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Disagreement over having a child during Covid

  • 01-12-2021 7:15pm
    Registered Users Posts: 483 ✭✭

    My girlfriend and I had agreed just before Covid that we would try for a baby in the next year or two. She is now asking me to start realistically considering it - as in - very soon.

    I am completely against having children during Covid. I feel like this pandemic has had a very negative impact on children. They have been robbed of some important childhood things - not able to go to schools for months at a time. Having to stay away from grandparents for months at a time. Now looking like mask wearing coming in for children so socialising is different. Told not to go on playdates. Basically children are not allowed to have normal childhoods at the moment.

    Bringing a child into this environment is something I feel would be extremely selfish. I would not willingly force anybody to go through this pandemic and what has gone on.

    With new variants, and restrictions being reintroduced in spite of huge vaccine roll out, I feel like there is genuinely no end in sight to this. I would be very uncomfortable bringing a child into the world in these circumstances.

    And then, who knows what restrictions will be like in terms of hospitals when it comes time to give birth - maybe I won't be able to attend scans or check ups. Maybe I'll only be allowed to be at the birth for a reduced period. Maybe I will only be able to see the baby at certain times.

    Anyway, that's where my head is at in relation to this. My girlfriend is saying it will be fine, and she has friends who are having or who have had babies during Covid. My opinion on them is the exact same as what I've written above - I think it's a bit selfish to be honest.

    I feel quite strongly about it and I haven't quite let her know just how strongly I feel about it - but if I do that I'm effectively saying I am not willing to have children for a completely unknown amount of time. And I did make a promise that we would, which I take seriously, but I just can't shake that having a child right now is wrong.




  • Posts: 1,010 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    Try for the child now. When they are entering school in 5 years time it will be in reeling in the years only.

    Fertility particularly for women drop as they age, what may be an easier conception now may be v difficult or impossible in a few years

  • Registered Users Posts: 483 ✭✭Fred Astaire

    I'm aware of fertility and that it will get more difficult to conceive (also I have no interest in being in my mid to late 50's running around after a teenager) so if it's something that she is set on then it may come to a point where we have to break up so she can have children like she wants.

    I just can't, in good conscience, bring a child into the world right now while all this is going on.

    You've said the bit about reeling in the years - and I would have been inclined to agree with you 2 or 3 months ago - my stance was definitely softening, but the new restrictions, the new variant etc makes me think it's hard to see a time in the next 2-3 years when this will not be a big deal.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,708 ✭✭✭enricoh

    What ages are ye? My sister in law put off trying for a couple of years- wanted to visit Oz etc, and is regretting it now coming up to 40.

  • Registered Users Posts: 483 ✭✭Fred Astaire

    I am 32 and she is 30.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,622 ✭✭✭growleaves

    I think your gf has the right instinct and you have been (understandably) demoralised.

    It is never wrong to have children imo. At the moment, moreso than at other times, it is like making an act of faith in the future.

    You can organise playdates, refuse to mask your child, visit grandparents - you're not a hostage to official meddling and overreaction.

    There may be disadvantages ahead its true but there may also be a lot of joy and love ahead.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I think it's older, school aged children that have/will be mostly affected by this pandemic. Our second was born two weeks before the March 2020 lockdown and she is far more sociable than our first. That's down to us being more experienced and relaxed parents.

    This pandemic will likely be over by the time your child is ready for school, which is the age when these things really start to have an impact. Also, you'll have no real life for the first few years of the child's life so you may as well have no life in the middle of a pandemic.

    We have a third child due in March and I have zero concerns about the impact of the pandemic on the child.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,436 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Covid hit in March 2020. So you are now coming up to the 2 year limit on when you agreed to start trying for a baby. As mentioned above, if your gf gets pregnant tonight it is still going to be 5 years before they are starting school. And you have to think about socialising.

    I have 4 children and the one piece of advice that I regularly return to with regards being a parent is deal with what's in front of you today. The future doesn't exist yet. Deal with now, not with what might happen. So making a plan now to not have a child because you are concerned about the child socialising and having to wear a mask in school in 5 years time is a fruitless exercise.

    Deal with the now. Now, you are allowed attend scans. Partners are allowed attend the birth. They are allowed visit the mother and baby in the postnatal ward. Yes Covid is still here. It may be here forever. Numbers are high, but people are less sick.

