BaeWatch: “I Have Ideological Differences With My Fiancé About Having A Baby. Is This Relationship Doomed?”
We all know about the societal pressure on women to become mothers soon after marriage. It begins with jokes about ‘naati poote’ and eventually goes on to people asking you about your plan to become a mother followed by advice to hurry up because your biological clock is ticking. And dare a woman have a baby early into her marriage and the society will start judging you for rushing into it. But the fact is that there is no right or wrong way when it comes to deciding for yourself and your body. I always knew that I have nil motherly instincts. I mean I’d rather have cats and dogs than have a poop making machine! Moreover, the idea of going through the pain of childbirth, the humongous parental responsibility, the damage it will do to my physical and mental health and the societal pressure to become a superwoman/supermom and sacrifice my life and career for the kid, scares me to core. This is also why I absolutely despise the idea of having a child. Plus, it’s not like we can ignore the fact that it’s a lifetime of responsibilities and liabilities and kharchas! Now, who wants all that drama? No judgement for those who love the idea. Truth be told, women have reproductive rights but in order to exercise them, we need to have a partner who feels the same way. Being on the same page as your partner about having kids is important for every couple. But what if your partner just refuses to believe that you feel the way you do?
So, when a reader wrote to us explaining her dilemma about how she was struggling to communicate with her fiancé about her decision to never have kids only to be met with resistance, Team Hauterrfly jumped in to understand her problem and find a solution for her. Relationships and people are not black or white. There are loads of grey areas, this is why it is important to know where to draw a line. There is a thin line between red flags and communication gaps especially when it comes to reproductive rights and decisions.
“I have been engaged to my fiancé for nearly a year now and before that, we were in a relationship for about 4 years. We started dating when I was 20-years-old and was at the peak of learning new things in life. Back then I never found anything wrong with having kids and a family of my own. In fact, we messed up and got pregnant once and even had to get an abortion. It was a tough decision for me because at that point of time in my life I felt differently about having a baby. It even took a toll on my mental health and to be honest, my partner did not stand by me as firmly as I expected him to. Over the years, I realised that I do not actually want to have kids. My feelings about it have changed. My partner’s job requires him to travel a lot and even go to places with little to no network for long periods. All of these things put together have made me realise that having a child would require me to go through physical and mental agony which I do not wish to experience. Moreover, I do not want the responsibility to bring up a child on my own and I also feel that I do not have motherly instincts. I have discussed this with my fiancé and made it clear to him that I do not want to have kids as of now and that I cannot promise anything for the future. I may or may not feel the same way a few years down the line but chances are that I won’t want to have a child. I understand that this is an important discussion to have before we get married. I believe it’s important to be on the same page about reproduction. I have told my partner that I am open to adoption but upon discussing this further I realised that we have severe ideological differences when it comes to having kids, adoption and parenting. Firstly, he refuses to discuss the idea of not having kids at all. He brushes it off whenever I try to discuss it and I have told him that he should think about it and make a decision for himself even if it means that we have to part ways. But he always dismisses it. This makes me feel that he thinks that I am not firm on my decision to not have kids and might change my mind. This is making me very uncomfortable and unhappy. I am scared that a few years down the line if I refuse to change my mind, my partner and his family might pressurise me into having a baby. He also cracks jokes on how he will ensure that contraception fails and push me into having a child. All this is taking a toll on my mental health. I am very confused and I don’t know what to do. Does this mean that we’re not meant for each other? Is our relationship doomed already? I feel like we’re on a path to splitsville. What should I do?”
This is what Team Hauterrfly had to say to our troubled reader:
“Run Like There’s No Tomorrow…”
Janvi Manchanda, Senior Features Writer: On any given day, I’d say talk it out (I’m a huge fan of communication) but in this case, I’d say flee. Run like there’s no tomorrow and never look back. This man is a HUGE red flag. Not only is he being dismissive of your opinions and choices but he is also joking about violating your reproductive rights. I’ll be brutally honest with you here, he does seem the type who will push you into having a child and by marrying him you’re only asking for more trouble. It’s like trying to avoid the inevitable. In the end, he will push you to the edge and this will either end in a divorce or with you having a baby that you don’t want. At the end of the day, having a child should be your choice because it is your body that we are talking about. It’s great that you have the kind of clarity and maturity to discuss this important topic of having kids with him but it’s really immature on his part to avoid this conversation. This man clearly has no respect for you, your opinions, your choices, your thoughts or your pain. If the abortion incident wasn’t proof enough, I don’t know what is. I truly believe that couples can live with each other in spite of ideological differences but there’s more than just that in your case. This man is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a sexist posing as a modern Indian man. And the fact that you’re uncomfortable with his behaviour should be reason enough for you to walk away from this toxic relationship. Given the timeline of your relationship, I am guessing you are a 25-year-old woman who knows what she wants from her relationship, life and body and you have every right to decide for yourself. So, give yourself the option that you gave him. I would consider what this man is doing to you emotional abuse. And speaking from experience, I would say you definitely do not want to be trapped in a mentally and emotionally abusive marriage.
