What to do when your spouse doesn’t want to have kids

disagreeing on children

Maybe you went into the marriage thinking your partner would change his/her mind.  Or maybe you were like me and honestly thought you’d be okay not having kids and then changed your mind, but your partner still doesn’t want kids.  Regardless of how you got to this spot, it’s a tough one and sometimes a heart breaking one.   

Here are some tips to help encourage you:

Understand why s/he doesn’t want kids.

Don’t try to persuade or convince your spouse to have kids.  This will only undermine their emotions and reasons to not have kids, potentially creating a greater rift in your household and resentment. 

Instead let your spouse work through it on his/her own terms.  Maybe your partner never had a positive experience with kids.  Maybe s/he sees parenthood in a negative light due to the influence of people who complain about parenthood.  Maybe s/he had a tough childhood and is afraid of being a poor parent.  Maybe they don’t feel comfortable with kids. Sometimes adults don’t want kids because parenthood restricts one’s freedom and finances. 

If your spouse is going to change his/her mind the concerns they have need to be addressed. 

This is where you can come in.

Respect their concerns

Address your partner’s concerns and provide solutions to them if appropriate. This shouldn’t be a I’m-secretly-orchestrating-ways-to-get-you-to-want-to-have kids kind of thing. This is something you should talk about openly and work through together.

You need to respect their concerns, address them as valid, and work together to help alleviate them if you’re both willing

Provide opportunities to have positive experiences with kids in environments that naturally fit into your lifestyle, like playing with nieces and nephews.

Spend time with people who talk positively about children.

Encourage and compliment their attributes that would make them a good parent like patience.

Work it out together so that personal space and time would be a priority when a child comes like once a week you each get time away outside the home.

If finances are a concern buy items second hand and discuss how you can simplify the amount of baby items you need.  There are some great registries out there for buying baby stuff on a budget.

Decide What is Most Important to You

My marriage was more important to me than having children.  You need to ask yourself: If they don’t change their mind, how important is having kids to you?  I preferred to not have kids and find avenues to be around children then to bring a child into a world when both parents weren’t fully invested.  Having kids is a life altering event and you both have to be on board to be able to support each other and find the beauty in its ups and downs.  If one person doesn’t want kids but a couple still does, then all the negative aspects may be intensified and it’ll be hard to see parenthood as a positive experience.

I told my husband I would never pressure him to have kids.  I respected his opinion.  I made it clear I wanted kids but only if he did and that I wouldn’t want him to have kids just for me.  I didn’t bring it up unless he asked.  I just let him enjoy his nieces and make his own decision.  

In the end we had a conversation about it a while later when the time was right (he initiated) and we made the wonderful decision to have children.  I am very blessed. 

There is hope. 

May you find peace during this troubling time.

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