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To think it is pretty common for men to be a bit 'meh' about DCs?

64 replies

RevoltingPeasant · 12/05/2011 18:51

When I first got together with DP, neither of us was sure if we wanted DCs. DP had a brandnew niece and thought she was very cute, but also a lot of work.

Over the last couple of years, I have decided that I really do want DCs and have talked about this repeatedly with DP. He wavers between comic resignation and looking a bit disturbed; he never says 'Absolutely not', but he never shows real enthusiasm. However, he did recently move halfway across the country with me to follow my career and has said with a tremor in his voice 'So you want to start a family when you're 33 or so, right?'

When I put it down in black and white, it looks really bad at first, like this is a no-goer and he's really not interested....

But AIBU to think that in fact, a lot of men in their late 20s/ early 30s have cold feet about having children until they actually arrive? DP's bro was really not into the idea but is now a very hands-on dad with 2 DDs; my own BIL is very cautious but I can see he'll make a brilliant dad. DP has loads of qualities that would make him a great dad - he's sensitive, careful, playful, loyal, and has an absurd sense of humour.

So AIBU to think I can live in hope, and his feelings are quite normal? Or am I ridiculously over-optimistic? Tell it to me straight....

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squeakytoy · 12/05/2011 18:57

I think that is quite normal, and I have also found that the best dads do tend to be the ones who start their families once they are in their mid 30's as most men tend to grow up a bit at that stage and not still want to be out with their mates.


ilovedora27 · 12/05/2011 18:59

I know a lot of men who were very keen on having children. My husband was when we were engaged at 18 and we had amount of children and baby names planned. We didnt have our daughter until we were 23 but we talked about what it would be like when we had our children and were both very broody.

In RL the dads who are the most hands on, committed etc all seem to be the ones who were very keen on having children before they actually had kids. Most I know that are reluctant have ended up breaking up with the mum.

It can work that a reluctant dad comes round and is really hands on with DCS but I have very rarely seen it happen


rosie1979 · 12/05/2011 19:02

I knew someone who was early 30's and really broody - she was on the pill. She told her dh when her pills were finished she was not renewing the prescription, if he did not want a baby he had to be the one to take control of the contraception and use condoms.
Needless to say he didnt, she got pregnant and he was not happy about it, did not accept it for the whole pregnancy.
As soon as she had the baby he was thrilled...but thats one hell of a risk IMO!

I would not want to get pregnant unless we were both totally up for it which is why I will never have a 3rd child...sob ;)


RevoltingPeasant · 12/05/2011 19:05

Thanks squeaky.

I mean, I'm not going to go and get pg without him knowing about it, obv. It's a decision we'll have to take together. But I have told him it's something I'm very serious about, so I'm hoping assuming he'll come round...

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SardineQueen · 12/05/2011 19:11

I think your question is - do most men who are ambivalent about having children, who decide to have children with women they love, come round to the idea of children when the baby actually arrives?

I'm sure they do, yes!

I don't think it's that common for men to be "meh" about DCs in general though, IME it's pretty even between the sexes who is dead keen and who is not, including my DH who was red-hot-keen on children ASAP and I was the "meh" one!


NoobytheWaspSlayer · 12/05/2011 19:11

My DH absolutely definately and completely did not want to have children. Full stop. I needed to get that idea right out of my head.

Then, after his Dad got ill, and he hit mid-30's, he changed his mind, and now he is the most devoted wonderful Dad you could hope to have (and we're expecting number 3).


blackleopard · 12/05/2011 19:12

It's the opposite situation for DH and me. He is 32 and is very keen to have children but I am pretty ambivalent about it. I'm more practical-minded than he is and I don't know how he thinks children will fit into our current lifestyle (lots of nights out, evening classes, weekends away, weekend lie-ins). We probably will have kids eventually but I'm happier enjoying our current arrangements as it is.

I'm not sure I know of many reluctant dads - all of them have either very keen or, erm, taken by surprise.


RevoltingPeasant · 12/05/2011 19:13

That is a MUCH better way of putting it, Sardine, I will remember for when I start wheedling in earnest in 18 mos' time Grin

I feel like quite a lot of men my age or a bit younger (am 31) just haven't really thought that much about it, except to assume vaguely that it'll probably happen at some point - or to not really be bothered about it.

