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Whether to Have Another Child

Question

My husband and I had a wonderful baby boy two years ago. We love him and we are a happy family. Lately, however, my husband has been pressuring me to have another child. He wants to try for a girl this time. I am not ready to have another child. To be honest, I'm not sure I will ever be ready. What do I tell my husband? I am afraid he will be very angry.

Answer

When two people get married and start a new family together, they eventually get to the point where their individual needs and values clash. Whether it is how to discipline a child, or where to spend the summer vacation, the two partners must face conflicts and seek resolutions. After all, while you are a family unit, that family unit is composed of individuals.

It sounds like you and your husband are due for a long talk about your goals, dreams, and plans. Hear him out, without interrupting, without judging. Maybe you never realized that it has always been his dream to have two children. Maybe he believes your first child will be happier with a sibling. After he has spoken, and he knows you have really listened to his side, it's your turn to talk. He needs to understand what having another child means to you. I don't know your circumstances, but there are many reasons for not wanting another child. Perhaps you were hoping to go back to work when your son starts preschool, and a second child would dash those plans (at least for a while longer). Perhaps you are an older mother who doesn't feel she has the energy to start over with another child. Or perhaps you fear the financial responsibilities of a larger family.

Neither of you is right or wrong. You just have different goals and dreams. Since you have joined together as a family, those dreams and plans have to be adjusted to meet both your needs. For instance, let's suppose your reason for not wanting a second child is financial. Perhaps your husband has thought of a creative solution that never occurred to you. Or maybe together you might come up with a way to lessen the financial burden. On the other hand, your husband might not have been taking your "no" seriously. He may have been thinking "I can cajole her into it. She'll change her mind in a few weeks." He may not have realized how deeply you feel about the issue.

In the end, what is best for the family is not whether you actually do or don't have a second child. It is how that question is handled. It can become a power struggle, a source of battle, or a template for how future conflicts between family members are resolved. If you approach each other with compassion, respect, and a willingness to listen, the two of you can work this out in a way that strengthens both your relationship and the family.

 

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.