Baby Spacing Blues
Photo by (nutmeg)
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.
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.