November 20, 2010

So Hard to Explain

I've been wanting to talk about this for weeks but, you know, there's Personal and then there's PERSONAL, and it's so hard to figure out which is the kind of personal that's good to blog about and which is the kind of personal that should go in a diary. But it's the middle of the night and I can't sleep, and the middle of the night is such a good time for confiding things.

I'm feeling moody and upset, and it's because I think it's time for Paul and me to move on to The Snip stage of life. And I realize from previous discussions on this topic that for some of you it's unfathomable that I would want another child or feel sad about being done after five. In real-life discussions with other moms, eyes bug out of heads when I say I'd like another.

What I want to emphasize is that for me, this is NORMAL LIFE: when someone says "How do you do it?," I don't have an answer for that (other than "It's not as bad/hard as you'd think") because this is just ORDINARY. Having one baby felt ordinary, having two felt ordinary, having four felt ordinary, having five feels ordinary---and I would like another child, and to me that's no weirder than someone with one child wanting a second. And this is not because I am a freak of nature: a few generations ago, we all would have been like, "Only five kids? Do they have...you know...problems-if-you-know-what-I-mean?"

Can you tell I'm feeling a little rough around the edges about this? I feel so stuck, trying to communicate the way things are, and the way they're NOT. It's so frustrating to feel the bugged-out eyes all the time. I know, I DO KNOW, that five children is not the norm in this generation and in this culture, but it's the norm IN MY HOUSE and IN MY LIFE. In a household with two children it would be odd to suddenly go to six children, yes, but in a household with five children, it would NOT be. And because we're already a one-income household, and because we bought our house and our car as a one-income household, adding another child doesn't make much difference financially, either: one more plate at the table, one more use for the handmedowns, that's all. Maybe a small increase in the water bill for the laundry.

Anyway. Anyway. YOU know all this. It's not a financial decision at our house, not even a little. It's that Paul says he is at his maximum capacity for spending quality time with individual children. He says he doesn't have room in his heart for another baby. Whether or not that's true (he thought the same about Henry, and that has not turned out to be the case---to a degree that is almost comical) is irrelevant: it's his reason, and he's not backing down no matter what I say or want or think or feel or WHATEVER.

And as time goes on, the convenience factor has started to help me adjust to this. Henry is potty-trained now, and Elizabeth can put on her own seatbelt. Henry is the only one who still does things like draw on the walls, and he's due to stop that crap any day now. It's nice not to have to carry anyone. It's nice that no one's in a 5-point car seat anymore. It's nice that everyone can feed himself/herself. It's nice to be able to get rid of clothes Henry outgrows, instead of saving them. It's nice that half the kids can make their own breakfasts and lunches.

And I can see more and more freedoms ahead: soon no one will need a hand held. Soon everyone will be able to pull up his own pants. Soon everyone will be able to tie his or her own shoes. Soon everyone will be able to bathe himself. Soon I will be able to close the office door when I'm working. In two years Henry will start kindergarten, and the year after that all five will be in school all day. (But this is like your boss telling you don't worry, soon you won't have to do Task A and Task B anymore---when actually Task A and Task B are your favorite parts of your job.)

Reading Marie Green's posts on the topic have also helped me adjust, by making me think day and night and very intensely about the topic. And at this point...hey, are we two full years past my own Big Crisis? I think we are, but I don't want to look it up, even to link to it. I just remember it was near Christmas. Let's say two years, and not only has that been some time to get used to the idea, it's been some time for our family to settle into its state of Being Seven of Us. I'd wanted Henry to have a buddy, since it's Rob and William, and then the twins, and then Henry alone---but Henry has joined up with the twins. Another baby at this point would be born when he was four, which would mean we'd have Rob and William, and then the twins and Henry, and then a lone baby.

But just because I can see the upside of not having more children, it doesn't mean this isn't a big deal in our marriage. It was a matter of one of us wanting things one way, and one of us wanting things the other way---and only one of us could have it the way we wanted it, and Paul is the one who gets it, at the cost of what I wanted so badly. There could have been another person in our family, and he decided on his own that there would not be, and I had to submit to that. I think it leaves scar tissue, when one spouse lets his or her preferences trump the other spouse's. When the stakes are very very high (a PERSON, a whole person who won't exist), there's more scarring than when it's a matter of one person getting to make the decision about which car the couple will drive.

