When One Partner Wants More Babies and the Other Does Not

When One Partner Wants More Babies and the Other Does Not

In an ideal world, you would always want the same things as your partner. In reality, however, compromise is an important part of every relationship. You may compromise on which take out you have for dinner, what you watch on television, and even what you name your child. But what if you disagree about how many children to have, can you compromise on that?

You may have discussed family size before committing to your partner, but that doesn't mean you can't change your mind. It's easy to decide how many children you will have without really knowing what it is like to be a parent. Health, finances, fertility and careers can also impact on this decision.

You may not even have discussed family size before committing to each other, or perhaps hoped you would eventually agree. Whatever the reasons for the disagreement, this can be a tricky subject to discuss.

Why Doesn’t He/She Want More Children?

Common reasons for not wanting more children include:

  • Finances – with more children, comes greater financial responsibility. Can you afford to have another child, and how would you make ends meet?
  • Family time – you may already feel short of time, and another child could exacerbate this. Do you have enough time to spend with your current children, at your job, with you partner, and could you find extra time to spend with another child?
  • The demands of pregnancy and/or birth – some people are put off by pregnancy and birth. If the pregnancy, birth or recovery were particularly hard on you or your partner, this could be causing some reluctance.
  • Love – some parents worry they wouldn't love a second child as much as their first. This worry is easily disputed by talking to parents of big families. Many second time parents are surprised at just how much they can love their next baby. Check out BellyBelly’s article, Loving Two.
  • Couple time – if you are just emerging out of the baby stage, and have finally reached a time where you are able to enjoy each other again, that could explain resistance. You may finally feel like a couple again, and be reluctant to lose that valued time again.
  • Having a challenging firstborn/subsequent child – if your first child could be described as a handful, you may be less keen on the idea of taking on another child

So, what should you do when one partner wants more babies and the other does not?

1. Keep An Open Mind

Whichever side of the disagreement you are on, make sure you keep an open mind. Listen to the other person's feelings, and explain yours as best you can. Instead of feeling like you’re on opposite sides of a fence, focus on the fact that you need to work through this issue together. If you keep a closed mind and don’t attempt to understand your partner’s feelings and reasonings, you’ll make it difficult for your partner to open up to you. In which case, you may never find out the real reasons behind them not wanting to have more children. For example, they may blame work or money pressures, when in fact they’re missing couple time and intimacy with you. Finding out the root cause and then having a chance to address it can really make a huge difference.

2. Take Time To Talk

This is not the kind of conversation you can have while putting on a load of laundry, making dinner, and calming down an excitable toddler. This is an important discussion that deserves both time and space in order to be properly resolved. Create some child-free time to give yourselves chance to talk. Set aside a few hours, and avoid alcohol – you need to be clear headed to talk about your family's future.

3. Have A Safe Space

Set some ground rules for the discussion. Both parties should be honest, and feel able to express their true feelings. Equally, both parties should listen to what the other person has to say, and avoid reacting emotionally.

4. A Chance To Talk

Start the discussion by asking your partner how he feels about having another baby, and why. Listen to all of his points, don't interrupt, and try to see things from his point of view. Once he's finished, it's your turn to explain how you feel. Address his concerns, and identify your own feelings about this issue.

5. Work Out Why

You should each try to work out why you feel the way you do. Are you scared of going through the first year again, worried you won't love another baby, or concerned about the financial implications of another child? Or are you try to replicate your own childhood, worried about your biological clock, or feeling less needed now that your children are growing up? Take some time to discuss the reasons behind your wants, and see if this helps to find a compromise.

6. Look At It As For Now, Not Forever

You may find that one of you changes your mind in the future. If you cannot reach an agreement now, you could set a date to discuss it again a year from now. In the meantime, you could try individual or couple counselling to try and get to the bottom of your feelings. It may help you to deal with any feelings of resentment building up as a result of this decision.

This can be a decisive topic, and may leave you feeling disappointed, hurt or even resentful towards your partner. Try not to dwell on it. Remember, your partner isn't trying to hurt you, he or she is just being honest about how he feels. If you feel you need to, spend some time repairing your relationship and building intimacy and connection. Remember why you fell in love with each other and spend some quality time as a family, as well as a couple. It is so important to remember that the kids are watching everything… including relationship dynamics. They will one day walk in your footsteps as they enter relationships of their own and will draw on what they saw growing up. Seeing a relationship as something that requires its own special time to nurture, as well as a being a place of teamwork, love and great communication, will help them choose great partners who are capable of the same.

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BellyBelly CONTRIBUTOR

BellyBelly.com.au


18 comments

  1. My husband wants more kids, but I don’t. We already have two. Our oldest is 21 months and our youngest is 5 months. I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. Hes active duty military and I’m the stay at home mommy. So I’m the one taking care of everything. 24/7 and when he is home he just wants to be by himself or out with his friends. I told him I don’t want anymore kids but he said that if I don’t he’ll resent me and that’s the end of the conversation…. I’m really unhappy.

    1. I’m so sorry that things are that way… I don’t want any more either, I have a 6 month old daughter and if I could I would go get my tubes tied but my husband said that we will be having at least two sons… I honestly don’t think I could handle another one and I don’t even want to. I love it just being one child, she has all of our extra time, she gets almost all of our money, and because we have just one we are stable and things aren’t to hectic. But he said he wants a wife who will give him a son so I’m worried that in the future he might leave me for someone who will give him a son…:(

  2. I am having such a hard time. I want 1 more. We have a 4 year old boy and a 2 year old boy. I have always wanted 3, and ALWAYS wanted a girl. He only ever wanted 1. Both kids were conceived on birth control, my first when I was 19 (we have been together since I was 15). He is so against it. He doesnt even want to talk about it. We talked for a breif time driving to the store. I am starting to have a resentment toward him at this point, but I dont want to force him into anything either.

