How did you tell your partner that you’re ready to start a family?

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By: BrookeCC BY 2.0
My husband and I have always been the type of people who just take things as they come, and rarely talk about things in advance.

But lately, I’ve realised that I really want a baby. Like now. And I don’t know how to bring it up gently. I’ve tried talking a lot about our friend’s pregnancy, which he does get excited about, but unfortunately it doesn’t transition into talking about us.

I don’t want to bring it up head-on in case it scares him off (because to him it’s probably coming out of nowhere) but more ease into it gently if possible. I always thought that this would be something that I wouldn’t think about for a while, and didn’t expect the sudden surge of longing.

Now I’m panicking about what to say, because I can’t lie to him and pretend nothing is wrong. How did you initiate the discussion of children in your relationship? — NP

We asked some of our most trusted readers to share their responses — here’s a few of our favorites:

I can understand being uncomfortable just blurting out what may be a “scary” topic. We got where we are by starting talking about abstract future kids a while ago. For instance we would be out in public and see a mama wearing her baby — I would say something like “When we have a baby, I want a sling and not a stroller.” After a while, these little comments on my side, became comments originating from both of us, to discussions. So not only did it bring up the topic of babies in a “non-scary” way, but it also eventually opened up conversations of how we both feel about different parenting issues, techniques, and discussions. — Briana
I’ve learned over time, that the “hard stuff” discussions go better if I choose a good time to bring them up. For me, a bad time is if either my partner or I is tired or cranky or at the end of a tough day. A good time is when we’re relaxed, not in the middle of something and not in a rush to get somewhere. I noticed that we had particularly good conversations on “hard stuff” topics over weekend breakfasts (after the first cup of coffee), so now I sometimes save things like “where are we going for Thanksgiving and Christmas” for the weekend, rather than when they first pop into my head.

Potentially having a kid/trying to get pregnant has been an ongoing discussion for us (lots of Sunday breakfasts). I guess my only advice is that it may be an ongoing discussion and not a one and done conversation. You’re ready, and have been thinking about it a lot, but it may be a new thought for your partner. Be prepared to give them time to think about it. — ReadingL

I think for us it started when my husband I were dating. We were looking at a friend’s baby pictures at a concert and he said “Let’s make a baby!” I’m pretty sure we were both drunk, and I thought it was cute and funny at the time. Then a month or two later, (after some more serious and sober conversations) I was pregnant! He actually doesn’t really remember saying “Let’s make a baby.” and I didn’t take it seriously, but it must have planted something in my mind… Anyway, talking about your friends’ kids seems like the place to start. You can start with something like “Someday soon, I want us to have this.” — Jessi

Now share YOUR thoughts below…

Comments on How did you tell your partner that you’re ready to start a family?

  1. I just said, “I really want to make a baby, and I want to start trying really soon, like next month. What do you think about that?” We went over our situation, finances, etc., and compromised on a month to start trying. It was great! We handle issues pretty bluntly though. Of course we ended up with a pill failure pregnancy that very month that surprised the heck out of both of us and I suddenly felt not ready at all: ) Good luck! I hope things work out for you.

  2. Hmmm … The first time around I brought it up by announcing “I just took a pregnancy test, and guess what?” That statement was followed up by several days of discussing our options, if you catch my drift. We weren’t planning to get pregnant and at that point in my life I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted kids. That relationship didnt even last more than a month after finding out.
    Unfortunately that’s been my primary experience when it comes to pregnancy. They’re almost always unplanned, so there is no discussion first. That’s just how it’s always happened amongst my friends and in my family.
    However, I did plan the baby I’m currently pregnant with. My husband and I did, that is. But I cannot for the life of me think of how the topic came up. It came up before our wedding, I’m sure, because six months before the wedding I got my IUD removed in preparation for beginning to try after the wedding. I just don’t remember. It’s almost as if we both intuitively knew we’d try for a baby right away after the wedding. Hmmm … Maybe it’s easier when you already have one child?
    Wish I could be of more help. I wouldn’t suggest intentionally being careless with birth control, but I have to admit, it takes a little bit of the magic out of it to actually TRY to get pregnant. When I had my son, even though it was a bad situation and I ended up having him alone, he felt like this great surprise, this amazing gift. This time around it feels more like “Yeah, whatever. We knew this was going to happen. We timed our sex and everything.” Like buying your own Christmas gifts. I always thought a planned baby would be the coolest way to go, but I’ve been a little disappointed. Next time around we might take a more middle route and agree to get off birth control and just see what happens. No charting or timing sex. No legs in the air afterwards. No obsessive testing. Just chill, unprotected sex. Maybe that’s the way to go about it. Instead of saying “Let’s try to get pregnant.” say “I’m thinking I’d like to get off birth control. What would you think of that.”
    I don’t know. Just a thought.