May I interject here that in the past when I've said such things, commenters have acted as if I got MY way with five kids and then Paul finally gets to make a decision by saying no to a sixth---when GOODNESS that is an icky and untrue way of looking at things. Paul and I BOTH wanted and planned on four children, and without getting into details let's just say that Henry was the result of Paul's decision as well. It's not those five children on my side of the scales, versus poor Paul getting only the decision to stop; it's the two of us wanting and having a large family, and now differing in whether our family could handle another member. It would be the same decision/situation if we'd both wanted the first child, but then I wanted a second child and he didn't: the number of children agreed upon by both parties before the disagreement is irrelevant.

So. I told Paul that if he was really really really definitely sure he would never change his mind about another child, he could make an appointment. And because recently he implied (possibly only carelessly) that if I made the appointment it would be "my decision," I added that he would need to make the appointment himself. Now I guess we will see what happens. I feel sometimes panicky and upset and sometimes impatient and irritated, and I wish very much that we really did have "child lines" on the palms of our hands that would tell us the fated number of children for us to have. I feel like by telling Paul he can go ahead and live our lives his way, I'm giving up on a person who could have been here but now won't be. Also, I think he totally owes me as many cats as I want.

52 comments:

momma on the run said...

I have seen the eyes bug out as well. Friends and family implied we were out of our minds having a fifth. When I told MY OWN MOTHER I was pregnant with our fifth she was very ugly and negative. She was even gossiping about me to her friends, saying things like, "Well, she's almost 35!" If my husband wasn't having so much job stress and considering a change that would mean a very large decrease in income, I would have loved to have another (and maybe another). I am so glad to know someone feels the same.

Bell said...

It's always very hard when there are fundamental disagreements in a relationship where there isn't a compromise in the middle. You can't really have half a baby. I'm going through a similar thing now, where one of us in this long distance relationship has to make the move to the other one, and my boyfriend is trumping me as well; he refuses to move from where he is.

It's not quite the same, but I can see a bit of where you're coming from. I wish I could help in some other way.

GratefulTwinMom said...

This is so hard. I sure hope, whatever the outcome is, you get some peace surrounding it.

Raven said...

This is going to sound drastic, because it is, but it's also the truth-my 1st husband flat refusing another child is what ultimately lead to my divorce. He had a similar reason "I don't know that I can love two and don't want to try to split my time and attentions, I don't want to play favorites" which just translated to me as, what the hell is wrong with you that you can't love a defenseless child?

Heightening the issue was that I had been diagnosed with endometriosis and was in extreme pain most of the time, the doctors seemed to think that the pregnancy would help my problems and I desperately wanted another child anyway.

When faced with it sparing me near unbearable pain, he still wouldn't even consider it and even went so far as to go get snipped while I was still dealing with my health issues.

I left him 10 months after having to have a full hysterectomy. Of course there were other problems but even to this day some 9 years later, I am sad for the child I never got to have and angry at him for keeping her/him from me.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I don't even have one child, so I don't fully know what that longing must be like... But I can see how it WOULD be terribly scarring, and I'm so very sorry you are going through this.

jonniker said...

Oh Swis. I just want to hug and love on you, and hope that this gets easier.

And yes, you deserve as many cats as you want. If he doesn't agree to this, I will drop cats off on your doorstep in the night, and then he will HAVE to agree.

Pigeon said...

I am dealing with a similar situation right now. We are talking about having a fourth...maybe. Probably not. I think my husband is waiting me out. He has not flat-out refused, but its pretty clear he does not want one, and feels we are at capacity. I have some health issues that would make being pregnant with another child...um...not a picnic, although it wouldn't kill me, but could certainly aggravate current and future health problems.

My kids are 5, 3, and 18 months, and the older two sleep through the night, and I have high hopes that the 18 month old will start sleeping through the damn night sometime in the near future. I've been breastfeeding for what feels like five years and I'm ready for that to be done. I've been giving all our baby clothes to my sister as we grow out of them. Having another baby would mean another 2 to 3 more years of not sleeping, of bf-ing, of never going on vacation...and I still want one anyway.