Might just be my friends though....

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RevoltingPeasant · 12/05/2011 19:15

Excellent Nooby...

I am taking courage from the fact that the other day he referred to my minge as 'fons et origo' Hmm Grin

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minipie · 12/05/2011 19:16

Hmmm. I think it's common for men to be less enthusiastic than women, but there are different degrees of unenthusiastic IYSWIM.

If he says he wants children, but just isn't as enthusiastic about it as you, then I'd say that's ok and quite normal.

If he doesn't want children that's obviously more of an issue. I wouldn't want to have a child with someone who had never said they wanted children, in the hope they'd love them once they arrived.


expatinscotland · 12/05/2011 19:21

I would not want to conceive children with a man who was 'meh' about having children. I figured one of the least things I could give my children is a father who is absolutely thrilled about their arrival.


pjmama · 12/05/2011 19:21

It sounds to me like he's open to the idea of having kids, but is just shit scared and rightly so! My DH was like this, would have never been bothered if we hadn't had children but knew I wanted them so was happy to go along. Now he can't imagine his life without them and wishes we'd done it years ago so we could have had more!

If a man tells you he definitely doesn't want kids, then I think you should listen and just hoping he'll change his mind is not usually a good idea - they rarely do. But the ones on the fence are often just wobbling at the sheer enormity of the responsibility and change it brings to you life.


WobblyWidgetOnTheScooper · 12/05/2011 19:23

Hmm I'm not sure. I guess most of my friends of my age (24) are very scared of having DCs although they really want them someday, and aren't really into the whole going out drinking scene.

My DH was really excited about having DCs, we were both really broody and I conceived DD when I was 19. The broodiness wasn't so surprising on his part I guess as he is much older and already had DCs.

He wasn't so over the moon with his first DCs but that was really because his first marriage was dreadful. But he still 'stepped up' and is as great a dad to them as he is to our two.

I guess the commitment-phobic image of men is so endemic in our culture that it is normal. I don't think my DH has ever fitted that image though, but his upbringing was not typical (horribly abusive mother) so I think he was determined to be a good dad himself IYSWIM.


DilysPrice · 12/05/2011 19:24

It sounds as if he has no strong feelings either way, but accepts that if he wants to be with you then you will want them, and he's content to go along with it when necessary. I'd say that's not uncommon and not a disastrous sign.


GwendolineMaryLacey · 12/05/2011 19:24

I don't know, DH was crazy about having children, if it wasn't for him I'd probably be still thinking about it!

I agree with expat, meh is not a good starting point for having a baby.


NoobytheWaspSlayer · 12/05/2011 19:26

I think a lot of men just see all the disadvantages of having kids IYSWIM - and because a lot of them don't get broody, or clucky over babies they just think the whole thing just seems like a lot of hard work. What did happen for us was that he loved DS1 because he was HIS baby - and obviously the best baby ever. He wasn't really even interested too much when I was pregnant, he wouldn't read any books, and didn't get hugely excited. Ah but when DS1 arrived he just sat in the labour room holding him and staring at him and looked at me and said 'He has FINGERS! look! he's REAL!' (well duh!)

He then genuinely couldn't understand why other Dads in the ward/antenatal group/general public didn't see that our DS1 was the best and better than theirs! His baby was different you see.


CharlotteBronteSaurus · 12/05/2011 19:28

when i met DH, he was 21, and he told me he wanted DC before he was 30
i was Shock and nearly ran away.
it's probably no coincidence that despite working long hours he really is the most involved father i know.


RevoltingPeasant · 12/05/2011 19:29

pjmama I think that's it exactly!

In his early 20s DP had a nasty illness that meant he sort of 'lost' the years between 21 and 25 and then he got really depressed and didn't work for a while. So I think he is scared of doing something so 'grown-up', in a sense.

When I first met him he was quite nervy about a lot of things, like driving; I encouraged him to take driving lessons and pushed him a bit. He was almost shaking before his first lesson - but then he passed his test first time with a clean sheet almost, and now has his own car and really enjoys driving.

