Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Let intimate communication return before talk of kids starts
Va.: How do I talk to my husband about having kids? I know it sounds dumb, but we talked about kids while dating and engaged, and we both want them. We've been married now for five years (together for 12), and we're not getting any younger. I have tried dropping hints but have never come right out and said, "Let's try for kids." We've always said "when we have kids," etc. … but the past six months, this "when" is becoming very strong.
He's on meds for depression and will have to have his doctor change that because it diminishes his sex drive. How and when do I bring this up? I can't imagine when we're watching TV or over dinner.
Carolyn: I feel like a cheap local cable commercial that has run a few too many times, but: You have to figure out why you can't talk to your husband before you even consider having kids with him.
When your intimate relationship is healthy (and I'm not talking about the one for which he needs to adjust his meds), you can hit "pause" and say, "For the past few (whatevers), I haven't been able to think of anything besides babies."
That's because you will have hit "pause" just a few nights ago to ask, "Oh, did you call the furnace guy to make an appointment?" only to get happily sidetracked into a 20-minute conversation about something completely unrelated to the furnace — and something similar will have happened a week ago, and so on, going back so far that neither of you would think twice about just saying to each other whatever happens to be on your mind.
This is just one example of the kind of free-flowing (a) acceptance of each other and (b) communication that make a couple into good child-rearing partners.
The couples who communicate by dropping hints and wondering how to bring things up may still be together and in love, but they've got walls between them that they have to negotiate to get anything done. When you're raising kids, the amount you have to accomplish together mushrooms — be it minor day-to-day chores or major decisions that determine a child's heath care, education, values. Parents who can't talk to each other create at best an inefficient household, and at worst one that's erratic, confusing, unstable.
So deal with the walls, and then talk about kids; you can even use the kid conversation as a means to approach the larger issue of your reluctance to speak openly. Just hold off on the kids until your intimacy is back. (Both kinds, this time, I guess.)
Should you both agree now is the time, then also make sure that your husband's new depression treatment is under control before baby makes three. Switching meds isn't like switching socks.
Technically speaking, it's never too late to send thank-you note
Washington, D.C.: How late is too late to send a thank-you card for a graduation gift?
Carolyn: Since your choices at this point are between "too late" and "never," the better choice is always "too late." Send the note.