I'm not getting any younger, I'm 36, its not like I can put the decision off for a long time. For now we are in a holding pattern. But every month I get my period and I have a twinge of "well, there's one more time I'm not pregnant."

Hugs. I hope you get some peace on this.

Beth said...

oh, i am sorry this is so hard! i think it is a difficult decision for many couples so you are not alone. i feel that my husband and i are lucky on this front, as we both feel done and complete with one. i have to say, though, the outside judgements/comments/reactions are TYPICAL for anyone who has anything but two kids. i get nasty comments and eye rolling for having only one all the time, yet i feel that it is right for our family. if i felt like i was doing something bad or wrong for my family i would have made another decision!
i have to ask, though, the financial piece: you say it makes no difference to have another but to me it is such an expense: preschool (cha-CHING!), college funds, activities (my daughter only takes one class at a time-i don't want to over schedule) yet even one ballet/tennis/art class...birthday parties, etc, etc. I am frugal, too! We DID have the expense of some daycare earlier on, but now it is preschool. The College Fund thing with five or six... it is an additional expense, no?

Swistle said...

Beth- A lot of this stuff, we just don't do---not because we can't afford it, but because I guess it isn't our family's style. Preschool I can handle, because it's just one kid at a time (except with the twins---we skipped it for them). So far no one's been interested enough in anything to want to take a class in it. We have family birthday parties at home. College, we'll help as much as we can (and by then I'll be able to work full-time, and we can put that money all toward it), but I assume they'll work summers and get student loans like most kids do. Paul's parents paid zero for his college education, and we just paid off the loans and it was no big deal.

Lippy said...

Why is it that some of us are built to always want more babies? I know we have to be done- age and finances for us dictate it, but still it makes me sad to know there will be no more. For some reason this has been getting me down lately. I think because Ellie is getting close to the age where we started thinking about the next one, but now there is no next one.

I get the bug eyed look with only three, so I can imagine what you hear. I hear five and think, wow, so lucky!

Beth said...

Thanks for answering that expense question. I was wondering how you managed. Pre school is so freaking expensive where i am (Washington d.c.) that I have fantasies about what we will do with all the extra dough once our one is in kindergarden!

Stimey said...

Wow. Great post. It is SO hard when you're deciding on whether to create another person. That is such a big thing. I feel so incredibly lucky that Alex and I both felt at the same time that our family was complete. You make such good points here and explain yourself so well. I wish you didn't have to go through this. I wish you many, many cats.

Do you think it's possible that once the snip is done, you might have some closure that will make it easier? Like, sometimes the possibility of something makes it harder to accept that it won't happen.

Swistle said...

Stimey- I do think it might. I'm worried it'll make it WORSE---like the blogger I read who said that having no hope at all was worse than before. Sigh.

Bunnyslippers said...

My sister-in-law summarized this when she said that every time she looks at her kids she wonders who isn't there. (She has two but that side of the family has the kind of pregnancies that make them incredibly ill-- hospitalized, even.)

I'll be sending you good thoughts.

Angella said...

Matthew and I both wanted to stop at three (we get comments on three, even: "You must be BUSY!")

I can only imagine how hard it must be for you two. Hoping for peace between you...and as many cats as you want.

Elizabeth said...

Every time I read about this it just breaks my heart. The "person who isn't there" is just SO hard, because that's just how you feel after you DO have a baby - before there wasn't such a person and now here is this tremendous unique new PERSON who you cannot imagine life without.
It might make you laugh to know that I never got the five or six kids thing, especially after I had Eli. And I had Katherine and about three days in, I specifically though "OH. Now I know why Swistle has five kids." And now I want MORE.
There is something about wanting something SO MUCH and the other person just NOT CARING and just saying NO. Shouldn't it matter A LOT to them that you want it SO MUCH? That's the hurtful hard part to me.

Swistle said...

Elizabeth- Your last three sentences: YES YES YES YES YES. That's the part that I think can do serious damage to a marriage.

Bronwyn said...

Here I am, pregnant with (probably Carmela Snowden) and already knowing that, once (s)he's winding down on nursing, I'm going to want a fourth.

This was never my intention - I never thought I'd be cusping 30 when I had my first child, certainly never thought I'd be so antsy for number 2, NEVER thought I'd want a third.

