Mat and I have struggled with this question since the very beginning of our relationship. When he asked me to marry him on our 1-year anniversary, my response was not a teary-eyed “yes” but a matter-of-fact “you know I want a baby, right?”. From that day, we spent years stuck at an impasse that caused us anxiety and frustration. We even broke up for a couple of weeks once, after declaring ourselves unwilling to compromise on the baby issue.
Meanwhile, some of our friends and family members have had beautiful children and others have decided not to. Some have struggled with fertility problems and others have struggled with their partners. The decision to bring another person into the world is big, in fact, it may be the biggest decision we make in our entire lives, which might explain the power it has, to bring us together or tear us apart.
After years of arguing, we finally started to listen to, and understand, each other’s different viewpoints. We discussed the pros and cons of having, and not having, a baby and realized that there could be happiness and hardship in both situations. We also realized that we had less control over the decision than we thought; we might decide to have a baby and find out that we can’t conceive, or we might decide not to have a baby and then get pregnant unexpectedly.
We managed to overcome this incredible hurdle in our relationship by letting go of our perceived control over the situation, by truly acknowledging our individual concerns and by learning an important life-lesson: that we should look for happiness in all directions.
Today, Mat and I remain undecided on the issue but it is no longer a point of contention for us. We’re able to relax knowing that we’ll be happy no matter what we decide.