We just started dating and he wants a baby: what should I do?

In this brief blog, we attempt to answer the question “We just started dating and he wants a baby: what should I do?”

We just started dating and he wants a baby: what should I do?

If you have just started dating and your new partner’s desire to have a baby has taken a back, here are a few steps you can take:

Ask yourself: Are you ready to be a parent?

The first thing that you can do is to ask yourself what it is that you want and if you are ready to be a parent. 

Planned Parenthood puts down a list of questions that you need to ask yourself and reflect on, before starting a family. Some of these questions are:

  • Do I want to start a family now?
  • Am I ready to be totally responsible for all of my child’s needs?
  • Will I be able to raise my child in a loving and healthy home?
  • Can I afford to raise a child right now?
  • What kind of support will I have from my family, my friends, and my partner/the father?
  • What would having a baby right now mean for my future?
  • How would having a baby right now affect my family or other children?
  • Is someone pressuring me to become a parent?
  • Am I ready to go through pregnancy and childbirth?
  • Do my partner and I both feel good about staying together and parenting together?
  • How do I feel about co-parenting if we break up, or parenting alone?

Parenting is not easy. Sure there are fun and exciting moments; rewarding as well, however, parents do have to give up a lot of their individual and personal lives for their children. 

Couples move from partners to parents and the relationships between two individuals change when they become parents. 

Even if you are in a new relationship with your partner and things seem perfect and hopeful, you do have to consider that time will change things- the relationships and the people involved and children will push that change. 

Take time to think it over

If your partner has just dropped this piece of information,  Ann Davidman for Vox suggests that you and your partner take time to think it over. 

This does not mean you take one night to think it through, rather it means you take a mutually agreed designated break- one to three months to think it over (you can even take more time if you feel like you need it). 

During this time, Ann suggests that you and your partner not discuss the matter and instead, you take this time to reflect on what it entails to be a parent if you are not sure, understand more about parenthood, and what it is that you want at this point in your life. 

This break should be the time where you develop clarity about what it is you want out of your time at this age- it could be career, it could be experiencing true intimacy with your partner, or it could be exploring more of your individuality. 

Ask yourself: How well do you know your partner?

If you are still unclear about whether you want a child or not, it is time to consider the question of whether you want to have a child with this particular partner. 

Being in a new relationship can get you all excited about the prospects of the relationship and the future. It might have you in the middle of baby fever, especially if people around you are having kids.

However, your desire- no matter how subtle- to have a child might be a result of the novelty of your relationship. So before you make a decision on the matter you have to take the time to understand if your partner is trustworthy and watch out for any warning signs.

Trustworthiness in a partner, according to Tony Robbins is an important aspect of making decisions when one is part of a couple. If your partner is trustworthy, their decision making skills will take into account your needs and wants as well. 

It is also important to watch out for warning signs in a partner such as extreme criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

Because you are new in the relationship, it might be hard to pinpoint these signs however, taking that break mentioned earlier should give you time to notice any signs as such. 

Ask yourself: is there goal alignment?

Check with your partner about the goals they have and check if there is any alignment with yours. When it comes to couples, it is important to understand personal and couple goals so that you and your partner have clarity about the direction of the relationship. 

The same goes for parenthood- understanding what your goals are regarding parenthood as it- when, how, why, where- etc is important. Your partner might have the goal of having children within the next two years whereas you might be looking at parenthood for the next five year plan. 

Communicate with your partner

Communication is an important issue in any relationship, especially romantic relationships. Effective communication can help couples share their feelings, express their opinions, set expectations which can help the couple grow and move forward.

Effective communication also helps to  avoid misunderstandings and also clear expectations within the couple. It can help set clear boundaries and  enrich the relationship by having open communication that allows for effective expression and understanding.

When it comes to new partners, communicating your ideas, values, goals, and needs are very important for it to be healthy and for the relationships to flourish. 

If you have had enough time to think things over, the next thing you can do is to communicate what you think your goals for parenthood are or what your plans are. 

Be assertive when you talk about what it is that you want and what you need and leave space for your partner to share their own thoughts and their own vision for the relationship. 

The goal of communicating in this context is to find out if there is a mutual ground that you can settle on.

Listen to their point of view

After you have put your point across, make sure that you listen to your partner. 

Here, listen to understand why he wants to have a baby so soon since you are both new to the relationship. They might explain that they are in a rush because their biological clock is ticking, or it could be because they want to start a family with you.

As you listen to them, it is important that you understand and empathise with them while at the same time, look at things logically and help them also look at things with a bigger perspective. 

Inform them what you have learned through reflection and by looking into the matter while also letting them know that you have carefully considered what they want. 

As you and your partner discuss the matter, help them feel listened to, understood, and their needs respected.

Make a note of the following

As you and your partner continue this conversation, it is important that you make note of the following:

Your partner and you should be mutually respectful of each other’s wants and needs. This means that their want for a child must be considered with respect while they need to respect your want to have a child later on in the relationship. If there is no mutual respect and understanding, that is not a good sign.

You also have to keep an eye out for any imbalance power dynamics in the relationships especially related to decision making. If you feel pressured to say yes to the plan of having a child without you actually wanting to, there appears to be some power dynamic between you and your partner. 

If this is the case, it is important that you talk about this matter to someone you trust- be it a friend, a counsellor, a family member etc. taking the time to talk to someone about this can provide you the space you need to make a more informed and well-thought out decision. It is also important that you are assertive of what you want and what you need. 

Is there room for compromise?

The next thing that you and your partner can do, is to see if there are any steps that you and your partner can take where you both get what you want. 

For example, if your partner is worried about their biological clock ticking, you and your partner have the option of freezing their eggs or considering a surrogate later in life. 

Brainstorm different options that you and your partner can consider when it comes to parenthood and see if there is any room for compromise. 

It is okay to want different things

When all is said and done, you have to realise that it is okay to want different things from your partner even if you love them very much. 

Your partner’s wants and needs should not dictate the entire relationship because being part of a couple means that you have equal say. 

If you are able to put things across to your partner, and they are firm in what they want and this is causing a dent in the relationship, it is time to reconsider the relationship itself.

As difficult as it might be to walk away from a new and exciting relationship, it is important that a decision such as having a child be taken seriously even if that means saying no to parenthood- and in your case, the relationship- at this time in your life. 

Conclusion

In this brief blog, we attempted to answer the question “We just started dating and he wants a baby: what should I do?”

It is important that you take time to reflect on what you want and also educate yourself about what it takes to be a parent before making a decision. 

References

Davidman.A. I help people decide if they want to have kids. Here’s my advice. Vox. Retrieved on 8th MArch 2022.https://www.vox.com/first-person/22370250/should-i-have-kids-a-baby-decide-start-family-parenthood-kids-childfree

Your Decision, My Decision, Our Decision:3 Principles For Decision-Making In Relationships. Tony Robbins. Retrieved on 8th March 2022. https://www.tonyrobbins.com/love-relationships/your-decision-my-decision-our-decision/

How to Talk About Big Life Decisions as a Couple (Because the Pandemic Means We’re All Thinking About Making Them). GQ. Retrieved on 8th March 2022. https://www.gq.com/story/coronavirus-life-changes-couples

Considering Parenthood. Planned Parenthood. Retrieved on 8th March 2022. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/pregnancy/considering-parenthood

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