Q. We have been married for 10 years now. We don’t have any children, but of late we have been facing a lot of pressure from the family. The issue is that while my husband and I had decided not to have kids, he is now giving in to the pressure from his parents. This is putting extra pressure on me, as I am against the idea of having kids. What do I do to convince them?
Ans: Unfortunately, you are fighting the old age battle of generational values, the only way is to stay brave and stick to your decision. Be firm but compassionate, your in-laws are coming from a different set of values and not malicious intent. They are trying to solve their own insecurities by telling you what to do. They are conforming to their societal roles and beliefs without realising how much harm their pressure can cause.
They probably don’t realise that many people have kids because of family pressure and end up resenting, not only those who convinced them, but also their children. This is unfair not just for the adults involved but also for the new life coming into the world. Be firm but compassionate towards your husband too, he is also stuck in the middle of this battle.
It is not easy to go against one’s parents in a society that still believes that the best values are traditional and static, even though times have changed. Emotionally he is also pulled towards those who raised him for so many years. Be firm but compassionate when setting your boundaries. Offering them empathy and kindness will help ease out the blame and resentment.
It is unfortunate that you don’t agree with your in-laws on the type of family and relationships one should pursue. You all have the right to feel disappointed about this, both you and them. But don’t apologise for sticking to your decision, nor ask for an apology from them. Stay with the disappointment, listen to it, and just pay attention to what they tell you, when you firmly say no to having children. Empathise with them and reassure them that you love them and care about their feelings. Pressure will slowly dissipate but it will take time.
The writer is an Intimacy & Relationship Coach, Founder of The Intimacy Curator, an organisation promoting self-discovery through emotional and sexual wellbeing (www.theintimacycurator.com). (Have a query? Send it on firstname.lastname@example.org)
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