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So ready to start a family, but OH not so much...

(92 Posts)
babyready Mon 03-Feb-14 17:28:08

I'm a 28 year old freelancer, currently at a natural break in my career (one big project finished, doing short-term work before looking for the next big project), and all I can think about is making that next big project starting a family!!!

I've been with my partner 3 years, we're renting together (and for the foreseeable, as we're both self-employed!) and are very stable and more in love than ever. Financially we're in the best shape we've been, and despite not having the benefits of PAYE employment (maternity pay etc), we could comfortably afford to start a family at this stage. I also just feel so ready to be a mum smile

However, OH isn't keen to give up his freedom just yet - he sees babies as a 35+ lifechoice. Not that he never wants them, he just feels that he's still young and still has stuff to do. We had the "what if there was an accident" chat, and he said it'd be fine and we'd make it work, but he's not going to choose the sleepless nights voluntarily.

For me, late-30s would be a little late to start - I'd like to still have some energy and time for my career then and be into the swing of family life, so I could (hopefully!) juggle things better!! I've also found that I can't concentrate or motivate myself in my career, or anything right now, as my mind keeps wandering back to babyland (hence me posting on mumsnet, FFS!!)!

However, I realise there's no compromise here - one of us will have to do something we don't feel is ideal for us going forward.

Has anyone either:
a) Been able to overcome this crazy, hormonal broodiness?
b) Been able to coax a loved-one round to the idea of starting a family?!

Any thoughts/advice/experiences would be hugely appreciated!!

JoinYourPlayfellows Mon 03-Feb-14 17:38:12

I realise there's no compromise here

Of course there's a compromise.

You're just talking about timing, right?

So he thinks it's too soon right now? Fair enough. You are young and there is no rush.

He wants to wait until his late 30s? If you two are the same age, then he's being a twat to ask you to wait that long.

It leaves you no wiggle room should you have any problems and will make it trickier to have multiple children.

The compromise should be not right now and not kicked down the road until it risks your fertility.

So in 3 or 4 years, rather than 7 or 8.

ALittleStranger Mon 03-Feb-14 17:38:48

Coaxing is a terrible, terrible idea. What you can do though is explain that actively planning to wait until after 35 to start is a very risky idea. But he'll still be able to point out that you have a seven year window ahead of you with very good prospects of conceiving.

Is he the same age as you? I think it's a rare man who at 28 would be raring to start a family with someone after just three years.

You say you're in a good financial position, but if you're freelancing how secure is it? Is he worrying that he'd have to take on all of the finanical burden of you and the baby?

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 03-Feb-14 17:38:57

From what I have read on here re similar situations to your points a and b I would have to have written NO to both.

How old is your man?. That may also have some bearing here.

The way things are, you're looking at another 7 years potentially without children at all and at 35 he may be too set in his ways to even want to consider them then. He may well be wanting to do "stuff" then as well. I do not hold out much hope to be honest with you. It sounds to me like he wants to let you down gently but is not being totally honest with you here.

Generally speaking too, a woman's fertility declines markedly after 35 (and yes there are exceptions) so you could also even be looked at assisted conception then in order to conceive.

Fundamentally you are incompatible when it comes to children and are not on the same page. This could ultimately be a deal breaker for the whole relationship because you could really come to resent him for you seeing him as denying you a child.

You're also self employed so you would become reliant on him financially whilst you are not working. Would he really be willing to step up then?.

AttilaTheMeerkat Mon 03-Feb-14 17:40:38

And I may be both old and old fashioned here but would you not want to get married first before having children?.

babyready Mon 03-Feb-14 18:26:16

Sorry, yes, he's 28 too.

In terms of being self-employed, of course, there are always risks with income, but to be honest, not much more than unexpected redundancy in any job. And for me - I have many friends in the same industry with young families (and similarly freelance partners) who cope admirably. I would be able to continue working as much as I felt capable (as well as getting the small statutory maternity).

I was worried that he might never be ready for a family, but he has been going goo-goo over a friend's baby recently. But yes, the financial burden is doubtless a concern - the friend in question does go on about the cost of child-rearing and all the hours he works.

