One of the most difficult discussions you have in a relationship often centers around kids because bringing a child into your family touches and changes everything. As soon as you think you might be ready, a family planning discussion between you and your partner is essential so you can start preparing your prenatal care, including taking fertility supplements, modifying your diet and putting a financial plan in place.
While there is some cause for anxiety — What if my partner is not ready? What if they do not want to have kids? — it’s a necessary conversation, the first step toward parenthood.
The General Approach
If you want to share with your partner that you want a baby someday but are unsure how closely aligned you are in your family goals, you can ease into the discussion over time. Then you can find out where your partner stands without any pressure. You can facilitate an organic conversation in different ways:
- Make subtle comments when you see something child-related. For example, if you go for a walk in the neighborhood park one evening, casually mention that you can not wait to bring your kids here someday after school.
- If someone close to you shares they are pregnant, mention the news to your partner and ask about their thoughts about having kids.
- If your friend just had a baby, comment on something they did that you want to do. Maybe they prepared a month’s worth of crockpot meals in a deep freezer, so they did not have to worry about grocery shopping or cooking. Say, “That is a great idea! We should do that when we have kids!”
This general approach allows you to find out where your partner stands on having children and can naturally lead to the deeper, more straightforward discussions you need to have as a couple before deciding to have children without being intimidating or overwhelming. With this method, there is no pressure and no timeline, and it encourages an open dialogue so that when you are ready to start trying to have kids, it will not surprise your partner.
Find a Good Time to Have the Discussion
If you are ready for a serious decision, timing is everything. While some couples know for certain that they want kids, for others, this is not a five-minute, on-the-go discussion, so make sure you have ample time to dig deep. Find a time when you are both in a good mood and not thinking about work. After a long day at work probably is not the best time. Have the conversation when you feel particularly connected. For example, maybe you just got back from a weekend getaway. If you are anxious about the discussion, having it while you do a physical activity might help take the edge off. Go for a hike or go kayaking, and channel your nervous energy into physical activity. Just make sure the physical activity does not require too much focus, or you will not have the discussion you need. Whatever you do, discuss in person. Texting and emailing do not translate your tone appropriately and can lead to miscommunication.
Do Some Prep Work
Before you have the conversation, make sure you are sure this is what you want. Be prepared for all possible reactions. It may help to walk through potential responses mentally, so you know how you’d address them. Your partner may be on the same page as you, or they may not be, and that is okay. This can also help you avoid assuming what your partner’s thoughts are, which can lead them to feel pressured or angry, neither of which help you have a productive discussion.
Think about the best strategy for having a successful discussion. If your partner can’t be hungry to have a good conversation, plan for that. If your partner is financially focused, prep information showing you are financially stable and can afford a baby. There is no wrong answer here, as long as you know what your partner values in a discussion.
If you are in a committed relationship and you have baby fever, a straightforward discussion is the best. Tell your partner exactly how you feel. If you are anxious or nervous about the conversation, tell them so. This will communicate to your partner that you understand the weight of the discussion and are being honest.
Watch Your Tone and Keep Your Emotions in Check
Talking about having a baby can be emotional, especially if your partner is not on the same page as you.
Choose your language wisely.
Do not lead with expectations. For example, if you say you want to have a baby within the next two years, that can put your partner on edge and make them feel like you are backing them into a corner. Instead, mention that you are concerned about waiting too long because you are in your 30s, and you may have a more challenging time getting pregnant if you wait too long. This seems less threatening than putting a specific deadline in place.
This is why prepping before the discussion is essential. If the conversation becomes too heated, do not be afraid to stop the discussion to allow both of you to process feelings. Having a baby is stressful and can strain even the best of relationships, so start practicing strong communication skills now.
Discuss How You Want to Have Kids
Having a baby in the 21st century can look different depending on you and your partner. Maybe you want to do it the old-fashioned way; maybe you want to boost your fertility with supplements and explore IVF or surrogacy or even adoption. Be open to your partner’s thoughts on this. There is no one way to have a baby. What matters is that you bring a child into your family with love.
Have the Right Attitude
No matter how the discussion goes or the tactic you use, be honest and supportive. Be open-minded and respect your partner’s thoughts and feelings on the topic. Allow both of you time to process your discussion. Feelings about having children can change over the years.
What if Your Partner Is Not Ready?
If your partner is not ready, do not push. Instead, ask about their fears and acknowledge them; do not brush them under the rug or dismiss them as invalid. Ask them to think about it and discuss it again in a few months. If you are worried about your biological clock, you can take steps to slow the clock with technology. Egg freezing is an option to explore if your partner is not ready and you are worried about your egg health.
In the meantime, spend time with the kids of friends and relatives to combat your baby fever. Once a baby enters the house, you will not have as much time, so work on strengthening your relationship with your partner and cherish your alone time.