when both are undecided on kids...

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
when both are undecided on kids...
20
Mon, 02-08-2010 - 6:28pm

I haven't asked a question for myself in quite some time!

I've got a wonderful boyfriend of 19 months. He is 31 and I'm 33.

At this point, he and I are very undecided about having children after marriage. I am worried about proceeding to any serious steps until this is resolved - but there is a good chance that won't be resvolved in a year even.

For me: I was pretty adamant that I wasn't having kids up until 30. Then at 30, I heard from LOTS of people tell me, "Your mind will change!" "Never say never!" So now I agree, I am open to the IDEA that my mind could change someday.

Could I envision life without kids? Right now, I guess I could. But I don't know what my 35+ year old self will say. Maybe my mind will change. It's hard to make plans right now, when I DON'T KNOW what my future self is going to want. Right now there is simply no 'want' to have kids.

For my boyfriend: he said if the woman he marries would be a good mother, he could see it but it's not something he's seeking out or planning for. He sees plenty of his 40-50s friends who are childless and says he can see life can be just as fulfilling without children. He also would say life would be fine if he never had kids. If he did have kids, he'd have just 2. Basically he says "I don't know" just as much as me.

By the way, I made sure the man I found could be a great dad just in case I did want kids or even something was unplanned. I also didn't want someone who said absolutely NO kids. Keep the options open just in case.

I worry that this has a greater chance of diverging to oppposite ends of the spectrum. It would be horrible to get married, and then 3 years later, I get baby fever and he went the opposite way. People who definitely know one way or another have a better chance of staying that way (granted nothing is 100%). Sure we can "keep tabs" on how we're feeling, but would that be enough?

Some say that this the most flexible combination. I just worry about the higher chance of heading down opposite roads and proceeding when we're still on the fence.

Do you think it should be "resolved" prior to marriage?
What if we're ready to get married and we still don't know?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2009
Mon, 02-08-2010 - 9:43pm

Interesting, I'm sort of in your position now too. I'm going on 27 and I've never really had a strong desire to have kids. I'm with a man now (have been for almost five years) who envisions himself as a dad someday but isn't really gung ho for having children.

I don't think your relationship is doomed at all. If you two continue to grow together, then most likely your views on having children will, as well. If you were definitely opposed to having children and he definitely wanted to, then there would be a problem, but you both sound flexible enough to not feel as though a life with or without children would cause enough resent to destroy your relationship. I think when people feel really strongly one way or the other, that's when there is an issue of "terminal incompatibility" but as it stands now, you're really not facing that.

I've had the same thoughts you do - What if I get married and don't know 100% I want to have children? Is that going to ruin things? Honestly, I don't think so. You have a strong enough love together to get you through nineteen months, you want to marry one another, but the kids issue is not an important one for you. Your relationship is based on your love for one another, not your desire to see one another as parents (too much emphasis on that alone can sometimes destroy a relationship in itself, I've seen it many times).

Maybe you won't end up having children. Maybe further down the road you'll adopt a couple of kids. Who knows? At 31 and 33 if you two are still flexible/undecided on kids, then it probably will not present a major problem. I don't think any amount of couples' counseling or therapy or what have you will change your mind either way on this issue - Why not take the plunge into a marriage based on love and see what happens? There's always some sort of risk involved in getting married that someday in the future, you will feel differently than you do today. If it's not a problem now, then I wouldn't hesitate too long on marriage just because there's a chance it may be in the future.

Really wonderful relationships are rare. If you have one, hold onto it and take the future as it comes. You can't predict it so you might as well enjoy it together.

Just my two cents!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 02-09-2010 - 1:46am
Hey Sienna ~

My thoughts are based on absolutely no knowledge or experience, but I would think that you have a much better chance of being agreeable to kids or no kids when you're both starting out at a point where either would be acceptable. I also think your ages are in your favor; if you were in your early to mid 20's I'd be more concerned that things were going to change. To further stack the deck in your favor I think, is that you have living examples of people who have chosen not to have kids and are quite happy and fulfilled.

Someday, though, you're going to have to make a decision. Of course, you can decide to just keep on floating along and not decide, but that's making a decision too....

I think maybe more important is to ask each of you how you'd feel about an accidental pregnancy, would you be okay with accepting it? What if your partner wanted to abort? I think you want to have those kinds of things answered before you marry, but I don't necessarily think it's important to know definitely whether you do or do not want kids. And, I think maybe you guys never will be definite one way or the other.

For what it' worth, I was never sure whether I wanted kids or not. The decision to have kids was borne out of the realization that I was reaching an age that soon enough it wouldn't be a choice I could make. I have no regrets about having kids, wouldn't trade them or the experience for the world, but I also think I would have been just fine without kids, no hole in my life, no burning, unfulfilled need.

I'm looking forward to reading more responses to this.









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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2009
Tue, 02-09-2010 - 8:46am
I had hoped you would weigh in on this! Very interesting especially about the accidental pregnancy possibility. That's definitely something worth thinking about. Being in Sienna's position I understand how it feels to be waiting for that "magic moment" when your biological clock starts ticking and you know for sure you really want to have children. I'm glad to know that there are people like you who made a decision but wouldn't have had serious regrets either way. It's hard to think of making that choice without being 100% about it. Thanks for responding, 2nd_life, I know it's not my OP but it means a lot to know there are others out there...!
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
Tue, 02-09-2010 - 10:51pm

Right now, I don't believe it's something you have to decide, like what to go to college for. It's something inside you that you feel. You either feel it or you don't.