    • There is just something really romantic and special about the “lets just see” method. I like your idea of just talking about getting of birth control. It just kind of makes it feel more natural.

        • Totally! And your mileage may vary with the “spontaneous is hotter!” thing anyway! My husband and I found trying to conceive sex pretty hot, and it wasn’t a buzzkill for us. It didn’t “destroy the magic” and it might not for some other posters, either.

          • My husband and I have found that the “let’s just see” method is a little too nerve-wracking – it’s easier on us to either be definitely NOT trying or definitely trying!

        • I was more talking about how it might be a less scary or intimidating way to start. I wasn’t suggesting that everyone should share my opinion, but I can see how that comment could take the rest of the comments down a different path.

          • Most definitely. I didn’t think you were, since you comment frequently on the site… but I also didn’t want to conversation to go other places. πŸ™‚

          • This is definitely how I read it – as “a more natural way to start the conversation” not “a more natural way to make a baby”.

          • Yeah, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that any one way of conceiving is better than another, and I apologize if it came across that way. I was just sharing my personal experiences, and it made me think that maybe bringing up the topic of just getting off birth control might be a way to start the conversation. The multitude of directions things can go from there are all cool though, and I love reading the different stories here.

        • I have to agree with Stephanie. While my husband and I aren’t trying to get pregnant yet (though if it happens, it happens), we do sometimes have to schedule sex. We have very busy lives and if we don’t we could go a few months and then realize we’ve done nothing more than kiss and cuddle.

        • no one said it wasn’t “worthy of celebration”… or whatever. they said micromanaging, for any reason, is *not as romantic*. because it isn’t. let’s recognize that particular bummer about infertility as valid.

  3. Yeah, so. If you’re going to have a child, you’d better start getting practice bringing up the hard topics now. So out with it! Tell him what you told us. Tell him you’re thinking about having a child sooner rather than later, and ask him what he thinks, then listen to what he says.

    You’re going to have to have many more difficult conversations while pregnant and then child rearing. I guess I’m a little worried that you seem to be walking on eggshells right now.

    • I think the phrase “walking on eggshells” can have multiple implications, and may not be the best to use here. My interpretation of this is that she’s somewhat intimidated by bringing up the idea because bringing up the idea of having a kid is HUGE. It totally changes your dynamic as a couple — even if you’re still the same people post-baby, things have changed.

      Bringing up topics like this is totally hard for some couples. My husband and I are also both “come as it may” type of people — we eloped after 3 months, decided to have a baby a year and a half later on a whim, etc. When neither of you are long-term planners, these conversations don’t always come easily. πŸ™‚

      • Thanks Stephanie. It’s good to know I’m not the only person who’s generally happy to just take things as they come.

        I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it was hard because it changes the dynamics of a couple. And although I know that will inevitably change after a child is born, I also believe that we will see each other differently after we decide to try.

  4. first let me say, my husband and i have not had kids yet- but we hope to start trying in the not-too-too-distant future.

    i can understand being uncomfortable just blurting out what may be a “scary” topic. we got where we are by starting talking about abstract future kids a while ago. for instance we would be out in public and see a mama wearing her baby- i would say something like “when we have a baby, i want a sling and not a stroller.” after a while, these little comments on my side, became comments originating from both of us, to discussions. so not only did it bring up the topic of babies in a “non-scary” way, but it also eventually opened up conversations of how we both feel about different parenting issues, techniques, and discussions.

    • Yup, this sounds like us! My fiance and I aren’t planning to start trying for a couple of years yet, but potential future kids have been part of the discussion for a while.

