I want a child but my husband doesn't. How do I deal with this?

Name withheld | Posted on 11 May 2016
Counsellor : Deepak Kashyap
Ask Deepak | Want A Child But My Husband Doesn't. Please Help | Bonobology

Q: My husband and I have been happily married for two years. We dated for several years before getting engaged. And all along the way we discussed our hopes and dreams for a future life together. Our plan always included having children. However, now, when we (mostly me) talk about trying to get pregnant, he expresses mixed feelings about becoming a father. He focuses on the increased commitment and workload, financial impact, and overall lifestyle changes that a baby would bring. I don't disagree that these changes would come with a little one; my issue is that he had always led me to believe he was on board with having a family. Now I wonder if he ever meant it or if he was holding back his true feelings until after marriage.I would have never married him if I had known about his reluctance to be a parent. I have always known I wanted children, and I know I would feel an ever-present emptiness if I ended up childless. When I shared these feelings with him recently, he responded by saying that a child could destroy what we have as a couple and then a happy family life would never be possible for any of us. Please help.

Having a child is a responsibility like no other. It is also a joy that has a parallel in very few achievements of life. For the same reason, nobody should be forced to have a child, and no one should be stopped from becoming a parent if he/she chooses to be one either. 
You have to first assess and articulate to yourself the importance of becoming a mother. Communicate the same to him, while being fully respectful of his choice, whatever the reasons behind it. If it comes to a pass that he doesn’t want children or he doesn’t see himself having them anytime soon, the ball is in your court. You would then need to make a decision; of staying in the marriage, getting together with someone else who might want to have kids in few years (it’s important to know them for a considerable period of time before having kids with them) or having kids through surrogacy or adoption on your own as a single mother.

Remember, having a child with a reluctant or unprepared partner is worse, for the child and your relationship, than being unfair to the partner. The child must come to a home that is psychologically prepared to welcome it and is equipped with necessary parenting skills. I hope you are able to achieve this with your husband and he understands your point of view; but please do not force him at all. Persuasion and pressure are two different things.

Counselling as a couple might help you understand your partner’s fears around parenthood, which is being masked around financial worries alone. Then addressing those fears in particular might be our best hope at coming to a rational solution to the problem that we wish to solve.  

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