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 was terrified when I realized my baby fever was the real deal. My husband and I have always planned on adoption– it’s something we talked about on our first date and it was the only option on the table when we got married. He knew I had no desire to ever be pregnant and that I never planned on doing it– I was very against the idea of biological children for the first 5 years of our relationship (and 25 years of my life).

    I had baby fever for about a year really strong but aside from telling my husband about a few pregnancy/birth dreams I didn’t admit how strongly I wanted to start trying to get pregnant. I was SHAKING when I finally sat down to talk to him about it– he took it all in stride and said that if it was something I wanted to try he’d support me. We waited about 6 months before we actually started trying and now every month we’ve got our fingers crossed.

    I felt so relieved after we talked- we both had a lot of the same hesitations and excitements and it was nice to share how we felt and get on the same page.

  2. Honestly, if you aren’t ready to talk about having kids, you aren’t ready to have kids. There is no time in your relationship when you will need to be able to communicate openly, about difficult subjects and emotions, more than during parenthood! – and that begins even before pregnancy. I don’t mean to be mean or discouraging, but I’m seeing your hesitation as a red flag that either this isn’t the right partner, or your relationship isn’t there yet. This would be the WORST kind of relationship in which to “see what happens,” if you are too unsure of each other to even discuss what might happen…

  3. My husband and I just had this conversation last night, though we are less “come what may” and more “later rather than sooner.” I was talking to a friend and he asked me what we were discussing, and I told him we were talking about the fact that I’m thinking about wanting to have kids sooner than our original plan was. At first he was all, “ORLY?!” but he had been giving off the vibe that as long as we had a kid sometime between now and his 30th birthday (a 5 year window) he’d be fine, and while he had his own opinions on when he wanted kids he knew I was hesitant to commit to a time frame beyond that and was fine waiting for me. Last night I told him that I felt less like we were missing out on doing what everyone else was doing (the previous reason to have kids now, which we both agreed was a bad call) and more like we were missing out on our children’s lives. The conversation naturally flowed to include different considerations (we want multiple children and don’t want to have them more than, say 6 years apart if we can help it, so committing to have one kid is really committing to place that time frame on our lives) including finances, the reasons why we want to have kids now and why we don’t, and the agreement that we would re-evaluate and plan to start the process in a year or two, as opposed to 4 or 5. Was my husband kind of blindsided by all of that? Yeah, but we still got through the conversation openly and feel all the more connected for it.

    And the awkwardness in private may be way better than the awkwardness in public. My husband had observed that I’d get super touchy all of a sudden when asked when we were going to have children when I’d normally shrug it off. It’s better to just tell your partner “Hey, I need to have an awkward conversation here” than to be caught in public trying to figure out what the hell happened to your significant other.

  4. a) have you talked about having kids already, just in general? does he want kids? b) i told my husband right around when we started getting serious that i want marriage and i want kids. i would have ended the relationship if he was not on board, but i was 27 and i was feeling 30 coming up real quick. c)if your guy has expressed that he wants a family (including kids) with you, i don’t think he’ll be super surprised if you bring it up. like bruce lee says, “don’t think, just do.”

    i have a friend who realized that kids are important to her. very important. she just left her live-in boyfriend of 3+ years because he *finally* told her that he for sure doesn’t want children, now or ever. if it’s a big deal to you, you should not wait.

  5. It all depends on individual relationships, but in general I find that if it’s a big topic not previously broached, it’s nice to give them some lead time before the actual discussion.

    Something like, “Hey, we haven’t talked about the baby/kids thing yet, and I’d like to have that discussion soon. I’ve clearly been giving it thought already so would like to give you time to think on it, if you need. Let me know when you’re ready to discuss? I was thinking sometime in the next few weeks.”

    It gives the other party a heads up and time to think a bit (not ambushed with a giant discussion), but also gives a clear, reasonable time frame.

  6. I went off birth control because it was $50 a month for something I hated taking.I have severely painful cramps (they feel like mild contractions) and despite charting and all that jazz, I am still not pregnant. I wonder sometimes if there is something wrong with me that the doctors aren’t telling me.

    Our discussion is that we will try, try and try again, but each month I do lose hope. And that hurts.

  7. We walk around our city a lot. I brought up the topic while we were enjoying the antics of some small children on a playground during one of our walks.

  8. I don’t want to be a downer, and I know it’s hard to talk about on ALL levels, but just a word of advice here: I wanted a baby. My husband didn’t. We talked about it, he said “No.” Full stop. No discussion.
    But I didn’t stop wanting a baby. So three heartbreaking years of crying, arguing and eventual detachment later, we split. All because the baby/no-baby was a deal breaker.

    How ever you do it, when ever you do it, make sure you have a coping strategy if he says no. Maybe he needs time, maybe he is content looking at other people’s babies, maybe, even, he’s wanted to talk to you about it but thinks you might not want to talk (men often, for some heteronormative reason leave it up to us to instigate these talks)- but just cover all bases, and make sure close friends and/or family is on hand to let you vent your relief/frustration after the talk.

    Good luck though – I eventually found someone who instantly said yes, and didn’t need convincing.

    • This is a little like my story. Years of “waiting” then I finally got the “no” I probably knew was coming. Of course I am SO happy now that he did! Now I am married to someone who wanted the same things, on the same timeline.

    • “How ever you do it, when ever you do it, make sure you have a coping strategy if he says no.”

