He's Not Ready For A Child, And I'm Sad.

That about sums it up. Update to my other thread, A Long and Ranty Treatise on Motherhood.

We were planning on having a child. I did not apply for a Ph.D. this summer because I decided I wanted to focus on motherhood instead.

When he first agreed to start trying for a baby, I sensed he was still anxious, so we sat down, and even though it would have killed me to hear the response, I said, ‘‘Honey, if you are having any doubts about this you need to tell me now. I can’t take getting all excited about this and then having you bail on the last minute. I need to know that you are going to back me 100%.’’

And he said that, while, he didn’t expect to have a child until after he finished his Ph.D., he really did want a child and was behind me 100%. We talked about ways to make it easier for him. I took on more responsibilities, was in charge of a lot of baby logistics stuff like budgeting and insurance. He’s been a leader to me in so many ways, I figured it was time for me to step up and show leadership. Because I wanted this more than anything, have wanted it for years, and I was willing to show him the depth of my commitment.

So for two months, it’s been about the baby. The baby that we’re going to conceive hopefully by the end of this year. The baby I didn’t pursue a Ph.D. for, the baby I was going to be a SAHM for, the baby we have scrimped and saved and budgeted for and talked about every day for the last two months with what I presumed to be mutual enthusiasm. I’ve been on summer break so pretty much all of my free time has been devoted to baby-related planning.

He encouraged me to go to the doctor for a checkup so I scheduled that yesterday and started taking prenatal vitamins. And then when he came home he nearly threw up before he finally got up the nerve to tell me he is really not ready for this. He is just starting to get his bearings with his graduate school responsibilities but the foundation is a tentative one and it freaks him out. When he has a good day, the thought of a baby is exciting, but when he has a bad day, the thought of a baby is overwhelming.

I am, of course, crushed. What was supposed to start happening next month is now probably not going to happen for 2-4 years. I am nothing but grief. We were going to have a baby and now we are not. And I don’t understand why he told me he was okay with it when he wasn’t. I can deal with him not being ready – what I cannot deal with that he let me believe this was going to happen and then took it away at the last minute exactly as I begged him not to do. I love my husband more than anything but this isn’t just something I can just get over. It changes my conceptualization of who he is.

It’s even more complex than that – this whole experience was changing me, it has changed me. It has pushed me forward and away from the past and given me hope that I could let go of my painful childhood and redefined the way I looked at my whole life. It is the first time EVER that I have had a positive view of the future vs. one filled with anxiety and uncertainty. It’s like I finally figured out what I really wanted to do with my life. Now I don’t even know what I am going to do. I was ready to structure my entire life around this child and now I have to start over from scratch.

I should have known better, but I guess hindsight is 20-20. If you look at this narrative it is all about ME and how MY life will change and I was basically trying to make it affect him as little as possible. But the reality is you can’t bring a child into that kind of relationship. It’s only right if the story is about US and how it will change US and what WE will do to make it happen.

My husband and I will survive this. In the meantime, I hurt. He knows I hurt and he feels terrible about it. He’s pretty much willing to do anything I want right now (’‘If you’ve been wanting a new kitten, this would be the time to ask.’’) But the reality is there is absolutely nothing I want more than a child. I honestly can’t think of a single thing that could take away the pain right now. I know eventually I’ll be able to see the silver lining – the extra disposable income, the extended time alone, the chance to gain some work experience and maybe settle into a home first – but right now, it just hurts.

Exactly two things have managed to make me feel good today.

  1. A picture of a banana slug, and associated slug conversation.
  2. The thought of eating junk food.

So I’m pretty much going to eat potato skins and buffalo wings and have a Bones (or X-Files, undecided… I’ve never watched either) marathon on Netflix instant watch. It’s pretty sad that the only apparent solution is to eat my feelings and bum around, but oh well. It’s not like I have anything better to do. :frowning:

Hugs to you. The ache for a baby when you’re not sure if you’ll ever get one can be so hard to cope with.

My husband said he wasn’t ready for a child but I talked him into it about three months after he said it. Maybe you should ask if your husband is open to counseling to talk about it with you? Perhaps a good discussion for an hour or so might really help him sort out his feelings about the matter better.

Seven years later my husband just adores our daughter. He thanks me everyday for helping him decide to bring her into the world. He’s told me over and over again how glad he is that I helped him change his mind.