      Since you’re already bringing up your friend’s pregnancy, maybe try turning it a bit more towards you guys; particularly subjects that spark a real discussion. “So-and-so is doing x when her baby comes. I really like the idea of doing that when we have kids, but I wonder if [some relevant concern]. What do you think?”

      Once you have the conversation turned onto your own future as parents, you should be able to guide the conversation a bit more easily.

      • Thanks, that’s actually a great idea. I find I’m already quite outspoken about some elements of parenting (both positively and negatively) as a lot of my family members have young children. But I’ve always made very general statements about my feelings, rather than relating them directly to our future potential children. So I think that’s something I could easily change that would hopefully prompt the discussion!


      • I find I have baby word vomit! Out of nowhere I’ll say, “When our kids do something realy bad I’m going to punish them by champeroning their field trip dressed in the same outfit as them!” or “What if our kids are ugly!?”

        If that wasn’t enough of a hint that we will have kids someday, my dad bought my sister an expensive (to him) stroller and said, “When you’re done give it to Annie.” Thanks, Dad!

        A good way to start a let’s start trying soon conversation is to start talking talking about a spare room that can be turned into a nursery or playroom. Our spare room is lavander (not our choice) so it will be changed when it becomes a nursery (into a mural).

  5. I think for us it started when my husband I were dating. We were looking at a freind’s baby pictures at a concert and he said “Let’s make a baby!” I’m pretty sure were were both drunk, and I thought it was cute and funny at the time. Then a month or two later, (after some more serious and sober conversations) I was pregnant! He actually doesn’t really remember saying “Let’s make a baby.” and I didn’t take it seriously, but it must have planted something in my mind… Anyway, talking about your friends’s kids seems like the place to start. You can start with something like “Someday soon, I want us to have this.”

  6. Totally agree with MichelleZB that if you’re going to have a kid you need to be able to bring up the hard stuff.

    I’ve learned over time, that the “hard stuff” discussions go better if I choose a good time to bring them up. For me, a bad time is if either my partner or I is tired or cranky or at the end of a tough day. A good time is when we’re relaxed, not in the middle of something and not in a rush to get somewhere. I noticed that we had particularly good conversations on “hard stuff” topics over weekend breakfasts (after the first cup of coffee), so now I sometimes save things like “where are we going for thanksgiving and christmas” for the weekend, rather than when they first pop into my head.

    Potentially having a kid/trying to get pregnant has been an ongoing discussion for us (lots of Sunday breakfasts). I guess my only advice is that it may be an ongoing discussion and not a one and done conversation. You’re ready, and have been thinking about it a lot, but it may be a new thought for your partner. Be prepared to give them time to think about it.

    • Thanks, I fully agree with you. I guess I was just looking for an easy way to transition the discussion rather than just a confronting “I want to have a baby” statement. It’s less that I’m scared of talking about the hard stuff, and more that I just wanted to address the topic in a way that he’s comfortable talking about it.

      And the Sunday breakfast idea is good, I’ll be trying that. And I’m definitely more than willing to give him time to get his head around the idea. I’m fully aware that the idea may seem very new to him, and I’m happy to discuss the idea for however long it takes him to become comfortable. I’m definitely not the sort of person who pushes people into things they’re not ready for.

    • For us it’s car trips. Whether it’s a 30 minute trip to the suburbs or a many hour trip out of town, it’s a time when you’re basically just sitting there, next to each other, with no video game, book, or television. Might as well talk to each other! “How’s work?” can get exhausted pretty fast so we’re often fishing for difficult topics just to fill the space. Of course, we might spend more time in the car than other people.

      • Long car rides have definitely done the trick for me in the past. Now that I currently don’t have long distances to drive, long walks fill that role. I find that weighty topics just naturally come up when you have a long period of time and nothing else distracting you.

  7. It shouldn’t be too hard to transition from a topic about a friend’s pregnancy to the possibility of your being pregnant.

    “Amy’s bump is so cute! I hope I get a cute bump like hers when we get pregnant.”

    Or if you’re watching TV or a movie that has kids, a comment like “I wonder what we would do if our child did that?” could open the topic.