    If you don't want a child right now, when do you think you will want one? If Covid never disappears completely do you want to remain childless forever? This is something you have to be honest with your gf about. If you decide you don't want to have a child, possibly ever, then you have to tell her that and give her the opportunity to decide if she wants to stay and wait in hope, or move on and take her chances elsewhere.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,333 ✭✭✭YellowLead

    OP do you want children or are you agreeing to it to keep your partner happy?

    My friend had a baby earlier this year and she is the most thriving happy baby I’ve met!

    While it’s true your partner is only 30 so if she has no undiagnosed issues she isn’t under time pressure just yet - if you agreed to have children with her it’s time to get to it or leave her to find somebody else who does. Covid sounds like an excuse in my opinion - covid won’t really impact a potential baby for years plus it might take years to conceive!

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,581 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    I get where you are coming from, there's so much uncertainty.

    However there are some things you can't put off forever.

    You don't say how old you both are. While obviously the older you are the more at risk from fertility issues and other health issues. I had geriatric pregnancies and conceived both on the first attempt so the "rule" doesn't always hold true.

    That said it could take a couple of years and what happens if you find out there is a problem and need to start ivf etc.

    Realistically you are at least a year away from a physical baby , I really hope Covid is under control by that time. Even if it's not, the first year of a newborn is usually spent fairly close to home anyway, lots of babies in normal times wouldn't be having playdates. As for grandparents visiting etc they've been vaccinated so unless the grandparents have massive social lives mixing with everyone, it should be save enough to visit.

    If I were you I'd tell your girlfriend exactly what you said here,and try to reach a compromise maybe start trying in 6 months.

    What's your end you plan on not trying until covid is a thing of the past? There is a possibility, hopefully slight, that covid is here to do you plan to be childless?

    I remember after I had my first Syria started erupting and that photo of the drowned boy was on all the front pages etc. I was so overwhelmed wondering what have I done, why did I bring a baby into this. Etc. Then I was watching reeling in the years ....the Vietnamese war, the Cuban missile crisis, various recessions were everything looked so grim and thought if our parents thought the same, that it wasn't worth the risk to bring a baby into stormy times, none of us would be here......the point is there will always be some uncertainty, always some doom that can happen, you just have to take that leap of faith.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,203 ✭✭✭Tork

    Fred, are you sure this is about Covid? It sounds like an awfully convenient excuse for opting out of having a child to me. Unless you're one of those people who lives in places like the Covid forums here, revels in negativity and has convinced themselves that this is never going to end? It is true that things aren't looking so good at the moment but path out of the woods rarely runs in a straight line. The vaccines will improve, as will the drugs that are used to treat those who are ill with covid. There are also signs that this latest variant may not be as nasty as the previous ones (this last line may not age well...) This isn't the first pandemic that has come along. Most people didn't know or care about the Spanish Flu until covid came along. Yet it killed 25-50 million people and lasted for over 2 years.

    BBOC made some good points about having children. For most people there is never an ideal time to have them. They'll always wish their job/house/financial situation was better but they manage just fine when their children come along. Nobody can say for certain what the future holds for any of us.

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  • Posts: 1,010 ✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    BY historical standards we are living in the best of times. A Pandemic of this kind hitting previously would have resulted in large scale warfare, doomsday cults and famine.

    One of the most difficult thing with a new baby is the endless stream of visitors and relatives etc that really wear you down. Covid has kept them away

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,265 ✭✭✭✭kippy

    You will always find a reason 'not' to being a child into the world. The world is always a tough place and if you are to believe many getting tougher.

    In reality your child is at least 4 years away from 'missing out' due to Covid. Assuming covid is still a thing then.

    Perhaps you need to ask yourself if this is truly the reason you are putting this off as it is a pretty weak one relative to the other considerations.

  • Registered Users Posts: 127 ✭✭bodyguard1

    Maybe you are not ready to have a child yet but don't want to come out and say this to your GF afraid that it will hurt her feelings or make you come across as not committed to the relationship. Worrying about something that may or may not effect the child attending school in 5 Years or more should you be lucky enough to conceive is unrealistic. If we spent our life worrying about what may or may not occur in the future is pointless we have no control over these issues.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16,489 ✭✭✭✭osarusan

    I think your concerns are not really all that rational to be honest.

    Yes, there may be hospital restrictions and the like during the pregnancy and birth, but on the other hand, working from home would give you the kind of daily interaction parents in the past would have loved.