I feel like it's a confidence thing in part. Is this normal? I would be scared too, but I grew up around babies and know how to change a nappy etc, whereas he really never has.

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RevoltingPeasant · 12/05/2011 19:31

Nooby that's what DP's brother was like. He is THE most sardonic, unsentimental person I know, and it is quite something to hear him interacting with his DDs now.

Hmm... but then I wonder if expat is right Confused

Is it just that one partner has to 'push' for it more sometimes?

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SnuffleTurtle153 · 12/05/2011 19:42

My DH was always a bit 'meh' about having children, as was I. Then I found out I had a condition that would mean a likely hystorectomy (or however the heck it's spelt) by my early 30s (not too far away now) and we realised that acutally we did want to try to have a child before it was too late. I knew, though, that he was less 'into' the idea than me - as in, if it didn't happen, he would have been much more relaxed that it just wasn't meant to be. Now we have an absolutely gorgeous DS and DH is an amazing, hands on, loving father. We've never regretted our decision for a minute. So I suppose it depends on the extent of 'meh'... If he really, really doesn't like the idea, it's a risky strategy to hope he changes his mind once it's too late.


MoreBeta · 12/05/2011 19:49

RevoltingPeasant - from my own experience and my male friends I would say that to varying degrees the idea of children is a fairly theoretical concept until you actually get a live baby dumped in your arms in the birthing suite.

i wanted children and we struggled with fertility and illness but I really don't think I or any man is ever enthusiastic or yearning for children in the way that women on the TTC threads talk about wanting a baby. Men dont have a monthly cycle, they dont feel the ovulation pain, or a baby kicking inside once conception happens. It is much harder to physically connect with the idea of a baby for a man - until the birth actually happens.

That said, once DS1 was actually a living thing in my arms I found it much easier in the initial few weeks to bond with him than DW.

From what you have said it sounds to me like your DP is having perfectly normal doubts and responses but is fully supportive and will be great once you have children.


notyummy · 12/05/2011 19:54

Quite normal I think. I had to talk DH into agreeing to having a baby before we got married....but we were going to wait etc etc. Cue me getting pregnant on the honeymoon (and it was a genuine accident!) He is (and always been) the most hands on, dedicated father and is fantastic with dd.

It helped that his best man had a baby about 6 months before us and basically told him 'Man up, and get stuck in from day one. They don't break and they get a lot more interesting once they can see and smile.' Grin


RevoltingPeasant · 12/05/2011 19:55

Thanks Beta, I was hoping to get a real, live man on this thread! I'm really hoping so too. I just don't think he realises how special it will be to have our own baby. But he totally fell in love with my mum's dog fgs, and I think he will get really gooey if he has his own DC.

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FollowMe · 12/05/2011 19:58

I totally agree with you OP from my own experience.
My DH would have been happy in life with no DCs and if I hadnt wanted children he would never have even wondered about it I think.
I did want children and he wanted me in his life for ever and also wanted me to be happy a lot more than he didnt want children.
We have 2 DCs now (and a third on the way) and he is a fantastic Dad and very hands on. He is constantly amazed at how brilliant the Dcs are and loves spending time with them.
(He probably would be equally happy as a childless person doing all sorts of other exciting stuff instead, but he has no regrets now at being persuaded down this alternative path is what I am trying to say!)


minxofmancunia · 12/05/2011 20:11

It was me who was "meh" about it, then I became pg when using contracpetion and dh convinced me to carry on with the pregnancy. Although I love dd I hated those early years and TBH, and we have a ds now too I find looking after young children and babies pretty grim , sometimes horrific.

Dh is a fantastic dad a far more natural and devoted parent than me he has more patience, understanding, tolerance, everything. I just can't get my head round the whole concept that having children is "brilliant". I think the love you have for them is the only thing that gets you through it as it's relentless, boring, repetitive and exhausting. I am however looking forward to when they're older and hopefully less needy, I think it's that that kills me.

I do know of a few relationships when the father has been pushed into having a dc and it's caused enormous problems. they've only begun to enjoy it at all when the dc have started school and have pretty much opted out in the early years causing a lot of resentment. I can empathise with their feelings but I've never "opted out" and tried to play an equal part in parenting. I didn't have much choice really I had to grow them and bf them!

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