get some counselling to deal with your problems , then perhaps just go for it!
It would be tricky enough if the equation was definitely you didn't want kids and he did.
But actually it is a leap in the dark and you have no way of knowing how you will respond to actually having a baby, in real life, your own and your DHs baby.
You might continue to feel similar to now. You might decide its the best thing you ever did and become an earth mother etc etc. Or something somewhere in the middle.
If your marriage is good, that it a good foundation for having children. Yes, relationships change, you will face challenges, you will feel you are drifting apart sometimes, but nothing that a good relationship can't address and sort out. And the plus points are that your shared pride and delight in your baby is a huge bond between you.
I got lucky. DH knew I didn't want children.
Then my hormones kicked in at the ripe age of 31 I waited for about 8 months before disclosing this to DH just in case!
Two months of semi-trying (or having lots of fun!) and what d'ya know DS was conceived.
I think that sometimes, things happen/are for a reason. If you don't want children and have made it clear from the start, then don't feel pressured.
Gosh...I don't sound very happy with my choice up there ^ do I?!!
Really I am happy - honest ...just trying to post here and referee the DC's kitchen cupboard raiding mission at the same time!
5 years is a long time to have this ongoing discussion! It could be that a baby would help put those ishoos in perspective. New life has a way of moving us forward.
I have a dear friend who felt similarly, she had a difficult childhood and lots of emotional problems. She did a lot of introspective analysing and it got her absolutely nowhere, infact it bogged her down. When she had her children the problems of her past became, by neccesity, very much past problems, with the benefit that she knew exactly how she was not going to parent. There's something to be said for just going for it. Five years of talking have not clarified this for you and, as you say, you are not totally against it.
I didn't answer your question! I wanted children but the friend I mentioned had her first child primarily for her dp who was desperate for a family. Oddly, he felt it would heal his pain of his parents dreadful break up. She decided it was preferable to losing him and ended up loving motherhood so much she had another.
I don't know anyone who truly regrets having children but I do know several people who miss not having them.
Thanks all - sorry I haven't replied earlier, I am in a different time zone and was asleep
Great replies. DH has had a read. He said "no prancing around the bush there then" to a couple of them.
To address some of the questions - my childhood wasn't terrible but my mother was mentally unwell and I see some similarities in my behaviour at times. Difference being that I am at least aware and I am trying to change. I am also quite frightened of the bodily business of pregnancy/birth. This I could over come I think if the urge to have a child was strong enough.
DH had a great childhood and would be a brilliant parent.
I am not completely against having kids. I just look at my friends who have young DCs and think that I couldn't do what they do.
I am, in a way, prepared for DH to one day meet someone else who would give him babies. The age thing isn't quite so important for men is it? It would break my heart if he left me but I could understand it.
It is really the ultimate compromise isn't it? I have thought about the 'leap of faith' side of things. It's just a shame you can't give 'em back if you decide it's not for you!
To those that did have kids despite ambivalence - do you ever have thoughts about how life would have been without? Do you think you missed out on things because you had kids?
I realise that this is not going to solve the problem for us but it is comforting to hear from those who were in the same position. We are likely headed to couples counselling to help us through this.
Bit of an essay there.
I didn't want a baby. Wife did. I compromised and Whilst I don't find it easy and i do wonder what i could have been doing if I hadn't agreed, I am glad I made that decision.
I don't think I missed out on anything...tbh I'm usually too busy to think about what ifs. The only thing we probably did compromise on is 'stuff' there is a distinct shortage of expensive cars and holidays here...but lots of happiness and laughter instead. Oh and time for each other...we just had to learn to make time for each other...that's why my DC's have a fixed bedtime....after 9pm is DH and I time.
Although thinking about it when dealing with 3 DC's of 3 and under who all ended up having a D&V bug at the same time...you bet I wished I had an alternative life!!
I did also struggle and still do now to some extent, with the bodily changes of childbearing...a c/section scar and the inevitable kangaroo pouch coupled with oodles of stretch marks wasn't really in my plan of how my body would look at this age (44) .
These things just never figured in my life plan, so I think I was unprepared for all the evidence of childbearing being so noticeable.
I must admit though when I watch my DS's now, after all the baby stuff, growing into young men - the pride I feel is immense and all my war wound, pregnancy marks seem very worthwhile and insignificant compared to having the ability to physically grow and nurture these wonderful young people.
My only bit of advice would be not to think about how other people cope with their DC's...the reality is that you grow into the job...they don't arrive behaving like a terrible two's toddler....you start off with a baby - you and your DC grow into each stage of your lives together.
I didn't want kids in my 20s, by my 30s I was ready. I had a great time in my 20s but kids have been the most rewarding experience I have ever had. I can't imagine I'd have missed much by not having kids in my 30s, I'd pretty much done most things in the previous 10 years.
A friend of mine did have children for her husband. She doesn't regret the choice she made & loves her children, but she also has this dream/idea of the other life she would have had without them.
So that was no help at all, was it?
You said you had extensive discussions about this before you married, and have had them for the last 5 years... so how have all these discussions ended? Did you always agree to make a decision later, and now the clock is ticking too loudly?
Question for both of you - how would you feel if you were told you had, as a couple trying to conceive together, fertility problems? (which is always a possibility)? Would you feel it wasn't meant to be, relieved, disappointed, that adoption might be your next thought, that you would want to pursue IVF? Think about your gut reaction and see what that tells you.
Young DC are hard work. I have been told that the first 5 years are back-breaking and then it gets better. I'm in that zone and would have to agree but then again there are wonderful moments, such as tonight when my DS asked me for a hug while I was reading him a bedtime story and said 'I love you' If you think you and your DH would be a good team, that's half the battle.
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