Written by: Caroline Meyer
Having babies is a big step in any relationship. Having babies is not the same for both partners though. There can be a big difference in the experiences and views of both partners that can lead to strife. This is one discussion that doesn’t really allow for compromise. When one partner wants a child or more children and the other partner does not, someone is going to end up unhappy.
Don’t compare with others
Families are all different and the people in different families have different challenges, strengths and resources as well. Comparing with friends or family when discussing increasing the size of your family will muddy the waters without allowing for a discussion related to your own relationship. Just because one partner comes from a big family, does not mean that they should automatically want a larger family or demand their partner does. If he is using a comparison as a reason for growing your family, you need to insist that the focus remains on the dynamics of your own relationship instead.
Explain your reasons
You need to know why it is that you do not want more children. Before you have the discussion, which is essential that you do, make sure you have a coherent argument as to why you do not want a larger family. This could be a financial decision, it could mean a physical problem, it could be that mentally you don’t feel you could cope with another child. You may want to go back to work and further your career without it being interrupted by the advent of another baby. There may be no support structure to assist with raising your babies, and this can be a very valid reason not to have more. You may have had a difficult pregnancy or labour in the past and this is preventing you from deciding to grow your family further. There could be many reasons and at the end of the day, if you are looking at natural children, it is your body. If you are prepared to adopt, the conversation may be quite different. If you are firm about not adding any further kids to the family, then you need to be ready to stipulate this is how you feel and why.
Is there a middle ground?
Sometimes when discussing the reasons why you are not looking to grow your family any further, there may be some workable compromises that come up. If it is financial, there may be ways to reduce debt or increase income to get rid of this concern. You may then decide it is okay to add another person to the family is this was no longer a problem. You may be able to build a support base or get addition assistance for another baby, which may change your mind about your decision. There are many scenarios, when discussed, which may allow for a middle ground and the possibility of a bigger family. If there is no possible room for change in your mind, after all discussions, then your partner needs to know this as well.
Don’t back down
You have had the discussion with your partner, laid out your reasons for not wanting to add another baby to the family, listened to his argument for having one more as well as all the possible compromises. You still do not want to have another child. At this point, you can close the discussion, or you can allow him leeway to discuss it again in future if circumstances change. If, not matter what changes, you know that you do not want more children, you must be prepared to stand your ground. This may become a sore point in your relationship and maybe even lead to a dissolution of your marriage if you are not able to discuss the situation in a mature way. Most couples can work past the issue, but for some it is a deal breaker.
Sometimes counselling can help when it comes to volatile discussions such as these. A mediator may be able to help both of you see the situation from both sides. You can also have your doctor discuss the issues with your partner if your lack of interest in another child or your inability to have another child is due to medical reasons, physical or psychological. A marriage therapist is also recommended in relationships where a consensus cannot be reached. The therapist can help get to the root of the issue and may be able to help you understand each other’s points of view better to eventually reach a solution beneficial to the relationship.
Having the discussion with your partner on the issue of not increasing the family any further can be a difficult one, but it is essential in every relationship. Sometimes a compromise can be reached, but in cases where this is not possible, sometimes the relationship will reach a breaking point due to the differences in the planned size of the family in each person’s mind. A strong relationship will usually overcome the situation, but you have the right to stand your ground, especially if you are the one that would be carrying the baby and being the prime carer.