      Absolutely this. I’ve seen several relationships that were otherwise solid end because ultimately, having children is a massive deal-breaker. If someone doesn’t want to have children, you have to respect that wish — even if it sometimes means ending the relationship. It’s important to recognize and have a coping strategy prepared if that issue comes up.

  9. I’m due to have this conversation, friends of mine have “tricked” their parters into pregnancy by letting on that they are still on the pill when they’re not, I don’t want to do this, my husband told me before we married that he didn’t want kids, i wasn’t sure myself, now suddenly I do have what you ladies call “baby fever”. I’m 37 so time is really not on my side, I’ve even got to the point of when i see an older celeb with a child I’m looking up wikipedia later to check when they had their child.

    I’m going to follow Kikis approach.

    Thanks for bringing up this post

    Love to all offbeat & would love to be offbeat Mams and those who have found their happiness being offbeat Aunties/offbeat big sisters

    • I know he said that he didn’t want kids but i’m hoping that he’ll have changed his mind – all his peers now have children.

      I love him – yes love is blind, really wish he’ll share my dream – HOPING X

  10. i def had the whole I want a baby NOW after my best friend gave birth in August. we are still trying but got my pos OPK today first one since my MC in Dec. I work nights and the husband works days. it would work esp with my school and his work. 🙂

  11. We started talking after his cousin got his girlfriend pregnant, and they had to get married. I was super upset, and very jealous, because I felt she was stealing my thunder (their wedding was right before my bridal shower, and their baby shower was planned for a week after our wedding… in fact, the day we returned from our honeymoon). I was upset, but it started the conversation. Hubby had known I wanted kids from the very beginning, but he wanted to wait. We disagreed a lot…. we fought… a lot… and then eventually, he realized that I knew something he didn’t. He is so in love with our daughter, and I can’t wait to see her grow up alongside her cousin… I’m sure they’ll get into loads of trouble together… and her cousin, at 7 months older, will teach her how to get into trouble. I’ve gotten past the jealousy. I think that talking about his cousin’s girlfriend’s pregnancy opened the door though.

  12. Our conversations started out very “wouldn’t this be fun someday” and slowly moved towards “okay, let’s do this.” The thing that made the idea stick for my partner was that he was turning thirty, and he thought to himself, five years from now, will I have wished I’d had a baby now?

  13. I told my man a little over a year ago I was baby crazy and he needed to give me a baby or a puppy. So he got me a puppy, now we will have a had our dog for a year on the 26th and our son is due the 29!! So yeah that’s how my situation worked out, but we’re very thrilled. The funny thing is, when I found out I was pregnant I was totally scared and freaked out and my fella was totally happy and thrilled. But we had talked about having a baby for years, but always said oh maybe in a few years we’ll try. But after my baby crazy faze, we kind of decided to stop not trying to have a baby, and it all worked out. Good luck.

  14. My husband swears men & women speak a different language. He wouldn’t have taken any kind of hints about other people’s kids. He really didn’t care about children until he had two of his own. And, while he’s a great dad to his girls, he hasn’t really changed his lack of focus on other people’s kids.

    We talked about having children (more for him, first for me) before we married and agreed that we both wanted to. However, it was still hard for me to bring up “when” after we were married because he really wanted to enjoy our “honeymoon” period. I, on the other hand, am very aware of our “advanced age” and wanted to get cracking. I definitely had more success when I tried to talk to him during car rides or other times when distractions were lower.

    I had to have the conversation a couple of times before he was ready to agree that we could stop using birth control (the pill) and he still wasn’t really ready when I announced the results of the home pregnancy test three months later. However, we heard the heartbeat for the first time last week, and now he’s working on me to let him name the kid “Hazard”.

    I think Ariel’s warnings (and others) are very good if you think he might give you a clear and firm no. If you get only a luke-warm response, however, I would encourage you not to get discouraged. I know several new dads who weren’t terribly keen initially and got smitten very quickly.

  15. We had our first “talk” a couple of months into our relationship and we agreed: No kids! But then, about 5 years later, my oldest friend got pregnant and later on I became their (twins) godmother.
    Neither of us have ever felt comfortable with kids, but since the first time I met my godsons it just felt…good! I still suck at changing diapers and am more or less incapable of putting on a sweater on a lively 2,5 year old, but still…

    I noticed some changes in my husbands behavior around children as well, but we both just suck at asking each other the “big questions”. About 6 months ago we had a breakthrough. Although I cannot recommend having generous drinks at a bar in Berlin for everyone, it definitely worked for us.

    We’ve been together for 8 years and know that we want to spend the rest of our lives together, so not being able to bring up difficult questions DOES NOT have to equal being in the wrong relationship or make you unsuitable for parenting. If you are uncertain about how your partner feels about having children, try finding the most comfortable environment for the both of you. Then follow your heart and try to find the right way into the conversation you want to have. Only you know best what approach is most likely to work in your relationship.

    Good luck!

    • Thank you for this: “Not being able to bring up difficult questions DOES NOT have to equal being in the wrong relationship or make you unsuitable for parenting.” Personally, I can’t imagine a relationship where there wasn’t at least some anxiety about bringing up The Tough Stuff, whether or not there ended up being a good reason to be anxious. It doesn’t mean those relationships don’t exist, just that they never have for me. And The Tough Stuff is hard enough without the added pressure of anonymous internet people saying your relationship must not be good enough if you’re not strong enough to talk about it without feeling some anxiety about it.

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