In Other Words: “I Changed My Mind About Having a Baby, But My Husband Didn’t”

From a recent Dear Prudence column:

Is it OK to change your mind about having a baby? My husband and I have been together for over five years, and one of the things that we agreed upon completely during that time was that neither of us wanted children. I truly never thought I would. Over the last few years, though, I have had many friends, family, and co-workers have children, and for the first time been exposed to the joys and awesomeness of having kids (instead of just the horror stories). And I’ve found that my thoughts are turning more and more toward wanting a child. I have brought this up with my husband many times, and each time the discussion is shut down with, “We agreed we weren’t going to have any kids.” I don’t know where my thoughts and feelings are going to land on this issue, but I guess I’m wondering, is it fair to end a marriage if I decide that a child is something that I truly want, when the marriage is based in part on a mutual understanding that nobody wanted kids? I’m turning 32 this year, so I’m aware that time will soon become a factor, if it hasn’t already.

“My Husband Isn’t Ready to Have a Baby, But I’m Becoming Obsessed”

You can read Prudie’s reply here (which I mostly disagree with). Keep reading for my advice.

No, it’s not “fair” to end a marriage simply because you want kids when you and your husband married in part with the mutual understanding that you DIDN’T want kids. It’s not fair in the same way it’s not fair some people get sick and some people don’t or some women can get pregnant really easily and some can’t or some people were born into privilege and never have to worry about money while others work really hard and still can’t pay their bills. Life isn’t fair. It’s full of bad decisions and changed minds and mistakes that can’t be taken back. But just because it wouldn’t be fair to end a marriage because you might want a baby doesn’t mean you should stay in a union that can’t make you as happy as you might be outside of it.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? You can’t really know if you’d be happier ending your marriage or not. You don’t even know for sure that you DO want kids. Maybe you do and maybe you don’t. Maybe what you really need is a dog. Or maybe you do truly want a child, but do you want a child more than you want your husband? It seems like an unfair (there’s that word again) comparison, but, essentially, it’s what you need to decide. Is your hypothetical baby more important to you than your very real husband and marriage? And if you left your husband and never found someone else you loved as much or wanted to have a baby with, are you prepared to be a single parent? Is having a baby that important to you?

My advice: go to a therapist to help you process these feelings and questions; consider getting a dog; re-visit the idea of ending your marriage in six months and see how you feel. If the baby-wanting is still as strong, start talking divorce with your husband. But if the desire is waning, think about what a wonderful life and marriage you can have without having children. Yes, children are wonderful. As a mom, I can say that my son has added more to my life than I imagined. But it’s not always fun and it’s not always great, and I do believe my husband and I would have been perfectly happy and content just the two of us if we hadn’t been lucky enough to have Jackson, and maybe the same could be said for you and your spouse.

What I would absolutely NOT do is blame your husband or somehow try to coerce him into becoming a father. THAT is not only unfair, it’s wrong. Your husband was honest with you about what he wanted and he hasn’t wavered. YOU are the one who has maybe changed her mind. Your husband will have to pay for that if you decide to end the marriage, but he shouldn’t have to pay by having a child he doesn’t want to have.


You can follow me on Facebook here and Twitter here.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at


  1. And this is why Wendy is a million times better than Prudie. So much more real, more human, more practical, and more useful than Prudie’s response.

    1. geez thank you! i dont read prudie, but i will whenever wendy links it like this, and i always hate what she says.

  2. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

    I used to read Dear Prudence until the controversy a few months ago, now I think she’s a waste of space. I’m actually an advice column junkie (I also read Carolyn Hax) but Wendy is by far my favorite! And this is the only place I comment.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      What controversy a few months ago?

      1. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Oh dear… Thanks for the link.

      2. Wow, I had never heard about the controversy since I only read Dear Prudence every once in a while. This definitely make me reconsider reading her advice column at all.

      3. Prudie takes an *extremely* hard line on alcohol. Any letter that involves drinking, regardless of other plot points, she will tend to focus on the alcohol and consider the LW a drunk. If anything bad happens to you when you have alcohol in your system (even if a meteor falls from the sky onto your head), you were asking for it.

      4. Sounds like some of the new venom Princeton Mom has been spewing. They should have an old fashioned tea party together.

      5. kerrycontrary says:

        Yup I stopped reading Prudie after that.

    2. Avatar photo LadyinPurpleNotRed says:

      I read Hax too! (but don’t comment or read as obsessively as Wendy)

    3. Lily in NYC says:

      Ugh, Prudie has no place writing an advice column. She answers questions based on how many puns she can squeeze into her response and I’ve seen her give people what I consider dangerous advice.

      1. Jessibel5 says:

        And she used the rape denial column to just defend herself on and push again her “no drinking” stance that she always takes instead of actually answering the question. She’s not very objective.

      2. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

        yes to all of this. she is not very objective and her advice comes off as so out of touch with reality, like she is not a real person. One thing I love about Wendy’s is the height of empathy she brings to her advice.

    4. I can’t stand Prudie. Yuck!

  3. WWS.

    As someone who’s recently gone through the whole “I think I want a baby” thing, I think the LW needs to really take some time and figure out how she feels before she makes any decisions. Like Wendy says, take 6 months and really, really think about it before you make any decisions. Also, don’t try to blame your husband for this. He married you knowing who you were, and you changed your mind. Can you blame him for being a bit put off by the change of heart?

    1. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

      I agree. Mr. LP and I have said from the start that we don’t want kids (we discussed this around our third or fourth date – it’s that important to us) and I’d be really upset if he changed his mind in a few years. I think the husband is actually doing her a favor by not discussing it further – that might just get her hopes up that he’ll change his mind as well. Which isn’t to say that he won’t ever, I just don’t think it’s fair to try to talk him into something he hasn’t wanted from the start.

    2. I didn’t like that Prudie was essentially blaming the husband for not being open to changing his mind. On the other hand, I also think that the husband should understand that the issue won’t be solved by simply pointing what their prior agreement was. It’s basically like with any couple who has to decide whether or not to have kids: If they can’t agree, and it’s really important to either of them, then they can’t stay together. Unfortunately you can’t really insure yourself against that risk .

      1. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        Oh, I definitely agree. They absolutely need to talk about what their options are in terms of the future of their relationship, I just don’t think it’d be fruitful for him to discuss possibly becoming a father when he absolutely doesn’t want that. The whole situation really sucks and I feel bad for both of them.

      2. Exactly. All I’m saying is that if that’s the end of their marriage, then of course he can point at her and say “You changed your mind!”, but it won’t help anyone. It’s definitely a sucky situation to be in.

      3. Breezy AM says:

        How does he know when he’s never contemplated otherwise?
        I think he owes it to his wife to consider it at the least.

    3. A timeout is definitely called for. The urge to procreate is strong, and based on biology, which is so often not based on rational thought. Maybe LW wants kids, or maybe her ovaries want kids and she doesn’t. Time for some introspection on where this is coming from and making sure it’s a legitimate desire for children.

  4. Well, I don’t know how “fair” it is, but it is absolutely a valid reason for ending a marriage. A friend of mine is going through something similar. He and his wife were both set on not having children before they got married. It’s a big part of what drew them together. Now, after almost 10 yeas, she is saying she wants some. He hasn’t changed his mind (in fact, he had a vasectomy, so it’s a done deal for him) so he said, “If she wants children, she’ll be having them without me.” It’s a huge step, though, so I would definitely take Wendy’s advice about counseling. I don’t pretend to understand the desire for children, but could it be that she just sees everybody else doing it and that’s why she wants to do it too? Or is there a hormonal trigger? I don’t know. (In my friend’s case, he suspects his wife was bored when she was without a job for several years. She felt like a failure and this was her way to try and make something of herself. She finally got a job – no more talk of kids. This was after counseling.) The short answer is yes, it’s okay to change your mind, but be prepared to do it without your husband if you decide to pursue it.

  5. lets_be_honest says:

    Anyone else on here worry about this happening to them/their relationship?

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I think I’m worried we’ll never agree the time is right to have kids. We both want them, but are scared to “pull the trigger”. The summer plan has been pushed back to winter…and I just fear we’re going to never feel like the time is right. So, not the same but.

      1. Jessibel5 says:

        I’m in the same boat, so I feel you, GG. There’s always a reason not to, and I’m terrified that we’ll not do it and lose our window.

