Pressure to have children

Help! How Can I Combat the Pressure to Have Children?

Written By:

Lynn Whitbeck

I’m entering my 30s, and I’m starting to feel the pressure to have children. My husband wants kids – soon – and I don’t know how long I’m going to keep putting it off. I want children, but I just don’t feel ready yet. Help! – Heather in Sherman Oaks, CA 

Answer:

All big decisions should be approached with care, an adequate time for evaluation, and an understanding of the potential outcomes. With your eyes wide open and open candor, you are poised to move forward. Life-changing choices should never be made when you are under duress, are being pushed, or feel pressured. Having children is certainly one of the biggest and most important decisions you will ever make. Added to the mix is timing, which can be everything in life.

It’s vital to trust your instincts and feelings. If you are not feeling comfortable with the situation, that speaks volumes. The brief circumstances you describe, Heather, can create an atmosphere of negativity and bitterness. As you are feeling hesitancy and uncertainty, you need to explore why you are feeling this way.

Knowing yourself and understanding your feelings is a key step along your journey. Learn more about yourself and recognizing what’s holding you back. Find your “why.” You owe yourself, your partner, and your future family time to go through this process of introspection. What are your needs right now, today? And where you want to be in the next month, 3 months, or a year down the road is going to be your guide.

Ask Lynn - Pressure to Have Children

Heather, I would start with an open and honest discussion with your spouse regarding your feelings of hesitancy, and your perception of the pressure being applied. A healthy marriage and partnership is based on being able to have these tough discussions with honesty, respect, and mutual support.

If your spouse is not able to recognize and understand where you’re coming from, I would strongly recommend you seek out a counselor to work through these issues together. The strength of your relationship is the foundation you will need to be able to move forward. When the cornerstones of the union are not solid, bringing children into the mix will only further weaken the structure.

You may also want to consider reaching out to a trusted friend or pastor, or seek a counselor to discuss your own feelings regarding having children. This will help you sort through your feelings and why you don’t feel ready. Your feelings are honest and they’re genuine. Exploring why you are having those feelings and will help you grow and develop.

Having children is a huge responsibility. It’s a lifetime commitment and an irrevocable life-changer. In my opinion, it’s the biggest decision you will ever make. I believe you must be emotionally ready and fully committed mentally. Choosing to have a child because you feel pressured is not a good idea.

Raising your child, or children, is forever, so don’t rush in. It is the most important thing you will ever do. I was not ready until my mid-30s. When I had my daughter, she became the center of our universe. She always will be. My advice is to take your time,  don’t allow yourself to be pressured, and make sure you are ready. You need to trust your instincts and your gut if you’re feeling hesitancy. Open your heart and mind to gain insight, and when the time is right, transition into the next phase of your life. It promises to be the greatest adventure of you will take. 

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