What If Your Husband Wants Another -- But You're Not So Sure?
Maybe you and your husband discussed having more kids and settled on the timing, but you had some nagging doubts. You might feel that your family size is perfect (and manageable) as is. Or your career may be taking off, and you're worried that adding to your family will be too much responsibility. "For some women, there's a sense of not having enough time to do it all and do it well," says Yvonne Thomas, PhD, a Los Angeles-based psychologist. Men may feel more prepared for another child because they usually aren't as involved in the daily grind of parenting. Research shows that even when both parents work, the woman handles the majority of childcare and household tasks, says Paulette Melina, PsyD, a consulting psychologist in Los Angeles. "Men tend to think in terms of how can they provide financially rather than what the responsibilities of caretaking entail."
Nikki Britain, who grew up in an abusive household, wasn't sure she'd ever want to be a mother. "I was afraid of turning out like my parents," says the mom from Parker, Colorado. Still, she and her husband were thrilled when their son, Spencer, was born. Britain figured they'd stop at one, but her husband had other ideas. "I was perfectly happy with our little family of three, but my husband didn't want Spencer to be an only child," she says.
Somewhat reluctantly, Britain agreed to try for another. Their attempt was successful -- very successful. When she had her ultrasound, two heartbeats appeared on the screen. "Part of me was thrilled that I was pregnant," she says. "But sometimes I would think, 'What on earth have I gotten myself into?'"
Britain ultimately handled the situation in the best way possible, say experts -- she asked for help. "You shouldn't be afraid to talk to other mothers, because most of them will be able to relate to feeling scared and overwhelmed," says Jennifer Ashton, MD, an ob-gyn in Englewood, New Jersey. Britain's smart solution? She joined the Mothers of Multiples Society and bonded with other expecting moms and those who were already raising twins.
Talking openly about your feelings with your husband is also key. "You don't want to harbor resentment toward him or, on the other hand, come down too hard on yourself for 'allowing' the pregnancy to happen," says Dr. Ashton. Accept your part in the situation so you remain a team.