      2. kerrycontrary says:

        I think things will work themselves out and you’ll have kids when you’re meant to have kids. You haven’t even been married a year yet! And you’re both not even 30. My sister and her husband had their timeline pushed back due to life events and work and living abroad, and they finally had a baby. It worked out how it was supposed to, and if they had gotten pregnant in a different year or a different month, they wouldn’t have had THAT baby. if that makes sense.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I know what you mean. I just thought it would be sooner. And as a kid, I think I had a really idolized idea of what being a 28 year old “adult” meant. I just assumed I’d have a well paying job, own a home, etc etc…and well reality isn’t quite that picture perfect. Which is a big part of why both of us are “putting off” kids. I know we have time, and that it will be perfect when we get there. On the flip side we’ve passed all of the family’s date’s they bet we’d be pregnant by, haha.

      4. kerrycontrary says:

        Oh yeh, as a child I totally thought I’d be married by 23 and have a house at 25 hahaha. That got shot to shit real quick, and I’m glad it didn’t happen that way. I guess we just have to focus on what our life is instead of what we pictured it to be (and a lot of times what it IS is better)

      5. doesnt everyone think that though? like as a kid, 23 is so far off and 28 – i mean you might as well be dead by then you know? and all the stories and everything we are taught is that we will marry, buy a house and have kids. thats like the only story we are told

      6. You’re just a newlywed–you’re doing fine.

        I would definitely advise not thinking of buying a house and having kids as exactly the same thing, that need to happen at the same time. Babies like rentals just fine. We had three kids (10, 8 and a baby) before we bought our first house this last year, and it was totally OK. It is a pain to move with kids, but there are a lot of pluses. 1) You know a lot more about school districts, so you don’t make dumb, expensive mistakes about neighborhoods 2) Your kids bang up the landlords’ house, not yours and 3) your needs with regard to bedroom numbers and floorplans are constantly changing as kids grow and it’s easier to move from rental to rental than to buy and sell.

        You just think totally differently as a parent. I remember, just before we had our first, I decided we needed a glass coffee table (!) and an ornate floor lamp (!). I’m not sure we even had them for a year–it was just so clear after we had our first baby what stupid, stupid ideas they were, but it took having the baby to start thinking about realistic home decor for parents.

        Good luck!

      7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        We won’t be able to buy a house for probably 3 to 5 years (or maybe 10) because GGuy will likely need to move around a bit for jobs. He’s in academia and right now people are only getting one year appointments. So house buying is definitely farther off than reproducing!
        Your post reminds me of those Pampers commercials with “first kid” and a scene, then “second kid” and a scene. The breast feeding one cracks me up.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        I sympathize so much with you two on that one. I’m lucky the decision was made for me, and now know I don’t want anymore. I don’t think I’d ever be able to “pull the trigger” on that on my own. I’m far too indecisive and worrisome (hence still won’t marry).
        I do worry that Peter will change his mind, or at a much older age, realize he wished he’d had his own biological children or even just that he’ll wish he got to raise a child from birth (biological or adopted). What makes it even scarier is that (like Wendy was saying) I think he would always pick our relationship over the chance of maybe finding someone else and having children with them. And then, while its not “my” fault, it is. I made the decision to not have more children before him and I often worry he’s just going along with it.

      9. So if he said to you that he really wanted another child (or technically is first, whatever) and he wanted it enough that he might leave, what would you do?

      10. lets_be_honest says:

        Honestly, I think I’d let him leave. I don’t know what that says about me, probably nothing good.
        But to be honest, yea, I’d want him to have that if he wanted it and in a way, I think I’d be really happy for him to admit to that and go seek it out and hopefully find someone who wants that too. It would just mean to me that we are not meant to stay on the train forever.

      11. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I don’t think there is anything negative about you letting him go in that situation.

      12. I don’t think that response says anything negative about you. actually, I think it’s the opposite, I think that’s a great way to respond to the situation.

      13. lets_be_honest says:

        Thanks guys. Sometimes I think it means that I don’t love him enough or something. Idk.

      14. I think that it means the exact opposite. You love him so much that you want him to have whatever he really wants in life. Lucky for you, he really wants you and Lil 🙂

      15. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        WBS. I think it shows such love that you’d sacrifice some of your happiness for him to be happy.

      16. I think it proves how much you DO love him – because you want him to have all the happiness he deserves.

      17. lets_be_honest says:

        Thanks again guys! I feel better now! haha 🙂

      18. I don’t think that’s selfish at all. I’d do the same thing, actually, if Mr. MJ came home and said he wanted to have children. If he really felt like he’d be missing something fundamental, then I’d rather him be happy with someone else and have what he wanted than be with me and feel like he lost out on something fundamental in life.

      19. I agree with everyone else here. I think the most loving thing you could do would be to let go when somebody wants/needs something you can’t give. Because otherwise, you’re trapping either yourself or someone you love in a miserable situation. And, I don’t know, that’s not love to me.

      20. See my comment below, but I have a very similar worry re: being the one who makes the kids decision and him going along with it. And bf has said he’d rather be with me than have kids, but I worry he’ll change his mind, or he’ll realize one day he wished he had chosen differently.

      21. On the plus side, now we can be pregnant together and you get 1 more drinking football season!

        But yeah, I feel you. I had planned on having a “check in” talk with Dave in June to see if he was still feeling ok about pulling the goalie in September… But now with the dog and all the new responsibility, I’m kind of thinking maybe we should wait a little?

      22. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Is it sad football season is part of the reason we might wait longer? It’s our little groups last football season together before we all scatter and there is absolutely no way I can go to games in 100+ degree heat while pregnant (not to mention tailgating would not be as fun). blerg. Part of me is all “no time will be perfect so just do it” and the other is “there will be a time closer to perfect than now” and so we do nothing.

        I was wondering if the pup would play into things. It is a lot more to handle, but by the time a kid came you’d have had him for a year + so he’ll (hopefully) have clamed down some and will be much more acclimated to you two.

      23. I don’t think it’s sad at all. Football season is a big part of your overall lifestyle, and where you get a lot of enjoyment. If you’re not under pressure to have a baby STAT, why not wait a few extra months to start trying?

      24. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Yeah, you’re right. I think many people would (or do) think it’s selfish of me (us) to use something as silly as football to hold off on a family. But next year will also be better because GGuy will be graduating, in theory getting a job that will actually paying him, we will be more financially stable, the cars will be paid off (or close to that)…idk my irrational side is all “babybabybabybabayyyyyy NOW” and the rational side says wait. annoying!

      25. Who fucking cares if it’s selfish? It’s not like your kid is born and laying in a crib and you’re neglecting it to watch football. I can’t stand when people say that enjoying your life is “Selfish”. If anyone says that to you, punch them in the face, and tell them it’s from me.

      26. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        hahahaha. I will make sure to tell my MIL! JK, I think she agrees we should wait a little. She actually said last weekend she didn’t think we where ready but she was expecting a pregnancy announcement last weekend. Maybe I have some kind of weird self inflicted guilt about this?

      27. lets_be_honest says:

        I’ve had “someone’s” mother say some f’d up stuff about this. Thought it’d stop once she got a grandchild, but within 5 minutes of that, said wouldn’t it be fun to have a cousin for the baby? People! 🙂

      28. Did I mention here how my MIL tried to pressure me into having a baby right now because if I didn’t, she was going to get rid of the baby swing at her house? Like her having a swing was going to be the thing that pushed me over the edge. Uugh. It kind of made me want to wait even longer now, just out of spite. And I’m really glad we haven’t told any family members that we’re thinking of having a kid soon.

      29. lets_be_honest says:

        Hahaha, but bethany, what will you do without that swing now?!?!

      30. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Why do people care so much about other people’s reproduction?!?!

      31. What really bothered me the most about that comment was how much time does she think my newborn is going to be spending at her house that a swing will be necessary there? I mean, they only live about an hour and a half away, but when a baby is young enough to want to be in the swing a lot, they can come to my house. I’m not bringing my baby over there all the time. Hell no.

      32. THIS.

      33. It definitely sucks to be pregnant during football season. And I was really only pregnant (that I knew about) during the Super Bowl, and that sucked. I mean, it was the greatest super bowl EVER this year (Yeah, I’m a Hawks fan) and I couldn’t even celebrate properly. So yeah, I definitely advocate not being pregnant during football season.

      34. kerrycontrary says:

        @Bethany is the dog a puppy? or a few years old? If he’s out of puppy stage I would say he’ll be settled by September. Puppies are HARD though, they’re like toddlers that don’t grow up.