    There’s also the rip-the-bandaid-off kind of thing. Sit down and say, “There’s something we haven’t talked about, and I’d really like to know what you think about this…”

  8. I just say “baby” repeatedly, then he laughs, since I have a baby urge since my son it almost 4 years old, but i’m finishing school, we will be getting married soon, and trying to get our financial life stable, so no babies for now. But I can still obsess and he can still shake his head.

    • although he has mentioned that he needs a kid for which he can sit on the front porch with a shot gun to scare away the boys, lol. so that means either the son is going to be dating jerky guys, or our next one(time to be determined) will have to be a girl for my fiance to get his wish.

  9. My current (and only) pregnancy was totally planned.
    I am a nurse at a sexual health centre, and teach birth control for a living, so I knew the whole “whoops!” line wouldn’t work. My husband was slow to warming up about the idea of having babies, but as our friends started to have kids, we just started to have conversations about their situations, what we wanted and didn’t want etc.
    Around summer last year I told my husband “I feel ready to have a baby. I feel like now is good timing, realizing the timing will never be perfect. So no pressure, but just so you know, I’m up for it when you are”. Then I stopped talking about it.
    After a couple months of my husband getting his ducks in a row and thinking about it, he told me over dinner he was ready to stop our birth control!
    A month later, pregnant. πŸ™‚ And it is so so worth the wait to have him totally excited and invested…and often more confident than me!

  10. My partner and I are about to get married, and when we met, she told me she really didn’t want to have kids. I really do. It’s been an ongoing discussion, and she has actually decided that she does want kids at some point.

    At first, it was kind of a hard conversation to bring up, but I have found that there are lots of opportunities to keep it a casual, on-going conversation. This might not work for you if you want to start right away, but for us, this allowed us to enter the conversation gently and slowly, allowing us to evolve together on the topic.

    I would mention it casually (as in, “Look, baby! Babies are so cute! Don’t you think our babies would be so cute?”) whenever we saw a baby in public, we saw a friend’s baby, I met the baby she was baby-sitting, etc. And I tell her honestly how I’m feeling when I’m really feeling a baby-making urge, such as the fact that I’m totally jealous that a woman I work with is pregnant, or that I have to watch and read lots of baby-related stuff when I’m ovulating (seriously, hormones are weird, guys).

    I have also talked to her about what I would want in terms of birth and pregnancy care. Basically, I’ve tried to make sure she knows that this is something I want and have thought about, but also something that I want to do WITH her, so it has to be a joint decision.

    I don’t know how much, if any of that, helps you. If you haven’t had those conversations yet, it might be worth doing that before getting knocked up – I have certainly found that there are a lot of places we disagree that we’ve needed unpressured time to work though.

    I do think you should be prepared to say, unequivocally, this is what I want. If you don’t, he might not realize how much this means to you.

  11. I *JUST* went through this. I’ve had that longing for like a year, but husband is in grad school and we always thought we would wait till he graduated. I’d mentioned in passing to him a few times (whenever we saw friends with their babies) how apparently I was at that age where my uterus clenched/glowed(alla Elliot on Scrubs) whenever I saw a mom and baby, and how it was weird because I knew that wasn’t our plan.

    Then last October we were laying in bed one lazy Saturday and I turned to him and told him I had to tell him a secret: “I want a baby”. He was less surprised than I expected because he had noticed me looking longingly at all of my friends baby pictures on facebook and how excited I was when my BFF visited with her baby. We spent a long day in bed talking about how it would work, how I have a well-paying (sometimes long houred) job so his flexible grad student schedule would actually be good for having a baby, especially since he would probably be at the writing portion of his PhD by the time one arrived. How uncertain the job market might be when he graduated and the likelyhood of him getting a professorship somewhere I could also find a job in my field. I had an IUD and my annual Gyno appt in January, so we decided to give it till then to think about and I’d have the IUD removed at the already scheduled appointment.

    We decided to do the not not trying to have a baby route while we get healthy and organize our financials, but it’s really hard to not know when I might be ovulating (I’ve always tracked my period and have a consistent 27 day cycle), so maybe I intentionally seduce him during certain days of the month πŸ˜‰ We have been “trying” for 2 months now and at this point he is excited about the idea now, so each month we put a little more effort in (in fact he was sad when the first of his good college buddies announced his wife was pregnant a month ago, because he wanted to be the first, boys are weird).

