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Deadlocked: I’m ready for kids … and she’s not

My name is Eric and my wife’s name is Polly. We’ve been together 7 years, and tied the knot 5 years ago. We had the kid conversation early in our relationship. Polly said she absolutely wanted to have kids some day. I was certain that I wanted them too. Around our first year anniversary, I mentioned the kid issue to Polly. She said she didn’t feel ready yet. I respected that. She had just started a graduate program and I understood that was important to her. A few years passed, and when Polly finished her Masters I brought it up the kid issue again. She said she still wasn’t ready. She needed a few years to get her career established first. Fair enough. So we both built our careers and eventually purchased our first home together.

Time marched on and Polly and I were happy. Then a few of my closest friends announced that they were going to be fathers. I had grown up with these guys and we’d done everything around the same time – going to high school, heading off to college, getting married, buying a home. I felt a pang of regret that I wasn’t going to be a dad at the same time as they would be. Plus, I was just about to have my 35th birthday. I didn’t want to be an “old” dad – I still wanted to be young enough to have energy to do things with my kids. So I decided it was time to raise the kid issue again with Polly. We ended up in a huge fight. Polly still wasn’t ready to have kids and didn’t think she’d be ready for the next 5 or so years, which would make me a 40-year-old dad. She explained that she wanted to build her career, and since she’s 5 years younger than me, having a baby wasn’t on her radar right now. Her friends weren’t having kids yet and she said she didn’t want to be pressured into a huge commitment that would dramatically change her life. For my part, I’d been ready to have kids for a long time, but felt like I’d been very patient and understanding of Polly’s readiness for kids.

We couldn’t find any common ground or compromise because we both felt pretty strongly about our positions. So we tiptoed around each other for a couple of weeks and avoided any talk about babies. Frankly, we hardly talked at all. Then one night this week, Polly broke down in tears and said she couldn’t handle us fighting about this issue. To be honest, I was pretty broken up about it too. We had a heart to heart talk and I asked Polly the question I’d been afraid of asking “did she truly think she’d ever want to have kids?”  She took some time to think about her answer, then said that she did want us to have kids together, but just not now. So I asked “When do you think you might be ready?” and she said “I honestly don’t know.” It was clear we are still deadlocked. So we agreed to make an appointment with a counsellor to help us work through this issue. We’re seeing her next week. I’m not sure what the outcome will be, but I know that I love Polly and I want her to be the mother of my children. I’m just hoping we can work through this deadlock.

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