    You are six years away from your child going to school. Yes, I suppose it's possible that Covid could still be impacting on schools then, but if you think like that, it could be impacting in any way on anything, and how would you ever live your life or make any plans at all.

    More than anything, anything else at all, a child benefits from a happy and stress free home environment and loving parent(s). If you can provide that together, you really have very little to worry about.

    But if you really are set against it, tell her now, she has all the facts at her disposal to make the decision that is best for her.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,037 ✭✭✭standardg60

    This has nothing to do with covid for me either. The OP agreed to have a child 'within the next year or two', so nothing too concrete, but now it's come to the crunch on the girlfriend's side he's running for the hills.

    OP why haven't you married this girl before you've started discussing children? I'd be asking myself this question first and if i didn't have a good answer i'd be letting her go and find someone who is actually committed to her.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,923 ✭✭✭✭Purple Mountain

    Why do people need to be married to each other before they can start a family together?

    Ignore that advice, OP.

    To thine own self be true

  • Registered Users Posts: 483 ✭✭Fred Astaire

    The marriage question isn't relevant in my eyes. I am committed, that really isn't in question in my eyes, I have issues with marriage for other reasons.

    As for children - I won't lie and say that I'm crazy about having children, but at the same time it's not something I'm against doing.

    I think I would be a good father, I've had plenty of experience with babies and children, I was the eldest child with a massive age gap between me and the youngest so I would often have fed them/changed them, winding, nappies, put them down for bed - all the usual.

    We have babysat a few times in the last few months and it's me who usually is the one able to get the baby to calm down when upset, or sleep. She always says that I would be an amazing father because she thinks I am great with kids.

    I'm not looking for a way out, I am committed. We have a good relationship and I'm quite sure if I said that I wanted to wait another year or two that she would, but that isn't fair and I already made the promise - my word is important to me to keep.

    The Covid thing is a real concern of mine, it's not something that I've just thought up as a deflection tactic - I don't like how children have been treated during this pandemic and it's not easing up. It's not an environment I want to bring a child into if I could help it - I would rather they have a normal childhood as opposed to one where they maybe couldn't go to school or creche at times and have to wear a mask the whole time, or be told they shouldn't be playing with other children.

    There have been some valid points made about the length of time between now and when this would really be a problem like I have described. I take on board the point about always being able to find a reason not to bring a child into the world too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,037 ✭✭✭standardg60

    Because nowadays it's much more of a personal commitment between two people rather than something that needed to be 'seen' to be done by others to make it acceptable to have children.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,581 ✭✭✭Princess Calla

    OP you're coming across fairly genuine tbh.

    It's not going back on your word to reevaluate a situation. For all you know she might be having a little wobble too.

    The only thing I would say is if she's working from home the pregnancy will be alot easier on her without the commute. The commute almost "killed" me but then I was sick right up until I gave birth. I would have absolutely loved to have been able to wfh.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,035 ✭✭✭afatbollix

    Some great advice above.

    I'm the same age :)

    We wanted kids for years, We had a tough couple of years we, unfortunately, had a miscarriage and a stillbirth before we found out my wife was pregnant a week before lockdown! Saying you want kids mightn't be as easy as looking at the GF in that way and boom she's pregnant. So think about that.

    Our bundle of joy came in November 2020, Cases were rising but it was grand. It was great no one bothered us at all, We got to relax about becoming a family instead of family/friends 'helping' yet they need more looking after than the new baby. I'm now WFH and it's great seeing her grow up! I would of been out of the house at 7am home at 7pm. She would be in bed so she would never of seen me. I spoke about this with friends who had a kid 6 years ago and the second in Dec 2019 and they have a completely different relationship with their kids. For me covid was actually a blessing, So to think that from your point of view I was selfish I would have to disagree with. It has given us a lot more opportunities to be involved with our kids a lot more.

    As others have said you adapt when they arrive, I think there is something else going on here and you are using Covid as that excuse to stop it all. Do you really want kids? She has waited 2 years for you, Time to get in the pot or get out.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    It honestly sounds to me like you don't really want to have a child and are using the pandemic to make a lot of excuses to as back track on the promise you made to your girlfriend.

    Maybe sub-consciously.

    Especially when you are even considering breaking up with her over it.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 22,259 CMod ✭✭✭✭Pawwed Rig

    I think you are over reacting. It is a great time to have kids as working form home looks to be here to stay. I have spent more time with the kids in the last 20 months than the rest of their lives before that.