    I suppose the next step is temperature taking and mucus checking, but that seems like a lot of work and we aren’t quite there yet.

    • We’re TOTALLY have the same grad school/good job thing going here too! Plus my job should allow for me to be home when he does need to be on campus for meetings and teaching πŸ˜‰

  12. I completely surprised myself by feeling that “BABY! NOW!” urge right after a close friend announced a pregnancy. So that was a helpful topic to segue into our own baby talk. “Wow, X&Y are having Z… Crazy, huh? So have you thought about us having kids lately?” For me it’s comforting to get into my partner’s head a little bit and pick his brain and see where he’s at. I feel incredibly awkward talking about these things–before we were engaged, bringing up weddings made me want to crawl under the bed and hide! But in the end, honesty is always worth it no matter how painful it is in the moment. There’s nothing wrong with blurting out, “This is how I feel. DISCUSS!”

    • It feels great to know that someone else can understand where I’m coming from. It’s not that I don’t trust him, completely the opposite, I just get awkward really easily. I’m the same in that before we were engaged, people bringing up wedding stuff was so awkward for me, but as soon as we were engaged, I didn’t have a problem bringing up any of the “hard topics” about the wedding and what I wanted. I guess I’m just someone that needs to be thrown into a situation to get over the awkwardness.

      But in this case, I know I’m going to have to be proactive, because I know he won’t be bringing it up any time soon. And I like the way you phrased it, just generally querying how HE feels about it, rather than pushing how badly YOU want it.

      • I just wanted to chime in here and say I am exactly the same way! My husband and I dated for two years before he proposed and we never talked about marriage or timelines, etc before he asked. Friends would joke and say “when are you two going to get engaged?!” And I would be sooo embarrassed and try to shut them up. Once he proposed we talked constantly about the wedding planning. He even told me he wasn’t sure I even wanted to marry him since I wouldn’t acknowledge our friends when they brought it up. Oops! Of course I wanted to marry him. Now we’ve been married a couple years and I’m ready to have a baby but not sure how to bring it up to him. Which is why I googled it and found this! Some people just have a harder time talking about certain things. It doesn’t mean we aren’t good communicators or have trust issues with our spouses. Best of luck to you!

  13. I had a tough time bringing up the subject of procreation with my husband, too. I had always been known as the gal who didn’t like kids in our group, but suddenly I really wanted a baby of my own. It weighed on me for months before I finally got up the courage to blurt it out.

    My husband and I had just spend a gorgeous day out on a lovely hike, and on our way home I told him that I had been thinking a lot lately about how fun it would be to share days like that with a child. The world can be so beautiful, and I just want to teach a child (my child) about it. e turned to me and said he was a little suprised, but that he was glad to know why I had been acting so weird lately.

    The hardest part was starting that first sentence, then we had a great, open conversation about it. Good luck. Your husband might be a bit suprised, but he has probably noticed that something is up, and will be glad to know what is going on.

    • Ditto this: “The hardest part is the first sentence.” For me, it also helps to incorporate my own iffy/nervous feelings, like, “So, I feel nervous about saying this, but I just realized I really want a baby, and I’m kinda weirded out about how suddenly that’s happened. I don’t want to scare you or anything, but I also don’t want to pretend I’m not thinking about this.”

      • that was kind of me. it felt especially weird to me, as i had, for several years (and back when we started dating) stated an ambiguous feeling / leaning against rather than towards having children… but one day, i woke up and it was like a switch was flipped. and i wanted a bay. we were out walking the dogs one morning and it went a little like this:

        me: this feels a little strange to just come out and say it, especially after going so many years feeling that i may never want to have kids, but, uh, i think i want to have a kid.

        him: huh. interesting. didn’t expect you to say that. ok, when do you want to take out your nuvaring?

        me: this month.

        him: ok.

        that was a year or so ago. all this trying without success has turned the conversation in many a different direction, but has solidified our interest in starting a family. πŸ™‚

    • I fully agree on the first sentence is the hardest bit. I’ve had so many times I could have easily brought it up, but whenever that moment comes, I can never string the words in my head into a sentence that would make sense of what I’m feeling.

