how to convince partner to try for #2? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-01-2012, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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hey all, it's been a while since I've posted.... I guess because my DS now requires waaaay more of my time.

 

I carried our first born and the plan always was that my partner would carry number two. However, since the day our son was born, my partner has had mixed feelings about carrying. Even while I was laboring, she said to our friend who was present, "I don't think I can do this". So I asked her to let me know by our DS's first birthday if she wanted to carry or not, (I would be thrilled to carry number two!) so I can start planning (i.e. charting, research about nursing and TTC, etc). Our DS is now 18 months.

 

I'm just wondering if anyone else out there has had any issues with this. I know part of her resistance is just fear and part of it is that her family has a lot of anxiety and panic type disorders that she doesn't want to "hand down" to our children. I feel like if I just wait for her, our DS will be 18 before she's ready to talk about it. We've set up "dates" to discuss it and things never seem to get anywhere. I'm struggling with allowing her to have the space/time to be ready on her own and also sharing my wants/needs so that I don't become resentful later for not doing so.

 

any insight would be appreciated. at least, thanks for listening to me vent. best, J


Ema to my dear son (inseminated at home with frozen donor sperm) born on 6/25/10. h20homebirth.gifnocirc.gif selectivevax.gif familybed1.gif femalesling.GIF bftoddler.gif cd.gifWife to my dear partner.  rainbow1284.gif goorganic.jpg  hang.gif  sewmachine.gif   blogging.jpg.

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#2 of 9 Old 01-02-2012, 01:25 AM
 
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Hi J,

 

When I read your forum header I got all irritated about the word 'convince'.

I was all ready to steam in here and hammer out a diatribe about how you really mustn't pressure your poor DP and that pregnancy isn't something anyone should be pressured into or 'convinced' about... etc...

 

Having read your post though I think that's not actually your situation, is it?

You would like her to make a decision one way or the other so you can move on one way or the other. Is that right?

 

A couple of thoughts:

  1. I don't know your DP and her personality at all, but in my experience, pressure rarely brings healthy results.  People make bad choices under pressure. They make choices they don't want to make. Often taking pressure OFF actually allows the other person to move forward. So, maybe (and you have probably had this conversation already) try saying 'I understand that birth scares you and you have some worries about passing on certain family traits.  I know we had planned for you to carry the 2nd child, but, you are allowed to change your mind.  So, if after seeing your first child born you feel differently now, let's make a new plan'.  Taking the pressure off might allow her to actually re-decide what it is she really wants, as if for the first time, but now taking into account the experience she gained from your pregnancy.  She might decide again that yes, she does want to carry a child, or she may come back and say no, I've changed my mind, I want something else now.
  2. If it's the birth she's mostly afraid of, look at options that make it feel safer for her. Our closest friends were stuck for years in a similar scenario. H was very afraid of birth and felt it would be very 'unnatural' for her to go through that.  It was only after years of delays and hesitation on her part that they worked out that this was a major stumbling block for her that she had never articulated even to herself. Once they talked about the possibility of having a scheduled caesarean where there would be no panic, no emergency and plenty of doctors on hand she suddenly became enthusiastic about the possibilities of her carrying a child and became actively involved in moving this forward. They now have a lovely 6 year old who was born by a lovely, calm scheduled CS and a 4 year old who was carried by the other partner and born at home in their living room with a midwife.  They each had the birth they wanted.
  3. It also sounds like your partner may have some residual birth trauma that she hasn't worked through yet.  If her attitude changed so dramatically at the time of the birth of your first child there were clearly some aspects of that experience that were frightening and upsetting to her.  I would suggest she seeks out help in the form of counselling to sort through these feelings.  It would be a shame for her not to experience pregnancy and birth because of fears that could be resolved with a good counsellor.  There are LOTS of good reasons for women NOT to want to be pregnant and give birth.  Health reasons, economic/ financial, genetic, emotional, etc etc etc. But if carrying a child is something she's always wanted, and would probably still like to experience, she needs to be sure that the things that are holding her back are genuine and warranted.  Making a decision about whether or not to carry a child based on fear will only lead to regret (one way or the other) later. 
  4. Move things forward: Create a timeline/ schedule/ plan together.  Figure out first which way she might be leaning. Is she 90% sure she doesn't ever want to give birth? 60/40? Would she like to carry a child, if only she didn't have to go through a birth at the end of it? What if she could have a general anaesthetic and not feel anything?  If she was certain that the baby wouldn't have the 'unwanted' family traits would she feel better? (I know this stuff is totally hypothetical, but you're trying to work out what is actually going on under all that fear stuff) Now work out a plan of action together. For example, agree to try counselling for 3 months, meet with an OB to talk about other birth options, meet with midwives to gather information of their birth experiences, talk to a hypnotherapist, try meditation, talk to friends or other new or expectant mothers about their experiences and/ or fears, etc. then agree to 'meet' again to consider your next step.  Counselling might help her get over her birth fears. Or it might help her discover that really the whole biological-connection-thing isn't all that important to her and if you're happy to carry baby #2 then so is she. Or she might hate her counsellor but like what the hypnotherapist is telling her, or, or, or... the point it that you've moved forward.  Being stuck and not moving in any direction is the worst. Now, she needs to be involved in this process and take an active role in the process. This is not about you booking appointments for her and sending her places. She needs to make this happen for herself.
  5. Again, back to the pressure: your needs have to take a back seat for a certain amount of time.  Not for ever, but for a number of months or whatever time frame you guys agree on. This is her time to work through this stuff and make decisions that are right for her. Once she's done that you can then start making your decisions. What you need to avoid is having the constant 'threat' of 'if you won't get pregnant, I will' hanging over her head.  It can't be an open-ended 'take as long as you like, dear'  but it also can't be 'decide or I will' either.  One caveat: your age(s). If either of you is of what is often (horribly) referred to as 'of advanced maternal age' (yuck) the importance of the timeline is even more important. make a plan that works, and stick to it.

