I am completely out of my element and hope to find some help if not kind words. I am a 26 year old female in a long term relationship with my boyfriend of seven years. We have every intention of staying this way, but when I mention children he can only muster a "some day". The man doesn't even want to put a ring on it until he's graduated and working in his field...So you can imagine his thoughts on starting a family.
I, too, am in school. I had was in the second semester of the fifth year of my undergrad when I had attempted suicide for the second time in my life. I dropped out, was profoundly unhappy and returned only to be just as unhappy. I've always wanted children, but I'm afraid by the time he's ready my time would have passed. I have considered adoption, but here in Canada it takes forever to adopt, and I don't see us every meeting the incredibly high requirements demanded of adopted parents. Surrogacy and IVFs are not preferable, but options none the less.
TL;DR: We are very poor university students, but at 26 we are in no way young. Adoption in later years is off the table due to income and IVF and surrogacy is probably the same. He wants to wait for the perfect time, and no matter how many times I, and others, tell him there is no perfect time, he does not believe it.
I know I cannot be happy without children.
What do I do?
I think maybe you need to not be so hard on yourself. You're only 26 and you're both busy getting you're lives started. When I was 26, I didn't even know my now-husband and I hadn't even thought about having children. Your fertility doesn't just magically disappear when you hit your 30s and many people easily have kids into their 40s. One of my good friends spent most of her 20s and 30s travelling and working all over the world and didn't think about having a baby until she met her then partner in her late 30s. She also has endometriosis. Her daughter was born the week she turned 40 with no issues getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. Myself I met my husband when I was 28. We got married when I was just about to turn 31 and our daughter was born when I was 32. I'm now pregnant with our 2nd who will be born just after I turn 37. I got pregnant super quick both times and I had a really easy healthy pregnancy with my daughter.
But I think your partner is right actually that you need to get your lives settled and where you want to be before you start thinking about children and if you want to get married (not everyone does), I would probably also want to know he was ready to make that sort of commitment before I thought about a baby. A marriage that ends is way easier to deal with than a life long commitment to co-parenting with an ex and missing out on half of your kid's life because they live away potentially part of the week. I do think it's realistic to get your lives together now while everything is much easier. Once you have a child, things get so much harder and so much more expensive. I finished a graduate degree while my daughter was a baby and toddler (a 7 year PhD, so I started it before we even got married and I finished when she was 3) and then I started the career I wanted to have. But it's hard work, you don't get sleep, you don't get free time or to sit down, and I've paid a bit over £800 or about $1000 a month in childcare to do it while making very little money myself. I'm thankful I have supportive family who have helped us out when in a bind and my husband runs a successful business which means we generally have a good income and a lot of flexibility in work schedules. But it's not easy and it's true that it's easier to finish up school and get yourself settled in a job you love before you have the stress and complications that parenting brings, no matter how wonderful it also is.
So I would say it all sounds positive for you actually. You have what sounds like a solid relationship with someone who wants children in the future, even if it's not right now. But you're both young and that's totally to be expected. When I was 26, like I said I didn't even know my husband yet, but even if I had, we would not have been ready for kids at that point in our personal lives and our careers and I think that's more than norm than not. Maybe one way to start to open up the conversation is to talk about what he does want in the near future? If he's finishing up his degree soon, what's the next step? Will you move for work? Will you buy a house? Will you take a trip you've always wanted to take? And what are your plans for yourself? You said you struggled with mental health issues in the past, but how are you now? Do you feel well yourself? What are you doing in your life and what do you have to look forward to? I'd plan all the things you could do now that you can't do once you're parents and make the most of the time you are waiting at least. I'd also try not to overthink it. You aren't going to need IVF just because you didn't get pregnant at 26 and if you did, you'd probably need it anyway, so there's no reason to stress about hurrying things up too soon. You're right that there's no perfect time, but there are better times than others and I would focus on what you need to do to make it a better time than it is now (finances, finishing school, new jobs, new homes, etc.). And also just try not to be to hard on yourself. I know it seems all very negative right now, but you mentioned a lot of positives too and I would not lose focus on those. I hope that's a helpful perspective.
At 26 you are far from being old, or even nearing the point where you might have trouble conceiving. I'm 28 and I'd say a majority of people I know around my age haven't started families yet. In Canada over half of first births happen when the mother is 30+ years old. I would try not to put so much pressure on yourself or feel like 26 is "old."
While I agree that there is no "perfect" time, I also agree with your partner that while you're both in school and without a reliable income is probably not a good time to have a baby.
And truly without meaning to sound harsh I also don't think bringing a child into the world placing all of your happiness on it is terribly healthy, either. At this point in your life I would honestly try to work on finding something that makes you happy that cannot be found in another person. I think that's really important. And I think it's important that you find a way to enrich your life while you're waiting for a good time, being content that someday you will be able to start that journey but also content with things in the meantime. Did you see a professional after your suicide attempts/are you still seeing one? They could likely give you some tools to cope and improve things for you.
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