by Aurora Bordeaux
A common topic in the kingdom of childfree couples is the conflict that can arise when one person in a couple doesn’t want kids and the other person does. That’s a heck of a conundrum, and one that googling “help me God” alone can’t solve for you. So what do you do if you’re not both on the same page about one of the most life altering decisions you’ll ever make?
Lordy, honey. I have no idea.
If you’re reading this blog, I’ll assume that you’re the one who isn’t into kids. Let’s start there. I’m sure that if we view the situation objectively, stay calm, and break things up into pieces, we’ll have a solution by tea time.
Actually, I’m full of it. I don’t have any good advice for you. All I can really do is hand you a figurative wad of cookies to dull the pain and talk about the wonders of how peaceful tea time can be without sticky kids running around yanking on the tablecloths.
I’m sure that, since you found this wonderful blog, you’re very smart, and therefore I can’t tell you anything you haven’t already thought about. But just in case, here are a few things to throw out there:
- How long have you been in this relationship?
- How important is the relationship to you? (Be honest.)
- What are your reasons for not having kids? List all of them, from big ones to tiny ones, most personal to most general.
- What are your partner’s reasons for wanting them?
You could also try renting a baby for a weekend, or longer. This may seem hard, but it’s surprisingly easy to do. Chances are that you know people who have kids under a year old, and they’re probably desperate to unload them on someone else. They can do this under the pretense of trying to get you to come on board into the breeder club, but in reality, they’re hard up for sleep and relief. Borrow a baby and see how it goes.
If you do rent a baby, you can also lovingly sabotage your partner by not being very helpful. This may give them a fresh perspective on what life might be like if you made a kid but were forced to mentally check out all the time just to stay sane.
When choosing a baby to rent, be particular. Don’t get a really adorable, easy, fun baby with neat little outfits and cute miniature shoes. Find a cantankerous one, a loud one, one with boogers always in the nose whose parents are almost certain not to return to pick him up at the agreed upon time.
I have also found that people who are on the edge of a childmaking decision find church helpful. I’m not talking about preaching or prayer, but about the cat-herding hell of Sunday school. Each week, litters of babies scream their heads off in church basements as they sit propped like freshly sprung mushrooms with doodey in their pants. There is nothing, nothing like the stress of “teaching” Sunday school to a gaggle of babies who aren’t having any of it. Stroll through a few churches on Sundays and listen to the wails echoing off the walls. If that doesn’t shatter your partner’s nerves, you have a problem. It means they want kids–bad.
Above all, try to remember that when you are talking to your partner about “to have or not to have,” it isn’t about winning or losing. But I really hope that, if you truly don’t want kids, you win. Not because I’m mean, but because I’ve seen firsthand what can happen when both parties in a couple aren’t on board. It’s too big of a decision not to agree on.
You can always fall back on the “one more year” clause, which is inherent in most relationships. Just agree that you’ll both give it one more year. Maybe by then you’ll be joyously bit by the baby bug (and I wish you well!), or maybe you won’t. Either way, a year takes some of that pressure off and lets you both think about it some more. Just remember, once you have the baby, there are no returns–only other childfree couples to pawn the kid off on when you’re desperate for a break.