Do you have a secret Pinterest board dedicated to nursery decor? Are you cooing at random newborns on the street? Sounds like you’ve got a case of Baby Fever! So, how do you tell your partner?
When it comes to discussing parenthood, you better come prepared. While some partners might respond to the life-changing request with an enthusiastic “let’s get started!” others might need a small nudge. Here are some suggestions for tackling the talk:
Make sure you’re really ready before broaching the subject
Once you have children, everything changes. Be prepared to make some sacrifices. Say goodbye to your body, beauty sleep, clean home, and social life — for a little while, at least. You should be absolutely sure that this ever-pooping bundle of joy is what you want before you start jockeying for it. On the flip side, if you’re not ready at this very moment, that’s okay, too! It shouldn’t stop you from having the talk about potential future babies.
Find the right time and tone
My husband knows that if he wants to talk to me about something serious, I better be well-fed and well-rested. He also knows that using “we” instead of “me” is a better way to get me onboard. What are your partner’s triggers? Do they work late and hard? Are they cranky when they’re tired, or in a fantastic mood after a workout? There’s nothing wrong with trying to approach this conversation at the right time.
Not just when, but how you speak to your partner matters, too. Try approaching this delicate topic… er, delicately. You shouldn’t force anyone — especially a person you love — to do something they may not be ready to do. Be patient and speak openly when asking your loved one to up and change their life forever.
Before approaching my husband with “the talk,” I tried to think through as many what-happens-next scenarios as I could. I wanted to show him that I had thought this whole baby-making plan through. I knew when I was ovulating, how a baby would change our financial situation, and which neighborhood and school district I hoped to be in. Though this preparedness was a huge turn-on for my husband (he’s an analytical fella), others may prefer to start the conversation with hopes of figuring these things out together.
Be honest and be prepared for an answer you weren’t expecting
These relationship talks — the marriage talk, the money talk, the baby talk — are much easier when both parties communicate openly. If you intend to work together as a team to raise a child into adulthood, then these discussions are good practice. Support and encourage your partner to be frank with their feelings, and don’t be wishy-washy with yours, either. If you don’t get the answer you want, don’t shut down immediately. Instead, power through and be respectful of your partner’s position. If you feel like their answer is more than you can handle or something you weren’t expecting, try enlisting the help of an unbiased third party, like a couples counselor.
Some partners may have doubts about parenthood, while others may want children without fully realizing it. “Normalizing ambivalence is something that’s not discussed a lot when it comes to having children,” says therapist Marissa Saphirstein, “because in life we feel like we should just know what we want or don’t want and the truth is, sometimes, we have no idea what we want. Once you have that conversation, it can take [your partner] a few days to process fully.” She suggests that it’s okay if your partner comes back with “I don’t know right now.”
Having children is a big decision. Maybe your partner isn’t ready, but maybe they are. Who really knows until you talk it out? The conversation may seem nerve-wracking to have, but it’s certainly worth it.