I didn’t know my first husband didn’t want children until we were well into our marriage. He seemed good with other people’s children. I assumed he’d be great with our own. But I was wrong. He kept wanting to put it off until he finally admitted he didn’t want kids at all. By then, our marriage was shot anyway so we didn’t talk much about it. We should have talked about it before we got married, but we never did.
With my second husband, we talked around the issue of having children but never addressed it head-on. He had had a vasectomy and he told me didn’t want to add any more kids to the three he already had, but did I believe him? No. Did I stand up for my right to be a mom? I did not.
All too often, we fail to have one of the most important conversations we should have with our mates. We might not agree on whether to have children, but at least we need to be honest about it. I think if I had really pushed, I might be a mother today. But I never straight out said, “I want children. This is important to me. I will be devastated if I never become a mother.”
Sometimes we’re afraid to push, for fear our partner will get angry and break up with us. But if you can’t talk about such an important topic, how good is that relationship anyway? Now, don’t bring it up on the first date, but if you’ve been together a while, it’s time to have the baby talk.
For this conversation to succeed, we have to know what we want. Is not having children a deal-breaker, or can you live with it? How strongly does your partner feel about it? Why does he think he doesn’t want kids?
All too often, I see couples who find themselves in a miserable place because they didn’t work this out before it was too late. I know it’s hard to bring it up. But try it. Maybe you could say something like, “I always wanted to have a little girl.” See what he says, then follow up. Make sure you both are clear on this all-too-important issue. Sooner or later, it will harm your relationship if you don’t.