Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pink, blue, and very, very green

This news--this surprising, exciting news--makes me desperately jealous.

Please know that this doesn’t diminish the happiness I feel for Julie and her family, and the hope that the pregnancy, birth, and beyond are smooth sailing for them all. Please know that I am deeply, humbly grateful for the babies I have; I know there are many others out there who would be thrilled beyond measure with two healthy children. Or who are very happy with their tight-knit mom/dad/one kid trio.

But every time I learn of a new pregnancy, that splinter of envy grows, until it becomes a sharp, jagged shard I can no longer ignore.

My husband is unmistakably done having children. And I’m struggling to accept that that means I am too.

He adores our children. He takes good care of them. He beams with pride at their accomplishments and their cuteness. But he sees parenting as a burden, another item on a too-long list of duties. For me it is, most of the time, a privilege and a blessing.

Along with that third baby I’ll never have, I mourn the partner who never finds the delight in the everyday; who wishes each stage of baby- and toddlerhood away before it even begins; who’s missing, I believe, the forest for the small, needy trees.

I remind myself that no more kids means no more morning sickness, pumping, sleepless months. It means less money spent on child care now and college later. It means we can all fit comfortably in our house and our cars. It means more travel, more free time sooner rather than later.

I weigh all that against the honor and the joy of adding another person to our family – and it just doesn’t compare. It doesn’t compare at all.

35 comments:

Jenster said...

What a lot of emotions you stir with this post. We have two healthy, beautiful children and no more because my husband was the same as yours. And I felt the same way you do.

Now that they're 15 and nearly 13 I am happy and satisfied. But it took me a while to get to this point.

I AM looking forward to grandchildren! Just not for a while, yet.

Magpie said...

Oof. I know those little twinges, I know that feeling of the husband/father not being as participant. Peace.

Kelly said...

Oh man, you're making me feel something here, intensely. Speaking for myself, I know I have an illogical desire to have a third. And I say illogical because I am, like Julie, overwhelmed with two. But I am obsessed with three. And I feel, inside, like it's 'meant to be,' and I don't even believe in 'meant to be.'

And I'm so sorry. This isn't a small matter between you and your husband. It's so amazing to me when the men feel that strongly about it because, generally, they are not the primary caretakers, even when both husband and wife work outside the home. Most of the 'burden,' the good and the bad, falls to mom.

My husband is also quite satisfied with two, and for now, I am as well. I hope you guys can somehow reach some level of agreement, and some measure of peace about this.

mothergoosemouse said...

Sigh. I know. I wish it were different for you. Maybe it still can be.

But thank you for the reminder to focus on the honor and joy, and all the other amazing parts of parenting.

binkytown said...

I also found myself more than a little bit jealous when I read the news, which was surprising given my constant state of angst regarding all things baby.

You also put words to my thoughts/ feelings/mourning over my mate as well. I'm sorry it stings right now.

Maybe now is the time to switch to an IUD? I'm just saying..

Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

"But he sees parenting as a burden, another item on a too-long list of duties. For me it is, most of the time, a privilege and a blessing"

I completely undertand. My husband is the same way. I know that I rarely write about the blessing that my children are, but maybe I should. And thanks for reminding me not to wish away their stages.

This was a great post!

Summer said...

It's tough, no doubt about it. My situation is a bit different -- my husband definitely does want at least one more child, and cheerfully does his part to work towards that goal -- but I certainly know the jealousy, that bitter mixed happy for you/sad for me jealousy, that comes with hearing that other people are expecting. Sucks to be jealous of a friend, doesn't it?

BlondeMomBlog (Jamie) said...

Parenting is a privilege and a blessing. You are so right.

And this comes from someone who is definitely "through at two." ;)

bubandpie said...

It's the other way around at my house - I'm the one who's done, the one who, all too often, sees the burden instead of the blessing. But even so - I love and value my children, even as I take great comfort in the supposition that I will find it easier to cope when they're just a bit older...

Gretchen said...

Being 'done' can be hard, especially if there is a divide between 'done.'

Don't quite know what else to say, as just over three years ago I found myself in Julie's shoes...

Karianna said...

Hmm. I agree on many points.

Life is too crazy for me right now to add a third, and yet I want one. Julie's news reinforced that for me.

And yet, we just moved from a 4 bedroom house to a 3. And gave away all our baby things in the process.

Our actions say we're done, but my heart says we're not.

Mona said...

I get preggers-envy, too. Mostly because being pregnant was so much fun for me, and if I could have that magic again, I would be knocked up right now.

Jenifer said...

I understand completely. My husband looks upon parenting the same way as yours does. I wonder if it happens often with the male species. My husband is also 15 years older than me and came into our relationship with two sons that were already teenagers. Thank GOD he loves me enough that he knew having children was important to me. One led to two and then he said he was DONE. Then I convinced him "just one more." We are actively tryong for the "just one more" now. He also supports my wish to become a surrogate after we are done with our own.

It's funny though he complains about the day to day parenting stuff, but he just LOVES to tell people we are trying again. It's like he get a big kick out of all the "what are you insane" replies. LOL!

