Babies... 500 of them!
May 8, 2011 11:10 AM   Subscribe

The baby crazy has started. My husband is not yet keen on the idea of starting a family, and frankly, we're just not in a good place in life right now. How do I quell these feelings? How do I stop worrying about when and if it will happen?

If I see a baby when my husband and I are out together, I can't help but get gushy toward him and this upsets him. He has not said outright that he does not want children, but he's made it clear that it's not something he's even thinking about right now. I constantly find myself doubting whether it will happen, whether my husband will ever want children, and how long I'll have to wait. I'm 27, and he's saying even 5 years from now might be too soon which makes me PANIC. Neither of us has any fertility problems that we know of, but the future is uncertain, and I know 35 is when conceiving tends to get harder. How can I cope with waiting? The "bad" things about having children isn't currently weighing out the "good" for me, so that strategy is not a good one. Has anyone had experiences with this, either from the husband side or the baby-crazy wife side? I could use any and all advice. Thanks! (I am in therapy, but it's not helping as much with this specific issue.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (32 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh man, did you guys talk about kids before you got married? Did you want kids then? This is an incredibly important conversation that you have to sit down and have with him. If he doesn't want kids at all then you have some serious thinking to do.

I don't think it's something you should "stop worrying about" . . . If you truly want children, especially biological children, I don't think that's an urge you can just squash.
posted by Anonymous at 11:14 AM on May 8, 2011

It's not helping because you're not communicating with your husband. You need to know:

1. If he wants children, or not
2. No seriously, that's pretty much the first step

Or do you think he's lying to you or misleading you? If so, that's the problem; you won't be able to relax and trust that he'll want a child with you if you don't trust him to tell you the unvarnished truth.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:16 AM on May 8, 2011 [12 favorites]

A friend of mine had this kick in during high school, which really freaked her out (she was smart enough not to go get pregnant at the time and is, instead, currently in med school). So acknowledge that there's something legitimate and chemical going on that makes you feel this way, but that you don't have to obey those urges.

However, it sounds like a bit part of the problem is that your husband isn't clear (or hasn't made it clear to you) whether he really wants kids at all, ever. Did you two discuss the issue before you got married? Have you been talking about it? If he's confident in wanting children when your jobs settle down/there's money in the bank/you've done some traveling/whatever, you may feel more reassured and can work around your body clock with confidence. If not, well, he needs to figure out what he wants, and you need to decide if you can live with his decision. This issue is the end of many an otherwise-good relationship, and for good reason.
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:18 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

By the way, I'm also 27 and I've just recently noticed that babies are getting cuter and cuter, but I'm in no hurry to have kids very soon - many people our age are not yet married, so you're not up against some kind of close deadline here. You may be if you stick it out for the next decade with someone who actually doesn't want kids, though.

Best of luck!
posted by you're a kitty! at 11:20 AM on May 8, 2011

This is a great issue for couples' counseling, by the way.

My partner and I disagree about timing; on the other hand, I had some concrete issues that needed to be addressed before I'd be happy to get pregnant and once I laid that out for him so we could approach it in a goal-oriented manner he relaxed about it. Meaning, I had goals like this:

1. We need x amount of money in savings
2. You need to be in a stable job at a financially healthy company
3. We need access to affordable family health insurance

If he genuinely has concerns like this, then that's something that you can work towards as a goal, which will help you feel less powerless.

*none of which actually were because accidents happen, which is something else you should consider--if you had an accidental pregnancy, would you two be able to deal with it? Would you want to have abortion? I'm thinking no. If that's the case, he needs to know ASAP that that's how you feel.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:21 AM on May 8, 2011 [4 favorites]

Mod note: From the OP:
My husband and I have talked about it on several occasions. Before we married, he seems more OK with having children "someday". These days, it's more that he feels like I'm asking him to predict the future. As in, he's not ready now, so how could he possibly know what the future will bring? He says he can't tell me what he'll want in 5 years. I find this very frustrating, but I've been trying to accept it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:32 AM on May 8, 2011

Counseling is really the way to go here, especially if you are not fully communicating with each other. Rather than quashing your feelings from the get-go, you need to address with your husband where you both stand on when/how many children will be possibly in your future and your fears can be addressed jointly with impartial guidance.

