Dear Dana,

I’m struggling hard core and I know you went through this too. I am ready (to have more children) and [The husband] is adamant about no more kids. Like, for as long as I can remember, I always wanted 3, 4, 5 kids. NEVER did I picture having 2 kids and then stopping. Sounds silly, but I guess you can say my dream was a big family (by modern standards). Anyway, [The husband’s] only reasoning is that he is “comfortable” with two. I think about having another baby all the time…way too much. I just can’t get past feeling like he has selfish reasons that he is not telling me about that are evidently making him not want anymore kids. And I can’t get past the possible reason for not having anymore kids is not because of health reasons, age, not having the means to raise more kids…but just because my husband is “comfortable”. Thanks for listening.

 

Girl, you KNOW I’ve been here, and still am because I feel God’s gentle nudge in the direction of having more children.  Everything your husband is saying, mine said.  Everything you feel about your husband’s decision was the same I felt about my husband’s decisions.  This is not uncommon, but just because many people go through it, doesn’t mean it hurts any less.  That hurt may not go away completely, I’m no expert.  I can only share my experience, and hope this guides you to a place of peace.

I was literally sobbing the ugliest cry I could release while cleaning and tearing down our spare baby bed to give to my sister.  Imagine a grown woman in the fetal position on the floor with mascara streaks running all the way down past her neck, then add in some more drama, and that was me.  We didn’t need the crib anyway, but it was still a reality check breaking it down.  At that time, I had no idea how I was going to move forward with this man who could watch me struggle and still be so selfish.  I had asked him not to talk to me about “No more children” going forward, because I never wanted to know when we were done.  I only wanted to live each day and decide, should we have another one now, or wait?  My husband told me in the hospital after baby number three.  I was happy when that baby was in my arms, but as soon as she was out of my hospital room, my mind went to those words, “no more”.  Just like that my happiness was stolen.  I didn’t understand so much.

While I still feel that was incredibly hurtful, and it put me in a place of resentment.  I am embarrassed about how I acted during those months following the birth of our third child.  I’m hopeful you were not as outspoken about your hurt as I was, because it just led to more hurt.

If you’re like me, I need to talk things out.  Talking it out can usually make some headway at coming up with a compromise.  In our case talking it out did not such thing.  There really isn’t a compromise in this situation.  We were either going to keep our family growing, or we were going to be done completely.  There isn’t a middle ground.  So, if we aren’t allowed to talk it out what are we to do?

  1. Reevaluate What You Really Want for Yourself.

Here is what you can do.  First, let me draw your attention that sentence I just wrote.  “Here is what you can do.”  Put a heavy emphasis on the word, “you”.  You can only change you.  You can only control you.  So take a good look at yourself.  What type of woman do you want to be, and who are you becoming?  Obviously, you want more responsibly as a mother, but what else is it that defines you, or what else do you desire.  In my case, I wanted people to see me as light in a dark place, someone who was in a peaceful state of grace.  That idea was very generalized, so I dug deeper.  (I talk about it here.)

Digging deeper allows us to open our hearts to change ourselves.  Why do we need to change, if we’re happy with who we are?  Because changing is growing.  Everyday we should be growing.  We should be improving our life, or someone else’s life by changing ourselves.  There is always room to become a little less selfish.  There is room for giving more to our husbands and families.  There is room for more prayer in your days.  There is room for more love (you know that already, because you want more babies to love).  Living in this way, constant growth and improvement towards a better version of who you already are, will eventually bring you peace and more happiness.  Changing your heart, will in turn allow you to have a more compassionate outlook on your husband, and hopefully prompt him to see you at your best.  He may actually think you can’t handle anymore kids because you’re already stressed.  You know your stress comes from him not wanting anymore, but he may think it comes from the children you already have.  Men and women can see the same scenario and come up with ideas on opposite ends of the spectrum.

  1. Rephrase the Question.

Instead of asking your husband if he wants anymore children, ask what he needs in order for your family to grow.  This question brings out the real reasons.  Whether it be stress of the house now, more money in the bank, time, or whatever his concerns are, this question will allow you to come together and realize there may be a solution that allows you to both be happy.  I firmly believe our husbands want us to have the things we want, but they also don’t want to get swallowed up by our way of thinking.  Marriage is a give and take and discussing the real priorities together will let him know you want him to have the things he desires too.

This is a form of caring.  Men can feel less important after babies arrive.  It may not matter how much you do to show them their worth, it just happens sometimes.  My opinion is men are hungry for our love.  They can sometimes view more people in the house as dividing up that love.  We know this isn’t the case, but if your husband tries to think rationally he may come to this conclusion.  Here is a blog post I think will help in this situation… “What We Really Need”

  1. Listen Closely as Your Husband Talks.

You can indeed discuss this topic, but during this time, it will be very wise to keep yourself in control.  I had a very big struggle with thinking on my words and actions before letting them vomit out of my mouth and body.  Women are emotional human beings, typically, and this being a highly emotional topic, I am advising you to keep your mouth shut (sort of).  You really need to listen to your husband at this point.  Hear what he has to say on the subject.  Listen, and do not allow yourself to argue his thoughts.  Do not allow yourself to roll your eyes, or sigh, or whatever sign you show when you’re aggravated.  If you want your husband to listen to you, then you must listen to him first.

For the Men Who Aren’t Open to More Children.

If you are closing the discussion for more children by putting your foot down, you aren’t allowing you wife to be an active and equal person in the decision making.  Instead of saying “No” without sharing clear reasons, ask yourself why you’re saying “No”.  Allow your wife to understand.  Then actively work alongside each other as you combat that dilemma.  Once it resolved, reassess.  Are you still thinking “No.”?  Why?  Keep the discussion open, let your wife know you will work on these “issues” but also let her know you aren’t definite you’ll still be ready once those specific areas are resolved.  Just keep the discussion open.  Closing the subject without your wife’s say is not appropriate for marriage.  It isn’t promoting team work, love, and understanding, and it isn’t allowing God to help you make the decision either.

 

***Obviously, the roles could be reversed in this situation.  I believe the same rules apply for men wanting more children while their wife disagrees.  The main takeaway is open communication at all times and loving one another for who they are.

 

***Understand, I can give this advice because I’ve made many mistakes in all of these areas.  I’ve hurt our marriage in ways I wasn’t sure we’d come back from.  Both my husband and I have been hurt discussing the topic of family growth.  I did most of the hurting.  My advice to you is the advice I needed back then.  You’ll probably still make mistakes, that’s okay, you’re human, just try to jump back on track as soon as possible.  In the meantime, I’m here for you, so keep reaching out.

Posted by:stmarthaslens

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