Even though my first daughter was a big surprise, I was lucky in that my husband couldn’t have been more delighted. He wanted kids, maybe even more than I did. Of course, now I’m the one to do all the parenting while he pretends something pressing is occurring on his phone, but I digress.
We both felt ready three years later to try for a second one. Maybe it’s because he’s Chinese and he’s always wanted a family, so I got off easy. But I know from my other friends it can be difficult to convince your husband to share your love.
Your relationship needs to be strong and you both need to be ready to handle a tiny little person who will keep you up at night for a good three months solid. Let’s just say it’s a good thing babies are so cute. In any event, if you want to convince him to make a bundle of joy, you’d better think these things through.
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Does He Want Kids?
Ideally, before you married him, you hopefully had a discussion about how you envisioned your future. If he was adamant that he didn’t want kids, it’s foolish to think he’ll change now. But if he said he wanted them, then it’s fair game to approach him about the topic.
Listen To Him Completely
Your husband might want kids but might not feel ready for them. This is where you engage him in a productive conversation that involves listening to his feelings. Do not interrupt. Respond to what he’s said in kindness and with logic after he’s finished sharing. Screaming and crying is not going to get you your way.
When discussing this topic with him, it shouldn’t be just about his feelings though. The key is to listen to him without objecting or judgment. Then it’s your turn to share your fears. If you want your marriage to be successful in every aspect, you must learn to listen to each other with respect, even if you disagree with each other.
Warm Him Up
In your first year of marriage, you should be enjoying each other. But if you’re around the age of 35, you don’t have tons of time to wait around. Assuming he’s told you he wants to be a father, you can drop subtle hints that make him think about how great it will be.
An example of this is my friend Kate whose husband wasn’t opposed to kids but he kept hemming and hawing about them, largely because he was an only child and he’d never really spent time with kids. They happened to go to a company ball game (they met working in the same big corporation) and she said it would be so cool to teach their future children how to knock one out of the park and dress them in Yankees attire (his favorite team). Needless to say, that’s all it took for her to convince him to go for it.
Keep Your Relationship Strong
Every family needs a solid foundation. Build up the strength between you two as a married couple first. If you already have one child and your husband is edgy about having another, keep the family unit strong together and enjoy each other. If he feels things are surefooted, he’ll likely want to add to the clan.
Spend Time With Friends With Kids
Sometimes, his hesitation has nothing to do with money or lack of wanting kids. It’s his own fear holding him back. He might be afraid he won’t know what to do. If you’ve had the talk with him, hopefully, he shared his full feelings with you. Being afraid you won’t do a good job as a parent happens to ALL of us, believe me.
This is important:
What you can do about that is spend time with your friends that have kids or perhaps any nieces and nephews. My best advice here though is to avoid being around poorly-behaved children if you can help it. Having him help you watch a child that’s more exhausting than Dennis the Menace himself might send you both running for the hills.
Convincing Him The Second Time Around
If you’ve already had one child and have been wanting another, you’re going to need to have the talk a second time. He might be happy with how life is, or if you’ve suffered a miscarriage or stillborn, it could make him less eager to try.
Men internalize these things too, and while it happened in your body, it’s still something painful for him. He feels like a failure that he did something wrong or didn’t do enough to bring that baby into the world.
Again, a frank conversation is always best, even the second time around. But do bear in mind, you shouldn’t even utter a word about it until enough time has passed that your OB/GYN feels it is safe for you to try again.
Things You Should Never Do
There are some things a woman should never do to get her way, especially when it comes to making babies. You’re talking about bringing another life into the world, not getting him to buy you more jewelry. This is big!
- Don’t skip your birth control
If you’re on the pill, it might be tempting to “forget” to take your pills. If you have a diaphragm, don’t poke holes in it. He’ll never trust you again and you’ll run the risk of losing him. Unless you’re committed to raising this baby all on your own, don’t drive him away with deceit.
- Don’t talk about babies with every breath you take
It’s one thing to sit down and have a discussion about having a baby. It’s quite another to nag him incessantly about it. If he’s resistant to the idea of starting a family right now, perhaps due to money concerns or waiting for a promotion he’s working on at his job, circle back to the topic a little later on.
- Don’t make ultimatums
And last, of all the thing you should never do if you want to convince your husband to have a baby (first, second, third, or beyond), is giving out ultimatums. This is not a terrorist situation. Both of you need to be in agreement and if you pull this card, you may find yourself alone or in a miserable marriage for years.
A baby changes everything. Marriage does too. It’s not all romance and flowers. It takes work and you won’t always see eye to eye. Knowing how to talk to each other and really listen is the key to making it last, and the key to getting him to start a family with you.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs. She loves eating too much sushi, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.