It can’t hurt to talk it over more especially when you’ve already made preparations.

I am sorry that that’s happened, and that you feel terrible.

It sounds like you feel like he misled you and you resent him for it. I can understand that, but it does seem to me that there’s another way of looking at it: he was very honest about being unsure, but he tried. Really hard. For you. If on good days he’s excited, I think that means he wants to be excited about it, doesn’t it? And I don’t think being upfront about his uncertainty in advance of a major life change counts as taking it away from you. Going forward with it despite really feeling wrong about it could have taken away much, much more from you and from your child.

So on the plus side, you’ve got a husband who didn’t think he was ready, but tried super hard to be ready, and when he decided he wasn’t going to pull it off, he told you about it and now feels terrible that he let you down. I don’t know what kind of a person you thought he was before, but that still seems pretty OK.

Now here is thebroken wear video you implicitly requested.

I don’t think your husband meant to deceive you. Maybe he thought he was ready for a child when you first discussed it but over the past couple of months, realized he wasn’t quite yet. I know you really want a baby but having to wait a couple of years isn’t the end of the world. You have a wonderful husband, don’t let this come between you.

I didn’t see in your post your age or your husband’s age. That could be an important consideration.

I know what it’s like to want a baby very badly. I had five and it is a wonderful experience…well, until that cute, cuddly,warm, smelling-like-breast-milk baby grows up to be a teenager. :slight_smile:

But, if you guys are in your twenties, biologically you don’t have to be in a hurry. Even if you’re thirty, three or four more years won’t be the end of the world.

I had my first one 13 days before my 21st birthday and my last one 3 months before my 41st.

Good luck.

I’m so sorry you’re going though this. I had the feeling from the previous thread that you have a pretty solid marriage, and it sounds like he was being honest when he said he was in, and he’s being honest again now when he says he’s out. It’s understandable to feel conflicted about such a huge decision.

It’s now a longer term goal than you had anticipated, but still a very real future yes? IS it possible that you and he can find ways to spend time with an infant? They seem scary, right up until you fall under their spell.

Also there might be a grad student parenting group at his University, this could be another resource for helping him get to know the scary unknown and feel more comfortable with the idea of becoming a parent.

wishing all good things for you.

Ouch. I’m so sorry that you’re going through this right now. I remember when I was ready to get married and my husband wasn’t, and how difficult that was for both of us. Looking back now that I have a lot of time and a different perspective under my belt, I can see how my intensity probably freaked him out. He was on the fence about marriage, and the fact that it was so very important and anxiety-producing for me made the issue even bigger than it already was. You see, we already had a daughter and I wanted to have more kids, but wasn’t willing to do that without getting married.

We worked it out, and you will too. It sounds like you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and planning for your son or daughter, and if he had some subliminal doubts during the process, the fact that you placed so much Importance on the issue brought those feelings right to the surface.

Would it be possible to take a short break in the baby-making talk and give you both time to just chillax? Then you can jump on him when he’s asleep and take what you need.

Kidding! I’m kidding…

The thing to keep in mind about most men (though not all - so I don’t have to put on my flame proof undies) is that they’re *always *freaked out, not ready, and completely unable to do the fatherhood thing until the baby arrives. It’s like they have to see it to believe in themselves.

I’m not suggesting anything; just relaying personal observation that seems to have a pattern.

Whatever happens Olivesmarch4th, it’s probably not feeling like a good place for either of you right now, but don’t rely on junk food. There’s a whole lotta different hurt doing that…

So wait, he “let” you go ahead and put off your PhD so you could be a SAHM, etc and then changed his mind? (I put “let” in comments because obviously, it was a joint decision, not one he “allowed” you to make!)

Oof. That is… wow. Something else. You were so driven and passionate about your path to your career!

Is anyone ever ready for a baby? It’d be tough, it’d be stressful, but couples have raised children successfully with much worse circumstance. You clearly have a very strong relationship and have so much love to give a child. Love isn’t enough obviously (says the woman with no children and no experience with them whatsoever) but it’s a start.

I’ve been reading here for a long, long time and don’t post much, but you’re a name I recognize, and one of the things I associated with you is “has a very strong desire to adopt” so I was incredibly surprised, and, frankly, skeptical, when things changed so completely and you were as fervent about having a baby as you were adopting.