      35. He’s a smidge under a year. And he’s mostly boxer, and from what I’ve heard, boxers retain the attitude of a 3 year old child for quite a while!

      36. kerrycontrary says:

        Well if it helps, the year hurdle did make a big difference and 2 yrs was even better. So it’ll only get *easier* from here on out dog-wise. At least in my experience. PLus you have to remember that you’ll be pregnant for 9 months and you may not get pregnant the first month (or first 6 months!). Basically, I’m pressuring you into getting pregnant.

      37. 🙂

    2. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

      Yes. Not just him changing his mind about wanting kids, but how we’d handle it if one of us changed our mind on anything really big. We’ve been working through premarital counseling books and they’re really fun and seem helpful, but really we’re just discussing how we’d handle abstract situations in the distant future. It’s so much different when you’re actually in a stressful situation. Like, it was easy for us to agree that we’d help take care of our parents if they become infirm 10 or 20 years from now – we’re both really close with our families and each other’s families. But then we found out that my dad has cancer (I feel like everyone should take a drink every time I mention this) and the issue isn’t so much taking time to care for him, but rather how we make plans for the future (mainly our wedding) when my dad is going to be on chemo for at least another 6 months and can’t even make firm plans a week in advance. It’s scary but we’re a great team so I think we’d be able to handle something huge like this. Otherwise we’d just have a conscious uncoupling. He he he…

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        haha, good one! (ps I never noticed you commenting about your dad. You should if it’ll help you!)

    3. kerrycontrary says:

      Not about kids….but you hear all of these stories of married couples where all of a sudden someone totally changes their mind on something different or becomes this crazy different person and the other one is left in the dust like “who are you???”. Like mid-life crisis sort of things. Or someone decides to have a sex change when you had no idea they were trans-gendered. Or someone comes out of the closet. Crazier things have happened. So I have weird worries about that stuff hahaha.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        YES! Ahh, the whole thing is scary. Thanks kerry, I’m now firming back on the side of the fence where I won’t marry. Or leave the house ever. I hate change! Down with change!

      2. Jessibel5 says:

        Sometimes I worry that my currently faithful but not strictly adhering husband is going to go all insufferable bible thumper on me. He’s made comments before about when we have to have kids, they have to go to church EVERY SUNDAY. I was like “yeah, good luck with that jiving with football season for you, and have fun with a screaming toddler by yourself, I’mma stay home!” He’s also once made a comment about me accepting Jesus in my life, and once very early in our relationship we went to his mom’s church for an event and he kept telling people that I was “an atheist because [I] grew up Catholic” and they would all go “ohhhh…yeah, maybe she should join our church! It’s much better!” I kept having to correct him and say “I’m not an atheist, why do you keep saying that?” He hasn’t made these comments in over 5 years, and still doesn’t go to church himself, and is a very tolerant, open minded person, but sometimes I get nervous he’s going to one day tell me I’m going to hell unless I get baptized.

      3. kerrycontrary says:

        Well, I’d look at his parents cause most of us just turn into our parents (MOST, not all). Like my fiance is more conservative than I am, and I can totally see him turning into his dad as he gets older.

      4. Jessibel5 says:

        Well, he and his dad got into a huge fight a few months ago because his dad sent him an email saying “I’m surprised you are for gay marriage and abortion rights. You weren’t raised this way, I thought you were still part of the faithful” He better not turn into his dad! I mean, fwiw, he went to church all throughout his childhood, and his church is really liberal and inclusive (they perform gay marriages, invite Rabbis and Imams to speak, etc) and he turned out to be a really kind, inclusive, colorblind person, so it’s obviously not all that bad, but sometimes I get a niggle of a worry.

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I’m “worried” about this, but about me more than him. I’ve always been super interested in religion and have enjoyed practicing at different points in my life. I think I want our hypothetical children brought up in some sort of organized (and regularly attended) religion…and I’m a little worried GGuy is going to keep drifting farther from organized religion. (Also, I’ve never been baptized either! Twins!)

      6. Jessibel5 says:

        HEhe, my super Catholic Grandma once patted my hand and said “I know, I tried, I’m sorry” when I mentioned not being baptized once. Funniest part is, she converted to marry my Irish Catholic Grandpa, and then became more devout than he was. I am pretty sure she legit thinks I’m going to hell when I pass, and that makes her sad.

        I am also super interested in religion! I’m more of a “learn about them ALL!” and practice on your own terms than a regularly scheduled attending person.

        Dear future children, as long as you’re a good, kind people who live and let live, I’d be proud to call you my spawn. Just don’t use your bible/torah/bhagavad gita/quran to beat people over the head with and we’re good.

      7. lets_be_honest says:

        My grandma has said she prays every night that her children will make it to heaven because of how much they’ve sinned. I actually just feel really bad for her that she seriously worries about that.

      8. Devil’s advocate, but I think your grandma is just praying for her kids. She wants the best for them. That’s probably how she grew up — praying for others and their sins. I don’t think it’s abnormal, especially for people that age group.

      9. lets_be_honest says:

        All of her kids have cheated on their spouses and she’s kind of said that’s what terrifies her, so I feel like her fear goes above and beyond the avg. praying for your kids thing. Maybe not, I mean, I hope not, but she seems to literally be scared of this and that she won’t like, see them in heaven or something.

      10. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I love learning about all kinds of religions too. Amish and Mormons are the most interesting to me. I grew up Quaker, which is pretty much the loosestly organized religion ever. I loved going to church as a kid and would love my kids to have something similar. But yes to not using religion to be a dick.

      11. Jessibel5 says:

        My mom grew up as a Congregationalist, which I guess is a fancier way of saying “Puritan”? She once told me that the definition of puritanism is “The fear that someone, somewhere may be happy”

        She HAAAAATES organized religion. Hates it. It must have been super restrictive. Maybe her hate for organized religion infected me a bit?

      12. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        That’s definitely possible. My mom grew up Southern Baptist and strongly dislikes organized religion too. We went to church with grandma and it was great. Basically it was a “do what ever you want, and don’t be a dick” religion. Plus we sang a lot of Freedom Songs in Sunday school which I thought was pretty cool.

      13. Jessibel5 says:

        Those are my favorite religions! In the words of my favorite cinematic bouncer, “Just be nice”

        Roadhouse should be a religion…The Gospel of Dalton.

      14. kerrycontrary says:

        I would said right now I’m more religious (or spiritual) than my fiance. But we’re very set on raising kids in a church and that was important for me to know. Like he goes to church with me but when we discuss things I’m more of a believer (right now).

      15. iseeshiny says:

        Yes, my now-husband and I once had a discussion where we agreed that if either one of us got religious it would probably end the relationship. We both come from different faith backgrounds but are completely secular, agreed that we’d raise our kids to choose for themselves (which, let’s face it, is pretty much just raising them to be secular, too, since the won’t be getting a religious education early) and while I think I would have a kind of a hard time following through with that if he just decided to become religious himself one day, I absolutely would have zero qualms about ending it if he tried to get me to convert (I mean, pressure me. If he were just like, this is my new hobby, I wish you liked it too, that wouldn’t be so easy a decision.) But part of the reason I married him is because we were on the same page about that.

      16. I’ve had people say that I’m an atheist because I grew up Catholic too. I mean, I am not a fan of any organized religion and don’t like Christianity as a whole for myself, but I’m not an atheist. What’s with people?

      17. Jessibel5 says:

        I think it’s because a lot of times, people who are christian who aren’t Catholic look upon the Catholic church as this rigid bureaucracy and if you get out of it, you’re scarred for life, so you’re done with god. I seem to run into a lot of people who think that because you don’t attend church every Sunday, you don’t believe in a higher power. But I do, I’m just not big on rituals and large groups of people in one building. If Chuckles ever pressured me, we’d have a come to Jesus talk, but not, because it would be the anti-come-to-Jesus talk. FWIW, I think his whole “church every Sunday!” thing was a bunch of talk at that point, because he hasn’t changed his schedule ever in the 7 years we’ve been together to go to church. I think he feels guilt that he doesn’t go because his mom is so active in the church.

        One of my friends from college recently passed away, and he was very faithful. In one of the eulogies his friend delivered, his friend said “I wasn’t his best friend, Jesus was” and I’m so, so, so glad he had that and it comforted him, and I believe that he is with Jesus now, because that’s what he believed. But for me, that’s not something that would comfort me or something I believe in for myself.

        Plus, I like birth control. True story, I was once called a baby killer at CVS while I was picking up my Ortho.