And here I am thinking, but what about Liam Reid? Don't I need to give him a chance?

Jeff hasn't cut me off - yet. But I wonder when I'll feel done.

Jess said...

As I was reading this, I was thinking about what you then said in the second-to-last paragraph. It doesn't MATTER if other people can't fathom wanting a sixth child. Just change the NUMBER. What if you wanted ONE kid and your spouse wanted zero? Or if you had one and wanted another and your spouse didn't? This problem would probably cause fewer people's eyes to bug out in their heads, but it is the SAME ISSUE.

Anyway, this whole issue makes me sad because, as with Marie Green, it has no real resolution. Someone has to win and someone has to lose, and the only way to avoid that would be if one person had a sudden, genuine, independent change of heart--which really doesn't seem possible, which means that there is no good solution to this issue. It is so frustrating to be so fundamentally in disagreement with your spouse, especially if your disagreements are usually more minor and easily corrected and you're used to seeing eye-to-eye on the major stuff.

Also, yes, you point out lots of great reasons why this is easier for you now than it was two years ago, which is great--but it makes PERFECT SENSE that you are sad about it still. I mean, we are planning on two kids and I think it's quite likely that we will stop there, but that doesn't mean it won't be sad once we get there to think that there COULD be more children, and there WON'T be. The frustrating part is that we can't keep having kids forever so eventually there HAS to be a Last Child, and that will ALWAYS be sad.

jen(melty) said...

I hate this so much I refuse to think about it anymore. I hate when they get shitty and throw the ball back in your court (re: "YOU make the appointment so it can be YOUR decision" WTF is that kind of crap?) So yes, I am getting a cat despite him being very allergic to them but my reasoning is he just went ahead and made a decision about some big life-altering event without even considering my point or my needs or my wants, and hello, cat! Screw you, husband! I realize this is incredibly unhealthy but he also does other things that aren't really things I want to do and he just tells me to deal with it. In my cat fantasy, he's wheezing on the floor and I just kick him out of the way and say "deal with it." :) Tried talking till I was bl ue in the face but I've learned that he wants what he wants, and he will get it at whatever cost. And it occurs to me that many people are like that, and makes me wonder about the whole "marriage" thing. Because if there are actually people out there that are considerate and sensitive, then I am not married to any of them.

Maggie said...

Well I went on about my family's struggle with this ad nauseam on MarieGreen's website so will try not to be as verbose again here. Just wanted to say I know from personal experience how difficult this is - not just the wanting, but the struggle when I realized the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with and with whom I generally agreed on all the big issues suddenly had a totally different desire/response/perspective on something very important. I was totally taken off balance. We had a lot of difficult discussions - his points = I'd had two miscarriages that made me so sad and were hard physically as well - he was worried and scared for me. My points = I really really wanted a second child. Finally he agreed to keep trying to a specific time we had agreed on. Basically, I got pregnant at the last possible moment and then he got snipped when I was about 6-7 months pregnant so we'd never have this fight again. I feel for you and for anyone in this position because to me it was like an unexpected land mine in our relationship - there buried all along waiting to blow up and I had no idea. Really sucks.

Arwen said...

Swistle, my heart is so sad for you (and some of these commenters). I can't even imagine.

One of the things that kills me about this whole debate is that it seems quite common for the not-wanting-another partner to use the "I don't have room/time/love for another child" argument. And while I can certainly see the merit of it in re: physical resources, I am honesty flummoxed by the emotional aspect. Especially when, as with Paul in your case, Swistle, it has been proven to be categorically untrue. He was afraid he wouldn't have room/love for Henry and, as you said, that's very much not the case - yet he continues to believe firmly in the IDEA that he could have a child for which he wouldn't have enough room/love. It's entirely irrational, yet it seems to be so commonly accepted that people (and not just Paul - I don't want to pick on him here) will cling to it directly in spite of evidence to the contrary.

