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Fear vs. hope: Should I push for a third child?

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  • Fear vs. hope: Should I push for a third child?

    I will try to keep this short. My husband and I have two boys, ages 4 and 7. For the last two years, I have wanted to start trying for a third child. My husband is 100 percent against having any more kids. I thought he would come around by now, but he is as adamant as ever. Before we had kids, we talked hypothetically about having three kids, so that is always the idea I had in my head. I feel strongly that there is another child out there I am supposed to have. I also come from a big family (am the youngest of five children). My husband just has one brother.

    We don't have any family around, and parenting has been more labor-intensive than my husband expected. He is more involved than probably 99 percent of the dads I know, so he really has spent tons of time with our boys. He is totally on board with AP, but he doesn't want to go back to the baby/toddler phase. I have suggested hiring more help, even a part-time nanny, if we had another child, but he wouldn't want to be less involved with a third child than he has been with our boys. He has made career and other sacrifices for our family and feels I should respect his desire to stop at two children.

    We have talked about this again and again but are making no progress. I feel a lot of despair and anger toward him for not trying to open his heart to the possibility of a third child. He just thinks it would be hassle and chaos, and we should be content to have two healthy boys.

    Recently he expressed openness toward adopting a toddler/preschool-aged child. For some reason that idea bothers him less than the idea of another infant. I got all excited for a couple of days and started looking into our options/learning about the process. Then he made clear that he doesn't desire this at all. However, he would grudgingly go forward with adoption if it would prevent me from being angry at him forever.

    I am torn between two truths. One, no one should ever be pressured or badgered into having a child they don't want. And two, almost no one ever regrets having another child once that child is part of the family. We have room in our house for another child, and we can afford to take care of another child. I was an "accident," and my parents ended up being grateful to have me in the family. So I think, I should get my way, because 10 years from now he wouldn't regret having a third child, but I would regret not having one.

    Then I think that I am being an idiot, because pressuring him into having another child will torpedo our marriage, especially if the child ends up turning our family upside down. A friend of mine adopted two kids with special needs after having two bio kids, and most of her time and energy is consumed by the younger kids' issues. I think my husband would resent that a lot. I don't even think we are good candidates as adoptive parents if he isn't fully on board with the idea.

    In my hopeful moments, I imagine us adopting a little girl and him thanking me later for not giving up. In my fearful moments, I think I will go through life grieving because our family doesn't feel complete, or alternatively, I will ruin the good things we have now because I wouldn't take no for an answer.