“Save Yourself The Trouble And Call It Off”
Priyadarshini Malavia, Writer: Honestly? I feel like he is doing what most people do when a woman says that she doesn’t want children and thinks that you are going through some type of phase; which in my books is a red flag. Your partner should never dismiss your opinion or concerns. And joking about messing with your birth control just to get you forcefully pregnant is also messed up and a red flag. Regardless of whether you want a child, I feel that you should reconsider being with him. While I am certain that this will be painful, identifying the red flags in advance and walking away is way better than putting in so much time and effort into a relationship/marriage just to see it fail. I don’t think you want a husband who will disregard your feelings and crack jokes about them when you’re distressed. Might as well cut your losses, save yourself the trouble and call it off.
“How Can Someone Make A Joke Out Of It?”
Jasveen Kaur Sawhey, Writer: I think that it’s great that you have your head clear about it. I mean rather than delaying the tough talk post marriage, it’s better to be clear about your desires right away. Additionally, it’s your body that also has to take the lead here in deciding, (after all you’re the one who’ll be carrying the child for that long). And it’s better to communicate about your take on not having kids, rather than keeping him in the dark, in case he thinks otherwise. And reading his responses to your choices, I am sorry, sis! But it’s bizarre. I mean, how can someone make a joke out of it, thinking, “yeh toh maan jayegi” What I believe is that, if you two really have different choices and visions about the future, then it’s best to part ways. Because, as much as you want him to understand and respect your decision, you too have to allow him to practise his ideologies and it’s okay if not with you. Because knowing something for a fact and still getting into it will ultimately hurt you and no one else. So, sit down with him, and get straight to the point. It’s gonna be hard, but you don’t really want a partner who makes a mockery out of your perspective.
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“You Deserve A Partner Who Understands Your Fears”
Ritu Sanghvi, Writer: I honestly think it is a good start that you’re clear in your head whether or not you want kids. And speaking to your partner with this clarity was definitely a good decision. But watching his reaction, I have to say your partner seems to be raised in a household where he is taught that every woman wants children and that without a child, a woman is incomplete. In fact, he seems to be the type to put all the responsibilities of a child on the woman and take no responsibility himself. I mean, for crying out loud he didn’t seem to take much responsibility when y’all were going through an abortion. I would suggest that if he has this “isko toh mana lenge” attitude who wants to pass an important discussion off as a joke, then maybe he isn’t the right one for you. I know y’all have been together for a while now and breaking it off would seem scary, but trust me I believe this to be the right decision. After all, you deserve a partner who understands your fears, respects your choices, takes you seriously, and is ready to share responsibilities.
“He Doesn’t Respect Your Decisions”
Preeti Singh, Writer: Getting married is a big deal and considering that you are engaged means that you really love this person. But the guy doesn’t respect your decision at all and that is one of the signs of toxic masculinity. In a relationship, trust and respect is the most important factor and him jokingly saying that he’s gonna mess with your contraception is clearly a sign that he doesn’t respect your decisions. Even if he wants to have a child, he could’ve politely explained it you that he is ready to be a parent and will equally share all the responsibilities with you. But he seems like one of those Kabir Singh types who thinks ‘bacche toh pal jaate hain‘, and only knows how to manipulate women into doing things that they don’t want in the first place. Trust me, we know that you are not ready to be a parent right now and that’s okay but your fiancé doesn’t deserve to be a parent at this moment because of his fucked up toxic mentality. My suggestion would be to break off things with him ASAP!
“Communication Is Important”
Agamya Shukla, Social Media Manager: No one ever should be disrespectful or dismissive of anyone’s opinions. And if that person is the one who you’re planning to spend your life with, then he clearly doesn’t respect what you guys have. He doesn’t love you for who you are and wants to change you according to his convenience and wants. But, having or not having kids is a very big decision and should be discussed on a very serious note. Communication is important because right now you’re in a very different headspace and are firm about your decision. As we know life is so unpredictable, a few years down the line you could still be in the same headspace and maybe forever, or it could be just the opposite. This should be conveyed clearly to him before you take things forward. Don’t do anything under pressure and I wish you always stay this clear in your head about what you want.
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Baewatch is Hauterfly’s weekly service to women everywhere. We are giving no-holds-barred, funny, interesting answers to your relationship problems. We’re not experts so you may end up married or broken up. It could go either way. *shrugs*