And obviously, he doesn't feel mature enough yet, which is more the issue. We talk about what kind of parents we'll be often, jokingly and sometimes more earnestly, so it seems on the cards in general, if not imminently.

As to marriage, we probably would/will, but we both see it as a bit of an unnecessary cost (we see our friends financially crippling themselves with "dream weddings"!) - but I see your point that it does perhaps show a definite commitment where long-term co-habiting doesn't necessarily. Not that I'm concerned in that respect!

I think a conversation about looking at the next few years is in order - and perhaps I have to accept that it may be a deal breaker. And perhaps he has to realise it's a deal breaker for me too.

He's away with work at the moment, so I'll have to stew on it for a couple of weeks!! Wish me luck smile

ITCouldBeWorse Mon 03-Feb-14 18:30:58

He probably still views himself as single lad at 28,so completely not ready for a baby.

You see yourself as half of a committed couple, and ready to become a family.

I think women are much better served by marriage then living together if there are to be children and personally did not want dc later than 35. I think you need to consider what you really want from life, and whether this is compatible with your boyfriend.

Plus the very clear difference between getting married, and a 'dream wedding'.

Now is a good time for you to,plan your life.

ALittleStranger Mon 03-Feb-14 18:31:29

Has he actually said he wants a future with you? You don't have long-term cohabitation behind you (which doesn't signify commitment to be honest, commitment is all about looking to the future) and it's not clear what you're both signed up for looking forward. Vague talk of parenthood is not really establishing a future. FWIW this is why I think marriage is useful, it makes sure you set out future plans, otherwise it's too easy to drift along with one partner reading lots into idle sunday morning chat.

An expensive wedding isn't necessary btw.

CMOTDibbler Mon 03-Feb-14 18:43:00

I think you both need a sit down and a chat about what you want to do before you have children, and what it would be good to get done before too! So for instance get married (even if thats the two of you, two random mnetters witnesses and no fuss), learn to drive, save up to cover maternity leave (and it will get you used to the drop in income childcare brings), have a wild holiday scuba diving or whatever.

Really talk, and respect each others opinions in this, then look for a way forward - maybe work on the list, and revisit when you are both 30.

PaulaFletch14 Mon 03-Feb-14 19:13:48

Sorry to be blunt but leave. I got married to my ex husband at 28 after five years together and he always said not yet, let's wait. Stalling tactics. Fast forward I left when I was 37. He never wanted them at all. I'm now 39 getting remarried trying to conceive following a miscarriage. Blokes don't change their minds IME

JoinYourPlayfellows Mon 03-Feb-14 19:19:45

Blokes don't change their minds IME

IME almost all humans change their minds from not wanting to have a baby yet to thinking it's time to get going.

This guy is 28. Not that many 28 year old men are falling over themselves to be tied down with a family.

Plenty of 28 year old women aren't either.

Establishing that 35 is too late and figuring out a timescale that works for both of them hardly seems like crazy dewy eyed naivety.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Mon 03-Feb-14 19:51:52

You both may think marriage is unnecessary but if you have children it's a far better situation to be in legally, whether you agree with it or not.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Mon 03-Feb-14 19:52:12

Do not under any circumstances try to coax him.
The exhaustion and intensity of patenting inevitably leads to some resentment in even the healthiest relationship. Never give someone ammunition to feel that you forced them into a lifelong commitment that they didn't want.
Please don't underestimate how hard being a parent it. Your relationship has to be strong. You need to be on exactly the same page or the relationship simply won't survive.
If he has any doubts, just wait. I know those hormones are eating you up and it's probably ask you can think about. But just wait. For now.

HaroldLloyd Mon 03-Feb-14 19:54:24

What difference does getting married make?

Yes v old fashioned.

Id be looking for a compromise bug that would be 30 probably. I had children late 30s but that's only as I met my partner then. And no we didn't get married, seemed a waste of time & money.

HaroldLloyd Mon 03-Feb-14 19:56:38

Not necessarily.

HaroldLloyd Mon 03-Feb-14 19:58:58

I'm a little surprised by all this wedding talk to be honest.

MrsOakenshield Mon 03-Feb-14 19:59:58

I would see how you go for a couple of years, loads can change. But I wouldn't advise leaving starting to try until 35.

