I Want Another Baby, He Doesn't
3 steps for coping
At a Crossroad
One night, Ivana Childs* decided to talk to her husband about something that was on her mind. Originally, he only wanted one child, and she wasn’t sure if she wanted one or two. But after having her son, Childs became convinced she wanted two. Because she knew her husband said only one, she was hoping that fatherhood had convinced him otherwise—like motherhood did for her. She was wrong.
“That was devastating, even though I shouldn’t have been surprised,” Childs says. “We had a long talk about it, and he explained his position, and I explained mine. He was supportive, and I think felt bad because I was so distraught, but he said he’s 95 percent sure he won’t change his mind.”
Childs cried all night and all the next day. She cried at the drop of a hat for a while, and didn’t feel like doing anything. She was surprised by the magnitude of her reaction and described it as being in mourning. “I think I basically need to treat this like a death in that it’s a void I’ll have in my heart forever, and I’ll need to just focus on the good things I do have and try to go on,” Childs says. She finds herself fantasizing about her husband changing his mind, and realizes that’s not good. As she tried to reason all this out in her head, Childs was hoping that her husband would initiate another discussion about the subject. In the meantime, she wasn’t sure what to do.
1. Set the Ground Rules
According to authors Donna Wade and Liberty Kovacs, and their book I Want a Baby, He Doesn’t, Childs is already on the right track. Communication is key in dealing with this issue. Since this is a loaded topic, the authors suggest first proposing an agenda and setting ground rules for discussions.
Change the environment where you normally have discussions, the authors say. This prevents negative feelings from being associated with certain areas. Being aware of the hour is also important, to ensure that both of you are attentive. Finally, say what you want—without assuming your partner is a mind reader.
According to Wade and Kovacs, other ground rules include the following:
- State the reasons for your desires
- Actively listen to each other
- Remain calm, and take frequent breaks
- Be open to each other’s point of view
- Review childhood experiences
- Stay focused
- Take things slowly
- Plan a target date for coming to an agreement or evaluating progress
- Be honest with yourself about your decision
As you think about your desire to have another child, make sure that your reasons are valid ones. Wade and Kovacs list “iffy” reasons to have another child, like wanting another playmate for your existing child, wanting a child of another sex or even worrying that time is running out for you. Unhealthy reasons for having another child are pressure from family and friends, a tax deduction, religion, saving your marriage, or feeling like your life is without meaning if you don’t have another child.
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