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Baby Spacing Blues

By Amalah

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Photo by (nutmeg)

Hi Amy,

I am such a fan of your writing–your blog and columns are always good for a pick-me-up. I am writing because I have a situation that I just don’t know how to resolve. I want to have a second baby, and my husband doesn’t. Our daughter is 18 months old, and I’ve started feeling the urge to get pregnant again.

My husband has said he’d be willing to compromise and have another baby in, say, 4 years. But here’s the thing. I’m already 34, and conceiving our daughter took a year and a half. So waiting 4 years to start trying for #2 just seems crazy to me. I’m feeling stuck. Every time I try to have a conversation with him about it, I get this knee-jerk “I’m not ready” reaction. I feel so tempted to just quit taking my pills, but I know that would be a huge mistake. If I did get pregnant that way, I’d feel terrible for tricking him. But I really just don’t know how to bring him around to my point of view. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Baby Crazy Mama

As someone who was ready for her first baby loooong before her husband was, I totally sympathize. It’s a rough spot to be in, particularly since we’re the ones with the CRAZY TICKING THUMPING BIOLOGICAL CLOCKS going off in our hormone-addled brains. And while I don’t know of any magic words that will make your husband change his mind, I do know of two things that may make things even worse. Do not do either of these two things:

1) Threats and/or ultimatums.
2) Deception.

I’m sorry, but that whole “I’ll just FORGET to take my Pill” thing grosses me out. I know you were mostly joking but other women…not so much. Totally not fair to anyone, hypothetical baby-to-be included. Family planning and building is a whole family activity, so…yeah. That’s all I have to say about THAT.

Honestly, it sounds like your husband just wants and needs a little time. He’s not saying never, he’s saying not now, and while I know you have very real, logical reasons for wanting it now, pushing/begging/haranguing him will probably not help. Not to make even more gross generalizations about baby-crazy women and their menfolk, but guys definitely like to be READY. Your husband doesn’t feel READY. There’s nothing you can do or say to force him to feel otherwise, for the time being. I’m sure he will come around — maybe it’ll be packing up the crib, her birthday, potty-training, a sudden realization that oh wow, he doesn’t have a baby anymore. I don’t know his specific reasons for wanting to wait so long, but there’s probably a mental lip he needs to nudge himself over. You can offer an occasional poke, but you can’t push.

You can (and should) talk to him about the importance of the over-35 thing for pregnant women, the increased risks for both you and baby, the possibility for more invasive genetic testing, all of that fun stuff. Don’t fixate on it and wig yourself out, but make sure he knows that it is indeed a Real Thing, not to be shrugged off as irrelevant to your child-spacing decisions. Fertility decreases, while the risks of birth defects (particularly Downs Syndrome) and miscarriage increase (from about 12% to 25%). If he continues to insist on waiting, please don’t be terrified or anything — just focus on your own health in the meantime. Maintaining good diet and weight and lifestyle will up your odds of an easy, complication-free conception and pregnancy.

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Meredith
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Meredith

Not that long ago, I was the person who didn’t want to have a 2nd child and my husband was raring to go after our daughter turned 6 months old. I really wasn’t sure I wanted a 2nd much less one so close in age to my daughter. I did change me mind about having another child, but it happened gradually and with little pressure from my husband. My daughter will be 2 1/2 when her sibling is born and that did make a difference to me–the fact that she is a little more independent at that age. (I am… Read more »

Bitts
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Bitts

PLEASE DO NOT have a baby your husband doesn’t want! He knows his own mind and if he’s not ready then HE’S NOT READY.
He knows you want another one. He will tell you when he’s ready. Wait! He already has. Respect him and the family you already have enough to wait until you’ll both be thrilled about it.
Your second will come along eventually. Don’t make it at the expense of your marriage.

Erin
Guest

So here’s some advice that may or may not work…Try coming at it from a different angle. Instead of saying the words “I want another baby,” ask: “When do you picture us having two children?” or “What do you want to see us do before we add to our family?” Change the wording and the approach and maybe you’ll delve deeper into what making him NOT ready. Maybe he wants a savings account, to go on a vacation with just the three of you, or just to sleep through the night for a full year before another baby. Was your… Read more »

Lisa
Guest

I am also in this situation… wanting a second, but having a hubby that’s not there yet, and who has admitted he just can’t deal with the crying thing. Being 41, I know that there isn’t much time at all. We lost the first(who would be Ezra’s age now) early, and have a lovely 5 month old daughter now (after a difficult pregnancy), who is usually a dream. That clock can POUND at times. I’m hoping that once she’s a LITTLE bit older, and out of crying, that he changes his mind.