I don’t have any advice, but I do hope you encourage your husband to really think hard about this decision. You’ve given up a LOT because he agreed to something that was a Very Big Deal. I know you’ll get past this no matter what though. My best wishes to you.

I have no advice,

Your husband the same guy you thought he was. You got caught up in how much you wanted a baby, and no doubt he got caught up in wanting to make that happen for you.

I’ve seen this kind of thing happen in the best relationships. Sometimes, the more two people love one another, the less able they are to tell their loved one that they can’t do what it would take to fulfill the other’s hopes and dreams. I think the person your husband is, is a man who wants to give you what would make you happy. He wanted that so much that he tried to ignore his own needs in order to do that. But that never works for very long.

You are right to recognize that having a baby needs to be something that you both want. Another thing that comes to mind is, a baby really can’t be anybody’s personal salvation. If you have a baby and expect it to suddenly make all the crap from your past fade into the distance forever…well, that sounds rather fanciful to me. The people I know who were abused as children found that having a child of their own brought up a whole new host of issues related to those experiences. You need to have reasonable expectations about what having a baby will actually mean once he or she arrives.

Just because you aren’t actively trying to conceive now, doesn’t mean you can’t be working toward the goal of having children. Saving money, talking about your plans for parenthood, etc. It sounds like your husband needs more preparation, and that’s what you can be doing in this time. My best friend had to wait until she was 33 before she and her husband were ready to have kids. She spent a lot of time with the children of her friends, and it really helped her and her husband to get ready and have a good idea of what they would be getting into as parents. There’s a thought.

You’re going to be a great mom someday. But you are young, and there is a lot of time. Try to enjoy your husband and the other things that life has to offer while you’re waiting.

Best wishes.

I’m sorry. I didn’t want to say anything in the other thread and rain on your parade, but I was afraid this or something like it would happen. It’s damn near impossible to predict with any certainty when some given emotional change is going to happen. Being ready to have a kid is like falling in love or ceasing to grieve after a loss–you most generally can’t schedule it or force it. Trying to force it on a short schedule when none of the things that contribute to the not being ready are really going to change tends not to go well at all. But he was willing to try, and he did try awful damn hard, to make the near-impossible happen because you wanted this so badly.

He didn’t set out to hurt or disappoint you; he was trying to avoid hurting and disappointing you any further than he already had. When he had to veto adopting that other baby, you know that had to make him feel like complete shit. How else could a person feel when they deny giving someone they love the way he loves you something they want as badly as you wanted that baby? If it were you in that situation, could you look him in the eye and veto his backup plan that he wants just as badly? Because if it was me, I honestly don’t think I could make myself say it. Even though I know it hardly ever works, I’d probably do my damnedest to force myself to be ready. Hell, I might even convince myself that I could pull it off. You can make yourself believe damn near anything if you want to believe it badly enough.

He’s not the bad guy here for not being able to make himself ready on time. You’re not the bad guy here for putting him on the spot. There’s not a bad guy in this situation, just two people who made the same misjudgment and are in pain because of it.

And just because he’s not ready right now, that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to wait 2-4 years. In a few more months, he might feel like he’s got a much firmer handle on the whole grad school situation and be ready to give it a shot. Or he might not. But this does NOT have to be an all or nothing situation here.

We are both 27 years old. We have been married four years and together eight. I am a Masters student who will finish my degree next Spring, he is a Ph.D. student at a different university who will be ready for internship hopefully in 2013 (at which point we’re hoping to move to Chicago, closer to reliable friends/family.) We moved out here for him, we’re stuck out here for at least another two years. Neither of us are particularly thrilled with our current situation.

I’m not going to say it’s the only factor that contributed to my decision not to pursue a Ph.D., but it was a pretty major one. I finally got a chance this summer to breathe and think about what I really wanted out of my life, and I realized more than anything else I just wanted to be a parent.

Yeah, I was surprised too, that’s how badly I want to have a kid sooner rather than later. Even with my decision to give birth we still planned on adopting down the road. That’s not a dream that I think could ever die for me. I guess one silver lining in all of this is that when we do have kids, I’ll get my adoption after all. That is what I really wanted all along. I got scared it was never going to happen, though – because of time and my history of depression. I’m afraid parents will judge me for my own childhood or my medical history. If anything this has clarified for both of us that when we do adopt, we would like to adopt an infant. At least to start.

