Hello beautiful Mothering community! This is my first post, but I have been a loyal lurker for YEARS throughout my two pregnancies and other times. I am faced with such a difficult predicament and I would love wise advice from those out there who have struggled with convincing a husband to have another, and from those mothers of three. Here is my situation:
We have two beautiful children: DD will be 4 in June and DS will be two in June. I have baby fever like CRAZY right now and I really want to try the next three cycles so that (if we have a third) it would be less than three years from our other two (~2.5 years younger than DS). When we married we talked about two kids and we were both on board with that. But within seconds of giving birth to my first child I had this strange feeling that I would have three. I remember being totally caught off guard by that for two reasons. The first reason was that I had a horribly difficult and long first birth, and the second reason was that I/we had NEVER considered three kids. Time went on and I had to convince my husband to have a second. He was hesitant because our first was so ridiculously easy (slept till 9:30/10 every morning!!) and he said the next would be hard. He was right, though our son wasn't horrible he wasn't the greatest sleeper and certainly gets up early in the morning. Our kids get along very well, in part because they are very close in age and our daughter is very nurturing with her brother. I sort of dropped the whole 'wanting three kids' thing when my son was a baby because it was such a challenge and I didn't feel like it was an option (due to lack of sleep).
Last month, though, my period was late and the third child longing was renewed with a VENGEANCE. I have been utterly consumed with the idea that it is the right thing and the time is now and my husband is (to say the least) freaked out. He feels like he was blindsided by this because it's not like we've talked about it long, but if I had brought it up three months ago when we weren't getting enough sleep he would have shut it down anyway. Right now our kids are sleeping (relatively) well, we are having fun as a family, and they have been hamming it up (probably intentionally, haha) with incredible cuteness--which just makes this more challenging ;) Our son is sleeping better and even pooping in the potty, at 21 months (!!!). Both kids are nurturing and love babies.
We would want to try for a girl (if I can convince my husband to try at all) for many reasons. One is that he is worried about the middle child syndrome (something I don't believe in anyway, but what do I know as I am baby hungry!) and if we had a girl, then the middle child would be our only son and therefore he would get special attention in that way. The other is that girls tend to be a little easier in terms of not running off and we think this would be more manageable. He said something that scared me when he left for a work trip this morning, which was that if it turned out to be a boy he would feel like he'd need to move out to keep his sanity. Eek!
So, I came up with this (kind of silly) proposition. What if, for the next three cycles, we have sex unprotected ONE time 4-5 days BEFORE ovulation. If it is meant to be we will get pregnant (hopefully with a girl) and if it doesn't happen I will feel like I tried and I can get on with my life as a mother of two. I feel funny admitting that I would be ok with this sort of 'let the universe decide' but I feel like with my weird premonition I have to give it a chance. (My husband half joked with me that he doesn't want to 'stop a soul from coming into this world that is trying to be here' haha)
So here are my questions for you, wise Mothering community:
1. Have you had a child when your husband wasn't totally on board, or was a little against it but went along with it for you?
2. Did you try for a girl by having sex 4-5 days before ovulation and get a BOY?
3. Did you have a longing for a third, but decide it would be too hard on your husband so you didn't? If so, did your 'longing' go away??
A little more about my husband: He has concerns about his career and feels like (truthfully so) the lack of sleep has a major negative impact on it. He is in a creative field and when he is too tired it is hard for him to be productive. He wants to be able to focus on his career, and I totally understand that. I, on the other hand, am a SAHM who is totally focused on the kids and I am pretty good at my job I guess that is why I am up for the challenge. I know if we had three I would feel my family is complete. Probably some of you will say 'why not wait' and to that I will say that I have enough friends with kids that are spread out 3+ years and it isn't really something we are interested as it really spreads them out in terms of their interests. I'd like them to be close so they are all interested in building a sandcastle at the same time, etc. Same-ish level. Thank you for reading my ramble and I appreciate any/all of your responses!!! xx
It sounds like you have a really strong drive towards a third baby now, and like your husband has some very real and reasonable concerns. If he feels like he's at his limit, you have to find a way to respect that. If you could reassure him about his career concerns, you might be able to get him on board.
Some of your other stuff doesn't hold up too well on examination. Like your idea that a girl would be less prone to running off then a boy. Some kids are runners. Some runners are boys. Some are girls. You roll the dice every time. And your kids are close, and close in age, but your first and your third are going to be 4-5 years apart even if you conceive that third right away. A four year-old and a two year-old might be interested in the same activity, but a 7 year-old and a two year-old? They are not going to be at a same-ish level, and at some point, even with just the two kids you have now, you will have to deal with a divergence in what activities are interesting and age appropriate to each child.
I can only address the third question. I desperately wanted a third child, but my husband didn't (a variety of reasons, he was 40 when our second was born). Being the at-home parent, adding another child to our household would not have been insignificant for him (not that it would have been insignificant if he worked outside the home, but I think he might have been more amenable to it if I was at home). As our children have gotten older and we're passing some of the more cumbersome early days (e.g. our youngest out of diapers during the day), my longing is diminishing. This is such a relief for me as it was all-consuming for a while.
I hope that you can come to a compromise together....such a difficult process.
Mama to F (3/09) and S (3/11); and never forgetting my babe gone too soon (4/10).
Hi MeepyCat, thanks for your response. I definitely feel you about our stereotyping girls, but anyone who has been to a baby group will agree that girls tend to sit and play and be more content with that, while boys tend to be more into exploring, checking out the boundaries. All of my parent friends will agree with that. Whether that changes when they get older isn't as much of a concern for me, it's the baby time that we are thinking about as we will also have a 2 and 4 year old if we move forward.
And yes, the gap between our daughter and the youngest will be greater, but that doesn't concern me as much since she is very 'mothering' and into babies, younger children, etc. It would be a different dynamic, for sure, but given her personality I don't think it would be a huge deal. It's when I see families with a 10 and 12 year old and a 5 year old that it seems like a challenge and they are on such different wavelengths. The people I know with age gaps like that, while they (of course!) love their children to bits, usually point out the challenge of such a large age difference.
I appreciate your input; you have some good points.
I forgot to mention that my parents have both agreed to come out more than usual to help us if we have another one. Not that that always works! Still, even with that my husband's concerns are valid...
Hi Camille~Thanks for your response! That is so good to hear that your longing is subsiding. I feel like once we are past the next few months, mine will two, I just feel like if we don't 'try' I will always wonder, and always think about when that third would have been born. My husband also works from home a lot of the time, and that is very challenging with children about ;) He is also older (he is 49, I am 31) and I know that the older you get the harder it is to keep up with the little ones and the lack of sleep is more detrimental. I'm so glad you are feeling more at home with your decision; this is such a tough one! Was your husband pretty adamant about being done with two?
Regarding gender and age spacing; whether your next little is a handful or an angel has ZERO to do with gender and everything to do with their indivual temperament. Temperament, and your family dynamics, is also responsible for determining whether your children get along well or share interests. My two are nearly ten years apart and they ADORE each other. I'm hopeful we can do as well with a 2-3 yr age gap for the next one.
I would suggest giving your husband some time to get used to the idea. You could also try addressing his specific concerns. For instance; my DH works odd hours at a physically demanding job. He really needs his sleep. So on nights before he works he sleeps on the couch (we don't have a guest room) and I do all the night time parenting. Another concern of his was making sure he had alone time each day, so he gets a couple hours of quiet in his office and I don't let the kids bother him. Otherwise he is a very hands on dad.
Hope that helps!