 

 

Hey, and good luck!

I was in a similar position for years and it's damn frustrating!!!

 

 


found the love of my life 13 years ago, kissy.gif married 5 yrs ago, now TTC #1 stillheart.gif

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#3 of 9 Old 01-02-2012, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wanted to thank you Annanother Thing for your thoughtful response.  I was able to glean some insight from what you said.  The funny thing is that my partner is a psychotherapist and has been in counseling but I don't think she's ever talked about birth before... even in our couples therapy I tried to get her to open about witnessing my birth experience, but to no avail.  I think the birth trauma piece might be worth looking into deeper.  

 

I think that even though I go for long periods of time without "saying" anything and allowing her the "time/space" to "decide" what she wants --- it's really been under the pressured guise of "hurry up and decide" or as you said "threat of 'if you won't get pregnant, i will".  I like what you said in point number one.  yes, I've had many of those conversations, but really, I could be doing it from a more compassionate place... and your language is helpful.  

 

again, I want to thank you so much for the time you've taken to respond..... and from the get go, you are right, it's not about "convincing" anyone.. it's just about making a plan.... and I'm not getting any younger (at 37 almost 38).  :)

 

best, J


Ema to my dear son (inseminated at home with frozen donor sperm) born on 6/25/10. h20homebirth.gifnocirc.gif selectivevax.gif familybed1.gif femalesling.GIF bftoddler.gif cd.gifWife to my dear partner.  rainbow1284.gif goorganic.jpg  hang.gif  sewmachine.gif   blogging.jpg.

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#4 of 9 Old 01-03-2012, 06:45 AM
 
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A note on the difficulty of birth for the non-birthing mom -- both of us have birthed, and we've both been on the other side, and I'd say for both of our births it took the one NOT birthing longer to get over the parts that were traumatic (and some of them were, I think that's true for very many births). My wife felt much more OK with our daughter's (very long, very difficult) birth well before I did. Conversely, my wife still has many more doubts about the birth of our son (with me doing the birthing) than I do. And there really is pressure not to talk about it, since, after all, what were we really doing anyway? 

 

I have always wanted to give birth, and still, after our daughter's birth, I was like "well, we'll just wait a while on that one." I got there, but the experience definitely slowed me down at first.

 

Also, it sounds like you may be kind of chomping at the bit for another try, and she's going to pick up on that. I'd urge you to really give your partner space, especially if before you had your first, she was a big driver of the plan for her to carry. It sounds like you really are trying to do exactly this, but if part of your impatience is actually your excitement to get another shot yourself, make sure to step back from that, and really communicate to her that you really do want her to carry if she truly wants to. 

 

This stuff is not easy to figure out. Good luck! 


I'm Lyn (32) wife to Gail (38) Mama to Leigh (born 6/06 ,via Gail) and Ira (born 5/09, via me)
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#5 of 9 Old 01-04-2012, 11:46 AM
 
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I'm with Lyn on this one, I was the gestational parent for DS and I am convinced that the whole thing was MUCH harder on DW.  She is still kind of traumatized by the whole thing--and is also adamant about having access to an epidural when it is her turn to birth (which has been and has remained our plan).  Of course, her reaction to it has been to want to protect me from birthing again!  She says she'd much rather be giving birth than watching!  


  Two moms and two boys enjoying the truth that love always wins!!!  joy.gifjoy.gifpartners.gif
 

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#6 of 9 Old 01-06-2012, 09:36 PM
 
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Wow, I'm glad the whole NGP birth trauma has come up.  I'm the intended NGP and also a NICU nurse to boot, so I'm going to be trying to keep the panic to a minimum.  That said, I want a really calm, quiet birth with a midwife and very little medical intervention (if any at all) for my wife, who also wants the same (we're keen to try hypnobabies!).  I'm going to keep this in mind though, and make sure that I address anything that comes up as a result.  I don't doubt my wife's ability to handle pain, she had cholecystitis and the pain from that is apparently similar to labour (although there is no end to this pain, until you pony up with hardcore narcotics).  I don't doubt my ability to witness her in pain (having seen that, it wasn't traumatizing, it was just really hard to see her like that, but I don't feel traumatized by it).  Thanks for the insight though!  :D  Appreciated!


