When You’re Not Ready to Have a Baby

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Dear Dharma,

I just got married! We are really happy but I have this dark cloud hanging over our union and it’s affecting my relationship with my husband and my parents. My parents want a grandchild right away, and my husband is all for that. I’m not ready.

Under normal circumstances, I know it’s my choice. The thing is, it’s not normal circumstances. My father was diagnosed with cancer just over a year ago. Although he’s managed to hang on longer than expected, it’s clear – and getting clearer every day – that his time is limited.

We already moved up the wedding and changed it from a destination wedding to something local (the trip would have been too much for him) so he could see his “little girl” get married. He “walked” me down the aisle in a wheelchair.

I don’t mind that we changed the wedding plans. I couldn’t imagine getting married without my father there, but a baby is something else. I’m just getting on the corporate ladder in my career and my field is very competitive.

I’d like to get more work experience before I drop out of the workforce for a couple of years.  Also, I want more time with my new husband and to go on some trips and what not before the kids come along.

I do want to have kids, I just want to wait. I feel so selfish! What should I do?

Confused and Wanting to be a Good Wife and Daughter

Dear Good Wife and Daughter,

If anyone’s ever wondered how Dharma goes about answering the many questions she receives, I’ll give you a little insight into the inner workings of her brain.

First, I read the question and let my gut make the first call.  Then I talk my gut out of it and try to find the answer that I think the letter writer wants to hear.  I then move into what I tell everyone else not to do, which is to try and find a solution that would make everyone happy – in this case, that’s you, your family and your husband.

Even though we all know it’s not often we can accomplish that.

I struggle around a little bit more, I walk away and eat some celery… okay, sometimes it’s a cookie…and then, more often than not, I re-examine my initial gut feeling, and there it is.

In this case, Dharma’s gut feeling = wait to have kids until you are ready.

Because your gut feeling is very clear.

I do want to have kids, I just want to wait.

Having children is a big deal.  And although your circumstances are pulling you in different directions, at the end of the day, this is a decision you need to make for the right reasons, not for the reasons you think are expected of you.

I’m sorry for what your dad and your family are going through, and I think it was super sweet of you to re-arrange your wedding to accommodate the situation… but let me ask you this – you made that decision because you felt good about that and it felt right to you, right?  Making it an easy decision.

See the difference?

Spend your time now with your dad, with your new husband, and focusing on your career.  The things you want to be doing.  And stop spending time second guessing your gut… because really… you always come back to that initial place, so…

Having kids when you’re ready for it isn’t selfish – it’s smart.

Dharma

 

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2 Comments

  • I think you will make more of your time with your father if you’re not struggling with pregnancy, and the possibility of neo-natal or post-natal depression. Children are not like a wedding: they are exhausting, emotionally draining and difficult – as well as rewarding and wonderful. You don’t want to be dealing with a new born and the loss of your father at the same time…. not to mention the isolation that commonly occurs with new mothers when they lose their workplace identity.

    There are things he and you can do since you know you want children in the future.
    Talk about the child you might have. Ask him to write a letter to them for the future. Get him to come up with some baby names. Ask him for his best childhood memories and promise to take the child to the place he was born, or grew up, or whatever is a significant thing for him. Get him to share the advice he would have given. He can buy some presents for the child in the future. These things might bring him the comfort that life goes on.

    And of course, make your own memories with him. Be around and attentive, in a way that you just couldn’t be if you were pregnant or had a newborn.

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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