I'm the oldest of six in a family where there's always been way more than enough love to go around, and the first time I heard the argument that a parent "couldn't" love another potential child, I actually thought it was a joke. Now that I'm a parent myself, I can understand how it could feel that way - the love for the born and already real children is so overwhelming, it does kind of feel like it can't be duplicated. I struggled with this a little when I was pregnant with my second. But now that I've see how the love can (and does) multiply - now that we've got two I feel there is more than twice as much child-love as there was before; I can only imagine how great it's gonna be when we add numbers three and four in the spring - I can't imagine doubting it again. Like: "this, number eight, will be the child I have trouble loving. Even though it's been proven seven times before that love is the one thing there is always more than enough of." (If only that were true for sleep. Or, for that matter, money. Ha!)

I'm rambling but all I mean to say is: I'm sorry, Swistle, and I wish that Paul would change his mind but if he won't then I think you definitely deserve those cats.

Oh, and Elizabeth is right on as always. Love how insightful she is!

Leeann said...

Swistle,

I won't address the child issue, even though that is the main one here, because I haven't been in your shoes on that one BUT. My husband and I had a huge disagreement when I was pregnant with my firstborn. Before we knew it was going to be a boy or a girl, we were disagreeing on circumcision. I was against it and he was for it. It was one of those arguments that was very, very important to me. I had thought about it, worried about it, researched it, spoke to pediatricians about it. He had done none of those things but he just. said. no. His reason? He wanted his son to look like him and not be embarrassed. I was furious and adamant. He was furious and adamant. Time ticked on and a decision was going to have to be made. One person was going to win and one person was going to lose. It was HORRIBLY painful. I felt like I was gestating and nurturing this little being, not even taking a fricking Tylenol so it would be safe and healthy and whole, then I was going to give birth to this perfect child who would then be SURGICALLY CUT for COSMETIC REASONS because my husband said so.

Oh, I was so mad I could have cut him with a carving knife and hardly blinked. I did ultimately give in b/c I felt like I would be able to move past it (altho seeing the venom in my writing, perhaps it is just dormant) while he would hold on to his ill feelings about it and possibly affect the child with his feelings about it. That was the only night in our seventeen year marriage that he slept on the couch because I didn't even want him BREATHING MY AIR.

Long story short, the first one turned out to be a girl and it was a moot point. The other two were boys but by then it seemed best to just let the decision be as it was rather than open us both up to the pain of that fight again.

I have always told him that at some other point in our marriage there would be a huge decision to be made, where one person would win and one person would lose.. and that decision is MINE.

Hugs and love to you. It was a different decision but it was painful and I guess a bit of it still is because it was an irreversible loss. I couldn't make him hear me and it angered me and hurt me. But in the end, it all worked it's way out.

FInally, a question.. would fostering or adopting sometime in the future if you still felt this way be something you both could consider?

Swistle said...

Ack, you guys are making me drip tears on my shirt.

Arwen- YES, that is what kills me too! And in fact, once Henry was here, I ASSUMED we'd have another baby---because he'd been so sure there wasn't room for a fifth, and it is HILARIOUS how much he likes Henry. Like, we don't use the F-word ("favorite"), but... And so WHY DOESN'T HE SEE THIS AS CONTINUING TO APPLY??

Leeann- Oh, I SO IDENTIFY with your story. YES, that is what it's been like. YES.

We did talk about fostering/adopting, but he's not interested because of the "no room" problem. I've hoped that some child will come to us in a way we can't refuse it.

maggie said...

I am so sorry Swistle. When we got married I said "at least three" and he said "no more than three" and I thought I could live with that. But getting him to even TALK about WHEN to have the third has been so hard that I am very very afraid for the day when I realize, because I am pretty sure I WILL realize, that I want a fourth. So I am trying to deal with it now, before we even have a third - that is how hard I know this must be.

Sam said...

The number of people that have been AGHAST at me having a third is amazing. They don't even consider that #1 baby will be out of the house in 4 years. And the fact that Egg & New Baby will share a room? ZOMFG!!! Call CPS!! Adam wasn't ready for Egg or New Baby. I informed him that my ovaries weren't getting any younger so he had limited time to knock me up. He wanted babies, just not now. So I pushed.
I can imagine the pain of your situation, I was there with H2. Except he kept saying "some day" until I said "see ya!" (For more reasons than babies but it was a factor) I'm sorry you're in this situation. It sucks.

Tina G said...

Oh, dear Swistle, just need to comment on one thing....Henry really shouldn't be in a booster yet- the minimum age is 4 yrs/40 lbs. Minimum.

