wikiHow to Tell Your Wife You Don't Want Any More Children

Discussing whether to have more children with your wife is never easy. Whether your wife wants more children after you initially decided on a certain number or if she just wants to grow your family, you need to let her know how you feel about the prospect of a larger family. Since the decision to have more children or not is a delicate subject, prepare to be caring but clear in how you go about discussing the topic with her. Keep an open mind and consider every aspect of your family dynamic before having a talk.


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    Determine why you don’t want more children. Take time to think through the real reason why you don’t want more children. Be honest with yourself, no matter the reason. If the thought of more children makes you feel trapped, bringing on a feeling that you and your wife will never regain your freedom, this is a very real and valid reason. Or, you may be concerned that having more children might put too much of a financial burden on the family you already have. No matter the reason, be true to yourself––once you can formulate clearly why you don’t want more children, you can begin to find appropriate ways to explain and communicate your feelings with your significant other.
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    Think about whether you don't want more children now––or ever. In many cases, the timing may not be right financially or emotionally for you. In this instance, it isn’t that you never want to have more children, it’s just the time isn’t right for the both of you right now. Perhaps your career is at a delicate stage or perhaps you and your wife are able to travel with ease with only one or two children but having more children would curtail this ease. Perhaps you find yourself only just coping with the amount of children you have already. Or maybe you already have a brood from a previous relationship and the thought of having even more children really overwhelms you. So, how do you know if your preference to not have any more children is more about postponing it to a later date or it's always going to be never? Ponder the current family dynamic and try to picture another child in the mix, at some point. Would your existing children enjoy having another sibling? Also, will you be more financially stable in the coming years, a reality which would accommodate another family member? Or does the thought of having another child never appeal to you, no matter what changes in circumstances are possible? It's a good idea to list the reasons on paper as a way of working through them.
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    Consider why your wife wants more children. Do you know your wife's reasons for having more children? She may not have articulated her reasons clearly but expresses her desire consistently. It's important to get to the bottom of her reasons so that you can be more understanding; doing this will give both of you an opportunity to examine her reasons as well. In some cases, you may simply be having a communication breakdown. For example, if you decided you both wanted four children early in your marriage but you've since changed your mind but she still clearly has this number in mind, now may be a good time to revisit this original wish. If you’ve changed your mind, she may have too and yet it could be the unspoken "elephant in the room" unless you discuss it again. However, if she has been hinting or actively talking about having more kids now, think about what has been going on in your home. Some of the motivating reasons why your wife may want to have more children include:
    • The youngest child has gotten older and is no longer as dependent as before. In this case, it's likely that she shaped her world around being responsible for the child and as the child gains independence, she feels a sense of loss at not being needed as much.
    • Your spouse feels that her biological clock is ticking and running out, that there may not be many more chances to have a child. Women's fertility begins to drop dramatically from 35 onward and after 40 it's very low. For women who had planned to have a larger family but stopped for a while after the first or second child, the sudden realization that time is no longer on their side can be frightening.
    • Your spouse recently suffered a loss in the family––parents or siblings, or even a child. It is a natural response in many to wish to bring forth new life to help cope with loss.
    • Your spouse seems to be unfulfilled either at work or at home. She may see another child as a "solution" to her unhappiness.
    • Your spouse is depressed. Sometimes depression or deep sadness can cause a person to want to fill the emptiness with a child. In this case, you'll need to encourage and support her to get treatment for her depression above all.
    • You currently have children who are all the same sex (and your wife wants a son or daughter). Given the media pressure for this "evening up" process, from the likes of Victoria and David Beckham, it's not at all an unusual motivation.
    • Peer pressure. Your wife is seeing other moms with larger families and wants to participate in a social phenomenon, especially if she knows these women and is regularly sharing child-raising discussions with them.
    • Your wife experienced a recent unplanned pregnancy loss. In this case, treading very carefully is warranted because the rawness of such loss is intense.
    • Having a lot of children is something she has “always” wanted since she was young––it's just one of the things that form her life's plan.
    • Her own childhood often has an impact. Wanting many children can originate from feelings of loneliness as an only child through to having grown up part of a huge family with many siblings. It's helpful to talk through childhood influences in this case, as they may be overpowering the reality of the great but different life the two of you have now.
    • You may be having marital trouble and she may believe that having a baby will strengthen the marriage. Of course, this is dangerous ground to be on but if it is a driving force, it needs to be addressed honestly, and to try to find solutions confronting the real issues at hand.
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    Schedule a time to talk. Choose a suitable time for what will be a fairly intense and emotionally charged discussion. Don't choose an anniversary, eventful or stressful day. Instead, select an evening following a relatively fun or relaxing afternoon, preferably on the weekend. Also, try to choose an occasion that provides you with unlimited time to talk––the last thing you want to do is begin the discussion and then have to stop because of time constraints or interruptions. Importantly, let your wife know why you want to talk. Chances are, she already knows your feelings about additional children, so be honest about your intentions.
