This is weighing so heavy on me and I’m not sure how to do anymore. My husband and I have been together for 13 years and have two ridiculously awesome boys together who are 7 and 8. We are in our mid thirties. Our kids were surprises the first time around. I was 25 and on birth control when I got pregnant with number one and was breastfeeding around the clock and rarely had – ahem – time to even create a second baby when I got pregnant with number two.
We never got to plan or be excited about having our kids because both times it was more of a hurdle to cross than anything. Even though we were excited, we weren’t ready for kids (even though we absolutely eventually wanted them) and there was a a lot of stress surrounding both arrivals. I always wanted a big family and my husband was well aware and while he wanted kids too he was always sort of “we will see what happens” regarding more.
After my second was born, I had awful depression and having two kids in 17 mo was rough. I could tell my husband was done and frankly I was too. I knew another child would bring on stress and a financial burden and my husband made a lot of comments about not wanting to be outnumbered. So, for the next five years I convinced myself I was very done and thought I had convinced myself.
Well, I didn’t do a good job of it. In the past two years I’ve been struggling. It’s something I think about every single day. I want more kids. I know I will look back and regret not having a bigger family. My husband is now pretty much saying no way. He has made comments like “if you’re going to resent me forever we can have another one. I don’t want to live with you being unhappy”. But I know what that would look like and I don’t want to force him to have another baby.
I want him to want another baby. His main reason is financial. I am a stay at home mom who is currently interviewing to go back to work. He makes very decent money, but he’s a big saver, we love in a very high COL area, and we are still saving to buy a nice house. “Everything will be put on hold” if we have more kids. He has even said “well maybe we should just get a divorce, if you will only be happy with more kids, maybe I need to let you go and you can find someone else”. That’s not at all why I want.
I’m sad about this literally everyday at this point. I’m regretful I couldn’t get it together and have more kids while mine were still little. I feel like I’m getting older everyday and now is the time to go for it. How do I get over the want of a bigger family? How do I come to terms with this? He wants me to be grateful that we have two awesome kids and get over it. I know I’ll look back when I’m old and grey and will be sad I never had a bigger family. What do I do?
I’m sorry this is so long. I feel like I have no one to talk to and this has weighed so heavy on my heart.
Dear Baby Crazy,
Conflicts and different desires in marriage are difficult, but not impossible to overcome. Your husband knows that you want a bigger family, but does he know the extent of your longing for another child? It’s important to be as open as possible. He might not understand that this is tearing you apart and causing you consistent sadness.
Are there reasons other than financial that he doesn’t want more children? Money can always be re-earned. There are also very frugal ways to have a child, especially if you still have some of your old baby gear. Buy and sell groups, second hand stores, and coupons are always very effective ways to keep costs within reason.
Friends are often willing to loan out baby gear that they aren’t currently using. Items such as bassinets are only used for a short time. You also mentioned working on re-entering the workforce. You could continue to pursue this to help offset the cost of more children. If the financial aspect is your husband’s only reservation, there are ways to keep costs down and therefore avoid putting plans to purchase a new home on hold.
While marriage is about compromise, that doesn’t mean you should always be the one compromising. This is important to you, and while you don’t want to pursue this at the expense of your marriage, it’s still something that you are longing for.
I recommend that you personally go to individual counseling, as well as both of you go to couples counseling. It’s best practice to have separate counselors for yourself and your marriage.
It’s incredibly hurtful for your husband to throw around the word divorce. Whether or not that he meant it or was just saying it, it’s a sign that communication skills need to improve. There is something to be said for having a neutral third party to discuss these issues with. Also, with your history of depression and your current consistent sadness, it would be wise to attend counseling get a jump on maintaining your mental health to avoid any further declines.
The bottom line is: You love your husband. He loves you. This is something that you can overcome together and find a way for both of you to be happy. I wish you luck.