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How can I avoid resentment?(41 Posts)
It's a classic MN dilemma - I want another child, my husband doesn't and I have to accept it.
But I am struggling. I'm nearing 40 and I have been feeling broody for years with no signs of it wearing off as my kids get older. I KNOW that the parent who doesn't want any more trumps the one who does and I KNOW that even bringing up the subject is tantamount to manipulation, but I am worried that I am going to feel this resentful forever and I don't know how to get over it.
For background - I made it clear from when our youngest was quite little that I wanted another one (and actually always said I wanted three, although that was before we had any, so it doesn't really count, I know). He kept saying he didn't at the moment and I asked him to let me know if/when he decided one way or another and not leave me hanging along, hoping. Three years on and I had to confront him to get him to admit that he had made a decision, but didn't want to tell me becase he knew it wasn't what I wanted to hear.
I was upset, he was upset and I believe he is genuinely sorry, but it does nothing to mitigate the fact that I only asked him for one specific thing and he left me hanging like Miss Havisham, surrounded with baby clothes that I was keeping 'just in case', meanwhile he knew that there was never going to be any point to it and just said nothing.
He's not a bad dad. By which I mean, if he was a mum, he would probably be considered dangerously neglectful, but he is here, he does stuff with the kids, he's just a bit lazy and selfish and I've kind of facilitated that because he never complains about me (despite my many, many flaws) so I feel bad bringing up the fact that he does almost none of the family organising, planning, scheduling etc.
Post Christmas, when he bought roughly three presents out of the total for all our friends and family (including the kids) and I can feel the resentment welling up. My inner monologue is goading me on with the 'how dare he deny me another child because it will be a lot of work when he can't be arsed to even buy a present or plan a day out with the ones he has' (and of course, the devil's advocate saying 'if he's that bad, it's not fair to inflict him on another child').
I am so lost. I can't work out whether he's a perfectly nice man who is bearing the brunt of my disappointment at his perfectly reasonable decision to not have another baby, or a selfish arsehole who is denying me a chance to have another child because he can't be arsed to deal with the bit where he actually has to do stuff to contribute to their upbringing.
Is there a way to avoid this poisoning our marriage? I feel like talking to him about it would basically be saying 'If you don't agree to another baby, I'm going to resent you forever', but at the same time, I'm worried that I actually will and then it will be too late to do anything about it!
FWIW, I am not short of blessings to count and I am in no way under the illusion that this desire for another is rational or that it will ever go away, even if I had another (although I suspect biology would take care of that in due course and then it would be out of both our hands). But some days it feels like it's getting worse rather than better and I am so sad and confused and can't trust my own judgement. Any wise words would be much appreciated.
You want a baby, he doesn't. I think counselling as a couple might help.
You need outside perspective.
If I were you, I would have an 'accident', but I am not you.
I know people who have had an accident (not AFAIK deliberate) and not regretted it.
Thanks for your thoughts. I was considering counselling, but it feels as though that would end up being a more drawn-out way of having someone else tell me that I have to suck it up. Perhaps it would give me a different perspective, though.
I admire you for your honesty about an 'accident'. Tragically, I suspect that, were an accident to happen, he would probably be fine about it once he got his head round it. I think that's part of the problem - I don't genuinely believe that he actively doesn't want a baby as much as I do want one. He says that he doesn't feel like anything's missing, which seems such a wishy-washy non-reason for making me feel like this.
I'm not sure I could go through with the deception though, and I suspect that's because deep down I feel like I'm right, somehow. Like it's a disagreement that I should win because I do the lion's share of the emotional and physical labour with the kids. But I haven't won. And I don't think I can.
I didn't have an 'accident' and am not really the best person to advise as wasn't all that broody (had DC young because that's what you did) .
As I see it you have choices:
You suck it up but it will probably make your marriage unpleasant.
You persuade your DH to let you try for DC3.
You have an accident.
If you have tried the 2nd option then have an accident it could break your marriage.
Having an accidental pregnancy might break your marriage.
If you decide to try for DC3 and it doesn't happen, would you be going down the infertility investigation/IVF route?
It's a tough one.
