Man With No Desire to Have Kids Shares His Story

reluctant fatherIt happens. People who don't really want kids end up becoming parents anyway. Photographer Phillip Toledano is one of those people. "I liked [kids] in an abstract sense," he writes, "in the same way that exercise seems appealing, but in practice, utterly tedious." When his wife Carla became pregnant he says he was "neither ready nor vastly enthused." (Oh Carla, I'm so sorry...) He documented his daughter Loulou's first two years -- and his experience as a father -- in his blog, The Reluctant Father, now a beautiful book by the same name. And guess what? What started out as "misery" -- yes, he uses that word, misery -- eventually turned into joy. 

Well thank goodness for that! Jeebus, what a relief for Carla and Loulou. Don't get me wrong. I know parenthood is different for everyone, and we need to tell all kind of stories about parenthood and celebrate transformation and ambivalence and diversity and bla bla BLAH! But man, forget Phillip Toledano's misery. How about the misery of the woman married to him? That must have been hard for her.

Well fortunately she gets the last word in the book -- as she well deserves! Carla describes how she married Phil for the way he fought conformity, because he wasn't like all the other guys. But after she had the baby, "I was desperate for him to join the ranks of smiling Stepford dads."

It’s ironic that I am writing the afterword to this book because our first year as parents was especially difficult and I would never have imagined showcasing that to the world. Both stubborn, we took our sides of light and dark to surreal extremes; mine spent in a world of suger coated baby-talk, his in a dungeon of screaming and excrement.

I don’t really know when we found the bridge but we did. And now I can laugh at the past in technicolor amnesia.

You can't always tell how parenthood is going to "take." Some women fall into post-partum depression, and that's terribly hard for the father. I think the important thing is that you work it out between the two of you, lovingly and sportively, always accepting that your emotions as a parent are what they are. 

You can read the whole story in The Reluctant Father -- all of Phil's thoughts, the way the "sea sponge" robbed him of his beautiful, exciting life partner.

Are you in a marriage or partnership where one of you was reluctant to become a parent?


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nonmember avatar Regan

Kinda like Simon Cowell


 I clicked on the link and read it and, I'm sure he spoke for a lot of fathers. The pictures were really sweet.

nonmember avatar me

Not everyone wants kids, and thats ok. At least he was honest about it and eventually turned into a good father. Newborn stage can be like a dungeon of screaming and poop, even for those who are excited to have a kid. I could never enjoy the first few months of my kids lives. Im not a baby person at all. It was more like lets get thru this and once you can walk and talk itll be actually fun. Sure there were great moments daily but I dont miss those days and im glad they are over. Maybe ill ooh and aah over grandbabies one day but for now, dont ask me if I want to hold your baby, the answer would always be no thanks.

Blues... Blueshark77

I think he handled it as best as he could and was honest about the experience, not everyone would admit it out loud. I'm sure his daughter knows how much he loves her.

My partner was stunned to learn he would be a father at 48. We always said we'd let nature decide if we would become parents, but I think he thought he'd never get the chance to be a father. The second he saw his daughter he fell head over heels in love with her, and he is still completely besotted with her. His family and friends are still amazed at how well he took to being a father and how unabashed he is when he's hugging her and saying he loves her or having a tea party with her. Quite the proud papa.

Dini Moo

It was me!  I never wanted kids.  When I would date guys the first week I would ask if they wanted kids someday and if the answer was yes, I would know "this isn't going to work out long term".   I always joke that my husband duped me because about a year into our relationship, he started noticing friends having kids and would say things like "wouldn't it be nice to have kids someday."(this was after he said he didn't want kids in the beginning mind you)..  All I could think was "NO!"...but I was already in love with him and ultimately didn't was to be the one that caused him to be resentful 30 years from now because I never wanted children.  Fast forward and now I'm pregnant with #3 (this will definitely be the last one).  I love my kids and I do the best I can, but I will do a little happy dance when they're all potty trained and can dress and shower themselves.  Most of the time I'm really happy with the choices I've made, but there are fleeting moments where I wonder what I'd be doing with my life now if I had stayed childless.  I really don't think I ever would have regretted never having kids, but I'm also happy I have them now.  They're such cool little people and they've taught me so much.

nonmember avatar Rach

My husband wanted kids, I didn't. We have two kids now and he ended up being the most useless, deadbeat, piece of crap father I've ever seen and I'm a very happy mom and we're getting divorced.

Rhyin... Rhyinns.Mommy

When I was dating my husband is being up kids and he would say never. He didn't want them, didn't want to think about them but one day I saw a little boy and girl and said how sweet it was that the brother was walking his sister to school, and he said "ya that's how I want my kids" I said "I HEARD THAT" and now we are waiting on baby #2 to make their appearance. :)

nonmember avatar Sara

I was very lucky that my SO wanted kids if he didn't I would be gone. We are happily raising our 11 month old son

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