      18. In regards to other Christian religions looking down on Catholicism…yes I believe that’s true. I’m Catholic but I definitely don’t believe in everything the church believes in (gay marriage for example…). It’s actually *not* a bureaucracy as others sometimes view it but, of course people make assumptions.

    4. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Yes, definitely. My husband is so calm and collected about how he wants children, and I change my mind weekly, usually in some sort of extreme explosion of emotions. The risk that what I decide won’t line up with what he already knows is pretty scary when I think about it, but I really feel like it will work itself out when I’m ready.

    5. Yes. My husband and I have been married 10 years (today’s our anniversary!), and I made sure he knew before we married that I didn’t want kids. Fast forward 10 years and I still haven’t changed my mind, but I always have that niggling background worry that he will change his mind one day. There are so many big issues that are tough but compromisable – but the kid issue is by its very nature a dealbreaker.

      1. iseeshiny says:

        Happy anniversary!

    6. This is happening in my relationship. Before getting married, we both said we’d like to have a kid. But having the kid was in some nebulous future. We love our child-free lives right now. But, because of age and the type of job I have, if we really want a kid it needs to become a discussion again. So, I’m trying to figure out if I still want a kid (right now: maybe?) and SO is also trying to figure out if he wants a kid (right now: maybe not?), and I’m not sure how this is going to shake out. It’s scary because this is the most life-changing (or non-changing), permanent decision we’ve ever made.

    7. What’s worried me a little as I separate from Bear is whether my feelings on this will change. We’ve been in the no-kids camp for a long time now, and while I feel that way anyway, I guess I felt more comfortable/secure/confident in my choice because I had a partner who agreed. So at first when I was thinking of all the ripple effects of our “uncoupling” ( 😉 ) I asked myself, Hmm, do I still not want kids? And at first I wasn’t sure at all! But when I actually tried to imagine myself as a mom or my life with kids, I was like, “Oh yeah, no, I still don’t want that.”
      The second concern is that my not-wanting-of-kids is going to be a factor in future relationships I pursue; because I’m a worrier, I can’t help worrying a bit that I might have trouble finding another person who feels the same, or envisioning a scenario where I meet the Perfect Person EXCEPT they want kids. I’m not totally preoccupied with it, but it’s certainly crossed my mind… I’ll cross the bridge when I come to it.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        I didn’t want kids at all when I was married to Ethan, and neither did he. Now I can see myself having kids with someone (or Colin if it happens) and what it’s made me realize that the number 1 factor in me having kids is whether or not the person I’m with would be a good dad and the number 2 factor is whether that person wants to be a parent more than I do. Like I can’t be the one pushing for it, but I can see me having kids now. So you might surprise yourself.
        It’s amazing how smart my subconscious is.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        God all of this is so scary to me. I feel like I need a xanax after the thread.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        My kid switch totally flipped on when GGuy and I started dating. It might have been age too (we where 22/23) but as soon as we where together I wanted to reproduce with him. My boyfriend before (who I was all planned to marry, move to Charlotte, live a miserable life with) I had no interest in babys. I think our bodies to a degree can sense a partner who would be a good parent.

      4. OK Now i’m with LBH in wanting a Xanax… I’m freaked that this will happen to me too!

      5. Helpful perspective, Iwanna. When Bear and I decided against kids, I did believe at the time that he’d be a good dad (Now? Considering so many of his issues stemmed from his father? Yeah, no.). I always just assumed I’d have kids one day and never stopped to ask myself if I actually wanted that, until I did. The way I framed it: “I have no desire to be a mother. I would go to my deathbed without regrets even if I never had kids.”
        And that feeling has just gotten stronger as I got older – it really helps for me to think of it not as “Do I want kids?” but “Do I want to be a mother?” because the first one is a little ambiguous, but the second one, I feel a lot more strongly about – as in, oh absolutely no way. I see myself doing a lot with my life, and being good at a lot, and enjoying a lot, but motherhood is not one of those things.
        Tell you what, dating or not, the IUD is not coming out anytime soon!

      6. Avatar photo theattack says:

        I like your distinction between “Do I want kids?” and “Do I want to be a mother?” When I take out the emotions and just think about what I want and what I fear about being a mother, the major thing that sticks out to me is that I’m afraid to miss out on being able to go on big major missions. Like if we have a major global issue, or even just some sort of guerrilla war here, I want to be able to throw all caution to the wind and rescue people. I feel like I’m destined to do something extreme, like smuggling Jews in the Holocaust, or breaking into some building with an evil dictator and sniping him dead. I want to run into danger when it comes. I want to use myself to protect society as a whole, and I’m afraid that if I reproduce, I’ll have to sacrifice that in order to protect an individual instead. I guess it’s kind of shitty for both parents to throw themselves into the line of fire and orphan their baby. So as much as I might want kids – to teach a toddler how to read in my bed, or to build a treehouse with them – being a mother and all that comes along with it is scary.

      7. haha, my aspirations aren’t quite so worldly, but I do fantasize about being able to travel a lot and taking my writing-workshop gig on the road, doing workshops in other cities or attending conferences or whatnot. Having a dog is already an obstacle to taking lots of trips, so I can only imagine kids would cramp my style even more!

      8. Jessibel5 says:

        My old roommate was very anti having kids when she was dating one guy. Her plan was to be perma single and adopt a baby from Africa (following Angelina Jolie’s footsteps) and live with me and my at that point hypothetical husband and babies for the rest of our lives. Then she ended things with her douchey boyfriend and started dating a better guy (that I introduced her to) and was all “omg, you’re the godmother of one of these eggies once it gets all fertlized!” She also never let the first boyfriend keep clothes or a toothbrush at our place for years, but within a month the new guy had a toothbrush. Sometimes it’s the person you’re with, if you can see them being a good parent or not.

        Also, wtf is with this math? I’m terrible at math! I need to go to the calculator to make sure I got the answer to eight x blank =56 correct!

      9. iseeshiny says:

        I have a friend who got married to her high school sweetheart, swore up and down she never wanted kids, got divorced at 30, and is now with a new guy and is talking about having kids. I think there is a big difference between “I don’t want kids” and “I don’t want kids with this person” and it’s sometimes hard to tell which is which. Totally not saying that some people just don’t want kids, btw.

      10. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yeah I agree with all of that. Some people just don’t want kids. Other people, even if they don’t know it, just don’t want kids with the person they’re dating. And when you’re in the thick of it it’s hard to recognize it for what it is. I will say though that I still can imagine myself being very happy with or without children. Like I don’t feel that yearning to reproduce (I believe katie referred to it as hornyness about baby making) like others do, I just can see myself having kids if I’m dating someone that would be a good dad.
        Life is funny.
        Also it’s supposed to be in the 70’s all weekend and that makes me pee a little bit. Knowing my luck I’ll have to work.

      11. “That makes me pee a little bit.”
        And now I feel all the loving feelings about you.
        It got warm here for a few days, then really cold again. I’ll be in the South this weekend and it’s supposed to be mid-60s, and when I get back to Ohio, it’s supposed to be like 70 on Monday. Ahhhhhh. But then, knowing Ohio, it’ll snow on Tuesday!

      12. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Where in the South?!

      13. I can really relate to this and it actually ties in with the religion stuff upthread–I didn’t want to have kids with my ex because I didn’t want to raise kids in the religion he belonged to at the time. There was a specific part of the philosophy that I flat out refused to teach a kid as s/he grew up. I felt it had really messed up my then-boyfriend, among other things. And I thought I’d be with him forever, so I figured I’d just not have kids.

        Well, maaaaaany years later we split up over something else. And now I’m with a guy who would make a brilliant dad and who shares my form of spirituality. And feeling the baby urge for the first time really. Aaaaand I’m 36 and fat and wondering what that means. And quiveringly scared of the actual birth process–as in, I have no idea how people do it and live, even though my mom had six and my siblings have popped out a collective six and everybody is in one piece. Gah. Anyway, had to get that off my chest because I’m processing all of it and it’s heavy.

      14. (And ironically, the ex became an atheist later.)

    8. i continually worry that *I* will never be able to decide, let alone be firm in a decision and then make it work with someone else’s….

      1. Yeah, just as a viewpoint from someone getting toward the end of good fertility (almost 39 here), I always kind of wondered if I didn’t want kids because the guys I was with long-term really wouldn’t be good dads. My current husband would absolutely be a great dad, but I still don’t feel like I want to. I think it can go either way, but now I know it’s possible to just not ever want them. I don’t feel any sense of urgency about it. That said, if I unintentionally got pregnant – not likely, since I’m a good pill user – I think I would have it. I wouldn’t just start being lax about BC and leave it up to fate though.