Suzanne said...

It's so hard when both parents are on different pages about this. I am feeling unexpected pangs for a third child, and I'm pretty sure my husband is not.

I hope that you can find peace.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Wow.

I read this post to my husband & we talked about 'a third' for about half an hour... Thanks, as the others said, for the reminder that parenting is more than just work.

nonlineargirl said...

For different reasons, I get the envious twinges when I hear about a pregnancy. It is natural, and as you say, does not diminish the joy we feel as well.

Lady M said...

Oh honey. I feel for your want, and thank you for the expression of the blessing of being a parent.

Patois said...

Your point about the privilege and blessing of parenthood has clearly scored a direct hit on many of us. I hope I try to focus on that more.

I am so sorry that you and he are not united together on this. I'm glad you're struggling to be united. I'm sorry that you'll be the one to accept having two rather than him being the one to accept three.

I was in your situation. Fate intervened. Our third caused a two-year rift in our marriage. All is wonderful now, but it could have gone either way.

All my good vibes to you on this.

mamatulip said...

I know what you mean, Mayberry. Very much so. I waffle back and forth between being done -- like dinner -- and wanting another one really really bad. Dave, I think, is done, and that's a tough pill to swallow.

Damselfly said...

Aw. I hear ya. I have only one child, and even though my husband and I would like another child, I worry: what if we can't have another? what if we get to two and want three but ....

L.A. Daddy said...

I'm mixed up, too. I'd love to have three. Love it. But, we started late (on purpose) and this newest pregnancy has shown us that another on in a year or three would absolutely kill us.

It's hard. But, it's the life we chose. Hang in there.

Mailyn said...

My father is the same way. My mom got rid of him finally after 27 years and she's happier than she's ever been. Not that that's everyone thing. Just saying. Of course he did have other issues but she was just sick and tired of doing things his way.

I am so sorry he feels that way. I know parenting is a hard thing but it shouldn't be based on one of the two not wanting any more kids if the other person is really hurting with the decision, as you obviously are.

That's just mean of him. :-(

I hope he comes around. Or that you find that having grandkids [even if it's way off] may be just as much fun.

Oh and this coming from someone who doesn't have/care to have children. So, I understand where your hubby is coming from but I think it would be unfair of me to have this talk with my hubby BEFORE I marry him. It's only fair to warn people of what you may or may not expect in this department so there is no heartbreak later.

I seriously hope you fel better soon.

*hugs*

Mailyn said...

er...that should be it wouldn't be fair of me not to have the talk before I was married.

jen said...

oh, sister. bittersweet and ouchy.

Scribbit said...

Lots of hugs--I wish I could say something of comfort. Having children is the most personal and gripping decision a woman faces in my opinion. I wish I had more too actually--

Roxanne said...

Thank you for putting my feelings into words. My husband just had his vasectomy done last week, and I am heartbroken over it. The sad thing is, I feel this way after NINE children. He is Daddy to five of my children, and like your husband, is completely done having children.

I hope you find peace.

aimee / greeblemonkey said...

One word: Hugs.

Julie Pippert said...

As someone who knows reproduction isn't and hasn't ever been really a "choice" for me...who fought hard for the two I have, and right when we thought "yeah, maybe a third" we got devastating health news for me that said "all finished, the end"...yeah I do do, I do so totally understand how you feel.

And I totally understand that the sad you feel for you has nothing to do with the happy you feel for Julie.

Unless you are really petty like me and have to avoid pregnancy blogs for a while, every now and again...

(HUGS) of understanding to you.

PeanutButtersMum said...

I hear you... I'm not even sure if we're "done" having kids yet, but I already feel the envy whenever I hear of a new pgcy or baby. I wonder if we'll ever have another one and, in my great ability to find the negative in everything, am already assuming the worst. Is there any chance you'll have an "oopsy?" ;-)

Lisa said...

I know what you mean hon. Only we aren't done but we'd love one more. Just ONE more....

zamejias said...

It's been almost 2years since my delivery-room moment..and i would love to add one more tot in the house too..

btw, got a cool blog here.

PunditMom said...

A couple of years ago, PunditGirl was about 4 and I had the worst bout of mid-life hormines. I was adamant -- I wanted to adopt another child. But Mr. PunditMom has two from his first marriage, so PG is number 3 for him. He told me I needed to let the feeling pass. It did, and I'm OK with that now. But it's a conflict I never thought I would have.

Mrs. Wheezer said...

Hugs.

I was in your shoes 6 months ago. It was no fun...

Stephanie said...

I SO understand!! I think about it every day!

I know Bethany is a miracle -- I wasn't supposed to be able to have her -- but if God can do one miracle, can't He do another? Am I asking too much?

Matthew says we should just count our blessings. He's right.

That doesn't stop me from feeling like someone is missing from our family.

Karmyn R said...

I completely understand your feelings - I have 2 healthy wonderful children and for 2 years have been having fertility issues trying for that 3rd baby. Fortunately, I have a supportive husband, but some days it doesn't make it any easier.

Here from Mama Drama