Or like 2nd life, you decide it's time to have them before it's too late. I know plenty that have done it that way.

I haven't thought that I'd take that latter path. I still think 'want' has to be pretty strong. I keep waiting for this baby fever phenomenon I'm told I'm supposed to get! When and if it arrives I don't know.

We did have the accidental pregnancy talk when we were dating about 4 months, and admitted our answers may change after being together longer. So that's is definitely something to revisit.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 02-10-2010 - 1:16am
I'm surprised this hasn't gotten more responses, but I expect others still will weigh in on it.

Yeah, for me that strong urge just never came, it was very much a "oh crap, how did time go so fast? I've got to decide soon!" kind of thing (followed by, "holy crap, what did I do?" once I was pregnant - lol). It's hard when on one hand you know having a baby will change your life forever and isn't something you can change your mind about and, on the other hand if you don't do it, you can't change that either at some point (except to adopt).

This topic was part of the commute discussion I had with my carpool partner this morning. I told him about you being on the fence and his response was, "Seems to me if it's never been a strong desire it's a "no" then." His rationale was if it was something you really wanted the desire would be stronger. Seems like his train of thought is like yours, Sienna.

You know, I guess really "baby or no baby" decisions come down to whether the baby you want is to be born from your body; there are plenty of children to be adopted if it's simply a matter of deciding before it's too late to have your own.










"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

~ Author unknown


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"Ignoring the facts
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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
Wed, 02-10-2010 - 12:15pm

"Yeah, for me that strong urge just never came, it was very much a "oh crap, how did time go so fast? I've got to decide soon!" kind of thing (followed by, "holy crap, what did I do?" once I was pregnant - lol). It's hard when on one hand you know having a baby will change your life forever and isn't something you can change your mind about and, on the other hand if you don't do it, you can't change that either at some point (except to adopt). "

Our good friends did the same thing. Their first was when she/he was 38/40, the second at 40/43. And he admittedly said babies are not that fun, and really doesn't "do anything" with them until they are 3 when they can start skiing/canoeing/etc.

Being that I still have a few more years, I would have cross that bridge when it comes.

The oops talk would be good to have again though. We'll be together all weekend just the two of us - winter camping in an igloo nonetheless - so no TV, phones, internet or anything!

He did admit he always thought it'd be decided for him, as in an unplanned pregnancy. I've always thought my baby fever would hit when I'm 50 like some cruel joke!




Edited 2/10/2010 2:17 pm ET by sienna76
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2005
Wed, 02-10-2010 - 2:44pm

OMG, thank you!

I am 31 and often feel like a freak because I don't have the baby fever. DH is adamant about wanting children, so I agreed to have them. And soon, as I'd want two and I don't want to have them much after 35. My biggest hope is that the maternal instinct will kick in once the baby is born.

I am so scared of pregnancy, responsibility, being a good parent, having time for them... all that stuff. It's not that I don't want children, it's more that I am not sure I want them...

I am happy to see someone was in my shoes and lived to tell :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 02-11-2010 - 1:21am
Hi DV ~ There's a big difference between not wanting kids period, and not sure you want them, I think. I was worried about being a competent parent too. This is going to sound awful, but I soothed that worry by reminding myself of someone I knew who had absolutely no common sense or skill at all. She had kids and they were just fine. Since I knew I would be a more competent parent than she was, I was able to keep that worry at bay. I'll bet you know someone like that too.

It sounds like you married your husband knowing he was serious about wanting kids? I'm curious, why two?












"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

~ Author unknown


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"Ignoring the facts
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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-06-2007
Thu, 02-11-2010 - 1:20pm

We have talked about living together this summer. However, as much as I think about it and the pros, I'm not ready just yet.

I think I should probably finish school (I'm working on a Master's and I'm a reentry student). I have 15 months left. I know how stressed/busy my life is with school and work, and it will still be stressed/busy even if I have him helping with 50% of the housework.

In addition, if we are going to start off our new life, I want to be able to make it a top priority. It will be too hard to do that while in school (I believe). As much as I would like to take it to the next level, I feel something will suffer.

Does that sound like I'm choosing school over him? He is being patient and so no rush he reassured me many times, he can wait until I'm done with school (though I'll revisit that with him this weekend too).

We had a loose time line of getting married in 2 years' time. So maybe we'll revisit the kid thing again in a year and see what has changed or stayed the same.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 02-12-2010 - 12:50am
It doesn't sound like you're putting school ahead of him or your relationship; if anything it sounds like you're trying to do everything you can to make sure moving up to the next level is done in a way that will promote success. Nothing selfish about that at all!

He says he's okay with waiting, so no reason for concern. Fact is, if at some point he indicates it really never was all right you'll have valuable information that would have made waiting a very good thing to do (not that you're expecting him to switch on you!)

I agree with putting the kid thing aside and checking back in in a year; sounds you're a good year from moving on any decision anyway. No point in pushing an issue that's not an issue yet. However, if one of you comes to a definite "yes" or "no" on kids, it would be wise to make that known to the other right away.











"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

~ Author unknown


Photobucket











"Ignoring the facts
does not change the facts"

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