      2. And I think babies are super cute, and I used to nanny for 4 kids and was good at it… I just have no feeling of wanting to have one.

      3. You know what though, if he changed his mind (not likely because he’s in his 40s, but you never know), I would seriously consider having a baby even though I don’t feel a desire to have one. I wonder if that’s messed up. Right now I know he’s thinking probably not, but if he wanted to revisit the topic, I would be open to discussion. We did talk about it before marriage and were both low (but not zero) on the scale of wanting to have kids.

    9. I have a related worry. My bf knows he wants kids, always has. I’m pretty sure I don’t want them, but I am young and I suppose it is possible I could change my mind. (I like kids. People always tell me I “good with them” whatever that means, just don’t want any of my own). He has always said that being with me is more important to him than having kids, but I worry one day he might realize that actually what he wants more than anything is to be a father.

    10. I think I’ve shared this before (under an old screenname) but this did in fact occur in my marriage. My ex-husband and I married, agreeing we didn’t want children. He changed his mind and assumed I would as well because “women change their minds all the time”. In our case, it ended up very contentious, as he pulled the “you don’t love me enough” card. He’s now married to another woman and has three kids.

      Ironically, More recently I was in another long term relationship that split apart over marriage (I was quite clear I never wanted to be married again). We might have worked it out, except that partner again did the “you don’t love me enough” routine. And guilt-tripping someone into a major decision like that was never going to work, IMHO.

    11. RedroverRedrover says:

      When my husband and I were discussing marriage, neither of us wanted kids. But I was afraid my biological clock would kick in and I’d want them, so I asked him if it was a possibility. I made him really think about it. He decided that if it’s what I needed to be happy, then he would have them with me. If he’d said, no, never, I don’t think I would have been nearly as comfortable marrying him. Anyway, we have a kid now, so people do change their minds.

    12. Avatar photo barleystonks says:

      I’m kinda freaked out that biological urges are going to make me want to change my mind on the “no kids under any circumstances” some day- I have to be on a lot of meds for bipolar that make for some serious birth defects, but getting off of them would not end well for me or anyone around me. Sporadically doctors have told me “no, but if you switch to this one, the baby will be ok” and then a few years later, the “not if you’re pregnant” label shows up on the bottle of that medication, so I just flat out don’t trust any of them. Added to that is a significant genetic chance of passing on mental illness, and what happens if I have bad flareups of bipolar?

      My husband has a vasectomy, so we don’t have to worry about any accidents, but he mentioned early on that while he doesn’t actively want any more kids, he’d be willing to discuss it if I wanted them. But what happens when I hit 30-35 and all my peers are having kids on top of the likely biological urges?

      Related to this: I absolutely HATE when I tell people that I don’t want kids, and they immediately reply “oh, you’ll change your mind when you get older.” Um, patronizing much?

    13. Wow, I came very late to this party… But I wanted to add I do have this worry, probably every few months. I don’t want kids, and I’ve made it clear to my boyfriend that I don’t want kids and we’ve talked about it at length many times. His response is that he knows for sure that he doesn’t want kids now, but that it’s possible his mind might change. We agreed that since we’re relatively young and logically the possibility exists that we’ll change our minds, we’ll only have kids if both of us want kids (because you can’t force someone to be a parent if they don’t want to be). We’ve each changed in other ways since we started dating almost 9 years ago, I have to acknowledge that this possibility exists, unlikely as it may be. But sometimes I can see the cracks and think he could change his mind one day. But I also think it’s deflecting from his worry that he’s going to snap and go all religious one day like multiple members of his family have, who knows what’s going on in that mind of his?

  6. kerrycontrary says:

    This is so hard because when you marry someone you don’t know who they are going to be in the future. You are marrying all of the versions of themselves that they will become. But kids is a big thing. I think Wendy asks the right questions: do you want this baby more than your husband or your current life? Are you willing to have a baby on your own (because you may never ever find someone to marry again—that’s a real possibility)? Can you afford a divorce and a baby? Can you live with yourself if you don’t have a child, or will this be the biggest regret of your life?

    Also, I would spend more volunteer time with children one on one to see if that satisifies your desire. As a person without children, you have a lot to give to children who are lacking in attention and guidance. There are many programs that fill such a gap. You can help out with reading/literacy programs, food backs, girl scouts, or just hanging out with a kid every saturday and taking them to the movies/bowling/shopping/whatever. You can make a big impact in a child’s life who really really needs it.

  7. Jessibel5 says:

    When I read that letter, part of me wondered if her desire for the baby grew stronger after her husband wouldn’t even discuss it, like she wanted it even more because she may never get it.

    What does bother me though is if the husband is shutting the talk down entirely, they’re never going to get anywhere. Her change of mind should be explored or redirected, not shut down dismissively.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Is he shutting her down, or just simply saying a discussion will lead nowhere because I’m not changing my mind? Idk. Sure, he should listen to her talk her issues out, but not if the whole point is to convince him to change his mind, right?

      1. Jessibel5 says:

        When I read the letter the other day, my original sense was that he was not letting her speak and just saying “we already decided.” and shutting it down and dismissing her, or is even in denial about her mind change. Even saying “ok, we have now come to a crossroads, what now? How do we go forward? What decisions or attempts to figure it out should we make?” would have at least shown he was willing to communicate with her. If he had engaged with her, and heck, even the husband could have suggested Wendy’s advice of getting a dog, then she wouldn’t have needed to write into Prudence.

        If it were me, I’d broach it as “ok, you say you’re feeling this way, but I never heard this from you before and I thought we had a mutual agreement? What’s changed?” I actually had this situation happen to me, but opposite. Before we were engaged, my husband told me he didn’t think he wanted to have kids anymore during a very rough, emotional time in his life, even though he’s always said he wanted them. I talked through it with him and said it was a dealbreaker for me to not have them, so let’s set a time about 4 months in the future to see if he still feels that way, but in the meantime, let’s remove some of the emotionally stressful issues that are currently making you feel depressed. He ended up telling me that he had no idea why he said that at the time and he’s glad I didn’t just dump him on the spot. Obviously, since now we’re married and he’s the one who has baby fever, but is respecting my anxiety and need to wait just a bit more. I dunno. If a spouse or significant other comes to you with a drastic change from the status quo, I think not going with them to therapy or at least trying to find out why this change occurred is setting both up for failure in some way. When one spouse requests therapy and the other pooh pooh’s it and says no, I wonder if they really care to make the relationship work for the both of them equally.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I love this.

      3. I agree. If he doesn’t want to change his entire life plan and have a kid he very clearly expressed that he never wanted and all that goes along with that, then there’s no point in discussing it, really, beyond that. The LW should respect that and make her decision accordingly. (After she sees a therapist alone as Wendy suggested to make sure that what she really wants is a child and not something else that she feels is “missing” from her life.) The LW is the one who changed, and while in a perfect world, her husband would have changed his mind, too, he hasn’t. There is nothing wrong with being who you always said you were. So, now the LW can’t have everything she wants. She can have her husband or she can leave him and have her baby, but it is, in my opinion, incredibly selfish for her to try to guilt, badger or threaten him into having a baby with her when he’s made it clear that isn’t what he wants. His opinion on this matters, too.

      4. And, to clarify, I guess I’m imagining a situation in which she brought it up, he was surprised and asked why and heard her out and then said he hadn’t changed his mind and she keeps on trying to get him to talk more about it like she thinks she can convince him. Not a situation in which she says “I want a baby.” and he immediately says “Not talking about this. We already decided. lalalalala”

      5. Jessibel5 says:

        If that is the case, I agree with you, if she’s just trying to convince him to change his mind, that’s a failure on her part. But that’s where even then the conversation of “ok, you have expressed this extreme desire that is a change from the norm, where do we go from here? Therapy? Dog? Separation?” comes into play. Just saying “we discussed this already” and sweeping it under the rug and not making a plan to address the change in any way shows denial, or even that he’s laying down the law and what he says goes. While yes, she’s the one who had the change of heart and it’s she who is rocking the boat, as her husband, he can’t just brush off the situation and hope she changes her mind again. They’re both going to be unhappy. Come up with ideas together to figure this out.