  14. For us the discussion started a few months before our wedding, when we had a hot and heavy night that got a bit out of hand and we forgot to “be cautious” at all. Afterwards we both were saying, “Wow… what if you (I) just got pregnant?!” Which led us into talking about how we both want kids and how it wouldn’t really be a bad thing if I were, which led to jokes about a shotgun wedding. Turns out I wasn’t pregnant, and when I got my period later that month we had another talk about how we were both quite surprised at the disappointment we both felt. So we decided to pull the goalie and we’ve been trying ever since.

    Discussions of this magnitude seem to be easier and more productive when they’re approached in calm happy moments, when you both feel at ease with one another. Like someone above said, tell your partner what you asked all of us and see how he reacts. He may not be quite ready and if he’s not, try to be supportive of that despite the screaming ovaries (that would be a good name for a band, BTW). When you do start trying it might happen right away, so it’s best to be ready ready – for both of you.

  15. I’m a planner, so I made sure that my husband wanted kids before we got married. But he’s VERY averse to change, so I understand being leery about bringing it up.

    We started off by joking about it. “Damn we’re going to make pretty babies.” or after seeing a particularly ill-behaved child, “Thank goodness we’re going to be better parents and have angelic children.” Stuff like that, in non-confrontational situations.

    Then we finally moved into a conversation about when we wanted to have children. I had baby fever pretty bad, but it was just that…a fever to do what all my friends were doing. I recognized that we might have to compromise to make sure we’re both ready.

    And we did. We waited a year to start trying (of course, choices like that may not be available to us if the war on birth control continues) and then it took us another year to conceive. I’m currently 11 weeks today. Now that it’s really happening, he’s panicking, mourning his youth and acting like he never wanted this, but that’s actually pretty normal for the non-gestating partner. LOL

  16. If it was me, I think I would approach it by asking him how he pictures your life in 10, 20, 15 years. If he imagines kids, how old are they. If he doesn’t, it is a good opportunity to mention that you do. And you see them happening soon. I feel like that is a bit more hypothetical and less alarming than “hey, tonight after dinner, do you want to impregnate me?” It provides a framework to talk about what you want, and if he does have strong feelings, it removes the potential for feeling he picked the wrong answer in a yes, no question, because the future is a bigger picture.

    • Wow, I was about to write the same thing. Asking questions is how I brought up the subject with my partner the year before we got married. For me, it’s a more gentle path then just stating what MY feelings/wants are and waiting for a reaction. The great thing about the question, “What do you dream your life will be like in five years?’ is that it’s so open-ended, and your partner might surprise you completely with his responses. Essentially, it’s a question of values (do you value the idea of owning your own home, do you value the idea of kids, travel, is your career your priority, etc.) Even if he’s not a planner and doesn’t think much about his future, curiosity will propel him to ask the same question of you after you broach the subject. (By the way, I personally think this is a good question to ask continually throughout a relationship. The answers can really change after a year or two or a big move or life event.)

    • Oh I love this idea! My husband pulled this one on me recently, mining for clues as to when I want to try for baby number 2. It was actually eye opening for me too, I didn’t really know what I wanted for sure until he asked.

  17. Our Daughter was unplanned, but we had discussed having a baby before we got pregnant. There had always been discussion of children before we even started dating, So I just told him. He thought it was the wrong time, and so I dropped it, and went ahead with some non-baby plans, with the intent to bring it up again in 6 months or so. We got pregnant about a month after that discussion.
    This time I’ve been revisiting the issue since our daughter was 18 months old (she’s 2 3/4 now). After some flip flopping on my husbands part, we’ve actually been trying to get pregnant since December.
    If you know your husband wants kids, you just need to say you’ve been thinking about it and you’d like to start trying soon. He might not agree, and you basically have to accept it, but at least it won’t come as a surprise when you bring it up in a few months.

  18. I notice that a common thread here is that basically all these conversations went well and effectively. I don’t want to be a scare-monger or something, but I also think it’s worth recognizing that, especially if you haven’t talked about it much at all, he might not react as well as a lot of these ladies’ husbands/boyfriends did.