Emma B
Guest
Emma B

If I were you, I’d table the discussion completely for a few months, maybe until your daughter turns two. I think 18 months is kind of the low point of toddlerhood — old enough to get into all sorts of trouble, not yet wise enough to stay out out of it, and not far removed from the stresses of infancy. I’d suspect your husband is subconsciously equating the decision to have another baby with the immediate appearance of said baby, and that he’s looking at your daughter and thinking there’s no way he can handle a baby RIGHT NOW. He’s… Read more »

Lori
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Lori

My advice….LEAVE IT ALONE. Don’t talk to him about it. Back off. He needs space and it will come to him if it is meant to be. Not that long ago I was in the same spot as you. I laid off him about it for a month or two. Then I had my annual GYN appt so I gingerly brought it up w/the guise of the appt in mind, knowing the GYN would ask when/if we were going to have more. My husband said, “at the end of the year I may be ready to try”. I was happy… Read more »

themouthyhousewives
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themouthyhousewives

I think this is excellent advice. We didn’t quite hit the mark on this one but I believe we elicited a laugh. Here is the “otherside’ of your smart advice.

Pinkie Bling
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Pinkie Bling

Amalah, you are the best!!

kakaty
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kakaty

All the previous advice is spot-on. Wait a little bit, but don’t let him discount the risks of waiting. We are prego with #2 and our girl will be 3 1/2 when it’s born. I was more on the side of “not ready” until our girl was about 2 1/2, mostly because I didn’t want 2 in diapers and wanted the older one to be a bit more independent. So we waited and miscarried (at age 31 – 1st pregnancy was a breeze) and then it took another 8 months to get pregnant again. I think I also had some… Read more »

heels
Guest

My husband was not ready to have another, either. After a few months of quiet frustration on my part, I laid it out for him. First, I addressed my concerns (such as my age, child spacing) and my desires. Then I asked him what his concerns were and tried to address/talk about those as much as possible (so many things are unpredictable, though!). Basically, I presented my case as logically and unemotionally as I could. Then I backed off completely. Now I have my son, who just turned 4, and my daughter, who is 3 months. (BTW- I LOVE the… Read more »

Nancy
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Nancy

I have no advice on the spacing… but I’m a nearly-40 success story. I didn’t meet my DH until I was 35, we got married when I was 37, and started trying for a baby when I was 38. Don’t forget that another possible “effect” of advanced maternal age is the possibility of multiples! After one very early miscarriage @ 4 weeks, we conceived twins 4 months later. I had a perfect, complication-free twin pregnancy and we got our dream family all in one shot. On the flip side, you could use that as part of your case to start… Read more »

Jennifer B
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Jennifer B

Everyone has had really good advice. Also know that just because it took you a long time to conceive your first child, that is not necessarily an indication that it will take you that long to conceive your second. It took us 2 years to conceive my son and about three months for my daughter. We were shocked that it happened so fast. I realize the flip side is that it could also take as long/longer, but you just never know.

Nancy
Guest
Nancy

I have no advice on the spacing… but I’m a nearly-40 success story. I didn’t meet my DH until I was 35, we got married when I was 37, and started trying for a baby when I was 38. Don’t forget that another possible “effect” of advanced maternal age is the possibility of multiples! After one very early miscarriage @ 4 weeks, we conceived twins 4 months later. I had a perfect, complication-free twin pregnancy and we got our dream family all in one shot. On the flip side, you could use that as part of your case to start… Read more »

Katherine
Guest
Katherine

I feel for you! I myself am 39, pregnant with our second…..our second “unplanned” baby. My husband would NEVER say he was ready – no matter what situation we were in – something always needed to be more “right” in order for him to want a baby. I think every guy is different, and it depends a LOT on their perspective and I agree with trying to find out WHY he’s not ready. I also think it’s fine to get just “get pregnant” (obviously) because it’s what YOU want, and it’s your body, and your age definitely matters. Every relationship… Read more »

Janel
Guest
Janel

I am in the same boat. I’m 31, and my husband is 35. Together we have a son who will soon be turning 11 years old. I have been “hinting” about having baby #2 since our son was about 3 or 4 to no avail. Now, for the past two years my bilogical clock has not only been ticking away but it’s ALARM is going off and the “snooze” button is broken. This past June, he FIANLLY agreed…I was over the moon thrilled…SOOOO HAPPY!! Then..he progressively stopped being intimate, and ultimately changed his mind (after already trying unsuccessfully for 4months).… Read more »