  8. Procreation desires are so weird! Does anyone else experience the desire to have a baby in waves that come and go? I’m really sort of amazed how much I go back and forth on this issue. I think I want kids (like in general I see myself with kids in a few years), but then I go back and forth between feeling ready immediately and not being sure at all. I guess I’m simply not ready at this point (at 30, so not super young), but I can totally understand that there are people who change their mind. It’s very confusing.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      I change my mind about every week. It used to be every day, so I consider it an improvement. I don’t think I would be able to make a decision about having kids until I’m actually ready to have them. Until then, I think about it and want to scream over the idea of giving up some of my personal spending and relaxation.

    2. yes. The physical desires are insane. And they do come and go. When I told my husband that I was ready to have a baby I made myself wait like 6 months to bring it up to make sure that the desire actually stuck for good, because for a while there it came and went. At this point, it’s 100% here though.

    3. kerrycontrary says:

      Yeh it’s more physical for me. Like I had baby fever for like a year and now it’s gone. I mean I know I want kids cause I’ll regret NOT having kids, but I don’t have any strong desire right now. I think we’ll know when the time is right.

      1. Wow, that baffles/intrigues me, that there’s a physical aspect to it… I have yet to feel that, but I’m only 26. In fact, being a No Kids person, I actually sort of fear that my body will sabotage me as I get closer to my fertility countdown. Because most of my reasoning right now is very mental/emotional, but if the physical desire is as strong as some of you are saying it is, hrrrm….that’s cause for concern.

      2. at 26 I felt nothing. At 30 I felt nothing. At 32, the physical feelings started. It’s hard to describe, but it’s like a physical yearning. Also, when I saw other people’s newborns my immediate thought was ‘I want to shove that baby into my uterus, birth it and make it mine’. It’s so bizzarro, but it’s true!

      3. I guess for me I kind of have to distinguish between “baby fever” and actually wanting to have a child. I always saw myself as someone who’d have kids (although that may just have been a default assumption?) but the baby fever comes and goes. Also, sometimes I love playing with babies and sometimes they leave me cold. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a direct relationship between hormone levels and that.

      4. Another thing that happened was I’d find myself sitting on the couch at night thinking “I could be nursing a baby now” or “I could be giving the baby a bath or reading it a story”. I started envisioning the alternate version of my life and being ok with it.

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        Good indicator! I feel the opposite (not that I don’t seriously love being around babies & kids).

      6. Kind of cute, your mind is preparing itself!

      7. Wow. Between this and the little segment above about “you might change your mind when you start seeing someone new….” I think I have something new to talk to my therapist about! Haha.
        Sas, I’m the same way, sometimes I like babies and sometimes they just don’t do anything for me and sometimes I want to be as far away from them as possible. One thing I’ve always noticed, though, is that I don’t get any sort of emotional “pang” when I hear a baby cry, no pressing need to go soothe it. In fact, my interaction with babies is pretty much holding them and making faces at them to make them laugh. If they start crying or pooping or doing anything else that babies do, that’s it, I’m out.

      8. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        See I have similar feelings about babies in general…I could take or leave other people’s kids. But I have this…longing? to have my own. To see what a half me, half GGuy little person would look/be like. I want, badly, a mini-us. Other people’s kids I’m pretty “whatever” about. (Except my bff’s kid. Love that girl.)

      9. I can’t say I’m not curious what a mini-me would be like, but right now I kinda feel like I’d want that for an hour, or maybe a few weeks at most, but not for a whole lifetime! And I think that really is what it comes down to for me – actual reproduction aside, I really, really, really don’t want the responsibilities of parenthood. Like, THAT is what gives me the biggest “RUN AWAY” feelings. Not that I don’t feel ready, or am worried about how I’d do, or anything like that… just a simple DO NOT WANT.

      10. yep, generally being a baby/kid person is not really the same as wanting one of your own. that makes sense.

      11. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Your last two sentences describe me completely. And I actually don’t really like babies. They bore me. But there is something about 4 year olds that is just really freaking cute. I like kids when they can talk and interact with you. But babies? Meh. They have too many complaints when they have the easiest lives. All they do is bitch about being tired and hungry. You know who else is tired and hungry? MOMS! Of new babies! They’re so ungrateful.

      12. lets_be_honest says:

        There’s so much I love about you.

      13. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Me too. I have this like physical want to be pregnant. It’s really weird and hard to explain, but I joke that my ovaries/uterus ache.

    4. YES! I absolutely have these waves where I physically feel like OMG I want to have a baby right now! It’s crazy because I’m definitely not ready financially.

    5. i have never experienced this. i mean is it like, horny-ness? but baby centered?

      1. haha no. but sometimes it feels like your arms are aching to hold a baby. so when I see one I’ll think about how it would feel to hold my own baby.

      2. hmm.. well, i like holding kids/babies. they are fun. i like to play with them and read to them and stuff. but i have no desire to like, have one at my own house. so imma guess ive never experienced this.

      3. I haven’t either.

      4. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Bhahahahahah. I feel all of the loving feelings about you.

      5. i feel baby centered horny-ness about you, sampson.

    6. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

      Geez, yes. I wanted kids so bad (SO BAD!) throughout my 20s. It’s seriously all I could think about and I looked into adoption and artificial insemination (oddly enough I wasn’t at all interested in finding a boyfriend/husband and having a child with him). Then I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder when I was around 27 and have been tired and achy since then (it’s similar to arthritis) so having kids lost some appeal. But what made me firmly no-kids, oddly enough, was finally finishing grad school and settling into a career. Once I finally had free time and a little disposable income and could feasibly raise a kid on my own, I realized that I wanted to nap ad libitum and read all weekend and have cupcakes for dinner and do whatever I felt like. Then my friends started having kids and I realized that I love being an auntie but I never want to be a mom. I’m 33 now and really curious what I’ll think in my 40s since it seems to be decade-dependent for me (just kidding).

      1. Yeah I understand that completely. Since I’ve gotten more of an idea about what my career might look like I’m less eager to hop on the kids train ASAP. I don’t really envy the (many) new moms I know at all. But as I said, I think I’m really of two minds about this at the moment so I’m just going to wait 1-2 years and see how things develop.

      2. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:

        My job is actually really conducive to having kids – I work at home twice a week and make my own hours, and we have 35-hour work weeks. I literally have the easiest schedule imaginable and I love my job (well, most of the time – it kind of sucks right now) so work doesn’t feel like a chore at all. It’s just that I’d rather spend my hours and hours of free time reading, training for half marathons, watching Bridezilla marathons, or doing anything else that doesn’t involve caring for someone who’s totally dependent on me. That’s what I found so surprising – once I was finally able to work kids into my life I just wasn’t interested anymore. I love other people’s kids though!

      3. Here’s another theory: At least for me, I feel like I’ve generally gotten better at understanding the magnitude of certain decisions. Like, now I have a better grasp of what it would mean to become a mother (or choosing someone as a partner for life etc.). And on some level this makes it less of a no-brainer decision because I’m considering stuff like “what if my child turns out to be a psycho?”, “what if we split up?”, “what if someone in the family dies?” etc. I wouldn’t really have thought of that when I was younger. It may also mean that it becomes harder and harder to just “pull the trigger” and dramatically alter my life.

      4. Avatar photo LlamaPajamas says:


    7. My friend told me this story recently and it freaked me out about the physical side of wanting children: she had a friend who had transitioned from female to male but around 30 he stopped taking testosterone for some reason (I forget why, it’s been a while). He hadn’t necessarily wanted kids, but then he started having this insane physical urges to procreate, much in the way that you all are describing. I’m sure, and my friend was sure, that the main reason for this was the levels of whatever hormone (estrogen?) that were creeping back in. This whole physical thing more than anything else has made me scared to enter my 30’s…

  9. When my husband and I got together, our stances were pretty clear on kids. He had a vasectomy when he was married to his ex (2 really bad pregnancies = she shouldn’t have more babies, vasectomy is easier). When we started dating, he said he’s be ok with not having any more kids, but would also be open to it if I decided I wanted one. I was pretty much a “no way, never having kids” kinda girl. And then I developed a relationship with my bonus kids. And it was amazing. I never realized how awesome it could be to be a parent. So I approached my husband (we decided I would be the one to bring it up if it’s what I decided) and we started a discussion. After about 2 years, we decided that yes, we wanted to do it. We are currently trying (for just over a year), using a donor and we are being challenged with fertility issues on my part, so we’ve had even more discussions about if this is what we really want. Thousands of dollars, many tests, treatments, etc later… I’m still not pregnant but more than ever we know we’re on the same page with still wanted to press on.