Yeah, I don’t really have any serious eating issues, but the potato skins were not the panacea I thought they would be.

Ah, Japan. I had almost forgotten Japan. Thanks, Jimmy.

I guess to understand what a shock this is you have to understand my husband’s personality. He is always in control. He is 100% organized and prepared and practical and rational about everything. I am a pretty meticulous planner, and yet, I can say without reservation that I am the impulsive one. Prior to this happening, I would have told you he would NEVER make a decision like this if he weren’t absolutely certain it was what he wanted. This is a guy who can’t even buy a piece of electronic equipment without days of research. He never buys things on impulse, and gets irritated when people try to talk him into things he isn’t ready for. This is not a guy you can push.

When we talked about it last night, he said he was utterly floored by how much I changed my focus and how committed I was to this once we agreed upon it. And knowing how much it meant to me made it harder for him to express his reservations. I don’t believe for a second he did this on purpose. It’s just that I specifically asked him not to do this, and he did. I don’t think he knew what he was doing, I don’t think he did it on purpose, I think he just loves me so much that he tried to convince himself he was ready. Which means he was in essence going against every ingrained fiber of his being to try to make me happy.

I want to hope that once he’s done with his Master’s thesis he’ll come around and start getting enthusiastic, or maybe he’ll think about all the things I said (I said A LOT last night, not all of it nice, but some of it true.) But I don’t really want to think about it or get my hopes up again. If he is the proactive one, fine. He knows where I stand. But I don’t have the energy to fight him on this.

I’ve read all the responses, I’m thinking about them, appreciating them. I just feel numb. I have the feeling that a lot of anger I have toward him right now is just anger at the situation.

And to make it clear, we’re still talking, being affectionate, staying close, working through the pain together. I haven’t shut him out or anything.

My heart goes out to both of you. It’s strange how I feel I understand exactly where you both stand as it’s similar to my SO and I. My M.O. has been research, decide, and no matter how much I kick and scream and gnash my teeth before whatever event - I’ll know that during a time when I had full capacity I made the Right™ choice. Maybe your hubby’s the same.

Olives, first of all, I’m so sorry you’re hurting. You’ll be a wonderful mother when the time is right.

I know that I don’t know you very well and I’m completely inexperienced - I don’t have kids and won’t for some time - but I have to admit that your single-minded pursuit of this is a little scary to read. It sounds (and this could be my misinterpretation, or just that that was the focus of this thread) like having a baby is the only thing you’re driven towards, focusing on, and want for yourself and your future at the moment and I don’t think that can possibly be healthy, for you *or *for the future child. I think it might be a good thing that having a baby has to be put off for now so you can pick up some of your former pursuits or find some new ones and work on expanding your sense of purpose and accomplishment so that it includes being a mother but isn’t limited to it. You don’t want to put the burden of being your everything on your future kid(s).

I hope I haven’t been offensive or hurtful. I wish the best for you and I hope you’re able to find happiness and peace and purpose in the immediate future with or without a child.

I’m sorry, olives, but I agree with supergoose. I love reading your posts and think you’ve overcome so much and I have so much respect for you, but this baby thing is a little scary.

You gave yourself a future identity “Going to Adopt” and then you threw that all away at the “Can Adopt a Friend’s Child Now” episode, and then suddenly it’s “All I Want Is To Have A Baby NOW” and now…what? You’ve been all over the map the past little while, and your OP about how you were taking care of everything… finances, insurance, scheduling of baby making time… in order to “take the pressure off” your husband is probably much more stressful to him than you think, because it’s all you’ve become. You’re putting your whole being, your whole future, your whole life into a child. Who are you?

You used to post about the career path you are on, about how passionate about social work and helping out the Latino/Hispanic community, and now what will you do? A baby won’t stay a baby - they will become school-aged children, then teenagers, and are you willing to give up a passion to be a SAHM to a 16 year old? I think you need to find a better balance of the things you want in life, rather than going 100% in one direction and then being devastated when you meet an obstacle.

You don’t have to plan every minute of the rest of your life. When your husband has an established routine and he’s more comfortable with his life in grad school, he’ll be more relaxed and able to see a future other than school, and things will just fall into place. Now, every two months, you’re coming to him with a new Life Plan That’s All I Really Really Want, and I don’t think that’s fair to him.

