'Schrödinger’s Baby' Is A Terrifying New Phenomenon — And It May Have Happened To You

Schrödinger’s Baby does not exist, but it is still a problem child.

man at a split in the road, weighing between having children or not Art-Of-Photo via Canva | Henley Design Studio via Canva | photo5963 via Canva

Let’s talk about my friend Layla* and her ex-boyfriend Banner* today. Layla and I met through very strange means. You see, we both dated the same man, Banner.

Banner was a goth model who broke up with me because I didn’t want to have a baby with him. I was devastated when we broke up — I ended up in the psych ward because I couldn’t handle the grief.

Layla was the girl he dated after. On paper, we should have hated one another. Banner liked to pit us against each other … until he screwed up and impregnated her, then forced her to get an abortion.


Guess why Banner decided to dump Layla. Go ahead. Guess. If you selected "because she wants kids," step up and win your prize.

This is a phenomenon known as Schrödinger’s Baby.

What is Schrödinger’s Baby?

Schrödinger’s Baby is what I call the phenomenon of men flip-flopping on their desire to have kids — often causing issues that end relationships. I’ve seen this happen in three different ways:

  • The guy who dates a child-free woman and lies about not wanting kids. When he realizes she wants to remain child-free, he is shocked that he couldn’t "convince her."
  • The guy who marries a woman who wants kids, only to tell her he doesn’t want kids. This is rarer, but I have seen it twice in my life. In both situations, the woman went ballistic on him. (Seriously, this is so cruel. Do not do this.)
  • The guy who claims he wants kids, gets a woman pregnant, and then decides that he doesn’t want them after she’s already pregnant. This counts as Schrödinger’s baby, too.

Babies are a very contentious aspect of dating. It comes as no surprise that having kids is a major hot-button issue in dating, especially when one party can’t go to a sperm bank and just have their own with ease.

RELATED: 13 Signs He's Lying About Wanting (Or Not Wanting) Kids

Schrödinger’s Baby does not exist, but it is still a problem child.

One thing I have noticed about Schrodinger’s Baby is that it’s a child that never exists. Schrodinger’s Baby is either a perfect little angel that costs zero to raise and doesn’t harm a woman’s body when she births it or a horrific squalling infant that ruins the man’s life.


There’s no in-between. Sometimes, Schrödinger’s Baby vacillates between perfect and soul-crushing hellion.

The thing is, this Baby is not real. It’s a hypothetical baby and its potential changes depending on the guy’s whims.

I’d go so far as to say that the theoretical baby is a symptom of something even worse — the way that society puts a woman’s needs, goals, and aspirations dead last in terms of priority.

RELATED: 10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Even Considering Having A Baby

A lot of the men guilty of Schrödinger’s Baby tend to view babies as an ego booster.

I recently had a guy try to sell me the idea that I should have his babies. I had to explain to him that I have zero maternal instincts — zero. He may as well have been trying to talk to a wall about why having his babies is awesome.


This is a phenomenon most women have experienced at least once: A scary number of men who don’t want the work of being a father do want to have women impregnated by them. If women are skeptical, they will try to do the sales pitch of the century on them.

"Oh, but my kids will be cute!"

"Don’t you love me?"

"My kids would be amazing athletes!"

That sales pitch, in my experience, is part gaslighting, part them taking offense to your personal life decisions, and part them trying to talk themselves up to themselves. It’s really cringe.

RELATED: I Wanted A Baby My Whole Life — And Now I Regret Having One

What’s weird is that if you do say you want kids, it’s usually this same type of guy who will hem and haw about you having those kids.


The whiplash is real. I was floored when I saw my ex do this to Layla.

This was what made me realize that Schrödinger’s Baby doesn’t exist, except to control women’s decisions and debate with them. Schrödinger’s Baby is an "out" of a relationship, an excuse to be a deadbeat dad, and a way to guilt women into having kids they don’t want.

We need to call out Schrödinger’s Baby behavior.


Guys, if you want a kid — and genuinely want one with that person — say so right off the bat. If you don’t want a kid, be upfront and don’t waste a woman’s time.

RELATED: 10 Women Reveal The Surprising Reason They Never Want Kids

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.