    Oy, that was really long way to say: Sometimes minds change. That’s ok. Sometimes minds DON’T change. That’s ok too. The key is knowing where everyone stands. In this case, while the LW really seems to want her husband to discuss it, his stance is very clear. Maybe counseling is a good idea. Maybe she’ll change her mind back. Maybe they’ll get a dog. Or maybe they’ll get a divorce. None of it is really fair, but like Wendy said… life’s not fair.

    1. Jessibel5 says:

      I smile every time I read you referring to his kids as “my bonus kids”. It’s really a lovely sentiment.

      1. Haha oh good 🙂 It was actually partly their doing. A few weeks before we got married, my son asked if I was going to start being mean once we were married (he was 8 at the time) and I asked him why and he said “because you’ll be my stepmom and stepmothers are evil!” (thanks Disney). So I had to come up with some other way to say it and bonus seemed perfect. Now I kinda jump between calling them bonus kids and just calling them my kids. Because they are mine.

  10. Perfect advice. I worry about this happening to me sometimes. My husband has baby fever all of a sudden and really wants a baby in the next year and I want to wait a few years. Neither of us wanted them before we met. We’ve already agreed we would be perfectly content with a kid or without but it’s still hard to really know what we will feel like in the future. Just recently we decided if we do have one to not raise a child with Christianity even though we’re Christians. I’m so decisive about most things but sometimes I want this decision to be made for me. I think we need to get a dog first though.

  11. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

    Wow LBH’s discussion really sparked some debate. I don’t know who to reply to with this comment so I’m just starting over. I feel very in tune with the idea – you can enter into a contract and then the other person is human and can change their minds/actions/etc. Honestly it scares the shit out of me. Ethan totally changed (for the worse obviously) and I have some leftover trust issues about that. Not all bad though, I mean I think I will be even more independent because of it. I now pretty much know 99% instead of just say 95% that I will always be a working mom if I do have kids because I don’t want to miss out on valuable career experience in case I don’t have a spouse after a while (whether that be death or divorce).
    I just don’t believe in blind trust at all. You marry the person as they are in that moment, but what happens after that is at least partially out of your control. A leap of faith you can say. Or a gamble. But either way, nothing in life is safe. So you just make the decisions you can at the time with the information you have. And then you drink a lot of wine and try not to fart in front of each other.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      hahaha. I love your second paragraph.

      1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        The haha’s are about the farting…not the rest!

    2. Jessibel5 says:

      Amen, sister. Thus is life. What’s the saying? Man plans and the universe laughs, or something like that. I’ve always loved the old saying “Prepare for the worst and hope for the best” It’s probably why I carry around such a large purse. People make fun of me for that, but whenever they need something, it’s always in my bag. But I guess that that lends to one not being trusting of anyone but themselves, if even that, which could cause a whole host of other problems. So…life’s a crapshoot?

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        My dad wanted me to get a tattoo that says “the best laid plans…” (from of mice and men) because I just can’t do change at all and need control over everything. I think he was kidding about the tattoo part, but I keep a piece of paper in my wallet that says that now. It helps none with anxiety, haha, but at least it makes me think of him when I’m losing my mind. 🙂
        I also have a big purse! Can we talk about purses now instead of life?

      2. Jessibel5 says:

        Your dad sounds very smart. 🙂
        YESSSSS!!! I love purses. And shoes. I recently replaced all of my heels to be 3.5 inches or less so I could actually wear them pain free and now I wear them all the time. I have almost every color in the Payless Comfort Plus line of heels, I definitely recommend them! And when I say I replaced, I mean it. I scoured the interwebs for similar to exact colors and styles that were lower heeled. Still looking for neon pink ones that are 3 inches or lower (which are my favorite to wear with a black dress). I thought I found them several times, but people on Poshmark are lying assholes sometimes. I’d ask what the heel height was on shoes, and they’d go “oh, they’re 2.5! or oh, they’re 3! and I buy them and get them and the heels are actually over 4 inches.

        I have two purses that are in the style of Birkins (but not actual Birkins because I don’t have 20 grand to spend on one bag)…one is a peachy orange and the other is black ostrich and they’re huge and have three pockets and I love them so much I haven’t bought another purse since I bought these two. They’re amazing and fit everything! I used to have a large coach purse that the handle separated from. I sent it back to get fixed and apparently they couldn’t fix it, so they send me a gift card with an ungodly amount of money on it. So much money that I haven’t spent it yet on any old random purse, but I’m waiting for one that I HAVE TO HAVE like I had with the one that broke. That I bought on ebay for half of what it was worth and less than the gift card…so far I haven’t liked anything they’ve come out with recently.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Sounds like you are stressed about the coach gift card. Go ahead and send it to me to ease your troubles.
        Those heels are awesome! I have a few too. Really comfortable and if you destroy them, its ok since they are so cheap.

    3. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

      how long is one supposed to try not to fart in front of their significant other?

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        3-5 years.

      2. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Always. It’s okay if there’s a slip up, but really, that is not a turn on, and no one really enjoys being around that.

      3. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        3-5 years/forever??? I’m gonna have to start playing with my diet.

      4. Forever. Sorry…

      5. Avatar photo Northern Mermaid says:

        Shrug. It doesn’t bother me too much when Nmerman farts around me. He has stomach issues. Oh well.

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I think it’s situational. First off, I’d agree 3-5 years with no farts. After that I think it’s all in the manner. A little toot with an “excuse me” after…fine. Some gigantic thing…excuse you’re self to the bathroom. Definitely never any farting on, that blanket thing with the farts? Oven something? Never acceptable EVER. Just be polite after a few years of no farts.

      7. Now that we have a dog, I just blame it on him. We’re very romantic over at my house!

      8. Jessibel5 says:

        One time my dog farted and turned around and snarled at his own ass. Canine ownership is magical.

        I am 100% certain that my husband blames the dogs for all of his farts, but for the most part in our house we totally ignore each others.

      9. Jessibel5 says:

        So, when I was looking for the Old Spice ad to post in the other column, this ad was before the Old Spice ad and I was dying with laughter:

  12. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

    my evil roommates soon to be ex roommates, he started farting in front of her like week 2.

    1. Avatar photo theattack says:

      Wow. I would have broken up with him for sure over that.

      1. Avatar photo mrmidtwenties says:

        I take joy that they’re going to sign a year long lease somewhere, and they’re going to be doomed much before that

    2. Avatar photo muchachaenlaventana says:

      haha my bf and I don’t fart in front of one another as a rule, but last weekend he was passed out in his bed and I had just gotten home and rolled over to spoon him and farted in his sleep at that exact moment. it was hilarious. I think farting can be pretty funny sometimes.

  13. tbrucemom says:

    I’m sorry I don’t see that much of a difference in Wendy and Prudie’s advice. Prudie says she should approach her husband again and go to counseling before deciding if she should end her marriage. I don’t think that’s bad advice or like I said different than what Wendy advised.

  14. Much better than Prudie’s answer. I was also wondering if the LW would be fine having a baby alone because as much as you have a right to divorce your husband because he didn’t change his mind about kids, you can’t guarantee you’ll find someone else to have kids with. Of course, maybe some people prefer the possibility of meeting someone new who wants to have children to their husband, and that’s their right. It also makes me wonder what the LW would do if the husband was willing but was found to be infertile … would she still leave him? In that regard, maybe she should insist on a fertility report from any future spouses?

    I’m being snarky, probably because I am a person who doesn’t want kids and I can say that if my potential husband suddenly said he wanted them, I’d feel as distraught as the LW, if not more. I’d go to counseling to figure out if he actually wanted to be with me, but I wouldn’t go to entertain the idea of kids.

  15. I think you’d have to be really rigid to NEVER (in your whole life) experience any doubts about the decision not to have kids. Both M and I have always agreed on the point, and we’ve been together for 25 years with no kids. But the topic still hasn’t died even though she is 51 now and well past the safe window to have children. But we think too damn much (not in a good way), and question each other and ourselves too much. So every so often, one or the other will ask, “Did I ruin your life by forcing you to accept my decision not to have kids? Did we miss something essential to the human experience by not having kids?” Of course, then we have a long emotional discussion about what it would actually be like and how old we’d be when i had to try to beat up my daughter’s scumbag boyfriend (at this point, i’d be at least 65 or so), and we come back to the point of view we’ve shared all along. But I’d never be so rigid as the husband in the letter, either. For M, I would do anything, so if she had ever said she wanted a child, of course I would have considered it. That’s what strikes me most about the letter. To me, children would equal joy, heartache and a ton of hard work (and sure, lots more I’m not thinking of right now). None of that (nothing at all) would be worth losing M over. Dealbreakers are more for when you have only a little to lose, not everything.

