At some point in a serious relationship, the majority of men will need to make a decision about whether or not having children is on the cards. Depending on personal history and how aligned you both are, conversations about it with your partner can be brief. Having said this, if there’s any sort of uncertainty or lack of cohesion between the two of you, the prospect can also turn into a longstanding bone of contention.
In this blog we’re talking to those of you who are sure you want children but just aren’t clear on whether your current partner should be their mother. Here’s some food for thought to help prepare you both.
Recollect your biggest argument so far
This may seem like a pessimistic question to ask and an odd place to start, but we like diving straight into the deep end. How the two of you communicate when you’re upset is a part of your relationship that has to be ironed out as flatly as possible before you have a child. You’ll often hear people say that there’s no right time to have a baby, but this isn’t exactly true. There are bad times, good times and better times. If you have a choice, begin from a place where you’ve both practiced listening to each other, learned to exercise patience and detached yourselves from always needing to be right.
Having children because her body clock is ticking, because all your friends are, because you have great sex together, or it appears to be the next logical step, is not good enough reasoning. The foundation you’re looking for is a relationship with ample space to express yourself, where there’s no confusion over the gender roles you’ve chosen and no petty peeves that have morphed into routine arguments.
Observe the amount of external support you both have
If there’s one thing you need when you have a child, it’s a network that extends beyond simply the two of you. Not only do you need at least one friend who understands the beauty and trials of fatherhood, but your partner will also fare far better if she isn’t isolated.
Pay close attention and think wisely if the woman in your life has limited friends, if she appears uninterested in making new mummy friends, or thinks the two of you will be enough. Yes, it’s certainly doable, but it’s a lot of pressure that you just won’t need.
Put in the time beforehand to consider where you’re going to be living, how close you are to those who love you and even how intense your work schedule can be. If she’s already inundated with tons of support and is an outgoing and sociable person then great. If not, get a plan in place.
Get real about any mummy/daddy issues
How a woman was mothered will always have an impact on how she does or does not want to behave as a mother herself. Some women with strained mother-daughter relationships may be extremely nervous about making the same mistakes they witnessed. Others will have anxiety about not being as good as the mother they had. It’s important to acknowledge that your partner’s history will impact her choices when raising your child, as will your own backstory.
Before making the decision to have a baby, you want to make sure that neither of you is dealing with unhealthy levels of baggage that you haven’t actively taken the time to heal. Assessing whether now is the right time for you, also means considering deeply whether it’s the right time for her, for the right reasons. Responsible parenting can begin as early as this and if you have doubts speak about them, find truthful answers to work with and do it as a team.