It's an important topic, so don't put it on the back burner.

By Nancy Mattia
November 13, 2020
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Credit: DONNA NEWMAN

One of the most life-changing decisions an adult will ever make is whether or not to have children. Having a baby changes everything you're used to, from your sex life to socializing to your sleep schedule. That's an awful lot to give up, especially if you're ambivalent about children. On the plus side, there's nothing in the world that compares to giving birth to another human, who you'll love so fiercely you may be shocked. Ultimately, this is a personal decision, but it's important to be on the same page with your partner—or at least be clear about your perspective—early enough in the relationship that both parties have time to process and understand how they feel.

Time your talk right.

What's the right time to talk the talk about your thoughts on kids? If you're in a relationship that's getting serious, you should have had this conversation or, if not, do it as soon as possible—it's essential that you both know whether or not you're in agreement. If one of you wants kids and the other just wants cats, that's going to be a problem.

Listen to each other.

In any relationship, listening is a key to success. Discuss each other's views on parenthood and be as honest as possible. Get it all out there—questions, fears, finances.

Believe what your partner is saying.

If one of you doesn't want kids and says so emphatically, take them for their word. If you think you can change someone's mind, you're likely to be met with disappointment.

Talk about any obstacles.

If you say you both want kids, talk about some of the challenges you foresee. Take childcare—while it's too soon to discuss daycare centers, it's not too soon to bring up does one of you expect the other to stop working to take care of the baby. How long do either of you anticipate taking time away from work, and what will you do about lost income? These are other important issues to discuss, so plan on talking about them periodically as your relationship intensifies.

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