    1. Womanofwords says:

      Diablo, as much as you would do anything for M, she is very lucky to have you as a partner. It’s fantastic that you show how you feel. x

  16. I’m not sure if this discussion is just over, but I’d like to join in. I’m 32 and my husband is 35. Both of our birthdays are coming up in the next month. I think I did always want kids before we got married, but as the years go by (we’ve been married 8 years) I just don’t feel the desire to be a mother. I don’t think we talked at length about it in any way. We just got really busy with fun stuff and traveling and I got a Masters degree and we just lived our lives. I knew there would be a time when my husband would want to talk about it. I was actually afraid of the time when he would be 100% sure he wanted to do it and I wouldn’t want to do it at all. Well, he wanted to talk about it a few weeks ago. In public, at brunch. We had actually been with his parents and his great aunt the night before and I guess it just hit him how his parents are getting older and he is too. It actually stressed me out so much I started crying. My husband is the best husband, really. If I were ever to have a baby with anyone, it would be him. He’s so great with other people’s kids, and he has infinite patience with them (and with me really). Kids get on my last nerves. Anyway, I just don’t know what to do. He says he’s not 100% yet, but says the percentage changes every day. He says he wouldn’t want to have kids with anyone else either, and would accept it if I didn’t want to have kids. I’m just sad that we’re in this place. I don’t believe that I’ll regret not having kids but I don’t want him to regret it.
    The other day it just hit me that one reason I don’t want to have kids is that I don’t really feel like we’re missing anything. I really like the way things are. We are doing really well and I see a lot of our friends who aren’t. I just don’t want to mess that up. I don’t know. I’m just all mixed up.

    1. Sorry you’re going through this. Maybe take a few months and try to envision your life with kids in it, and then talk about it again.

    2. Ugh, this is my nightmare. I’m so sorry you are having to deal with this. 🙁

    3. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I feel similarly about my boyfriend, that he would be a great parent. It sounds like your husband is thinking in terms of kids existing in the larger picture and not how he would raise a child and change his life for them, which I think a lot of women get bombarded with a lot more in our culture. I’ve seen a lot more men than women with this take it or leave it mentality with kids and I think it’s because they like the idea of having kids around and haven’t grown up in a culture that expects them to care for children. If it’ll help to talk about the more practical daily expectations he has for raising children, it might give you a better sense of what this altered future would look like and whether you’d be ok with it or not.

      1. Thanks for the support! I don’t know if any of you will see this, but my husband and I talked about kids again today. I won’t go into all of it, but he made me feel a lot better about making the decision. I’m still thinking no, and if so, it will be okay. Also, I totally freaked out again and cried, A LOT. But, it will be all good either way. I don’t get pregnant if I am not almost 100% sure.

  17. Wow. I know that the desire to have a child is no small thing (story of my life for 2 years) but it worries me fiercely when people talk about ending their marriage as if they were considering buying a new home, or something. I don’t know. Not all marriages are built to last and maybe this one had a poor foundation to start with. But wasn’t a forever commitment made? Vows exchanged? Maybe I am old-fashioned. I think there is a point where giving up on a marriage is the only answer but it seems to me that putting your marriage FIRST is the only way to ensure its long term survival. End Rant.

    1. I don’t think anyone here is saying that as soon as one spouse in a previously childfree marriage says they want a kid, it’s straight to divorce court. Obviously both need to examine their feelings and communicate about them, and give it time to make sure they are sure about their decisions. But having kids is different from any other decision. You and your spouse may have an amazing love that would allow one to compromise to move to a place they hate so the other can fulfill a work or school dream, or one to agree to attend religious services with the other, even though one is an atheist, or simply agree to disagree on important political issues they hold dear, or something along those lines. But one who adamantly does NOT want kids agreeing to become a parent is a whole different ballgame. If the CF one is the woman, there’s the whole physical component of carrying a child – much safer than in the past, but definitely not free of health risks including death. And for either spouse – agreeing to nurture, teach, care for, and financially support an UNWANTED CHILD for 18+ years is a huge, life-altering thing you can’t take back. In the above scenarios, you can move again or change religions or change your mind about politics, but once a kid comes you’re stuck. (Sure, you COULD just take off and abandon your spouse/kid, but be labeled a deadbeat spouse and you’ll still be stuck with child support.) You can’t just cross your fingers and assume you MAY feel differently about the kid once it’s born – because what if you don’t?? How unfair is that whole scenario to the child who didn’t ask to be born, especially to a parent who doesn’t want it?? No matter how much you may love your spouse, if one of you truly cannot be happy without a child and one of you truly cannot be happy with one, the only solution is to let each other go.

      1. I was thinking more of what Saslinna said below. I wasn’t suggesting that the husband should change his mind and want kids. If anything, the other way around. I get that people’s minds change. But I don’t think its fair to the husband who came into the marriage with a clear understanding that kids were not in the cards. The advice given by Wendy and others is spot-on, in my opinion. I think LW should do a little more soul searching about whether she REALLY wants kids before she tosses her marriage out.

        I didn’t mean to imply that the husband should just go along with it. I may have articulated that poorly because I was ranting 😉 But I think we’re actually thinking the same thing.

    2. I guess what’s somewhat surprising is the change from “doesn’t want kids” to “absolutely wants kids and will end the marriage over it” in this LW. But yeah, I think there are people who simply care more about having a child than about keeping a marriage going. You could probably argue that the marriage has a weaker foundation if that’s the case.

      1. I know of more than one marriage that ended because a spouse who previously said they didn’t want kids changed their mind. But for the people I know, it wasn’t a true reversal of feeling like the LW; rather, one spouse said basically “I know I agreed not to have kids, but – just kidding! – really I secretly wanted kids and just assumed you’d change your mind and want them.” What a dick move. 😛

    3. Marriage license is not a guarantee that the life after the marriage will never change.

      1. Agreed. And like I said, some marriages need to end. I just get the impression, at times, that some people are more inclined to leave than to try to adapt.

        For the record, I am not chastising anyone who has divorced. NOT AT ALL. I just really get frustrated when people seem to put it on the table so promptly. The decision to have a child is definitely up there in the deal-breaking list. But I guess I would have hoped that LW would have exhausted more options (like the ones Wendy suggests) before considering divorce.

        And, without a doubt, I am biased because I AM married (newly) and want to see all marriages last because it reaffirms the choice I made –if that makes sense 🙂 So, admittedly, I have a selfish bias.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        NO WAY!

  18. Hmmm…. That’s a tough one :/ One thing I would do first is to find out if you are even physically capable of having children, because that would be a major bummer if you end your marriage only to find out that conceiving a child is not as easy as it seems. Also, you should consider your feelings towards adoption, and all kinds of other ways of having a baby. That’s the practical part.
    The other part I completely disagree with Wendy. It is one of the most valid reasons to end a marriage. Marriage does not mean that either one of you has forever given up his or her right to change your mind and change and a grow as a person. And it has nothing to do with wanting your husband or a baby more. If you go your separate ways, what will most probably happen, your husband will meet a woman – and BAM!! – find out that he isn’t so much against having kids after all.
    What I am getting at, is that this particular marriage is not going to work for at least one of you. If you are having thoughts of children now, you will regret not having them, or at least not trying for them later. You will resent your husband for having stopped you. Although, it will still be better than forcing fatherhood on a man that clearly, at least right now, shows no interest in it.
    I would leave.

  19. P. S. Having a dog is not anywhere near the same thing as having a kid. I wish people would get that. Maybe then they would stop being surprised once they have the said kid.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      I think to dog suggestion was just that maybe it will fill some void of boredom or loneliness.

      1. If that’s what it is, then it is a good suggestion…. Boredom or loneliness are definitely bad reasons to have children.

      2. Having just gotten a dog, I can tell you that it definitely fills up those “boredom” hours. I used to feel like all I did was sit on the couch and watch TV. Not the case anymore! My evenings are packed, and my weekends are even more busy!
        If you’ve become bored with life, get a dog, for sure!

  20. feelingroovy says:

    This is a big fear of mine. I am dating an awesome guy who does not want kids. I’m about 90% sure I don’t want kids, either, so this is fine. But if I change my mind, choosing between a man I love and a hypothetical baby would be a very difficult decision to make.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *