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Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: I Don’t Feel Ready to Have a Child

November 20, 2021

Dear Stavroula,

I am 32 years old and have been married for eight years. My husband and I have had problems at times in our relationship, but in recent years we have settled down. He is 17 years older than me and so far this has not been a problem in our relationship. Besides, he looks young and is very athletic for his age. But now he is pressuring me to have a child. Although from the beginning of our relationship we had said that we both want to have a family, we did not follow through until now and the reason was me. I do not feel ready to have a child – even the idea of it scares me. I do not go crazy when I see babies, nor do I think that the purpose of my life is motherhood – maybe my biological clock is broken. But I do not want to ruin my relationship with my husband and I am afraid that if I tell him the truth, it will be over. I know that a child is now a priority for him. He mentions at every opportunity how much he would like a child and he is upset that I am not pregnant, because I have told him that I have stopped taking birth control pills for some months, which is not true. I feel very bad about all this, but I have not found another way to stop him pressuring me. I would like your opinion.

 Sami

 

Dear Sami,

 Many women who had a child at any age felt they were not ready when they found out they were pregnant. Of course, this did not necessarily prevent them from successfully coping with their role, at least in the cases where they accepted the situation and cooperated lovingly with their partner.

However, the ideal is for the arrival of a child to be a conscious choice for both parents, because their care certainly requires significant changes in the couple’s lifestyle. Such a decision should not made under pressure either by the partner or by the social environment. After all, there are women whose lifestyle is not compatible with motherhood.

Things, however, become a little more complicated when the couple disagrees about parenthood – when one wants a child and the other does not. Then, there is a possibility of creating tensions and maybe a rupture, as you already fear.

That is why in the first phase I would suggest you examine the reasons why you are so afraid of the arrival of a child. Many times this fear can be due to something deep and well-hidden. It may be due to some disfunction in the marriage, or the fear that a child may upset the balance that currently exists. For example, there are women who resist the arrival of a baby, when they feel that their relationship with their partner is not what it should be, when they do not trust him in the role of parent, or when they feel that he wants a child because he believes that this will ‘tie’ her more strongly to the relationship or will enable him to ‘control’ her more effectively. Still others who have experienced a traumatic relationship with their mother or parents are afraid that the same may happen to their child. Therefore, it may be a good idea to first investigate the feelings that drive you to fear the arrival of a child with the help of a specialist. At least that way you will be a little more confident that you are making the right decision for you.

The second thing that should be of concern to you is why you chose to lie to your partner about contraception. What is behind your decision not to tell him clearly that you do not want a child right now? Are you hiding the truth from him about other issues in your relationship? Why do you think your relationship will be ruined if you do not comply with his desire for a child? Has he told you so himself? Do you take the same stance on other issues for fear of the same thing happening?

In a relationship founded on love and respect there is room for coexistence under various conditions, including whether or not they have a baby. There are couples everywhere who live deeply in love and are happy without children. Love is not based fear and frustration – it frees you from those.

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