Anonymous said...

My hubby promised me, the night we got engaged that we could "grow one and buy one". I went through a hellish birth experience, and now have an awesome 2 year old. He doesn't think he could love an adopted child. And here we sit.

d e v a n said...

I get the bugged out eyes all the time, and I have "only" 4. Around here, anything more than 3 is huge, apparently.

Anyway, I'm feeling for you. The snip. It's so final. Want to know something crazy? My husband got the snip almost a year ago, and I still wonder, every month, if maybe it reversed magically and I will become pregnant. (And I actually don't even want more...)

Swistle said...

Tina G.- The car seat we're using for Henry is made for his age/weight. And of course it would be.

Brigid Keely said...

My husband's the oldest of five kids! You're not totally alone! This sounds like a super hard decision to make and live with. I'm glad you and your husband are approaching it with openness and honesty, though. That's super awesome.

CARRIE said...

My husband had the snip in April, and I am glad. Mostly because he is kinda sucky with children, particularly babies. And I am simply bone tired of being "needed" constantly.

With that being said, I am anticipating that when the 13-month-old edges closer to 2.5 or 3 (and the middle one is 5 and the oldest one is 8) I will have baby longing, and I just don't want to go there. Because it is painful.
So I'm sorry.

Somewhere I heard the phrase, "Every good wife deserves to be a widow," and I can't help but think it is because women, in general, are the "losers" in many marital situations.

Naomi said...

Sorry but I can't help myself.... Tina G, I find your comment incredibly rude. Of course Swistle knows which car seat is appropriate for the weight/height/age of her child. I don't think it's ok to imply she doesn't.

This decision sounds heartbreaking Swistle. I won't even try to pretend to understand what you're doing through, but I'll simply say that I genuinely hope you feel better soon.

Suzanne said...

I have nothing helpful to add in this discussion but read every word of the post and every word of every comment with great diligence because I can see this same argument coming in our future - although it's still a slightly distant future at this point. I always assumed I'd have 3 kids (because I am one of 3). My husband assumed 4 (because he is one of 4). After 1 and 8/9ths (due at Christmas) he thinks 3 sounds like MORE than enough and I think 4 may not make me even close to being done. I'm hoping we both get that complete "feeling" at some point and it isn't a fight because there really are no winners at all.

Also, I have a cat you can have. She's very nice and cute but she hates my husband and pees on his stuff. I'm assuming she may do the same to Paul, which might not be a bad thing after this decision.

Superjules said...

I just... CAN'T BELIEVE HE HASN'T CAVED! I mean, I guess that's why these types of disagreements are SO HARD. Because he LOVES you and he LOVES your kids. So WHY WHY WHY won't he just GIVE IN?

From a happiness perspective it just seems so unfair because with him getting his way, He = Happy and You = Miserable. But if you got your way would You = Happy and He = Miserable? I kind of doubt that having another baby would make him sad in the same way his decision is making you sad now. Maybe it is unrealistic to compare it on that level....

Yeah you totally get as many cats (Kittens! Litters of kittens!) as you want.

Dr. Maureen said...

I don't really know how to follow all those lovely comments. I can imagine that this is a terrible, difficult situation to be in. Because as everyone says, one person has to lose. It is not fair.

I agree with Arwen, also, about thinking it was a joke the first time I heard someone worry they could not love a second child as much as the first. Probably because I'm the youngest of 6, so I know that's craziness. And Paul should know it too! I don't get it! I understand any other concerns, but... not enough love? Huh?

Oh, and I ALSO don't get how everyone assumes we have to fund our children's education 100%. MINE certainly wasn't funded. I worry a bit because college tuitions are rising so fast that it may be more of an issue in 16 years, but even so. There are and will be options. And I don't know very many people who would rather not be born if they don't get to go to college loan-free.

Beth said...

I was the poster who was asking about college fund considerations. My college (20 years ago when I started) was not paid by my lower middle class parents - they just couldn't help much so I did loans and jobs and I got a degree. In 18 years I worry that it might not be possible to do like we did though so I am trying to build a little nest egg to help my daughter. Even so, I will expect her to pay part and books and spending money, etc. My bigger point is that I do personally find my own kid to a huge expense for our family ( we are two working parents with the need for some childcare in addition to preschool)and I wondered how some folks find that not to be the case. My daughter is still pre school aged, and I was thinking about h.s. And how that might be expensive in a different way- like extracurricular activities and trips and clothing and such. I think that might be an expensive time.