Stop living in the future, stop defining yourself by a future. You can be happy, even with sudden twists and turns in life.

And if you are thinking about a kitten, I know one that needs a home! Heck, I can get you a free beagle too!

This is excellent advice for all of us. Now, I take it too far sometimes. I don’t trust the future. I’ve learned over the last decade or so that I don’t believe in the future. I’ve got the present and it has to be enough. But that was a hard, ugly lesson to learn, even if I needed to learn it.

Oh ouch. I’m so sorry, it just feels like you’ve crashed into a wall, doesn’t it. I know what it’s like to be in that baby-want place, I have been there too. No advice, just a hug. It will happen, but that is not really a big help right now I know.

This stood out to me hugely, in that I am pretty sure those feelings never really go away, as in “that’s just life.” That doesn’t get easier once you have the little one; there will always be bad days and good days. Some people can’t handle that, and need to feel in control of a situation before they can commit to it. If this is the case for him, perhaps some counseling for the two of you on this might help. If he can get to a point where he can accept that it won’t be ‘perfect’ all the time, and accept that THAT’S OK!!, it might really really help him in this matter. I’m not going to say men are more controlling and less likely to do something they don’t already know the outcome of, but if he’s got a job that demands him all the time, then yeah, that’s kind of an indicator that he could use some help just relaxing and letting things happen.

I’m with the person who said that it sounds like he was being honest, and that’s not a bad thing. But it doesn’t change what YOU want and need, and if waiting for years is not an option for you, at least take the time to get some couples’ therapy on this. I really really think it might help you both.

And you have my sympathies, and my hope. It’s not an impossible situation, but he and you both might have to look at it from a different point of view and see what the options really are.

I wish you and your husband the best, first of all. I certainly can’t claim to know what’s on your husband’s mind, but I’ll try to say something useful from my own admittedly selfish perspective. I’m a little older (32), but am also in a PhD program, so I understand what the experience is like. And I work about 20 hours per week in the private sector on top of that. I often find myself stretched for time. I am further prone to irritability and frustration over minor hassles. Great combo for fatherhood.

All the same, my wife is due in about 10 days. I am not ready for a child. I won’t be ready until they put the baby in my arms and tell me I can take my wife home from the hospital. It’s important for a woman to be ready; the man just has to be willing to take a chance. I won’t know what I’m really getting into until my son arrives. God help me.

These remarks really jumped out at me.

This is an enormous amount of intensity and sacrifice for a baby that has not yet been conceived. I simply cannot imagine keeping up with that level of enthusiasm, especially given how many other demands there are on my time. Speaking for myself, my own energy and enthusiasm for the project would have waned real fast as my wife’s waxed. This would have caused a lot of strain on our relationship. I may be completely selfish, but I would (and did) wonder what would be left for me after the baby has taken his share of my wife’s emional and physical energy. I happen to like my wife quite a bit; I don’t want to lose her completely to my child. It definitely took a few years of adjustment on my part to be ready for the changes in my marriage that a baby would bring, let alone the demands of fatherhood.

From what you describe, you and your husband have a marvelous relationship. It sounds like he really adores you. If I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t want to give you up so fast, especially to a child who hasn’t even been conceived yet. I’d be concerned that in your intensity, you’d lose yourself and the relationship, too.

My wife and I had to start planning long before conception: she has chronic health problems that needed to be managed, I was in the process of changing my career, we needed to move to a bigger space, etc. This took a year or so to make happen. My wife will also be a SAHM, and motherhood is her dream career. She was driven, and has been more or less driving me for the past few years. :slight_smile: Nevertheless, I would have been quite disturbed if baby planning had completely dominated our lives. I would have wondered about my own ability to manage actually having a baby if the run-up to conception required that my wife put her entire life on hold or that she’d expect me to share her enthusiasm.

To be fair, she kind of did expect me to be more excited. In the beginning it really caused us some strain. It took a little while for her to accept that I would not be so excited and that my instincts would kick in later, and for my part, I tried to step up the enthusiasm. It took a little while, but we made it.

And I have no doubt you will, too. Just take a deep breath, please stop making too many sacrifices for such a contingent event, and maybe just tell your husband that you won’t forget about him when the doctor puts your baby in your arms for the first time.

Supergoose and mnemosyne, food for thought. That’s all I can really say right now.