BTDT advice needed: ambivalent about one more - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 12-30-2010, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi mamas,

 

I'm on the fence, like really truly on the fence, about adding a third child to our family.  I could really use some been there done that stories, or general impressions, or whatever you can offer me!

 

A little background: I am married to a man who has no biological children (he is stepfather to my two dc) and he has always wanted to have a child of his own.  When we first got together, almost 5 years ago, my ds was 3 and it felt OK to add one more, which was the plan.  But...time has passed, and given our lives and relationship dynamic, I have become very reluctant to take the plunge.  My reasons: dh can be pretty self-absorbed and oblivious around the house (I almost always need to ask for help with about anything -- he will rarely step in to help with the children), he needs lots of quiet time, down time, etc. and resents the normal kid noise and crazies, he gets very, very grumpy with sleep deprivation, he has a really hard time sharing me with my kids and we have had tons of disagreements about my attachment parenting style (he is very uncomfortable with co-sleeping, for example, though he says he will do it with a new baby since I am so adamant, but I'm guessing this will be a struggle for us).  Also, since we never got to just be a twosome, when my dc are with their father, he talks about how this is the best part of the week for him and he gets really grumpy and angry if the schedule changes and he doesn't get this time alone with me.  Really, both of us get pretty stressed and fried from the day-to-day of parenting: he and I work really, really well as partners when the dc are with their father, and we really struggle together as parents.  I'm worried about how all of the stress will affect our marriage.

 

And then there's me...I am over 40, and frankly, tired as heck!  I have attachment parented two high-needs children for over 10 years and they are finally school age and I have an idea for a home-based business that is making me really, really happy in a way I haven't been in a long time.  I literally cannot wrap my head around being pregnant, giving birth, and extended breastfeeding again, while maintaining the very busy, full, and somewhat stressful life we have already.  I guess my biggest fear is that having a child won't be what dh thinks it will be, and it will all fall to me: his life won't change as much as mine will (you mamas all know this one): he will still get up in the a.m., take a shower, get dressed, go to work, come home, have dinner, spend time with the family, and go to bed.  Meanwhile, my daily life will change radically.  Every day.  For 18 years.  If sleep deprivation becomes an issue, I can see him camping out in the guest room while I nighttime parent.  I will also be the one on the ground with my other two (who can have a really feisty dynamic), dealing with the dynamics of three children, plus cooking, cleaning, organizing our social lives, playdates, etc.  Oh and did I mention we're homeschooling?

 

On the other side, if we decide not to, will he resent it forever?  Will he miss out on something that really is irreplacable (and it will be my fault?).  Of course we have talked about all of this, but since I've done the baby stage before and he hasn't (he came into our lives when my son was almost 3 and my daughter was 6) -- he really doesn't get what those early years are like and how much our lives will change.  I can feel, deep down, that he really doesn't get it, and knowing him as well as I do, I can feel that he is in the fantasy stage, and will be very ambivalent about the reality of having another child to care for and raise.  Will any of this matter in 10 years when we have a beautiful child together?  Or will we regret not just being satisfied with the life we have created together already?  Will I resent having another one if, in a year, he looks at me, bleary and sleep deprived, realizes he's not going to get his "weekend" with me (for the next 18 years), is sharing me with a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, attached child, and begins the slow withdrawal that I have seen happen again and again and again in marriages with this dynamic?  I feel I am the only one who can save us from this, yet am I being selfish? 

 

Give me your best, mamas!

 

 

 

 

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#2 of 13 Old 12-30-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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ahhh, from everything you said NO, i would not personally start over. i totally get it, my dh's life hasn't changed a bit, he doesn't get babies or toddlers at all. i have already told him if he doesn't help with these two i am not starting a new in 10-15 years. it might be slightly different if he was into attachment parenting and helping and wasn't so protective of your time together. (my dh is too...vs i feel like this is such a short period of time where they are needy kwim?) 

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#3 of 13 Old 12-30-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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ITA with lookatreestar.  I wouldn't even consider a third at the stage you're in.  I am so OVER (small) kids :lol and longing to be where you're at, not that I'm wishing away all the wonderfulness of now, but I DO look forward to the future.  Nope, I wouldn't do it.  :)


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#4 of 13 Old 12-30-2010, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, lookatreestar and RedPony!  Your words really hit home for me.  :-)

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#5 of 13 Old 12-30-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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No way. 

 

Sometimes I get this tiny inkling for a third but no. NO NO NO. I am looking forward to my freedom, my being able to sit and not nurse/sleep/constantly care for an infant. I love kids once they reach maybe...2? When they can talk and hang out like little people and aren't incredibly needy. 

 

My DH sounds a bit like yours. He isn't "good" at babies or young kids, and is really introverted. I'm the one that does the AP parenting, is up most of the night, etc. It's one thing we really struggle with. Sans kids we are like a dream couple, but having two has put strains on our marriage. They are a blessing and it's getting easier but it's work now. 

 

BORROW a baby for a weekend so he can experience the neediness 


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#6 of 13 Old 12-31-2010, 07:57 PM
 
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I'll agree with everyone else. I love being a parent, I love my children, but I sure as heck am not parenting a very young child year after year. I want to move past this stage, and this is the exact reason why my younger children are spaced closer then I would prefer just because I have already been doing this for 8 years, I want to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I could not imagine being where you are at in your life and then doing it all over again. Having school age children and babies is rough, it really is. I miss out so much because I can't volunteer in the classroom, go on field trips. Taking DD1 to older activities or events, say a movie is so difficult. I took DD1 and one of her friends ice skating last year, and by ice skating I mean I sit in the lobby with the baby while they go in alone. DD1's friend who is an only, asked DD1 why her mom didn't ice skate. DD1 replied, "Oh my mom doesn't do anything, she always has a baby". Harsh but true. 

