Negotiating Family Expansion/Decisions to Have Children

Happy couple running in a field

The definition of “family” is unique to each person based on their own set of values. For some, a family can simply look like two partners sharing a space together; for others, family must include two partners taking care of a child, or pet, in a parent-like fashion. As such, we at PCT are inclusive to all people who are exploring how they wish to define family and who, or what, needs to be included to fit that criterion.

Occasionally, folks come to us so that they can have a dedicated space to more openly discuss decisions around expanding their families. Couples therapy can be incredibly helpful in examining thoughts, feelings, and reactions that pertain to opening up a partnership to include others to care for. It is common for us all to have reactions to family dynamics since, in some way, shape, or form we have all had our own experiences with these dynamics growing up.

However, it is not uncommon that partners might have conflicting feelings about decisions pertaining to family expansion. Further, it is normal for there to be some level of uncertainty, either in one or both partners, about what this type of expansion might look like for the couple. Some examples of this can look like the following:

  • “I have always known I wanted kids, but my partner seems uncertain if they do, too.”
  • “How can me and my partner stay together if we have different desires about becoming parents in the future?”
  • “I imagined myself being a parent once I found my partner, but I am starting to feel unsure about it.”
  • “It feels like we should be having children now that our biological clocks are ticking.”
  • “This world feels like it’s only getting more complicated; what would it even look like to bring a child up in the future?”
  • “We have one/multiple child/children, how do we know if we are ready to have more?”

If any of the above questions feel relevant to thoughts you and your partner have entertained, couples therapy might be a great option so that you can more fully explore them together. Since family expansion can often feel like a non-negotiable for some couples, we recommend taking these conversations seriously and giving them the proper space that they deserve. Additionally, if there are any questions about continuing to expand your family, such decisions are best made when both partners are thoughtful and aware of the concerns that can arise in choosing to lovingly grow your family tree.