Sooner or later there comes a time when instinctively the desire for a child is born or when you think you can no longer postpone this decision. You talk to your partner, but he “can’t hear” you. This is a rather common situation today, given the general tendency to postpone the arrival of the child. Such an important project, however, if not shared, can seriously put the couple in crisis. What to do in these cases?
“The fact that paternity has moved forward in time, in fact, leads women to do a little more pressure within a relationship that they feel stable, otherwise fearing that they will not be able to implement the project,” explains Roberta Giommi, psychologist and psychotherapist, Director of the International Institute of Sexology in Florence. “Until the age of 30, boys and girls live a similar dimension: they study, travel, work … With the approach of 36 years, however, when there is a collapse in fertility, there is a concern, on the part of women, not to be able to become mothers, no longer by choice but by impossibility. Men, on the other hand, are aware that they have more time and often prefer to wait. Faced with the ‘no’ of the partner, the woman finds herself in a complex situation where the age factor plays a key role. If she is young, she is generally more willing to ‘wait’ for him to make the decision, but if she has passed the age of 36-37 she has to deal with her own age. It is a situation of great emotional difficulty. The risk, in fact, could be to interrupt a consolidated story and then perhaps not find another partner willing to have children quickly.
What are the reasons that most often lead men to postpone?
“Given that there are cases in which, instead, men insist because they do not want to give up implementing the project with the chosen woman, generally the reasons for refusal are different: they may be linked to the fact that they do not have clear ideas on how the story will go on, not want to take over the responsibility of parents, to want to enjoy life once they have completed their studies and found work,” explains Roberta Giommi. “There are also men, whom we psychologists call ‘symbiotic’, who do not tolerate the presence of another important affection within the couple and others who see the partner as a playmate or as a maternal figure for whom they fear to lose his attention after the birth of the child. This is usually done at an unconscious level, without any real awareness. There are also cases, then, of men who have already had children from previous stories: they may, therefore, not have the desire or the opportunity to start all over again or fear being in a complicated situation to be managed at the psychological level,” says the expert.
How to deal with the subject without making the partner feel “pressed”?
“Surely it is better not to behave dramatically. It is not necessarily the case that a man is moved by the desperate will of his partner to have a child. Excessive insistence generally leads to greater resistance. The advice is to try, instead, to make the desire arise spontaneously in the other, perhaps by attending couples of friends with sympathetic children little ‘pestiferous’. If he fears that his partner will ‘turn’ into a ‘360-degree mother’, he can explain that things won’t change completely, that he will always be able to carve out spaces for himself, perhaps with the help of his family and relying on the support of his grandparents and uncles”, continues the expert.
Is it important that women reflect well on what they want without being influenced by the biological clock?
“In fact, today there is a social stereotype whereby a woman must necessarily want a child. Some people are afraid of regretting not having had a child, but if at 42-43 years old there is still no such desire, why not consider the idea that you may not even have children? Becoming a mother is not mandatory. Sometimes, the woman does not realize that she is doing ‘arm wrestling’ with her partner when she is first to be scared. Maternity inevitably involves great changes and sacrifices: it can compromise independence and reduce free time, make the woman feel tired and perhaps forced to suspend work: changes not always easy to accept. It may be worthwhile, therefore, to think about it not to get discouraged, but to have a realistic idea of what awaits us.