I Want Another Baby, He Doesn't
3 steps for coping
2. Seek Outside Advice
If you’re not making any progress through discussions, it’s time to seek outside help. Finding the right counselor for this specific problem is important, say Wade and Kovacs. They advocate the use of a licensed professional, such as a marriage or family therapist, nurse psychotherapist, clinical social worker, or a clinical psychologist. If your spouse refuses to go to therapy, there is high probability of no change, say Wade and Kovacs.
But Susan Fletcher, a parenting expert, says you can always go alone. “Even though it is a marital issue, a person going to therapy on [his or her] own can benefit from talking about the disappointment,” she says.
Having another child despite one person being adamantly against it is the wrong way to resolve this situation. “It doesn’t tend to be true that a person will get used to the idea after a baby is born,” says Fletcher. “Anyone who is forced into a major decision will run the risk of vacillating back and forth, creating a lot of instability in a marriage.” You could also end up resenting the child, Wade and Kovacs say.
3. Learn to Cope
After discussion and therapy, if the decision is to not have another child, how can you cope? Fletcher recommends asking yourself what you wanted out of having a child, and then looking for other ways to satisfy that need. Try to make a conscious decision that you can live your life in a satisfying way without the addition of another child.
Other good coping strategies are to focus on the family you do have—its health, love, and unity, says Susan Newman, a social psychologist and author of Parenting an Only Child: The Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only. “Focus on the child you have, and make every effort to let him or her know she is more than enough, that she exceeds your greatest dreams,” Newman says. “Focus on being the best parent you can be.”
As for Childs, her husband did initiate the next discussion. In it, she was honest about how upset she’d been feeling since the last conversation. He asked her some new questions, such as when she would want to have another child—though he hasn’t yet agreed to one. Both partners continue to respect and think about each other’s position.
Throughout this difficult time, remember this bit of wisdom from Wade and Kovacs: “The goal is to improve your relationship, with or without children, and to strengthen the love and bond you have with one another.”
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
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