My Husband Wants Another Baby, But I Don’t. So Who Wins?
My husband and I love to talk about our courtship, mainly to see the jaws drop when we mention how short it was: nine months from meeting to married. And that was back when we were living on different continents.
For the most part we’ve managed to avoid all those pitfalls people associate with a rush to the altar – namely divorce. Two children later we’re as happy as any couple out there. Or rather it seemed that way before he started bringing up The Third Child.
I suppose I should have seen it coming. He’s from a family with three children; I’m one of two. It’s common for parents to feel most comfortable replicating their own experience – unless they were miserable children. Alas our pre-marriage procreation talk never went farther than an heir and a spare. Not that the issue would have been a deal-breaker. He’s just not as convinced as I am that we’re living the dream.
Our second-born had barely been cleaned off before my husband started putting “it” out there. He was so full of love he didn’t want us to stop. I can’t say I hadn’t considered another one myself, but my instincts ultimately said no. As most mothers can attest, the desire to brood fails to manifest itself when you’re wrestling a toddler into bed at the same time the infant is gagging for a feed. And if I remember correctly, wrestling was what I was doing pretty much constantly the year after Number 2 was born.[tagbox tag=”family planning”]
His comments were lighthearted, but they started to hit me hard. Clearly we’ve never regretted having our first two, and we’d never love a third any less. I thought about all my friends who were third children; what if their parents had decided to stop at two.
Then our peers started churning them out. For a while it seemed like everywhere I went someone would announce they were knocked up a third time. And they all looked ecstatic.
“See…” my husband would exclaim faux-accusingly, as if to say: If they can do it, why can’t we? At times I’ve felt like a lightweight. Indeed, why can’t I?
I’ll admit, though, I haven’t been on my best form since my first pregnancy. I’ve given up full-time work and suffered – financially and professionally – as a result. I feel like I’m on the cusp of rebuilding my career and I’m reluctant to let it crumble again.
I’ve been tired. Okay, that’s no great revelation, but exhaustion in my house leads to short-temperedness, impatience, loss of motivation and even more insomnia. I’m not sure anyone in our family would benefit from mom getting even less sleep.
I love to travel. We’ve traveled the world with our two girls, with bottles and diapers, carseats and coloring books. Could we cope with a third? I mean, I know we could, but would it be worth it?
And finally, I’m 40. We all know women are having babies into their 50s and loving every minute. I just don’t think I’m one of them. I’m not sure my body would take it on the chin. My husband is like a Jack Russell terrier, with boundless energy and drive. I’m more of a basset hound.
My husband was born to be a dad. Yet he was also born to be a breadwinner. To my good fortune, he’s been quite good at it. But that means he leaves the house every morning around 8 a.m. and we don’t see him again until after 7 p.m. – on a good night. He travels a fair bit, he entertains in the evenings and he works the odd weekend. So a third child, for him, means one more delighted face to kiss those nights he comes home before bedtime.
Of course I’m oversimplifying matters. A child is more than a face to kiss and five years from now the sleepless nights might – might! – exist only in our memory. Our car can hold an extra carseat and our house an extra bed. I just plain don’t see myself as a mother of three.
My husband knows I’ve got the advantage. And I suppose if it were possible to declare a winner, it would be me taking the victory lap. I’m just not ready to pass the finish line yet.