 

No you are not being selfish, it is called being realistic. If you had a burning desire for a 3rd child then it would all be different, but you don't. I say it is time to move on and enjoy parenting older children. orngbiggrin.gif


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#7 of 13 Old 01-01-2011, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, mommariffic and Peony.  I love the idea of borrowing a baby for the weekend (high-needs would be best... ;-)!

 

That's my other big concern: mama on the sidelines with a baby, two older kids fending for themselves.  Since they've already been through a divorce and relocation, I really want to be there for them.  My dd is starting hormonal changes and is very emotionally needing mama right now: I can't imagine not being there for her or having my attention so divided.

 

Your words and experience really help.  Thank you.

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#8 of 13 Old 01-07-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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Not much to add, but I agree w/the others & it doesn't sound selfish. In your case, you couldn't *not* AP-parent a new baby, and yet it sounds like this could have really destructive potential to your current marriage. He doesn't sound on board with or up for participating in, this kind of intense baby care. How could it not come between you two and as a result cause more upheaval for your two kids. Lol, that sounded a little harsh, sorry!

 

Again, if you were really longing for another baby yourself, it would be very different. Good luck, mama. I imagine that as your kids grow you & dh could find some wonderful ways to enjoy life together, travel or volunteering etc, and won't 'constantly regret' what could have been. Getting to the stage of starting a business sounds wonderful too!


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#9 of 13 Old 01-07-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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:shrug

 

Guess I will be the odd man out and say I would really really consider it. I would tell him all that you wrote here, ask what he wanted, tell him what I would want from him and then really consider it. You do have age on your side. And he has never had a bio child, and you dont really know how he would act.

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#10 of 13 Old 01-10-2011, 08:25 AM
 
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I can understand the part of wanting to be done with having small children and you moving on to other things for yourself.

 

But I can also see how your dh could feel with  wanting his own bio child......however.  From how you have described your dh in regards to interacting with your children and his help around the home, I would say no. Not unless you have several serious conversations about your expectations from him about parenting and his participation. Not his participation being that he'd be okay with AP but how he would be actively involved with the children. Otherwise I wouldn't do it.

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#11 of 13 Old 01-10-2011, 09:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beebalmmama View Post

I can understand the part of wanting to be done with having small children and you moving on to other things for yourself.

 

But I can also see how your dh could feel with  wanting his own bio child......however.  From how you have described your dh in regards to interacting with your children and his help around the home, I would say no. Not unless you have several serious conversations about your expectations from him about parenting and his participation. Not his participation being that he'd be okay with AP but how he would be actively involved with the children. Otherwise I wouldn't do it.


The thing is, OP can talk all that she wants and her dh may even be on board for now but when the reality of a baby sinks in , as in day after day of feeding, changing, rocking, repeat, the earlier "talks" may not hold up much anymore. What if her dh decides after the baby that it's too much for him? What'd she do then? Someone will still have to fend for the babe and she'd most likely be it.

 

OP, in your situation I wouldn't do it either. My kids are still young but not babies any more and I like it this way. If I could birth a 2yo I would have another but being as it doesn't work that way, I'm done. :D

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#12 of 13 Old 01-10-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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I did.  But after reading your post - i dont know why you would.  My first two were 8 & 5 when they first met my new husband - they were 10 & 7 when we moved in together.  I always lamented how my new husband never got to see me pregnant, hold an infant, etc....everything that comes with new parenting.  At first, he wanted a new baby and i didnt - but we each managed to each convince the other and before long i was asking him to seriously consider having another baby and he would respond with 'can we talk about this next year'?  

i turned 40 and told him i will not wait another year for an answer - he asked me for 4 months...could he have 4 more months to think it over?  i was pregnant two months later. (it was an oops i swear!)   It was tough at first, he was so scared.  Eventually things settled down and he is a wonderful father to our new son, as well as to our now 15 yr old and 12 yr old. 

BUT things that are different between you and me are:

1. A deep deep yearning for a new baby  (having never had to parent a high needs baby ...i prefer babies and small children who CANNOT talk!) 

2. and incredibly helpful new husband, and children who are old enough to do all household chores and go to public school without incident!

3. Before pregnancy i was stuck in a dead end job i HATED and couldnt WAIT to give birth and never see that place again!

4. A husband who is naturally adept with children (is a school teacher)  and the noise, sounds, sleepless nights, smells and set in stains that come with them. 

For us, right now its wonderful ...i do wonder about just a few years down the road when my older two are off at college or moved away and its just me, DH and DS#2 ....i just cant picture that!

Since you sound so happy with the current situation - the new WAH situation, the kids are weaned and in their own beds, you get to look forward to 'your weekend'  alone and quiet time that comes with that.    I think you can let DH know that YOU dont think a third would be a good idea- for all the reasons listed and that he should take some time to consider it ....it sounds like he wouldnt need to much convincing that he really doesnt want to have one more!

And finally, NO that isnt doing DH a diservice at all.  I felt the same way - but there are plenty of life experiences that many people miss out on and are just fine without them.  (I have a friend who has never experienced natural childbirth - i think thats awful, she thinks thats great!) 

good luck, i know its a hard decision - but my vote is NO


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#13 of 13 Old 01-10-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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That does sound like a hard spot to be in. I, too, am torn about how hard I want to push to have a third child(a big struggle, would require IVF) because, frankly, I'm starting to enjoy the non-baby period. I do love babies, and I miss having a little baby, I miss the babywearing and the nursing and the whole thing, but.... We're now at a point where we can sleep in some days without worrying the kids will meet a bad end or needing us to get them every snack and so on. Do I want to go back to being constantly needed that way? Or do I embrace this new level of independence and run with it? I just don't know. 

 

I hope you can come to peace with a decision, either way. 

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