Doing my best said...

I wanted to comment on the Henry being 4 part: My number 4 was 3 1/2 when number 5 was born. That was not the spacing I would have chosen if circumstances had been ideal, and I was worried that it might end up being the older 4...and then number 5 hanging out all by himself. But so far (number 5 is 10-months old) it has been HEAVENLY! The older children ADORE the baby and are old enough to really enjoy him and dote on him and play with him (three of my olders are boys and one is a girl). Number 4 totally considers himself one of the "big kids", so there was no usuraption of the "baby" position in the family. AND all of the others are old enough to basically take care of themselves with me nearby giving directions, as needed, so I am not drowning in "I AM THE ONLY ONE IN THE HOUSE WHO CAN MEET EVERYBODY'S NEEDS"!! One of the olders can watch/play with the baby while I help someone else with something or make dinner or use the bathroom BY MYSELF. And knowing (thanks to my stupid body that acts like pregnancy is a POWERFUL POISON) that he is my last has helped me to stay focused on enjoying every second of his fuzzy-headed, sweet-baby-smelling life instead of being sidetracked by all of those necessary, but not nearly as important compared to this being the LAST BABY, things like laundry and cleaning that I struggled so much with trying to get done with the first few children. Now I really do KNOW (just like everyone tried to tell me with the others) that the baby will only be little for such a short amount of time, and all of those other things can wait, and the older children really can be taught how to do so many of those things even if they don't do them quite like I would like them to be done. I really feel like this last baby has been my reward for surviving all of those crazy days with so many little people who needed me ALL. THE. TIME! I'm so sorry that your husband is denying you this amazing experience!! It was hard enough for ME to make the decision to be done; I can only imagine how much worse the whole situation would have been if it was my husband forcing that decision on me instead of my body. I think I much prefer feeling betrayed by my body! I'm just so sorry that this is such an impossible situation!
And SERIOUSLY? Like you don't know what an appropriate car seat is?! (Hee, hee, my word verification is: carversi.)

Slim said...

Oh Swistle.

That is kind of all I have, because we aren't having any more babies, barring a miracle (and my kids are pretty miraculous, so maybe we have used up our quota), and there is not one stinking thing I can tell myself that makes me feel unqualified peace with that fact. I don't know how people feel done. I wish I did.

Amanda said...

We have two. Our youngest is seven. I am tired of the IUD and dh is scheduled for the snip. And NOW, NOW we are constantly having the "Do YOU want a third?" conversation that does no expand beyond "well do YOU want a third?" I am 36 and have RA. Why am I even considering it?

Babies/children they are irresistible.

jive turkey said...

Oh, this stuff is so hard. I, too, often wish there was a way to know how may kids you should have in order for your family to be the way it was always meant to be. Although I don't really believe in "meant to be," because, let's face it, my family with just one baby = PERFECT. My family with additional babies = ALSO PERFECT.

Lawyerish said...

I love the way you write about the hard questions in life. And I hate that this is difficult and feels like a resignation instead of a resolution.

I want to give you a hug.

Also, you are welcome to our cat. I will drive him to your home if you'd like.

Bethsix said...

We have four; I felt like we started getting those bug eye reactions at three. My husband is getting a v on 12/8. I am a little ambivalent about it, but when I THINK about it, I think mostly about the upcoming freedoms, like you said. Like, we still have one in diapers, and it just seems incredible to me that we could be completely done with that stage in our lives in a year (or two).

I've always been ambivalent right after having a baby about having another, but then I've always swung to the side of YES. This time, it's gone the other way. That's the only way I know I'm done.

Saly said...

I am usually out and about with 4, though only 3 of them are mine, and I get the bug eyes often. Having Niece in our lives makes not having another baby a little bit easier to deal with. Here is this little person who really does need us, even if we only get to do it on the weekends.

I plan on making one last ditch effort to sway Hub, probably next fall, when I am 33. Liv will have to be less hell on wheels by then. If the answer is no, I don't know how exactly I will feel. Time will tell.

