Do I want kids? Time is running out...

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by anonymous34, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. anonymous34

    anonymous34 New Member

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    Dear all,

    I am in a bit of a predicament and I could use an outsider’s perspective on things, or even better, advice form someone who has experienced something similar.

    My partner and I have been together for just over 7 years. Our lives are entwined; we own property, we have a dog, share friends and family and we do most activities together simply because we enjoy each other’s company and share similar interests. We are generally very happy together and I love her dearly. We get along great and she makes me laugh everyday. I genuinely cannot imagine life without her.

    But my problem is this – I think I want to have a child, and she is sure that she doesn’t. I’m 34 and very aware that my biological clock is ticking, and perhaps hormones are playing a role but at the moment I have a fairly intense urge to have a child. That being said, this urge does fluctuate. The rationale part of me is telling me that I’m not even 100% sure that I do want to have kids, and that perhaps I’m just worried that soon the option will be taken away. At the same time I do think that this could be a protective mechanism that I have put in place to justify to myself staying with my partner and remaining childless. As I know for certain that if she came to me today and said let’s get pregnant, I would not have to think twice.

    My partner has been pretty open about not wanting kids, apart from at the very beginning of our relationship when she said she thought she did. After the first year she made it very clear she did not want children. And at the time I thought I was OK with it. The choice was to be without her and pursue having a child I wasn’t sure I wanted, or to leave her and have a child. The choice seemed an easy one; I did not want to be without her and I still don’t.

    So how do I satisfy this nagging voice in my head? It nags because I think we would make brilliant parents. However, the main reason my partner does not want to have children is because she worries she’d make a terrible parent. She suffers from severe anxiety, which I am convinced governs her feelings towards being a parent. She loves children and always loves spending time with her nieces and nephews. Sometimes I think that if I could just get her to see that she would make a great parent and not to be afraid of it then she would be more open to the idea. I know this is completely different, but she was terrified of getting a dog, but once we got him she realised it wasn’t so scary or difficult, and now she wouldn’t be without him. In fact, the dog has definitely made her feel less anxious in general.

    Anxiety seems to run in her family as all her siblings suffer with it. Yet they have kids and they always say the best thing that ever happened to them was their kids. And that their kids helped their anxiety levels as they helped to put their lives into perspective? Now, I have no experience of feeling anxious so I don’t know if this would be true or not for my partner, but I would hate for her anxiety to be the only thing holding her back from having a child.

    When we talk about having kids she says she just doesn’t want the responsibility of it, or for her life to change. But as we get older, our lives are changing. We go out less, drink less, spend more time with family – all things that a child would fit perfectly into in my opinion.

    I don’t know what to do. Though she (nearly) always said she didn’t want kids, part of me thought that would change over time. But it hasn’t. In fact, if anything she has become more certain of this fact. I need to come to peace with this some how, and stop dreaming of a family with her that I’ll never have. How do I do this without resenting her later on? I can’t imagine finding another partner and having a family with her, and I don’t want a child on my own. I just want to find a way to deal with the childless path laid out in front of me.

    If anyone has experienced something similar, I would love to hear from you.
     
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  2. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    I think you have a potential deal breaker on your hands. For something this serious I would devote some counseling resources to it for both you and your partner. I feel you and can only offer some food for thought.

    A friend of mine once told me that to have children, you just have to want them. It sounds simple because raising children is anything but. Raising children with a partner means you both have to be all in or it will break you up anyway and you will have custody issues. Even great parents who love each other can break up. To have kids means that it is simply something you want to do despite everything there is out there and everything going on with you and at home.

    I have not met moms who regret having children no matter how bad things got. I have heard them regretting being a mom, which sounds like same difference but I guess it is not. The regret I often hear are how worried they get sometimes over their kids and the concern of their abilities to be a good mom or having the fortitude to deal with things in stride.

    I am sorry you have come to this juncture and have some serious decisions to make. I hope you can continue to have honest talks with your partner on this.
     
    #2
  3. Coffee Addict

    Coffee Addict Well-Known Member

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    @greylin is right, you have to decide if this is the one thing that would send you separate ways.

    If I were in here situation I wouldn't want to be convinced I want a child, regardless of whether I would be a good mom or not. No one can know how her anxiety feels, from an external point of view it may seem an over reaction but for her it is real. Otherwise, I would feel that my opinion and my feelings about the situation are being undermined.

    All possible excuses aside if she says no there is not much to do.
     
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  4. anonymous34

    anonymous34 New Member

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    Fotosapiens, thank you so much for your reply. I cannot express how much your words have resonated with me.

    I deeply empathise with your situation. I feel like you and your partner have approached the difficult subject pragmatically and openly and I admire you both for that. And even though the outcome is not what you'd hoped for, you have a refreshingly objective way of looking at the situation and carefully managing your thoughts and feelings towards both the decision you've made and your partner. You have inspired me, in fact all of the replies to my post have inspired me to have an open conversation with my partner about this. I feel I already know the outcome of that conversation, which is partly why I have been avoiding it, but I know I cannot move forward at all unless the conversation takes place.

    How you describe managing any potential resentment in later life is truly inspiring, and you are so right. Whatever decision I make regarding this is my decision to make. I am 99% certain that if my partner says she definitely does not want children then we will stay together regardless. And this will be 100% my choice, which is a really helpful way of looking at things.

    I think you are right about feeling grief. I am already grieving for the family life I probably will never have. Though, similar to you I am already thinking about alternative solutions to this family life. I too have a strong need to nurture so, for example, I want to building strong relationships with nieces and nephews and friends children. But like you say, at the moment it can be a challenge as when I spend time with families it is hard to separate my yearning for one of my own. I had never thought to share this grief with my partner, but I think your suggestion might be helpful for me/us. Like you say, it is not to make the other person feel terrible, it is just an act of sharing feelings so that both parties can better understand the situation.

    I am feeling more hopeful about the potential of a childless future, so thank you for that. I think the next steps for me are to finally have this conversation and to put the issue to bed as it were. From there, hopefully we can start to build our relationship around our differing needs. I have to say, it is refreshing to hear from you as mostly I only hear people say that wanting children is a deal breaker, so I am comforted to know that there is someone else out there who thinks they can work through such a daunting issue.

    I hope things continue to improve for you as you hopefully reach a greater acceptance of your situation. Please do let me know how you are getting on and if you'd ever like to talk I would always be willing to listen.

    Thank you to everyone for their kind advice.
     
    #4
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