He wants birth, She wants adoption

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I do not want to get pregnant. I do not want to go through pregnancy. I do not want to have a baby. If I decide I am ready, I want to adopt pre-teens. My husband wants babies. He loves the idea of the pregnant wife, the newborn child, the toddler years…

We have agreed not to discuss it for now, but it sneaks in some when he talks about our future: “…when we have our kids…” If I did get pregnant- unplanned, of course, I would have the baby and love my family. I just really do not want that to happen on purpose.

My husband gets really angry when we would try to discuss it early in our marriage. He knew I wanted to adopt before we were married, but I think he thought I might change my mind or do both. Once he starts to hear that I have not changed my mind he shuts down the conversation. So, we are not talking about it.

This is going to be harder to avoid in the coming year. He is turning 30 and he wants kids. I am stuck as to how to show him that I really want to adopt and that is it.

A: You two are at a very, very important juncture in your marriage. A genuine and important disagreement like this one can be an opportunity to grow. How you handle it will likely have a long-lasting impact on your relationship. Yes, he knew your position when you married. But his feelings as he gets older may be as much a surprise to him as they are to you.

I suggest that instead of taking a position, you make a list of all the reasons you don’t want to be a birthmother and all the reasons that you do want to adopt. Ask your husband to make a similar list, in his case listing all the reasons he does want biological children and the reasons he’d rather not adopt. Positions like “that is it” shut conversation down. Lists of desires and concerns open conversation up.

Make room for a heartfelt conversation about what is on the lists. Can you find commonalities about what you each want for a family? Can you reassure each other about the concerns? If you stay open and don’t let yourselves get defensive, you two may find that there is more room for discussion than you thought.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Jan 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). He wants birth, She wants adoption. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/01/07/he-wants-birth-she-wants-adoption/