Tell Me About It: Couple ponders rolling the dice on a baby

Published August 6

Q: I mostly want to have a baby; my fiance mostly does not. Iím in my late 30s and have school-age kids; he doesnít have and never planned to have kids. Deciding to have or not to have a baby seems like too enormous a decision for mere mortals. Itís tempting to just stop using birth control, or reduce our use of it, and leave it up to chance. This was his suggestion, not mine.

How stupid would that be?

Up to Chance?

A: If itís a mutual decision, then, itís fine to let nature decide ó as long as both of you are committed to committing to any children that result. For what itís worth, though, "mostly want" and "mostly does not want" isnít a description of parents Iíd choose for myself. Would you choose them for you?

Responsible: While "Deciding to have or not to have a baby seems like too enormous a decision for mere mortals" is a stunning abdication of responsibility, letís indulge it for a minute. Yes, perhaps some divine influence will "decide" whether you conceive. But afterward, you "mere mortals" have to decide ó every. single. day. ó to love and support that child emotionally, mentally, financially, physically, in every single way there is. Are you and your fiance sure you will be able take on that responsibility? If not, please donít gamble on a childís life.

Carolyn: Good call on the abdication, yes. People do decide this one way or the other every day; the letter writer herself has children already and can make a decision as informed as anyoneís.

She therefore must also know how much the two of them need to trust themselves and each other.

He was the one to suggest the baby roulette, but Iím going to spell it out regardless: If he comes to certainty on never wanting kids, and especially if he is counting on her to be the one to use birth control, then he needs to get a vasectomy. Thereís a point at which even one percent gambling doesnít have a place.

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