Thursday, August 04, 2005

Children and Denial

Beloved and I are blessed to want the same thing here. 2 to 3 kids would be great, thanks.

There seem to be a lot of couples who wear a level of denial about this issue, and it's sad. I have no agenda; I understand completely why some people don't ever want them, and why others are clucky as. But the thing is, it is such a deal-breaker of an issue, and so many couples push it under the faux-Persian rug.

We have some friends, well, they're more hers than mine after the woman told me she earned more money than me in an attempt to win an argument, but friends nonetheless. He's a great guy, perhaps a bit borderline too-cool and chilled. She's manic, but genuine. They have a great rapport, they're a very good couple in most respects.

But she's deeply maternal, it comes out in so many things she says, while he states baldly that he never wants to have kids. Never. No interest at all.

You can't ignore an issue like this. Unless one of them genuinely changes their mind, they will do one of three things:

bad- go on in denial until it comes to a head in a few years, then break up in a big sad mess;

worse- she'll give in, and resent him deeply for the rest of her life;

maybe good, but likely worst of all- have a kid against his wishes, and he will either suddenly grow to love the child, as she'll be hoping, or resent it and be a bad father or even leave.

Unless one of them genuinely changes their mind.

So they need to talk now, and see whether this can be resolved, explore with each other and individually the extent of their feelings about this.

I think it's toughest for the woman in these situations. Until technology moves a fair bit further forward, a woman who wants kids desperately and who suddenly confronts reality at 35 and breaks up from her life-love is in a terrible place.

11 comments:

cfsmtb said...

'Tis a emotional minefield, but speaking as a lass over 35 I'd sooner prefer another cat. So would my longterm partner. He likes kitties too. (The rellies have another opinion, but they can get stuffed)

Armagnac Esq. said...

I can understand. I think as long as you and your partner think alike, you've no issues there.

Rellies SO can get stuffed, well put!

LadyCracker said...

a very tough question and one that I'm starting to face myself.
My partner already has two children and while I don't see giving birth as a priority I would ideally like to adopt within the next few years if I can.

I know this makes me sound like a Angelina Jolie loving inner city lefty type but really this has been my idea for a long time due to my family's experiences (my mother was adopted etc) and my unpopular belief that people shouldn't be having so many children.
However the age difference between my partner and I is seven years and by the time I'm ready to raise a child he will be into his forties. Will this be right for us both? or will we need to seek an alternative path?

Discussions are underway now - well before any ring goes on any finger.

Crystal said...

As Basil Fawlty famously said ' That (conception?) was a snip. Now for the tricky bit (raising it). The theory of parenting is easy compared with/to the practicality . The dear little pets make no allowances for YOU (and why should they?). There is no break from feeding screaming nappies laundry and the fear that 'something' could happen to Baby. If you think an ocean-going yacht is hole in the water into which one flings money, just try a kid. clothes medicine prams pushers playthings bedding - every dollar the mother doesn't earn anymore is plunged into this Investment. The Skool years - those fees, plus some kid has a birthday party EVERY weekend we have to drive to after purchasing the gift - theres 30 of em gonna wreck our house when its Poppets turn. I am not saying this is bad, I am asking Are you really able to commit to the entire horror for 15 years. No child deserves a 'broken' home which inevitably follows if one parents gets tired of the effort. A Lover becomes a Mother first, a wife second. The man is wondering what hit him. She doesn't paint her toenails anymore; there is baby ick on her sexy shirt; "she never wears those dangly earrings I love; we can never get a sitter when I have a work event"; and the cruncher - NO privacy for a silent sex life.
The glowing parents who tear-up at the sight of their eldest daughter coming down the aisle looking gorgeous with her 2 sisters the same behind, do so in the full realisation of the WORK of decades which achieved this - finally. Are you up to the whole damn thing. Is anybody? Take the test - before 'I do', have a weekend looking after a 2 year old child. If there are 3 survivors at the end, you're OK.

Armagnac Esq. said...

Well I'm an Angelina Jolie loving inner city lefty type, on every count, and I'm adopted, so you'll get a sypmathetic hearing here!

I had a great childhood, difficult adolescence, learned a lot I can pass on if you go down that route.

Good luck!

Armagnac Esq. said...

My response above was to Ladycrackers comment.

Crystal meanwhile posted quite a challenge. I don't know if anyone can ever be 100% sure that they are ready for the ultimate role that is parenthood. Many turn out not to be, sometimes horribly so.

I brought a cat into our life last year, and the workload both physical and emotional involved there has been significant and life changing. I'm assuming I can take this to a factor of 20 when thinking about having kids.

QM said...

I guess the difficult bit is that you don't necessarily always make your mind up for always and ever with these things. My signif other and I decided before marriage that we wanted two kids, and about three years later each independently began to think that we didn't want them at all, which is where we are sitting now.

One of the things that is wise with these things is to remember that sometimes things happen which can't be controlled. While I agree with your comments about the denial couple, I think it is just as important to consider how you, having decided to have 2 to 3 will react if it turns out you can't have any. I have seen plenty of marriages shaken by that sort of change in situation.

Or if you decide that you want to stay working/living in Victoria - will your relationship have the flexibility to deal with it if something major and unavoidable comes up?

I fully and totally agree with discussing big issues before marriage and coming to some agreements. But I also believe that we should realise that no decision is set in stone and you will never be able to totally 100% predict what will happen - and you have to be okay with that as well.

MrLefty said...

Can't deal. Too many issues.

*goes into denial*

Armagnac Esq. said...

Best left to the woman, you think Mr Left?

QM I agree that a real sleeper issue could be the ability or otherwise to actually do it. We've chatted about that and hopefully could deal constructively- but I suppose there's some truth that while you know pretty close to 100% how you'd react, you can't get beyond their words into the mind of your partner to know whether they might react harshly or be unable to deal with such a situation.

I guess you can only talk about it, get all the options frankly out there, and hope.

Anonymous said...

If you want kids, get on with it. If the girl wants kids and the boy doesn't, have kids. He'll work it out. If the boy wants kids and she doesn't, break it up. If neither want kids, perfect.

The problem of staying in love with no time, no privacy and baby vomit on the sexy bits will happen anyway. Age does that to you.

The trick about age and babies in a relationship is the same - stay in touch while it happens. Otherwise you end up wondering who the hell is snoring on the other side of the bed.

There are three humungous problems in relationships - having kids, getting old and dying... no human race without them.

I've got a cold, worked too hard today, drank too much sherry. Now I'm out here telling the truth to strangers again.

- barista

Anonymous said...

Absolutely.
I disagree with previous comment that it's fashionable to want kids. i think the opposite is true, and women often get sneered at for maternal instincts,a s though this meant they'd parked their brains at the door.
I think your friend should "steal" a baby.
Fuck it. he's got all the time in the world to repent his position, She doesn't. If he doesn't come round, he's an asshole.
sure, that's a hard line, but i don't think cold rationality as applied to careers, etc, applies to reproductive issues. it's another plane entirely. A lot of men just don't get it.