    In my case, I made sure when I was starting to date my boyfriend (like, within a few weeks of meeting him) that he knew that I would probably want kids at some point, and I wasn’t into dating someone if that wasn’t probable for him too. He said, “yep, sure, we can have kids at some point.”

    When I’ve tried to bring it up after that, I’ve basically hit a brick wall. When it was hypothetical, “at some point in the distant future,” he was fine with it, but when I started saying “ok, so I’m in my early 30s, so we’re really going to have to think about this soon,” he got scared. If I talk about how cute other peoples’ babies are or what I want to do when I have a kid, he just shakes his head. But if we see a screaming or misbehaving kid on the street, he looks at me like, “you want THAT? ‘Cause that’s what it’ll be like if we have kids.” When I try to talk about how we might want to handle things with kids, he says “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there..” But then when I try to talk about when he might be ready to get there, he just says “when things are more stable for us” and then won’t discuss it anymore.

    He still insists, when I say it bothers me that he seems not to want a kid, that he does want one, just not yet.

    I guess I’m saying, I hope that either bringing it up bluntly goes well, or that making casual mentions of the topic leads to a good conversation for you, like it has for the other commenters. It’s possible, though, that he’ll be resistant to dealing with it, especially if he’s younger, if you haven’t talked about it much yet, or if he’s kind of incommunicative about other long-term planning issues or emotional issues. In that case, you’ll have to think a lot about what YOU need, so that you can communicate it clearly to him.

    • Yes, yes YES. This is exactly what I’m going through right now. After my ex and I broke up (for many reasons, but among them was that I wanted kids at some point and he did not ever), I thought that being careful and explicit after only a few weeks into our relationship with my new boyfriend was the way to go. We’ve been together for 4 years now, and the last year and a half has been a lot of “But you said …!” on my part and “Not NOW!” on his. We’ve discussed it from every angle — what does he need to feel ready (marriage? emergency savings?), how would he feel about my getting pregnant without him (sperm donation?), can I get a deadline? Nothing seems to help. And then there are my friends and family who are starting to think poorly of him just because he doesn’t want to start trying to conceive a baby, because he’s preventing me from doing something I want so much. It wears on the relationship, and I definitely understand the fear/anxiety the OP is expressing.

    • I am very glad Sarah (and d) finally brought up the challenges of how to work with partners who are resistant to moving forward or even discussing the issue of having children.

      I am not planning to have children, but I hope for the sake of the people who are dealing with these issues, this conversation leads them towards enlightenment and resolution. While it’s really cute that people share their own positive experiences, it’s equally important (if not more so) to discuss the not-so-easy stuff. When (what seems like) everyone is talking about how great their situation is, someone going through a harder time could very well feel like they’re alone in their struggles.

      Not saying this to slam anyone, just want to show support for people who are finding themselves in less-than-ideal situations.

  19. I’m so glad that this is coming up today. Mostly because I had another baby dream last night and now I’m all “BABIES! NOW!”. That said, my husband and I are very long term planners so the conversation sort of flowed naturally from our “5 Year Plan” discussions. Definitely asking him what he sees you two doing in the next couple years is a good place to introduce babies to the conversation

  20. Oh, I also think that your form of birth control affects this discussion a LOT. If you are on pills or use condoms, it’s more likely that you could have an scare or an unplanned pregnancy, and it’d probably be worth talking about what you’d do if that happened. You could use that as a jumping-off point to discuss the broader issue of having a planned child.

    However, if you’re using an IUD or an implant, it’s much more difficult to have an unplanned pregnancy, and the “what would we do if…” conversation doesn’t make as much sense. You basically have to determine when you want to stop using birth control. That discussion can be a lot scarier, because there’s no transition state – you’re either actively trying (by having removed your birth control) or not.

  21. My soon to be husband discussed children very early in our relationship… like pre gf/bf status. There is a 14 year age difference and he wanted kids sooner than later, it was just one of those things we had to get out of the way to see if we were compatible. Luckily we were on the same page as far as timing. (Most definitely wanted kid(s) within the next five years) Ironically I got pregnant ~2 weeks later, totally unplanned. I’m really glad we had already talked about how we felt about children, as well as how we felt about unplanned children… we both knew what options the other was open to discussing so we never even went the route of discussing termination or adoption.. The conversation was more just do we get married before or after the baby?

    I totally get how discussing kids can be intimidating!! For us, if one or the other of us had not been ready or not interested in having children at all it would have been the end of the relationship. So, make sure you’re ready to move on if your partner is dead set against having a baby any time soon and you aren’t ready to wait…

  22. This topic is near and dear to me. I do not have any children and very much remember the way our conversation(s) went. My partner and I had some $$ troubles and I remember him saying something like, of course we will have children when we are financially ready. Of course that made me feel really good until my loving amazing sister said, well your never really financially ready for kids!

    Long story- shorter, the real topic came up when he very kindly asked me what was upsetting me and I said “nothing” followed by many tears. We then had an in depth conversation about how we will never be ready, but I am ready to start thinking about pregnancy and (at the time) marriage and a life together.

    Now it is just in the background. We are going to start trying after we get married in under a year. I look at the moby wraps and try to understand them, and he knows it isn’t going to happen tomorrow. Even though we aren’t at the exactly the same feeling this instant (i want baby NOW), we are both on the same page, and that feels good.

  23. My thought is, “I want to stop taking birth control/wearing condoms/whatever precautions you take.” He’ll say, “So what do you want to do instead?” and you just smile and say, “See what happens.”

  24. I was in the same situation. We’d talked about the hypothetical someday, and knew we both wanted kids, but it was always in some unspecified future. As I started getting closer to the age that I used to think I’d have kids by, I started thinking seriously about it (the reason why kids around this age made sense 15 years ago still apply, we’re stable and commited, we envision a future together) and began to obsess a bit.

    My partner is a bit scared of growing up, and had said no to marrying me years ago when I asked him (which still hurt), so I knew I had to say something, even if it was just to give him a heads up as to what I was thinking and see if he was in the same page as me. It wasn’t have a baby NOW, but get serious about it and have a baby in the next 2 / 3 years.

    I basically went into the conversation with something like: “There’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, but I’ve been scared to talk about because I’m afraid you’re going to freak out. But you need to know about it. I’m not trying to pressure you or force you into anything, you just need to think about it and let me know what you *think* (I’m not looking for a yes or no answer here) in the next week or so, not pretend we never had this conversation”.

    That got things started and his – two weeks later – answer was a really good conversation. He agreed that it had always been “someday” for him, he needed time to bring the baby idea into his present life but he was definitely on board; he’d also envisioned having kids with his wife, not girlfriend. So we ended up with the unspoken agreement that it would happen, he needed a bit of time to process, and that he would bring up the marriage + babies topic soon.

    After that it was great, I didn’t have to avoid talking about kids “just in case” as I had been doing without even realizing it. About 6 months later he proposed, we’re currently planning our wedding, and will be trying once we’re married (due to circumstances we’re ending up having an over the top wedding that our parents are paying for, so I’d prefer not to be pregnant before it – just get it over). The cool side effect is that even though marriage as an institution never meant much for either of us, *our* marriage for us (because, really, our day to day life isn’t going to change after being together 8 years, living together for 5, owning a home and pets, having joint finances, etc) now means that we are promising to each other to become a family. Right now a family of two + two cats, but that’s the start.

  25. I’ve got the baby fever, bad.

    When we first got together my now-husband and I talked it over and established that we wanted children – someday. And that was that.

    Now we’re married and it was preying heavier and heavier on my mind.. I wanted someday to mean now.

    I tried the subtle hints, and leading the conversation from our friend’s kids.. Y’know, for a smart guy he can be really dumb sometimes. I had to outright tell him, I’m ready, the hormones are driving me crazy. How does now sound.

    Of course, now he has to be all smart and rational and point out monetary issues (I have 3 years left paying off a huge loan I took out to move across the Atlantic to be with him and that takes most of my wages).

    Must as it pains me to compromise – as I said, I have the baby fever. We’ve agreed that the issue is off the table until I’m a citizen at the very least and unlikely to occur until that loan is gone. But it opened the gates to allow more talk between us – we’ve discussed birth plans and care, how we can to raise our child(ren) and even possible names.

    Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and say what you’re thinking.

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