When One Partner Isn't Ready

What if only one of you is ready to become a parent?


Maybe you never talked about having a baby. Or you said that you wanted kids -- sometime. You might even have agreed to have your first child at 25 (or 30, or 35). But now one of you is ready to move ahead -- and the other isn't so sure.

Ambivalence about making the leap into parenthood is extremely common, according to Austin E. Galvin, CSW, a New York-based psychoanalyst whose practice includes many couples "on the brink." According to Galvin, the first question to ask isn't "Why worry?" but "What's your hurry?"

Galvin notes that when one partner is suddenly desperate for a baby, it may have more to do with the marriage than with the desire to be a parent. He suggests that maybe the desperate partner is hoping to solidify a shaky relationship by drawing his or her spouse in more deeply. Maybe on some level, there's a hope that the baby will provide a level of trust, or intimacy, that's currently lacking in the marriage, he suggests.

On the other hand, if the baby was planned and one spouse suddenly starts throwing up roadblocks, there could be childhood issues at stake. Galvin notes that the resistant partner may need to work through unresolved feelings about his or her own parents.

So how can you figure out what's really going on, and decide on the next steps?

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