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    Have your discussion in a private area. Since the conversation will most likely be emotionally charged, a busy restaurant or public place is the wrong place to talk about a topic this sensitive. One of the best settings for the discussion is at home. Make arrangements for your children to sleep out that night and or if that doesn’t work, wait until the children are in bed to talk.
    • A weekend away somewhere quiet, such as a cabin in the woods or a beach house might be a good choice for both privacy and distancing from the home environment. As you relax and the kids play away from your talking area, this can be a more relaxed and less emotionally charged place to have a deep and meaningful discussion. On the downside, if either of you ends up being really upset, being stuck in the middle of nowhere can make things truly awkward.
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    Begin the discussion by asking your wife why she wants to have more children. Listen intently and maintain eye contact. She needs to know that she is being heard, so ensure she understands she has your undivided attention. After she states why she wants children, repeat back what you heard to ensure you fully understand her position.
    • Be sure that you try to see things through her eyes. Using the list above, you should be able to discern what her motivations are and be respectful of them.
    • Be prepared to have some of your own fears or worries confronted. For example, she may sense that you're afraid of having another child because you don't feel that you can find enough extra love for another child. She may explain to you that love is expansive and comes from an account that never runs out, that it simply shows itself in different ways, responding to each individual child naturally and as needed. Being shown reasons against your own reasons may seem confronting but it's important to allow yourself to face her opposite reasoning rather than remaining ignorant or stubborn. You may or may not be persuaded by what she has to say but you will feel like you've reached your decision on a sounder ground if you do listen and take on board her reasons as well.
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    Gently explain why you don’t want more children. Start the conversation by telling her you understand and respect her feelings. If originally you agreed to having four children but you're now happy with two, paint her a rosy picture of how your lives have changed for the better with the little family you already have and emphasize how lucky you are to have your existing children and the cohesive, contented family you currently enjoy. Explore how you think the number of children you have now enables all of you to do the variety of activities as a family and how the intimacy and enjoyment of your small family is a real joy to you. By focusing on what is good about what the two of you already have by way of a family, you're seeking to help her to see that your contentment, her contentment and the contentment of the family as a whole is dependent on the status quo and that there is a risk of spoiling this, of unbalancing it all by adding more children to the equation. Try to avoid being overly negative; rather, focus constantly on what is so good about how things are now. Calmly and gently state your position as to why you don’t want to have more children, whether it’s for financial or lifestyle reasons. If you suspect she wants to have more children based on external factors such as feeling unfulfilled at work or if you're having marital trouble, ask her to explore how she’s been feeling in a non-threatening, caring way. Some approaches include:
    • If she's unhappy at work, ask her if she would consider quitting or changing jobs. Help her by offering her the space and support needed to change what she's doing until she finds a more fulfilling pursuit. Be non-judgmental.
    • If she has recently experienced a family trauma, urge her to discuss her feelings with you more often. Be supportive and if she wants to seek therapy, be supportive of this also.
    • If the baby you've already had together has now grown up and she doesn’t feel as needed as before, discuss the possibility of her going back to work (or working for the first time ever) or volunteering in the local community, at a school or with a charity of her interest. You could also consider downsizing your home to something more manageable or closer to places and people of interest such as museums, galleries or friends so that she can get out more and doesn't feel lonely stuck at home.
    • Consider alternatives such as taking in foster children, depending on her reasons. Be open to compromise, that's a possible compromise that does not involve a lifelong commitment.


  • Understand that you may not resolve the matter during one discussion, however before you finish your talk let her know you love her and that together you will find common ground.
  • Know that sometimes there may be a not concrete reason why your wife may want more children, but remain supportive and open minded.
  • If your wife becomes irrational, withdrawn or angry during your talk, back away from the topic and revisit it when she is calmer or more open to talking about it again. At the very least, be reassuring and don't pester her.
  • If your spouse has been solely responsible for preventing pregnancy in the past, consider offering to take the responsibility for birth control into your own hands. This may help your partner to feel that you are both equally responsible for and in control of your life decisions regarding children.


  • Avoid storming away from the discussion or making accusations during your discussion. The idea is to find common ground and to resolve the matter together.
  • Never make an appointment for a vasectomy to solve the problem––especially without consulting your wife. While it's your body, it is also about a joint relationship and making joint decisions about something you both have a say in. Pushing her to agree by such an act will damage mutual trust and reliance in your marriage.
  • Hold your boundaries unless she's already pregnant. Discussing it in general first would give her a chance to explain whether this is planning or planning for how to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.

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