    The schools being shut was difficult but the government seem committed to prioritising schools above everything else.

    If anything (in our case) I would say it was more selfish having kids when we would be gone 10 hours of every day.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,974 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    I think the Children going through this, who are old enough to remember will be much stronger and well adjusted because of it. I'd say they will also be happier in the long run than those for years before or after COVID.

    My child was born this year, she'll only ever hear of COVID in stories. If you have a child next year, will they ever even know what Covid is outside of history class?

    I was a directionless loss at times before her, I'd remake the world now to protect and help her.

    The sheer incredible joy I get from her squeezing my finger, pulling my beard, her laugh and on and on, I never thought such joy or fulfilment was possible.

    I don't mean to be cruel, I only want to help and for you to be happy but your post is toxic and sounds like you are very depressed, been there too.

    Children grew up previously in much tougher times where COVID wouldn't have even registered as a serious disease, that's within living memory and there is a lot to suggest they were much happier.

  • Registered Users Posts: 483 ✭✭Fred Astaire

    That last line is a very good point which I hadn't really considered yet.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,265 ✭✭✭✭kippy

    You do come across as genuine so perhaps I may have been a bit harsh on you.

    But at the same time I think your fears are irrational. There's really no such thing as a 'normal' childhood. Your childhood is normal to you and that's about it. And I would say there's never an ideal time to have a child. You will, if you really want to, find a reason not to go for it now. Kids are born into various scenarios and are remarkably resilient. Once they are brought up in a caring family unit, you cannot really control much more.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,206 ✭✭✭FintanMcluskey

    It's a very practical point OP.

    I personally would wait until Covid and restrictions are in the rear view mirror.

    A baby is hard work without cabin fever due to stay at home orders etc from government.

    It's also important to remember the pandemic and restrictions have been life changing for many people. I could certainly understand how someone's views on life, and their partners, could have changed massively over the last 2 years.

    If your "not sure" about kids, do not have them

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,037 ✭✭✭standardg60

    If this is the case OP then your fears are misguided. There is nothing more important for a child than to be raised within a loving relationship. As mentioned above they are extremely resilient, and also take into account that while covid is leading us to lead different lives than we're used to, someone being born into this scenario doesn't know anything different, so all or any restrictions will seem absolutely normal to them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,377 ✭✭✭RedXIV

    I get where you're coming from OP. I get the occasional twang of guilt thinking about climate change and that I'm not being as green as I could and what they will have to deal with as a result. And I massively agree with "there is no perfect time" to have kids. I'm only a few years older than you but I've four, ranging from 17 to 3, and I have to agree with the poster above who said you get unparalleled quality time with kids during work from home. My 3 year old is obsessed with me much to the chagrin of her long suffering, front line mother.

    Having the foresight to consider the state of the world is not the sign of an uncommitted parent. It doesn't necessarily mean you are making the right or wrong choices but a few things that are truths to consider:

    1. As you get older, it will be harder to conceive
    2. As of now, you do not know of any potential fertility issues, you could have longer delays ahead of you if these are uncovered.
    3. There has never been a "perfect" time to have a baby.

    Best of luck OP, kids are a massive undertaking, but you seem to be planning appropriately.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,761 ✭✭✭Effects

    Sounds like you either aren’t mature enough to have children, don’t really want children, or don’t see a future with your partner.

    Or maybe COVID is just affecting you more than you are aware. You shouldn’t get so stressed about it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,994 ✭✭✭colly10

    I’d forget about the hospital, I had my first child in January when things were much stricter and while it wasn’t ideal, it also wasn’t a major issue (and i’m saying that despite the alarm going off in the early stages). There’s little or nothing you can do in hospital other than provide support and if she’s happy she can manage with the current situation then there should be no issue there. From your own point of view, you’d consider not having a child cause you’ll see it a little less while in hospital.

    On the future, it’s about 6 years before your child will be in school. Even if elements of this will still be around then there won’t be any shortage of people that will ignore them. My son has been seeing his grandparents since he was 3 weeks old, he will be going on play dates and won’t be wearing a mask when I think he’s too young for it.

    The pandemic has been ideal for my son. If it hadn’t happened I’d hardly have seen him with work. I’ve been working from home since March of last year though so have got to spend lots of time with him and he’s a very happy child

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