    1. Same as you. Even boys the same ages. Although, I take another boy in a heartbeat. I agreed to wait a year, last year. Then we supposed to start trying and now he changed his mind. I don’t want to agree to another year wait, but I have a limited window in which I want to get pregnant because of work. I definitely resent him. I’m to the point of no baby means no marriage.

  3. my fiance soon to be husband and i have two beautiful girls, he wants to try for a boy. but i dont want to try for anything. Im happy with my girls…

  4. Im the opposite i want another one and we need to be a yr ahead, i need to put insurance on before we try and my hubby is reluctant to plan ahead wanting 4 years between our first n second where my planning allows for 3 .. should i wait the extra year or try harder for what i want?

  5. Me and my partner have been together for 5yrs we had our first baby boy on our 2yr anniversary. Ever since I was a teenager I always said I never ever ever wanted kids cause of my 4sisters. I don’t want a very big family cause I tend to get anxiety around more then 6 people in a combined space. Our son is now 3 yrs old and I think NOW is the perfect time to try for another child. His been giving me mixed signals like “oh we need a bigger place, we need to be more financial stable I need to have a stable job and not worry about getting fired for any reason at all” all of them boxes have been ticked off the list we are in a much better place then we were when we first got together and had our first child…. I feel like there’s something missing I just want another one its not like I want 6 children

  6. Me and my husband have been together for 19years and we have 3 kids 18y, 15y and a 10y.
    I thought I was done and didn’t want anymore baby’s but now I desesperately want one last baby. I just turne 39 years old and don’t have much time but my husband doesn’t want another baby and I don’t know what to do.
    I think about another baby day and night and I know he also love baby’s. This is now destroying our meridge.
    What should I do?

  7. I have been meried for 19years and we have 3 kids 18y, 15y and a 10y.
    I thought I was done and didn’t want anymore baby’s but now I desesperately want one last baby. I just turne 39 years old and don’t have much time but my husband doesn’t want another baby and I don’t know what to do.
    I think about another baby day and night and I know he also love baby’s. This is now destroying our meridge.
    What should I do?

  8. I have a daughter from a previous marriage (7yo) and another daughter (3yo) from this marriage. This last deliver was very traumatic and hard it also lead to getting postpartum depression and still struggling with depression. Meds after meds and i finally feel at a point where i can breathe and enjoy my life. My kids are out of diapers and im feeling better. But my husband says if we dont have more kids he will be unhappy. Makes me feel like we are not enought to make him happy, like we need third child. I feel like I’m in a loose-loose siuation, if I give in and have this baby I risk getting depression again, or getting on medication again, deal w painful biirth and pregnancy, then the sleepless nights…or i dont have another kid and he will be unhappy which in turn will make me feel unhappy. Then, what if he leaves me?
    Feel torn.

    1. I feel exactly the same as you. I had 3 children but we lost one of the younger two (twins) to meningitis.

      The pregnancy with the twins was so hard and for a year after I had loads of health problems and paranoia. I finally started feeling better for a while before we lost my gorgeous little girl.
      My oldest is disabled so needs more attention than most.

      We already have had a lot of things that are supposedly unusual and low risk happen with our children (a disability, twins, meningitis) so I’m worried something will go wrong.

      I am worried we won’t be able to give the two we have left the time and attention they need, and I don’t want to go through possible health problems again.

      Mine are also 7 (from another man, but he only sees him about 1ce every 2 years) and 3 and I know exactly what you mean when you say you feel like you’re in a loose loose situation. He said we should talk about it again in 6 months but I don’t think he’ll change his mind and I don’t think I’ll change mine.

      We very rarely disagree and when we do we can compromise. I don’t see a compromise with this though.

      1. I think although it is important to compromise, be open and reflect on what you want…it is always wrong to bring a child into the world that is not properly wanted. In the end, it is your body and therefore your choice whether to get pregnant. He should not push you into something you do not want, although a woman should also not force a man to be a father if he does not want to.

  9. My gf and I have 2. A 18mo girl and a 2mo boy. That’s all I ever wanted was a boy and a girl, in that order but the girl came first, not a big deal though. She wants 4 total. I just told her I don’t want anymore for very specific and completely logical reasons considering our situation, she was dead silent so i got to fully explain my reasoning… She gave me the cold shoulder completely. I’m pretty sure she resents me and we will end up splitting up. This is why I still haven’t married her because I don’t want to get divorced..

    1. WOW! No more kids and no actual commitment? I’d give you the cold shoulder too. Just leave her then if you already have your mind made up that you will and want too.

  10. I’m in the same boat I have a boy his 11years from my first boyfriend and my girl shes 4years from the man I’m married with now I want one baby more but he don’t want I’m so unhappy really

  11. Count me in (on the same boat). I don’t want any more babies, my husband and I have 2 boys, a 14 year old from my first marriage and our 6 year old. I decided to go back to school and don’t have any spare time, so I honestly don’t want any more at all….he says things like o’ maybe in the future…can you promise me we will have one in four years or so……umm..I’ll be near 40…..I have told him no. I have actually told him that he could have more kids with another women and I could help raise them when I had time…(which is not likely for me to have time). I spend time with my boys but I often feel bad that I don’t spend as much time as I would truly like….but I’m currently working on something to benefit my whole family in the future. I actually had decided I didn’t want to be a mom past 32 in my mid 20’s and I did tell him that but I think he thought time would change that…but It hasn’t. I hope he understand, I love him dearly and I wouldn’t want to take something like being a father away from him if he wanted that once again…but I know for a fact I don’t want anymore….it does suck to be in this circumstance but at least it’s a choice that we are able to make and luckily not a medical reason as to why we can’t have any more.

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