I say 'possibly' because life has a way of planning for you, no matter how sure or how ready you think you are.
posted by pink candy floss at 11:37 AM on May 8, 2011

Your husband is being really unfair to you about this. He needs to tell you whether, yes or no, he wants children with you before it's too late. If he doesn't, this may be a dealbreaker for you and it's better to know sooner rather than later so you have time to find a baby daddy. I can understand him saying he doesn't know but he needs to figure this one out. Maybe counseling for him alone, and definitely counseling for you both is in order.
posted by hazyjane at 11:38 AM on May 8, 2011 [25 favorites]

He says he can't tell me what he'll want in 5 years.

That's a dodge, and you should not accept this as an answer. Few people know exactly what they'll want in 5 years, but part of being married is realizing that WHATEVER you want to be doing in five years, it's going to be part of both your lives.

I agree with rope-rider about figuring out what the mutually-agreed-upon conditions that will let everyone relax about having a baby. If he can't or won't do this, you need to accept that you've married someone who is not realistically interested in having children with you. What you do with that information is up to you, but I do indeed foresee couples counseling as a helpful solution, come what may.
posted by hermitosis at 11:57 AM on May 8, 2011 [13 favorites]

If you're not in a good place in life right now, don't stress about your husband and tell your baby wanting feelings the following:

"I am going to be an awesome mommy. Right now because of financial issue/job/housing/whatever, I will not be able to be the mommy that I want to be. But if I take care of ProblemX, I will be in X years."

And then make a list of the things that you need to do to get ProblemX resolved. This may include getting more education, more savings, AND your husband on board.
posted by k8t at 11:58 AM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

If, in his late 20s, he's still wishywashy about the future only 5 years from now, this is unlikely to change. There's a good chance this will continue being an issue next year, 5 years from now, a decade from now unless you call him on it now. It's unfair of him to say that he can't possibly know what he wants in 5 years. It could mean that he doesn't want them at all, but can't tell you because he knows you want them.

You need to tell him that you want them before it gets difficult to conceive and that if he can't say that he wants them before then then it's a dealbreaker.
posted by daysocks at 12:00 PM on May 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

I'm not up on the latest fertility treatments, but you might also want to consider having some eggs harvested and frozen now.

A friend's husband strung her along until children were no longer a possibility. That marriage did not end pleasantly, to say the least. Guess who immediately knocked up his next wife?!

Sorry, this is NOT to say that will happen in your case but, for many reasons, you may want to investigate options.
posted by cyndigo at 12:01 PM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

I will add, however, that as a young 30s mother, I have feelings about work/life balance that I didn't in my late 20s.

So, for example, I was a grad student when I had my 1st kid. I had a very luxurious pregnancy and early period with him because I was in a form of employment (TAing) that was very flexible AND I had student loans to fall back on (and, most importantly, a partner who was bringing in income). It was totally the pregnancy and early babyhood that I wanted as a mommy. I got to breastfeed for a long time, spend lots of time with my kidlet, be picky about childcare...

Now I work a 8-6 job and struggle to spend enough time with my toddler. My current job has a 12 week unpaid maternity leave. In my eyes (granted - I've been spoiled by my previous situation), 12 weeks for maternity leave is just not enough. I couldn't be the mommy that I want to be with only 12 weeks maternity.

And, on top of that, as it stands right now, I'm only making a LITTLE BIT more than what it costs to cover our current childcare situation. If we had 2 kids, it would be financially stupid for me to stay in the workforce while both kids are home. I wouldn't have thought of myself as the stay-at-home-mom type AT ALL. But it is so illogical to me to do otherwise, if I had 2 kids and made my current salary.

I'm telling you all this because you THINK that you're not in a good place right now, but I want to warn you that what a "good place" is changes as your life changes. In my opinion, if you're in a deadend job that the networking is poor, it isn't advancing you career-wise and the pay is about what it'd cost to have a child in childcare (I strongly encourage you to find out how much childcare costs in your area), might as well have a baby now (as long as your partner can float you both) and re-enter the work force when baby is a bit older.
posted by k8t at 12:05 PM on May 8, 2011 [5 favorites]

You need to give your husband credit for at least being self-aware enough to know that people change their mind on these things especially in their late 20s and you really need to take him at his word that he just doesn't know yet. But, he gets no credit if he's avoiding thinking and talking about it all together. From your post I can't tell which is the case.

