I remember reading this advice column once about a woman whose husband wanted kids, while she did not. The key part of her story that got people talking in the comments was the fact that she’d originally been on board with the idea of having children, but had since changed her mind. I don’t recall what “advice” was given to the woman, but I do remember a particular comment on the post. It criticized the woman for going back on her word, for not sticking to the plan she and her husband had originally had. It essentially pegged her as a bad person.
That person’s comment made me pretty mad. At the time, I was completely torn and confused about whether I wanted to have a child with my husband, and I felt so much love and compassion for the anonymous woman who no longer wanted kids with her spouse. I could imagine how much that woman loved her husband. How maybe the two of them used to stay up late and talk in excited whispers about their future together. How they’d likely felt so close to one another when imagining bringing a child into the world someday.
And I could imagine all too clearly how much pain she must have been in to no longer want something they once wanted together.
So here’s what I wish I could’ve said to that woman. And here’s what I wish more people had said to me when I knew my husband wanted kids, but I wasn’t so sure …
When Your Husband Wants Kids … and You’re No Longer So Sure
1. At this point, it doesn’t really matter what your original plans were.
Maybe both your husband and you wanted kids when you first got married, and you’ve since changed your mind, or at least aren’t so sure anymore. Other people will have all sorts of opinions about how unfair this is—and maybe you do too. Maybe you judge yourself harshly. Maybe you think you’re the worst person on Earth.
The fact is, life is messy. And what you wanted in the past is, in fact, in the past. It has nothing to do with your present moment life unless you make it mean something. You can make your change of heart or your current state of ambivalence mean all kinds of horrible things about yourself—but none of that will change your current reality, and none of that will help you move forward with a decision you love.
2. Now more than ever, it’s important to take responsibility for how you’re feeling.
When I was stuck in painful indecision about motherhood, I spent a lot of time blaming the world and never truly processing my emotions. Processing our emotions and thereby taking responsibility for them is especially important when we’re trying to make a life-altering decision because it keeps us from making a decision out of guilt. When we understand that we and only we can create emotions for ourselves, we stop believing that others can make us feel guilty, and we stop expecting ourselves to make them happy—because that never really works. We understand that we can make a decision we feel great about, and we can make it from a place of unconditional love and empowerment and confidence.
3. It’s okay to drop the manual you wrote for yourself.
You know the one. The 500-pound book called Who I Should Be. The book that says you should want to have kids, and you should make everyone happy, and you should beat yourself up when you make a mistake.
In case you felt like you needed permission, here it is: It’s 100% okay to toss the manual aside.
Toss it aside. You don’t have to do anything you don’t truly want to do. So stop trying to control yourself. Let yourself be who you are, in this very moment, however messy that may seem. Let yourself be messy and scared and love yourself anyway. Through it all. This is the only way we can hear ourselves. This is how we create the best lives we possibly can. This is how we find our truth.
When I dropped the manual that said I was supposed to want kids more than anything and I was supposed to make everyone in my life happy all the time, I was finally able to see what I wanted. For me, the truth turned out to be that I do in fact want to have a child with my husband. But everyone’s truth is different.
If you want help finding the perspective and peace that can help you move forward with a decision—and a life—you love, give yourself the gift of a free coaching session with me. You’ll get at least one tip or tool that you haven’t tried before that’ll help you free yourself from confusion and guilt.
Send me an email if you have any questions about what coaching can do for you. <3