Dear Dr. Faizal,
I’m ready to father a child but my wife wants to wait. She is very serious about her career and does not want to put it on hold. I understand that, but I don’t want to wait much longer. Sometimes I joke about getting a surrogate or adopting but she doesn’t think it’s funny. I love my wife and her priorities are my priorities. But what if she decides she never wants kids?
– Ready To Be Daddy
Dear Ready To Be Daddy,
Bringing a child into the world can be a very joyous experience – everything from the conception, to the first ultrasound, to feeling the first kick, to holding and making first eye contact with your son or daughter – if, and only if, both partners have similar wishes and needs.
It’s obvious that you are eager to take on the role of fatherhood. You’ve probably considered various logistics like your age, your finances, space in your home, time off from work, etc.. That’s wonderful! The only glitch in your plan now – for you, at least, is that your “wife wants to wait,” and since it takes two to tango in producing a child, this is a real concern that needs to be addressed, sooner rather than later.
There may be many reasons running around in your head as to why your wife may be choosing to wait. She may, in fact, take pride in her career and want to excel in it. She may believe that she is still young and can consider motherhood later in life. Or she may not want to have kids – ever – and has difficulties telling you for fear of hurting you.
The best remedy for potentially paranoid thoughts is to face the issue head-on and have an open, honest and non-judgmental conversation with your wife. Though it may not be easy to initiate this dialogue – since she may think that you’re nagging her again – but you need to express to her the importance (all joking aside now) of this topic to you.
Ask your wife directly if she wants to have and raise kids (hers or anyone’s). Ask her if she can see herself in the role of a mother with all the responsibilities this role would entail. If she again says that she would like to have kids, but not now, you must ask her a very important question: “When will be the right time for you?” If she comes back with, “Later,” or “Not now,” tell her that you respect her wishes, but, at the same time, you deserve to get a timeframe to determine if this would also work for you. If she gives you a set time, let’s say, some months or years, and you’re okay with this timeframe, as an exercise, you both could take a piece of paper and make an informal ‘contract’ of sorts, on which you would write down the date you both would try to begin making a family and the consequences of not abiding by the contract (i.e., adopting, dissolving the marriage, etc.) – and then both would sign this document. Keep in mind, that writing one’s intent and sealing it with a signature makes the commitment a reality.
Be also prepared for your wife to tell you that she prefers being married to you and that she doesn’t want to have children. How will this affect you and your need to not “wait much longer” for fatherhood? In this case, I would recommend finding a good couples counsellor to discuss deeper individual and relationship issues, knowing that you both have options.