As far as you're concerned, "not sure" may be just as much a dealbreaker as "definitely not," because of the time constraint and the fact that it may mean you need to divorce and find someone who IS sure before you're 35.

This is one of the rare instances where I think it really is gentle ultimatum time. Say something like, "hubs, you know having kids is really important to me, it's something I feel I need to do in life. I know you don't feel that way now, but I really need something more than 'not sure' or 'someday' because I don't have all the time in the world to wait until you're ready. I want you to take some time to really think about it, and if you do and the answer is still 'not sure' or 'no' then maybe we need to talk about ending our relationship before someone makes a sacrifice that causes pain and resentment."
posted by slow graffiti at 12:14 PM on May 8, 2011 [19 favorites]

This is a very personal topic for everyone, especially in our times, when it's not pre-determined that we all most definitely will breed unless there's something desperately wrong with us.

My advice? Recognize that you're being compelled biologically, but that your head is in more control of this than your body. Then, distract yourself.

If your husband is not currently ready, it's hard to say when he will be. Try to empathize with his state of mind: think back on your own attitudes 5 years ago. Were you able to predict when the crazy would hit you?

It may not ever hit your husband in the same way as you; he may need time to warm up to the idea. He may approach it rationally rather than emotionally. But his gut instinct in the face of pressure might be fear. So be cognizant that your gushing responses to babies = pressure, and your persistent questions about his state = pressure.

If your relationship is anything like mine, you'll want to lay off the pressure. Because it might make him less likely to come around. Because it causes unproductive tension between you. Because you'll want him to actively participate in the parenting of your kids, and you know that requires his honest readiness on his own terms.

Establish regular "check-in" points, say, every 3 - 6 months where you each talk about your head-space with regards to the issue. If something big and emotional comes up in between, of course you should talk about it, but if you know there will be a venue to discuss it, you may find yourself less likely to blurt out thoughts as they occur to you, unintentionally adding to the pressure your husband feels.

If it sounds like I'm speaking from experience here, I am. I came to genuine peace with waiting. Ultimately, I love my husband and our life, and I've never been more sure about anything than I am about the unconditional goodness of our relationship. I knew I had a good thing going, and I had faith that he would come around in his own time. (He did, I'm happily pregnant at 36.)

In the intervening years I distracted myself by getting deeply involved in my own interests and my career. We traveled well and took advantage of the benefits of being child-free. We have a lovely god daughter, nephews, and a niece to love and help with. Not the same, but helpful as preparation for our own turn at it.

I hope it goes as well for you as it did for us!
posted by nadise at 12:27 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

One of the main reasons that I separated from my last girlfriend was that I wasn't ready to have kids, and she knew she wanted them. We had been together for years, and I was always like, "yeah, I probably will want them someday, when I'm ready, and we've worked through our issues, and we are in a good place, and etc. etc." There was never a commitment from me of "I'm not sure exactly what the conditions are for having kids but I do want them in the next five or so years and I want them with you." I mean, there is not knowing and then there is not knowing, if you see what I mean.

Luckily, of course, we were not married, and we were able to break up without tremendous logistical difficulty once I realized that actually I didn't know when I would want to have kids if ever, and therefore it was best if I didn't keep stringing her along (and of course there were other issues as well, but that was the biggie). Now she is free to get married to a guy who will know up front she wants to have kids—I'm guessing she'll be more assertive about establishing that as a mutual condition for her next relationship from the get-go, since it was a priority for her. For me, it's been useful to understand that I don't know if I'll ever want kids, so now I should put that forward right away before I ever get into a serious relationship. I'm still like, "could happen, maybe, if it's the right person and I'm feeling it," but that really essentially amounts to "no, he doesn't want kids" for any woman who is committed to that path. That's an important thing for me to understand and for potential partners to know about me.

All of this is just to echo what some of the other posters have already said: you need to have a straightforward conversation with your husband establishing whether or not and at least roughly when this is going to happen. It has to be a mutual decision and it has to be something you both desire or else you are both going to be miserable. Push him to make a decision and commit to it. Otherwise—at the extreme, I'm really not saying DTMFA, I don't know enough about his true feelings—you will need to seriously evaluate how successful you think your marriage can be.
posted by innocuous_sockpuppet at 12:29 PM on May 8, 2011 [12 favorites]

I am your husband. (PROBABLY not literally.)