Hugs to you :)

Marie Green said...

Oh, Swistle.

I have been a very bad bloggy-friend recently, especially considering you have been such a ROCK for me during my recent and identical (or at least, nearly identical) struggle. It's not that I don't want to support you, or love on you, or fly you and I both to some undisclosed location where we can lick our wounds...

It's simply that I am absolutely RAW, and reading your struggles makes my own HARDER somehow. Like, it's one thing for me to go through this, but QUITE ANOTHER to have to witness you doing it too. I honestly can't even read all of your comments without crying.

Is it too early in the day to start taking shots? I'll do it if you join me.

Swistle said...

Marie- OH I KNOW! And also, shots are definitely the thing: wine makes me cry.

Kendra said...

I don't know what your feelings are on the subject, but if in the future you both regret the decision you could always adopt. It would be an amazing way to extend your family. On another note, I'm sorry you are going through this struggle right now. I agree with you that it would be nice to have a "child line" to know just how many kids we are meant to have.

Shannon said...

I don't think you are weird for wanting more kids. You want what you want and you shouldn't have to justify it. But obviously, as you said, only one of you can get your way. I don't know if it will make you feel better but I agree that it does seem to get easier as they get more independent. My youngest is currently 4 and we are in the process of adopting a toddler and I feel the longer that takes, the dimmer "life with a toddler" gets in my head and I'm fearful of what the transition back to having to care for such a dependent little one again will be like for me. Right now we are just enjoying how much easier it is with the kids at the ages they are. So much noticeably easier than it has been that we frequently say to each other "Isn't this so much easier now that they can..." or "now that they don't....". So maybe with the decision being made, even though you don't like it, you can pat yourself on the back for being such a loving and understanding partner and for being generous enough to let your hubby have his way and maybe you'll slowly enjoy more how much easier things get. You seem to be dealing really well with this in my opinion. It's got to be incredibly hard when it's something you want so much. It will take time to come to a full acceptance of it.

katie mae said...

I just want to add that I think it is really ridiculous to imagine that anyone would not love one more child. I mean...using that logic, it would be plausible to say that instead of not loving the new baby, you might stop loving one of the older children. There is only so much love, after all! If there was an additional child, who is to SAY which child would lose the equivalent amount of love?! Ridiculous, right?

Today Wendy said...

"I feel like by telling Paul he can go ahead and live our lives his way, I'm giving up on a person who could have been here but now won't be."

This has been bumping around in my head for the past few days, because while I totally understand this sentiment, I don't share it at all. And I've been trying to figure out why. I think my attitude is that there are only so many people who fit into your life. And if they don't show up in your life as your own kids, they will show up as nieces, nephews, your kids friends, your grandkids...they'll be there. Just having that one kid opened the door to so many more people coming into your life. So maybe closing this door just means that you have to be on the lookout for more doors to open.

Anyway, this is my take on it. I really hope you two make it through this horribly tough decision ok. What about booking a session with a marriage counselor, or a mediator? I'm not sure it would help...but it might. Good luck.

Emily said...

Wow, the paragraph on scar tissue really hits home with me. You see, I'M the spouse in our family who is refusing another child. We both desperately wanted children when I got pregnant with our first, then my husband wanted another and I wanted to go back to having no children, then we ended up with a second, and now, he is still hoping for a third because he wants a daughter in the worst way, and I am flat-out refusing (and still kind of wishing I could go back to being childless).

I know how badly my husband wants another child, and that I'm the one taking that away from him. But I also feel like he "got his way" when we unexpectedly got pregnant with our second because I DID NOT want more than one child. Though he could never articulate it that way, I think he probably feels like you do about the scar tissue.

It's unfortunate that one party ends up with the scars, but it's inevitable when spouses disagree about some kind of major life decision that isn't amenable to compromise. Maybe try not to look at the situation in terms of winner and loser...I'm not quite sure how you might try to reframe it, but having an adversarial mindset (he's winning, you're losing) is only going to make the scars that remain bigger.

Swistle said...

Emily- I'm open to thinking of it in a different way, if you can think of a different way. I can't think of any, either. He IS getting his way, and it IS at the expense of what I want.