Mother and now grandmother, Christine Scippo, asks the question” “why are we so embarrassed to discuss baby plans with our partners?”
We often hear women friends talking together about their future family plans – how many babies they would ideally like, what would be their preferred sibling age gap, but I often wonder if this type of communication is shared equally with husbands or partners, particularly before marriage
or commitment; and importantly how lack of communication might cause relationship problems in the future.
I have first-hand experience of ‘forgetting’ to talk about future plans when I met my first husband and married in the 1980s. I simply took it for granted that we would go on to have lots of delicious babies. I never thought to have the conversation with him prior to swapping our vows and we really didn’t discuss our plans for children much after either. A couple of years after the wedding, I told him I would like a baby and he happily obliged; I then quickly decided to pop out two more and he just went along with the flow. However, after the arrival of baby number three (and three little tots under the age of four), it became blazingly apparent, that whilst I was striving to be mum of the year, my husband had discovered that he really didn’t like children very much. What had been a happy, uncomplicated relationship took a massive down-hill spiral that literally left me ‘holding the babies.’
In those days, people didn’t really talk much about ‘embarrassing’ things like having babies; but I thought that in 2020 people were more liberated and open. However, I have recently heard of some sad tales where lack of communication has resulted in relationship breakdown. For example, a couple who got married without the ‘baby’ conversation and discovered two years in that the husband really didn’t want children – ever – resulting in divorce.
I hear of so many young women with ticking biological clocks in happy relationships and often living together but terrified to talk to their partner about their desperation to start a family worrying that they are leaving it too late (and with one in six couples now having fertility problems, this is very much a valid concern).
So why are there so many closed doors between men and women when talking about babies? There is absolutely no doubt that these little people (however, gorgeous) are definitely life changing when they arrive, whether perfectly planned or not. I have a few friends (both men and women) who made a conscious decision not to have children because they don’t want to compromise on lifestyle. I am also aware of a few slightly less scrupulous females who decided to take the decision into their own hands and present their unsuspecting partners with a double strip of little blue lines.
It seems to me that a lot of heartache and misunderstanding could be easily avoided if the baby conversation were broached openly and earlier in a relationship. I do appreciate that this slightly taboo subject would have many men running for the hills if it cropped up on a first date. But surely ‘babies’ should be a fundamental topic when it comes to deciding if the attractive person sitting opposite you is a potential long-term mate rather than investing years (and body-clock ticking ones) and then discovering that you have very different life plans.
We would love to hear your opinions and experiences on this topic!