I don't know if this applies to your situation as well, but when my wife and I first started dating, and perhaps for six months following that, she was of the "no kids" mindset, like me. (That was when we were 24; we're 26 now.) But something switched; she says it was ending up with someone who she would like to share genetic material with in children, not to mention parenting duties.

Now, it's all I can do not to grimace when she gets googoo over a baby in public. If you ask me whether I want kids, honestly I would have to say no. But that's not to say that I'll never want one or more, which I realize is a frustrating answer, both emotionally and biologically.

Recently I took the same sort of strategy as TYRR and laid out practical things that I think absolutely need to happen first: totally out of debt (incl student loans), no plans to go to grad school, loving somewhere we'd be happy for another five years, six-month-income savings, and traveling more, before it's nigh impossible. Plus the all important "not before age X" requirement, something we're still hammering out.

Being childless forever is something I've been planning on for the first 25 years of my life. Perhaps it's the same for your husband. I expect it to take quite a while to make the drastic shift in outlook that deciding to have kids would take. I love my wife, and value her happiness above my own, which is why I'm going to take the time to make up my mind AGAIN, from scratch, rather than just sticking with my current decision of "no". Despite the list of criteria, "no" is still what I would say, all else being equal. It just takes time.

My guess: he doesn't want kids, but since he wants you, and wants you to be happy and fulfilled, he's not ruling it out. I realize that's not extremely helpful, but since I'm in your husband's shoes, I figured I'd chime in.
posted by supercres at 1:51 PM on May 8, 2011 [13 favorites]

*living somewhere, not loving somewhere. Well, both, I guess.
posted by supercres at 1:53 PM on May 8, 2011

What were your husband's parents like? What were your parents like?

I had crappy parents. This helped me navigate any desires or fears surrounding The Baby Question. I absolutely positively would not have children until I was 300% ready.

I divorced my first husband at 31 because I realized I didn't want kids with him. After that, I promised myself I could always adopt later when I was ready for children and if I couldn't conceive naturally. Being happily remarried by the time I might be ready for children was only a potential possibility, not a given, and I wasn't even counting on it in my plans....

Mr. Jbenben and I had our first child 4 weeks ago. 3 weeks ago I turned 41.

First off, I'm thrilled I waited. We're not overwhelmed, I feel a lot wiser and more capable than I did even 5 years ago. The timing is perfect. If there is a partner in the picture, it's really crucial to have a partner that is as psyched and capable as you are. I could not have done this parent thing with someone full of unwillingness or doubt.

Second, if my experience or that of my peers is any indication... I'm not exactly convinced that it's significantly that much more difficult to conceive later in life. There is a lot of money to be made on women's fears surrounding conception. I respectfully suggest that at 27... being on the same page with your husband is more of an issue. If you're ready now and your husband isn't, that's a thing. But your age? Not so much.

FWIW. At 35, as previously stated, I personally was not ready to be pregnant or become a parent. 5 years of growing up and getting myself straightened out deep inside made all the difference. Even if you and your husband wait a few years, you'll be that much more prepared and capable.

This will work out. Your life isn't over at 30. Have the intention of starting a family under optimal conditions, the rest will fall into place if you work towards that one goal. IMHO, the rest is details.
posted by jbenben at 2:06 PM on May 8, 2011 [9 favorites]

Rereading previous answers...

It sounds like if you ambush him with the question: "KIDS IN THE FUTURE: TELL ME NOW, YES OR NO?" you're likely to get a "no" answer, which is why I'm surprised a lot of people are telling you to do that. Obviously, they have the benefit of objectivity; in other words, they don't love your husband, and you do. It's easy for a stranger to say, "Might be time to check listings for divorce lawyers..." The question is really about what each of you is willing to give up for the sale of your relationship: are you willing to give up five years? Is he willing to give up dreams of being a DINK couple forever?

It might be my own experience talking, but it seems like you get the long end of that stick.

And I'll second nadawi in saying that pressure -- from you or from other couples with children -- doesn't help your effort.
posted by supercres at 2:29 PM on May 8, 2011

(Sorry; nadise, not nadawi.)
posted by supercres at 2:30 PM on May 8, 2011

Do you have a dog? Getting a dog was pretty satisfying for my nurturing instinct while we waited to be ready for babbyforming.
posted by thirteenkiller at 2:51 PM on May 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Couples counseling seems to me to be a must-do, here. You both need to have a very frank conversation about this, before frustration on either side turns to anger and resentment.