Blokes can change. DH would have run for the hills at 28 if anyone had suggested he start a family (as would I, to be honest). But fast forward a few years and we were both ready - but unfortunately it took a long time and a lot of problems and I didn't have DD until I was 38. And that's it for us, it's looking unlikely that we will have another.

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 03-Feb-14 20:01:21

I had my first child when I was 28 (DH was 30), it's not that young!

When I first brought up the subject of children, he reacted in a similar way to your DP, he saw it as a vague 'in the future' thing and didn't see why we should disrupt our nice lifestyle.

So we talked, I was very honest about how I felt, that this was something I wanted to do sooner rather than later. I left him to reflect for a while (months!) and then we talked again, talked about some of his worries - he was particularly worried about supporting a family financially. And then eventually we agreed that I'd come off the pill and we'd see what happened.

MyNameIsKenAdams Mon 03-Feb-14 20:03:17

I wouldnt have waited til 35 to have kids with my dh. Can you have a frank conversation where you say you wont wait past X age, and will revisit the children concersation then, if he hasnt brought it up in the meantime?

Twinklestein Mon 03-Feb-14 20:11:20

35+ is fine for man, but for women it's too risky to leave ttc so late.

So you need to establish whether the age is negotiable, if not you need to move on and find someone who wants kids in the same time frame as you.

MadBusLady Mon 03-Feb-14 20:36:25

HaroldLloyd I'd have said the same as you about marriage a couple of years ago, old-fashioned social trappings we do not need to prove our lurve etc, but having hung around on this board I see the value in discussing it particularly in situations like this. It makes people think about what they're doing, and drags any hidden problems out into the light. We've all heard stories about people (men usually but not exclusively) kicking the children decision down the line and one day it turns out to be a proxy for "I don't want children ^with you^" and they up and leave and have children with someone else. And they could have had that conversation seven years earlier and saved a lot of heartache.

So I think the OP needs to (a) be sure one way or another that there is a real commitment there and then (b) talk about the age time frame.

Ragwort Mon 03-Feb-14 20:41:26

Agree with MadBusLady - no it is not essential to be married (and certainly not for a big poncey white wedding and all the expense and trimmings) but it is essential to have a clear discussion about commitment and get all the legal aspects covered (which can be done by having a very quiet and simple wedding grin).

There are too many stories here on Mumsnet about broken relationships, financial worries etc etc - of course 'marriage' does not mean these things won't happen but at least some of the legalities can be dealt with.

And if someone isn't at least prepared to discuss these issues why on earth would you want them to be a father to your child confused?

babyready Mon 03-Feb-14 20:42:16

This is all wonderful advice - thank you all!

Definitely a frank conversation is needed. I'm glad most of you agree about 35+ being a bit risky - I realise lots of people have children then for lots of reasons (my OH's mum had him then, hence that number, I think), but it does leave me with fewer options.

I had a very bad habit of trying to plan the future too much, and before my OH I was in a long-term relationship where the future and prospects were great (we wanted all the same things, he had a stable job etc) but I realised that day-to-day I was actually really unhappy. One of the attractive things about my OH is he lives in the "now" and helps me do the same, but I think it's getting on to be the time to balance that with a bit of forward thinking and planning.

I think he'd be fine if it was something that happened spur-of-the-moment, weirdly, but obvs in the modern world we ladies have to make the choice to come off contraception etc - don't get me wrong, I'd ALWAYS rather have the option not to, but it does mean more agonising over whether TO! But yes, frank conversation time for sure.

HaroldLloyd Mon 03-Feb-14 20:44:45

I suppose mad bus lady, I'm quite savvy with finances so I make sure things are organised to my advantage but I see where your coming from.

MonsterMunchMe Mon 03-Feb-14 20:50:06

My gut feeling on this is that he's stalling.

You've been together 3 years, he's 28. Say a year ttc, then 40 weeks pregnant.... He would be 30, maybe older if it takes you longer for some reason.

If it's something you really want, a frank and honest chat is what's needed to make a compromise, if he won't, or doesn't stick to it, eg start trying at 30 or whatever, then you have to walk away.

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