How many children: she decides?

“You have no choice in the number of children we’re going to have,” the woman I was going to marry told me. “I, as the woman, have more control in the number of children we’re going to have.”

I honestly thought she was joking and we moved on to another topic of discussion. Weeks later, we visited the topic of children again and I pressed her for numbers. I put mine on the table. I gave her a range - zero to two.

“Zero is my favourite number,” I added.

“I told you, I’m the one with all the control here,” she said. “I can’t commit to a number right now. We’ll see when we get there.”

Is this woman going to have as many kids as she wants without my consent? I wondered as I tried to get through to her. I certainly didn’t want to end up with a brood after we failed to reach a compromise.

Does the partner have any say?

I believe that the majority of women would never consider having a child without their partners’ consent. However, for some women, the urge to have a baby may become so strong that they could consider having a child without discussing it with their partner.

My discussion focuses mainly on couples in long term relationships.  

I would certainly feel overwhelmed if I discovered that the woman whom I’ve pledged to spend the rest of my life with has unwisely decided to have a child without consulting with me first. Not only would this be unfair to me but also to the child.

Different people react differently to forced parenthood. Feelings may range from anger, to betrayal. And one partner’s decision to have a child without the other’s consent may adversely affect the relationship.

The consequences

I shudder to think how I would react if placed in such a situation. I would probably grudgingly try to become a good father to the unplanned kids and try as much as I can not to have any ill feelings towards them. However I’d always have to deal with the fact that my partner was selfish, to put me in a situation which I’d never have anticipated.

I’d have to work harder than planned to provide for our kids. I’ll probably have to retire later than planned and have more sleepless nights worrying about one more child’s future.  

Unfortunately some men, when forced into a similar situation, may behave irresponsibly by choosing to have nothing to do with the child or the mother. These fathers may feel that they are not responsible for the welfare of a child they had no choice in bringing into the world - a decision which is very unfair on the innocent child.

Even though some women may choose to have a child without their partner’s consent it may be difficult for a man to prove that the partner was negligent in falling pregnant.

Every man who has unprotected sex with a woman, no matter what the agreement is, should know that there is a possibility of a child being conceived as the result. Every man should make the decision to be responsible - before a child is conceived.

Read more by Sipho Yanano

Do you think women should have all the say regarding how many children are conceived? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box below.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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