I never made any secret of my desire for children. When we were still dating, my husband always said he wanted kids. Two weeks after the wedding, he freaked out and told me he didn't want kids, ever. I told him that was a deal breaker, and he could either go to counseling with me, or call a lawyer. I was very angry and felt misled, because he had said for YEARS that he wanted kids.

Counseling revealed that he was terrified that he would somehow manage to "screw up" any child we had. This quickly became a moot fear - we had a birth control failure, and had a very long, all-night discussion about "what to do about it". In the end, he agreed that we were more than capable of being really great parents, and a bit over 9 months later, he found himself head over heels in rapt adoration and love with our eldest son. (He was joined by a little brother 4 years later.) That was 19 years ago, both kids have turned out great, we have a tight family relationship, and we're very proud of that.

It may well be that your husband is very worried about his own parenting abilities, and very worried about losing his sense of self. Parenting is a pretty scary undertaking, and some people feel like their lives are over, that they'll never have time to do the things they want to do once they have kids. They seem to focus on the early years, and forget that kids do grow up and gain independence faster than one might think.
posted by MissySedai at 3:27 PM on May 8, 2011 [3 favorites]

You do really need to speak frankly with him about this, since it sounds like you haven't. At the least, he's indicated that he's open to the idea of change.

I'll share my story, at least: my partner and I got together when he was the age I am now (26) and I was 21. About five years later, we have a three-month-old baby. When we first became involved, I made it clear that I was looking for a serious relationship that would ultimately lead toward children. He made it clear that he wasn't sure he wanted to have kids. But, you know, we really liked each other, so we thought we'd see where it went.

Fast forward a few years. His much older brother has had a baby. We've befriended a couple in their early 40s who have a two-year-old. Suddenly, I learn that one reason my partner was ambivalent is that he'd never been around children. He didn't know what they were like, so the idea of raising one was incomprehensible. After spending some time with them, and the patient resolution of other having-kids-related issues, he said, "I'm still nervous. But I don't think I'll ever be more ready, or less ready, and I don't think there will ever be a better time or a worse time to do this." So we did.

Other issues included: at 30, suddenly feeling old and wanting to do this thing before he got much older; resolving his concern that he'd be a bad parent; not wanting our parents to be too old to enjoy their grandchildren.

The point is, we talked through all of this and worked through the challenges as they came up. We're still working through some of them -- no time is ever perfect for having children, except in hindsight.

Talk to him, patiently, and actually listen. It's possible he has some issues he wants resolved. If he doesn't, if his ambivalence is due to definitely not wanting kids and not wanting to tell you, well, you'll have to decide what to do next.
posted by linettasky at 4:36 PM on May 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

This comment is not going to be helpful in terms of your dialogue with your husband but....
When I was 23 and getting baby lust - and in no place whatsoever to think realistically about having a child - I got a cat. Having that little ball of fur around helped the mommy-crazy out of my system and allowed me to think rationally about reproduction again. I'm an animal lover, though, so YMMV. Also, it seems pretty common for couples to use pet ownership as a testing ground for parenting. Maybe something to think about? Or, maybe you already have a furry friend and this comment is not so useful.
posted by sk932 at 5:24 PM on May 8, 2011

My husband was also saying OMG NO WAY NEVAH with regard to babies when he was in his twenties and early thirties. He is now 38 and getting clucky all of a sudden. (Which sucks for me, because I still don't want any). I'm just saying that men have biological clocks too, and if you can wait a few more years, his might kick in.
posted by lollusc at 6:00 PM on May 8, 2011

Just a note to say that I think that a lot of women go through the "OH MY GOD, LOOK AT THE BABY! I WANT A BABY!" phase in their late 20s. I'm calling it a phase because it will pass. I mean, wanting a family or a baby is not a phase, of course, but the baby obsession or the insane pull you feel when you see a baby is a phase. You will stop doing that, far before your fertility wanes.
posted by aabbbiee at 6:49 AM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

A few things here:

First, I can't favorite K8T's comment hard enough. Being a mom changes your priorities drastically. Read her comment over and over.

Second, don't get hung up on that "35" thing. By "harder" they mean that for most women it might take an extra month or two. One thing you can do now is to read a book like Taking Charge of your Fertility to understand how your body operates now, which will help you figure out your most fertile times in the future. (I will mention here that my son was conceived when I was 37. On our second "try".)

