My in-laws want me to have more children but I am done

Thursday June 11 2020


By Kharono Lufafa

I have to say I married late. My husband and I currently have two children and I do not want to have any more. However, his family are demanding that I have more children since two are just not enough. I am almost 40 and do not want to have children in 40’s. How should I handle the situation? Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

This is a very common situation, especially in the African context. You are not alone in this. Many young women, after the wedding or customary marriage are expected to conceive. It is, therefore, common for in-laws to interfere in their children’s marriages partly because of the un-cut ties between the adult children and themselves.

Researchers believe that there is a biological clock ticking for grandparents too. As such, grandparents yearn to have many grandchildren as a family continuity.

As a couple, you may have your own reasons why you prefer a certain number of children, one of them being age, as you earlier mentioned. It is, however, important to learn why in-laws interfere in the children’s marriages. Some believe that it is a selfish move not to have children or even to have few in number.

Reproduction is seen as a religious issue by some parents of a much older generation. Others genuinely enjoyed training children and so want the pleasure to raise more.


What can you do, as a daughter-in-law, when being pressured to have more children? Assure them that you appreciate their concern. Be tactful and stay cool by sticking to your plans but at the same time do not allow for any loopholes that will show what you intend to do. You also need to keep calm and do not argue with them as this may annoy your husband. Take it cool, they will eventually back off. There is no need for explaining details to them as sex is sacred and you are not under obligation to have the account of your sex life with your husband to your in-laws.

Let them know that you are not comfortable discussing that part of your life. Tell them that you are still discussing it with your husband and then see what next.

Draw a line and they will respect you for who you are. Having a baby or not is a matter of discussion between you and your husband. Most important of all, if you and your husband are on the same team, you will face no real problem. Maintain a cordial relationship with your in-laws amidst their demands having it at the back of your mind that even when you do not like it, they will still interfere.

Usually, it is not the words that are spoken that trouble us but instead the interpretation. Save your mind the burden of thinking a lot about your in law’s pressures to have more children than you intend to have.

Rather, find out if your hubby has no problem with having two children. As long as he has no issue with this, just continue being a nice daughter-in-law and have the children you want to have.

Try as much as possible not to confront them or argue it out, stay cool and calm as just one sharp word from you can blow the entire relationship. This is for the case of keeping peace in line with the cultures that surround marriage.
The best person to give a disclaimer, if possible, is your husband since words from their own child will not appear as rude. You can always choose to speak your mind and let your in-laws know your stand on private issues.

Do not be adamant
Phoebe Miriam. If you are in agreement with your husband, then let him stand his ground and say no to pressure from the in-laws. Pray that your husband remains resolute against the pressure but if it turns out that he wants more children, you can still have more. You can at least have four children and maintain peace in your home. That is what marriage involves; adjustment and acceptance.

You have to compromise
Joseph Banda. In making decisions like this, you and your husband come to a mutual agreement. If he wants more children, then go ahead and have one or two more. In marriage, you have to compromise at some point.

Let him handle it
Maurice Okello. There are situations where it is understandable if you do not want any more children. These involve having a life threatening disease. In this case, your husband should have a word with his family to just let you be. At the end of the day, however, the decision is between the two of you.

Talk to your husband
Anena Phiona. You got married to your husband not his family. His family have no right over your life or the decisions you make. The only person that matters here is your husband and what he needs. Sit down with him and resolve the matter.

Stick to your decision
Ariong Julius. My dear I believe before you got married you agreed with your husband the number of children you wanted to have. Stick to that since it will be the two of you to raise and take care of the children.

Decide as a couple
Mable Nama. Your in-laws cannot make decisions in your marriage. ‘And for this reason man shall leave his mother and father and be joined with his wife and the two shall become one.’ Whatever the two of you decide is what should be done.
Make own decisions
Anne Kimbugwe. My dear, it is your life, your choice. Never give room to people to dictate your life.

What does he say?
Maria Akugizibwe. What is your husband saying about the whole issue? If he is also interested and has the ability to take care of more children, one more would be okay. It is God who gives children and sometimes, age does not matter.

Make them see reason
Adom Damola. Make them see that it is you that will go through the whole stress and not them. It is also your home and not theirs. So, you and your husband have the final say. While doing this, rememer that your husband’s family is also your family. Therefore, avoid doing or saying anything that will end up damaging your relationship with them.

Evelyn Kharono Lufafa, Counselling psychologist