Me (29) and DW (32).  Taking a long break from TTC, back at it sometime in 2015/2016.  2 fur babies cat.gif cat.gif, Mustang and Anastasia.
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#7 of 9 Old 01-07-2012, 07:28 AM
 
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I think one of the things that makes it harder for the NGP is the sharing of birth stories with other gestational parents in the aftermath.  I get to tell the story, get validation and affirmation of my experience from other gestational parents.  It's rare that my wife gets to do the same with others who's experiences are similar to hers--the general invalidation of the NGP's role in birth makes me see red.  It was actually ONE of my biggest beefs with our birth training/classes and with the language around birth that we as a society use in general. 

 

I think the invalidation of the NGP in pregnancy and in birth sets too many families up for inequality in parenting.  Lyn and her spouse from First Time Second Time have been an incredibly helpful resource (check out their blog)


  Two moms and two boys enjoying the truth that love always wins!!!  joy.gifjoy.gifpartners.gif
 

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#8 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 05:58 PM
 
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Just a bit of my experiences that echo what has been said.

 

DP carried our first daughter. We also had the plan for her to carry then me. I always really wanted to carry a child, and so did she. Our plan was to try to get me pregnant soon after our first with our second. During the prengancy I thought I'd like to try even sooner, because I really felt drawn to carrying. After DD's birth I wasn't ready to try to get pregnant until DD was 24 months - a year or more longer than we expected to wait. This was in part because of the reality of parenting and wanting to slow down and wait until it felt right for our family. But it was also very much time for me to heal from DD's birth and find in myself the desire to carry and birth again. That piece took a lot of time - despite how strongly I wanted to carry before and during pregnancy.  

 

For me, some important things were:

- being honest with DP and myself about how I felt during the birth.  Sometimes sharing things that might add to my own DP's healing (because she wasn't aware they had happened). Hearing how my DP felt in certain moments was very helpful. My fears and worries about her were often different than her own fears during the birth. I saw things differently than she experienced. It took time and going back to the story many times for all the pieces to be realized and shared. The story shared months later had new additions and perspectives.

 

- no pressure. no timeline. and for it to be okay to step back. (ie. we got all the testing and preparations done at the clinic, and ended up waiting many months until I felt more ready).

 

- we have changed up our midwife team and some other details about our birth plan, in response to some tangible ways to address my fears.

 

- we will have a doula at our birth who will care for BOTH me and my DP. This is important to me. Last birth we did not have a doula. I think I want a doula MORE for the benefit of my partner than for me in labour  :) I want her to be able to experience her own feelings during the birth, and to have space to really birth together. I have really begun to see birth as a team, as something experienced and that affects both partners bodies, minds, parenting, etc... I realised that maybe I needed, as the NGP, space where I was not the main caregiver for my DP so I could be more present in a different way during the birth. Certainly as a loving caregiver, but not as the primary one/only primary one. More space to be with my wife instead of worrying for her? some perspective and care for both of us during DD's birth would have been helpful I think. I thought reading the books a zillion times would make me her best caregiver. I realised my love for her made me not hte best person to ease her fears during birth - as I had too many of my own worries for her :)

 

Best of luck to you and DP as you navigate through what ever it is you need to :)

 


Our family: mommy and DW mama our 5 yr old DD 'Z' and 2.5 yr old DD 'S' and waiting for (March 2015)


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#9 of 9 Old 01-10-2012, 06:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onemommyonemama View Post

- we will have a doula at our birth who will care for BOTH me and my DP. This is important to me. Last birth we did not have a doula. I think I want a doula MORE for the benefit of my partner than for me in labour  :) I want her to be able to experience her own feelings during the birth, and to have space to really birth together. I have really begun to see birth as a team, as something experienced and that affects both partners bodies, minds, parenting, etc... I realised that maybe I needed, as the NGP, space where I was not the main caregiver for my DP so I could be more present in a different way during the birth. Certainly as a loving caregiver, but not as the primary one/only primary one. More space to be with my wife instead of worrying for her? some perspective and care for both of us during DD's birth would have been helpful I think. I thought reading the books a zillion times would make me her best caregiver. I realised my love for her made me not hte best person to ease her fears during birth - as I had too many of my own worries for her :)

 

Best of luck to you and DP as you navigate through what ever it is you need to :)

 


What a beautiful contribution here. Both the description of you and your partner finding your way back from a hard birth, and this about the concrete changes. We absolutely planned for a doula at the second birth MORE for my (non-birthing) wife than for me for exactly these reasons. I love what you say about being able to be present. The support was absolutely key for us, and I wish we had had more the first time. 

 


I'm Lyn (32) wife to Gail (38) Mama to Leigh (born 6/06 ,via Gail) and Ira (born 5/09, via me)
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