We were at a stalemate – I wanted another baby but my husband didn’t

If you’re desperate for another child but your partner’s not on board, then this one’s for you. This mum’s emotional story of her fight for her dream family is bound to help others who might be feeling at a loss.

The maternal instinct for more

I’ve always wanted three children, ever since I was little. With two siblings myself it was a natural desire and something I thought I would achieve – especially considering I was lucky enough to meet my husband, fall pregnant twice easily and deliver two healthy babies. Unfortunately, my husband only had two kids in his life plan and once they were here he was done. I didn’t realise exactly how resolved he was on the issue though, as whenever the topic was brought up we both humorously stood our ground thinking that the other would change their mind.

But as time went by and my youngest got older, I started to feel more anxious about having a third. Only after broaching the subject seriously a number of times did I realise that he was not going to budge. A couple who rarely disagrees or fights about anything, we were at a stalemate. My argument was that you never regret the children you have only the ones you don’t, yet I had to respect his decision for not wanting another also. It was an impossible discussion which required someone to give in in order for us to move on. And so we did nothing.

Depression sets in

The maternal yearning for a child is a really strong one. Looking back I can honestly say that during this timeframe I was depressed for the first time in my life (without actually realising it). I was consumed by sadness, bursting into tears multiple times a day. The ‘third baby’ debate weighed heavily on my shoulders making daily chores, work and even interactions with my other children harder than they should have been. I hated what I had become – what was in my mind a crappy wife and mother – but I just couldn’t move on.

My marriage was suffering too. For the first time ever we weren’t on the same page and you could cut the negative vibes in the house with a knife. I couldn’t understand why my kind, loving husband would risk our marriage just because he didn’t feel the need to bring another bundle of joy into our lives. I knew he would love a third child just like the others once they were here, and I’ve always loved my pregnancies and taken them in my stride.

Some friends were incredibly understanding and a great support, but generally I felt guilty talking about what I was going through and so I suffered in silence. I knew I was incredibly blessed to even have one child, let alone two – and both healthy as well. I had female friends and family members that were single or struggling with IVF and desperate for children – and here I was complaining that my perfect family of four wasn’t good enough.

Seeking help

At a complete loss and feeling fearful for my marriage, family and personal well-being; I suggested my husband and I go to a counsellor. I had to prove to him how serious I was. He reluctantly agreed but it turned out to be a godsend. What happened was it allowed me to see the situation from my husband’s point of view. It turned out he hated his job (even more than I realised) and was frightened of never getting out of it, which he believed would happen once the financial burden of another baby was upon us. He was also worried about tempting fate a third time. In his mind, because we were so lucky before, he felt that this time my pregnancy would go badly or we’d have a child with complicated health issues (which he didn’t think we could handle).

After seeing his point of view and airing our troubles in the open to a complete stranger, I decided to be strong and give up my third baby dream. I simply had to move past it and go back to being the mother and wife I was, even though I wasn’t sure if I could do it. And it was while trying this new approach, that after speaking with a friend my husband decided he was happy to give another baby a go.

A few conditions

Although he was technically on board, my husband did have a few conditions regarding the situation which was fair enough. He didn’t want my attempts to fall pregnant to become an obsession (having seen other relationships suffer from this). If it was meant to be, it was to happen naturally (so no IVF) within a reasonable time-frame (to prevent a large age gap which could create more disruption to the existing family unit). And he also wanted permission to leave his job and seek a different career, meaning that if I was ever needed to step up and go back into full-time corporate work then I would be willing.

I agreed to all the terms – how could I not? Life improved instantly, and after a few women’s health issues and a miscarriage, I was fortunate enough to fall pregnant and deliver my third and much desired, beautiful baby. My husband of course loves him immensely and our family of five is now tighter than ever.

Advice to others

I wanted to share my story to offer support and hope to others in the same situation. Every individual battle we face is just that, and no one can take that away from you even though you might feel guilty for feeling that way. Though it is important to try and not let it consume you as I did. Here is my advice for other mums who want another child when their partner doesn’t:

  • Communicate early – Start the conversation (seriously), with your partner from day one around the number of children you both desire, to set expectations and ensure no surprises down the track.
  • Seek help – Don’t be afraid to discuss the issue with friends or family, you might be surprised at how supportive they are. And seek professional help if you need it, whether that’s a doctor for yourself or a relationship counsellor. It is okay to be upset about this.
  • Focus on your other kids – It’s easy to lose appreciation for your existing children when you’re in a state of depression around wanting another. Try hard not to let it affect your relationship with them and make the effort to be the mum they deserve. You can always cry in the bathroom later when they’re in bed.
  • Don’t give up hope – If this is your dream, and there are no major reasons why you shouldn’t chase it, then don’t give up on it. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

Do you desperately want another child but your partner doesn’t?

*This post was written anonymously due to the sensitive and personal nature of the topics discussed.

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