Third, there is no "perfect moment" to have a child. Whenever you do it, its scary.

For me, this is what happened: I told my husband at Christmas "Look, I'll be 38 on my next birthday. Its now or never on the kids thing. I don't want an answer from you now. I'll give you until Valentine's day to think it over, but then we're going to talk about it." And then I didn't say another word about it. Didn't coo over babies. Acted like it was the furthest thing from my mind.

And so, having given him about six weeks to think over what he was going to say, having the conversation was a lot easier. I became pregnant in March, miscarried, and then became pregnant again in October. My son was born the following July.

That being said, what I wasn't prepared for was the idea that I suddenly didn't want to be the breadwinner in our home any more (which I am. I make 2/3 of our income, and my husband makes 1/3.). Now I dream about staying home and doing crafts and cleaning under the beds and baking bread. (And having more babies.) This doesn't happen to everyone, but more women than you'd think at first blush undergo this shift.
posted by anastasiav at 8:34 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

“I don’t know” can’t be the end of the discussion; that is such a lazy copout. He needs to know. You need him to figure out what it will take for him to get to a place where he can know. Is that something that he is willing to commit time to figuring out? Once he commits to that, come up with a time when you will revisit the topic—so for example he’d like two weeks or a month to think about it—so that you’re not making yourself crazy fantasizing about eating babies wondering when you’ll talk about it again.
posted by thebazilist at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2011

I'd do your own research on risks of having a kid over 35. Anecdotes aren't data, and being older increases your/your kid's risk in a variety of (tolerable-for-many-people) ways. Last I heard, men fathering children over age 40 was also implicated in increased genetic risk to the kid.

Another anecdote: I was in a multi-year relationship in basically your husband's position. I could happily live my life without kids, but I'm open to possibly wanting them at some point, and I was a lady in my late twenties, so I figured the bio clock was coming for me. We had some conversations about my expectations about co-parenting and prioritizing family over work if I had a kid, and he wasn't giving me answers I was happy with. Mostly I felt pretty guilty about not being able to give him something he wanted and troubled that there was this huge issue looming over our relationship. Breaking up sooner than we did probably would have been kinder for both of us.
posted by momus_window at 11:02 AM on May 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

Superes joked that he was your husband.

I am you.

Well, your worst nightmare version of you, probably.

When I was just married, in my late 20s, I discovered some biological factors that meant if I were going to have children, it needed to happen soon. My husband said, repeatedly, "This isn't a good time." We struggled over this for five years. We went to counseling, where even the counselor kept trying to get through to him that there would never be the "right" time by his standards, and that time was running out. He quit counseling after that session, because he felt the counselor and I were "ganging up on him." I did what some above have advised: I got a puppy, pampered the hell out of her, loved her more than I should have, and sat around waiting for him to change his mind.

Now I'm 40, divorced, and the dog died two years ago. I am so incredibly angry, bewildered, sickened, resentful, bitter that somehow the one thing I had taken for granted in my life - that I would have kids - is something I let be taken away from me. I about to end a four-year relationship, and I think that will be the final step in admitting to myself that I'm won't be having children. In fact, I think that's why I've stayed with Bf, in a horrible situation, as long as I have. (Because of those biological factors I mentioned above, for all practical purposes it's probably too late anyway, for me, but I haven't been able to admit it until now.)

Find out what he needs to feel ready financially. Several posters above have mentioned this, but try to pin him down to specific things you can put on a checklist. Also, work with a therapist to find out what he needs to feel ready emotionally. Having kids implies a strong commitment to a relationship and to another person - you're in his life forever if you have kids together - and it's a big, irrevocable step in the direction of becoming an adult. Sometimes we hide the emotional issues behind the practical ones.

And if your husband can't or won't accommodate what you want, if he can't meet you in the middle one way or another, decide if this is the deal-breaker for you, and move on if it is.

Don't put it off, don't let him string you along with "I don't know." If he won't go to counseling with you, go by yourself and see what you can learn about how to start the conversation you need to have, and what it means if he can't give you any answers.
posted by Jaie at 8:31 PM on May 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

Oh, Jaie. I'm so very sorry. I don't know you, but I wish I could hug you all the same.
posted by MissySedai at 8:35 PM on May 9, 2011 [5 favorites]

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