The question of ‘how many kids you want to have,’ is relative to your age. When you are a child, you probably wanted ten, or none at all. Then as you grow up, you picture the perfect family with one boy and one girl, spaced a perfect 3-4 years apart. Then, you actually meet that special someone and get married, and suddenly the desire to have a child becomes the focus of your attention. And while you may want 2, 3, or even 4 – your spouse may not want any at all, or may be agreeing to have just one child (for your sake) without really wanting a large family.
According to research, people often have an ideal number of children they want based on their own experiences growing up. Since these childhood and family experiences of their own are both very personal, and stem from a part of part of your life, in which your spouse didn’t exist yet – understanding one another can be hard. But what often happens, is that couples who disagree about having children, or how many children to have – believe that will time change all things. After all, once you have that beautiful baby – how could your spouse resist having another, and another, right? WRONG!
Feeling pressured to have another baby when you don’t want to is a difficult place to be in. Certainly, if you are the one who doesn’t want more (or any) children, you are likely feeling both guilty and resentful for being poked and prodded constantly to do so. This is especially true if you have been clear with your procreation desire from the get go. AND….many men agree to one or even two children because they know that it will make their spouse happy. The ‘wanting more’ is somehow unfathomable to them, since they already compromised their initial decisions.
And let’s be honest, human nature pretty much tells us that the situation of one spouse wanting another child, and another spouse not wanting another child will turn couples resentful, spiteful and will disrupt nearly every angle of their lives. It can easily become a power struggle and can quickly affect the relationship to the point of divorce. And sadly, it can also result in more children – that may actually be resented by the spouse who didn’t want more.
Today, many men feeling pressured to have more children (when they don’t want anymore) has spiked the amount of men scheduling their own vasectomies, against their spouse’s wishes. Even young men today, under 30, are exploring the options of permanent birth control feeling ultra threatened by women who might ‘trick’ or deceive them in order to make their dreams of more children a reality. Many urologists are ganging up on these men and some flat out refuse a vasectomy to a man under 30, or who has no biological children of his own. Yet consider this. Men can have children as soon as they reach puberty, can spend their 20’s procreating – yet at 29 are not deemed NOT responsible enough to make the choice of infertility on their own free will? Even if they have a couple of children already? Isn't there a shred of chance that perhaps the decision to NOT have more (or any) children is one that takes calculated thought and responsible decisions?
One of the reasons that doctors are so reluctant to perform vasectomies for men is because so many men become pressured to have children later in life by their partners or wives. Then, they seek a reversal. However, of the over 600,000 vasectomies performed in the US each year, only 6% come back at some point for a reversal. And the vasectomy removes the possibility of being tricked into having more children, the ‘oops’ pregnancy and reduces the stress that men may feel if they are being pressured for more.
Unfortunately, the issue of how many children to have can be a deal breaker in relationships. If you are stuck in this situation, you have to think back to the beginning of your relationship. Was your spouse honest and up front with you? Do you already have children together? Is there a possibility that the new desire to have children is being sparked by a disconnect in the relationship or a fear of entering a transitionary period in your life?
Children are definitely worth the effort. Growing the family tree and experiencing the love of a child is very, very special. But they are also expensive, taxing to marriages, stressful, hard to deal with and extremely permanent! When it comes down to it, it is disrespectful, rude, and very selfish to inflict your ideals on anyone else, and pressure them into having more children, when they really don’t want to.
In other words, sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree and move on. If you don’t have children and really want some, but your partner is adamantly against it, you should consider moving forward in life to find another partner that more closely matches your familial desires. The decision to have children is permanent, and is not something that should be taken lightly, or made by one person in the home. The decision to be a parent, is best made when two people agree. Rather than simply feel that the decision to not have more children is a personal attack, or speaks volumes about the relationship, see it as open and honest dialogue. Having kids for the wrong reasons, or because you feel pressured to do so, is never the best way for a child to start out in life.