I have friends who got pregnant by accident. I'm old enough and from a community where it would result in a quick engagement and wedding. More recently, have had suspicions that contraception failure wasn't likely to be accidental. AFAIK, none of these women regretted having the baby.
I think your DH is mean, but could it be your body telling you its your last chance?
If you believe your DH will come round to the idea if you had an accident, then I'd have the accident tbh. If you know it will break up your marriage then I'd go to counselling to help you come to terms with the fact that you won't have another child.
He’s a pretty crap dad to the child he has, so I think it’s pretty damn obvious why he doesn’t want another - he’s patently not very interested in children, possibly didn’t particularly want one in the first place. I can’t see why any sane person would suggest you have an “accident” - you’ll just end up with him as an even crapper dad to two rather than one. Why would you even want another child with somebody who you say yourself would be called “dangerously neglectful” were it not for you doing the vast majority of the parenting?
Honestly, I think in the long run your resentment will become about far more than another baby and I can’t see your marriage lasting. I’d be broaching the subject of separating now and give yourself a chance at a new life and possibly another baby in another relationship.
Have you only got the one at the moment? I wanted 2- and now have 3. They bring so much joy and personally (and please don't take any offence to this!) but as you get closer to 40 it will be harder - id be tempted for an accident - especially if you know it will be alright in the end! It sounds like you do most of the organising anyway, so apart from financially (may be an issue if you on mat leave and he resents that) it sounds like it would be fine!
I am also saying that having an only child is fine- however having siblings for that child is nice too! It's always hard as I don't see why the one who doesn't want a child is seen as more important view xxx
This thread is quite honestly grim.
He doesn't want a baby. You already have two.
I'm struggling to see what the issue is here.
If my husband decided to mess with my birth control to have an "accident" I would never forgive him. That is seriously the lowest of the low. Regardless of how much he did or did not do with the kids we already had.
You are allowed to not want any more kids. I have two, I don't want anymore. Under no circumstances do I want anymore. If I found my husband posting this and getting replies like "just switch her pill around" I think I would be sick 🤢
It sounds like the resentment you feel goes a lot further than just about having another baby. If he is such a half arsed father, why do you honestly want another child with him?
I think you need counseling. They might take his side, they may not. But I think it will give you a safe space to raise the other issues with your relationship. Another child will not fix this.
I'm not sure I understand what a 3rd child would give you that 2 already don't? A purpose, love? If you can identify that, perhaps you can work out what is missing. Is it the marriage that leaves you unfulfilled?
@ComtesseDeSpair He's not really a crap dad - he's just happy to leave a lot of the legwork to me in a sort of unquestioning way. The 'dangerously neglectful' was a tongue-in-cheek comment about the higher standards to which women are held than men which I appreciate didn't really come across! I genuinely have no fears about his ability to look after them, simply that he doesn't feel any kind of urge to go the extra mile for them in the way I do, but I'm sure he would if I wasn't around!
@themental Just to be clear, I am not and never have been considering an 'accident', and I am surprised that so many people have suggested it, although I can see how my initial response was a little ambiguous, so maybe I appeared more inclined towards considering it than I actually am. In reality, it simply isn't an option, but I do know that he would never even voice the idea of a termination, knowing how I feel. He really is a nice guy! That's what's so frustrating.
I have two kids and I do really love being a mum which I think is driving my urge for another, as illogical and meaningless as that ultimately is. It's just an overwhelming urge that catches me by complete surprise and leaves me feeling bereft at the most inopportune and unexpected moments. It's not like me at all and I think that's what's so hard to deal with. If I felt this strongly about ANYTHING else, I'm certain my husband would support me. But I can't really tell him without it being emotional blackmail.
I am also not considering ending our relationship over this - there's no way I would have kids with anyone else so it's not like that's an option to 'get what I want', and I know deep down that my sadness at not having more kids isn't his fault. That's why I was asking for advice - I don't want to let resentment about not having a baby colour my view of everything he does (or doesn't) do.
Clearly from the replies, I have painted him in a fairly terrible light, despite trying to be even-handed, which is a symptom of how I think I the hurt is still a bit too raw to be rational about my feelings. However, it is hard, because I sort of do have to keep them all bottled up as otherwise it's a manipulative move that I'm not prepared to make.
This thread has been an eye-opener so far, and I appreciate everyone's thoughts.
