Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Poking Holes in Condoms isn't the Answer

Dear Maggie,

My husband doesn’t want another baby and I am a mess about it. I am 32 he is 41. We have a healthy 2-year-old boy and I really want to give him a sister. I have begged and pleaded (and even done more devious things) and he won’t budge. Now he won’t even touch me for fear that I am tricking him. I don’t know if I just suck it up or leave him for someone who wants a bigger family.

Thanks, One-and-So-Not-Done.

Those are your options? Be a One Baby Martyr or get divorced?

(Besides, you are too late for her to be the seven billionth person on the planet with all the glamorous Time magazine covers and lucrative Coke deals that comes with. You can wait and try for the eight billionth but I think a Kardashian already bought the rights for that.)

Imagine this scenario: You get your wish for a Baby Girl. She is up at 3 a.m. with colic. You are exhausted because Son has been up all night with croup. You shake Hubby awake to get some help. He says, “Why should I? You’re the one that wanted her.”

Resentment about a child does not a healthy family make.

“Oh, fiddlesticks!” you argue. “The minute he saw her he would love her.”

You wanna take that chance? God forbid she had health issues or some special need that required lots of extra time, attention and money. How would you co-parent with someone who was (potentially) not invested in it?

David Schnarch wrote a book called "Secrets of a Passionate Marriage." (A must read!) He states that in a marriage, when it comes to money, in-laws, sex and children, the lower-desire partner has the control. In this case your husband.

You can squeal, scream and seduce, but at the end of the day it is slim that he is going to make an authentic change about something so important. He is 41. The majority of men I spoke with are planning for retirement in their 40s not getting psyched about washing diapers.

You are almost a decade, and a generation, younger than your man. It is natural that your ovaries are ready to party. But you still married someone older. Did you talk about your vision for a family before you spent months finding the perfect dress?

I don’t want to stomp all over your dreams for more kids, but it is massively unfair when your husband is saying NO loud and clear for you to keep harassing him. “No” doesn’t mean “keep asking every hour or so for the next year and eventually you will kill all of my confidence that my opinion means anything.”

And for heaven’s sake, don’t be poking holes in condoms or flushing pills down the potty. That is Crazy Town.

You also do not have my blessing to throw away a man who was perfectly suitable to marry and have Baby No. 1 with so you can get knocked up by some new guy. Grow up.

However, you do have a maternal instinct that needs more stimulation. That is perfectly wonderful. You can channel that excess energy into volunteering at any of the child-centered organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club or the Center for Grieving Children. When your baby is four (I wouldn’t take on anything too stressful until he is out of the three’s. You will be covered in gray hair) consider fostering a child whose parents are not capable of giving them the love that you can offer. There are SO many kids that need support, guidance and love. We need to start spreading good energy around to the people that are already here.

Your void could also be filled by giving birth to something other than a baby. A woman’s womb center is not only where life germinates, but also her creativity and fire. What is your passion (besides having another kid)? Are you a dancer, artist, chef? That pull you feel may be the drive to create a new business, endeavor or to acknowledge a talent that has been dormant for too long.

If you expand your thinking beyond, “I am only a mother” you may feel less pressure to procreate. One role, regardless of how vital, doesn’t define everything you are.

Be grateful for the healthy son you have and the husband you chose to make a life with. There are plenty of women that don’t even have that.

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