For our next few readers, one of the most important factors in the decision to have children was the person they’d be having children with. Tanya and her husband had different plans about parenthood at first:
Briefly, I babysat for hundreds of hours when I was a teen and grew to hate children. My husband and I never discussed whether we would have them before marriage, but for our third wedding anniversary, I cried and blubbered (over a few beers) that if he wanted children, he should leave me because I wasn't inclined toward motherhood. He said that although he would like having kids, he would never leave me, he loved our life, and we would just get more dogs. :)
For our fifth anniversary, I gave him prenatal vitamins as a gesture because I’d turned the corner. I knew I wanted the relationship that comes with adult children (my husband and I have great bonds with our parents). Plus, I’d decided that my real problem was with children under the age of 10, and I knew my husband would be a good enough parent to make up for my shortcomings as the mother of younger kids. It turns out I’ve loved every age that my two sons have been (oldest is 19, youngest is 16) and it was a great decision.
Other readers have also described their partners’ parenting skills and desire for kids as the final, most concrete factor that made them ready to take on parenthood. Katherine was on the fence about kids, but wanted to try the “adventure” of parenthood, and “thought my husband, who knew he wanted a child, would make a fantastic father.” Karine Bell was likewise ambivalent until she met her now-husband, who told her on their first date that he “couldn’t wait to become a father”:
He was just oozing with great-dad qualities. I’ve always said that I never knew I wanted children, until I knew that I wanted children with him: I wanted to co-create life with this amazing man.
And yet, a split decision about parenthood between two people who otherwise want to spend their lives together can also cause a great deal of tension and heartache. At 18, this reader was “madly in love” and sure she wanted kids with her 24-year-old partner, until an “oops” pregnancy made her realize she might not be ready:
The intensity of the relationship was replaced with stress and drama—a roller-coaster ride of do we keep or not keep this child? I decided no, he convinced me yes, and he got the baby girl he hoped for. Ultimately, this led to the destruction of our relationship.
Luckily, she adds of her daughter, “my oops was the best oops I ever made.” Meanwhile, this 44-year-old reader is currently conflicted:
I was married before, young, and had two miscarriages in my twenties. I figured that I would never have a baby and that was that. After I met a fabulous man in my mid-late thirties, I told him I couldn’t have kids. He seemed fine with that and glibly said we could adopt. Fast-forward to after we got married and it became apparent that he wanted to have children.