I don't think you need to keep them bottled up, I think you need to get over them.
What you're feeling is likely a mixture of biological hormone surges and a kind of panic buy feeling because you know deep down that this could be your last chance.
But you've admitted you don't want to break up your marriage over it, so you have already made the decision. You are not going to have any more babies.
You need to accept that, grieve that, and then you need to get over it.
Rather than clinging on to something that isn't going to happen, start embracing what you already have, and what you have to look forward to!
How old are your children now? Don't you want your retirement to be for actual retirement and not parenting teenagers? Think about the sleepless nights. Think about the issues of wearing the "homework teeth brush after school activity hat" as well as the "newborn no sleep human milk machine I smell like sick" hat. Think about the expense of clothing three teenagers. Hell if it helps, think about climate change and how the single biggest contribution you can make to society is to NOT have a baby.
Otherwise you are just wasting energy and building resentment over something that can't happen. Your husband is 100% reasonable to say he doesn't want anymore children, especially so after already fathering two.
He no doubt loves his children but I suspect it was you who suggested/wanted them and he went along with it to keep you happy/not to break the relationship.
Please don’t “have an accident”. That would be really unfair.
If you desperately want another, end the marriage and have another then he can still be father to the dc you share and you’ll get the new baby you want.
The advice to have an accident is frankly ridiculous. I know you said you think he'd come round to the idea, but you also trusted that he would tell you when he made a decision, and he didn't. I would not be surprised if he left you, and you'd be a single mum of three with him doing even less than he does now.
I mean this kindly, but you have to get over it. Counselling may be beneficial, as you sound like you have a bit more to work through than just a third child.
Are you sure you have explained the depth of your feeling about this to him sufficiently well? I don't think it would be emotional blackmail to explain to him properly and in depth how you feel, because you are genuinely grappling with this and won't consider deceit. I think it's important for your marriage that you take the time to explore this with him. If he can appreciate your position better, you may feel less resentment.
You are 40 years old. You have two children already. You admit your husband is not very active with the kids he already has.
You are ridiculous.
How is it helpful to call someone ridiculous?
Not everyone is the same. Not everyones maternal feelings are the same. Some women want twenty children. Some women don't want any. Can you not imagine anyone being different to yourself ukgift2016?
The op's feelings are legitimate because they are her feelings, whether you can understand them or not.
I get it because I wanted three dc and could only (medically) have one. It's painful. And it's painful whether it's a health issue or you have a reluctant partner because the outcome is the same. In fact the latter is probably more difficult to come to terms with because you could potentially carry a child.
I think you should not have an accident. But there is no way on earth I would even consider “doing” his contraception for him. How entitled is that
I would straight up say. “As of February 1st, I am not prepared to use any contraception. You will have to do it”. Then his actions will tell you how strong his feelings about no more babies are.
If I were you, I would have an 'accident', but I am not you
Fucking disgusting "advice". People who think like you Mike should be ashamed of yourselves.
You don’t get to judge people’s feelings.
I think you should really lay your cards on the table with your dh, there’s nothing to lose. I hope you find your way through this, I know the ache of it.
I am gobsmacked at the people suggesting an ‘accident’.
You are reprehensible.
OP, I do feel for you. But I also agree with the above poster who suggested he may have already ‘gone along’ once, if not twice, with your desire to have a family when he was ambivalent. Perhaps he feels he’s already done his compromising and it’s your turn?
You should get a paid job, if you don’t already have one. I used to work with men who moaned about their wife wanting another baby and they didn’t. They generally broke up, you need to think how he will deal with this if you do have one against his wishes.
You will need to earn some money to support it
I would work on accepting what you have. Another child is a really bad idea in your situation and bad environmentally, financially and for your overall sanity! Just because you feel you want one now, doesn't always mean you'll feel like this. The feeling will most likely go if you work on accepting things.
I got mixed up- I thought you had 1 child not 2. In that case I honestly think that's a good number of children that you have and I understand his thinking of not wanting a third it's a bigger jump going from 2 to 3 so to be honest I get his point x
I was in a sort of similar situation and I found counselling really helpful. It's just a space to get really angry and let out all the frustration. I find it's the repressed anger that flames resentment.
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