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AIBU?

To desperately want a third child.

26 replies

shannon2 · 28/09/2018 14:42

Regular poster, using a new ID.

I am happily married and we have two small children. Life is fairly good. We don't have many financial problems and we have a strong relationship. Obviously, with two littles, we argue from time to time, but overall we have a solid marriage and are very happy together.

After our second child was born, I mentioned to my husband that I would really love a third. He was adamant that he didn't. We didn't have much of a discussion about it. He said he had made his mind up and that 2 children was the perfect number. He seems to think it's very black and white that it's possible to parent 2 children much better than you could parent 3. He cites all sorts of reasons from finances (we are considering private education, would want to be able to fund university etc) to time available to spend with them 1 on 1. He thinks 2 parents to 3 children is unworkable.

I am one of 4 children. We grew up loved and happy and I feel I benefitted hugely from the large family. Yes, things were busy and chaotic at times, but I feel this taught me many essential life skills - including the fact that you don't always get what you need, sometimes you have to wait and share, resources are limited, time is limited, and you need to learn to get along with people. I honestly never for one second felt that my parents were spread too thin, that they didn't have enough time for me, that they didn't provide me with enough. The thought of growing up in a smaller household is not appealing to me - I have very strong bonds with all my siblings and they are my support system. I can only see positives to the large family I grew up in. I would love for my children to have the same. (I know not all large families are harmonious, and I also know my parents worked very hard on the family atmosphere and were religious about us all sitting down to dinner together etc.)

My husband grew up as one of 2 siblings and he simply feels any more than 2 is excessive.

I can understand that of course we would have more money per child if we have 2 than if we had more. The house would be a little more crowded. We would have a bit less money. We would be a lot busier. We'd be tired - or should I say, more tired! But I feel the social benefits to our children would be enormous, that having more siblings would make them better rounded members of society and better able to manage in the big wide world.

I feel genuinely sad about the fact that he's closed the door on this possibility. It's not just his conclusion - it's the fact that we never sat down and weighed this up together. He just said no, he'd already decided, no conversation. In my mind it has brought a real distance between us because I have been really hurt by it being shut down. I suppose I am the idiot here because I should have discussed my very strong desire for a larger family with him long before we had our first child. But I suppose before we had our two children, I didn't realise that having 1 or 2 would definitely be possible for us, let alone 3.

I am having enormous difficulty processing the fact that my current youngest may be my last baby. It is a huge issue for me and causes me a lot of pain both with regard to my family and with regard to my marriage. I am not even sure what I am asking for really - it seems his mind cannot be changed, that my reasons are not good enough in his eyes, and his are better. Of course I would never ever bring about a pregnancy without him being on board with it, but this situation leaves me feeling pretty devastated if I'm honest. I cry about it often and I know this will be my life's great regret. I appreciate that we are so, so lucky to have our two beautiful children and it is not my intention to hurt anyone who hasn't been so lucky.

I simply don't feel our family is complete and that my children will really miss out because of his preference for a smaller family. Rather ironically (to me), he says this is all for their sake. I am unable to quantify the things I feel a larger family may offer to benefit the development and quality of life of our children, but to be honest I feel he has made his mind up already so would not be amenable to even the most mathematical of arguments.

Has anyone else been here? What should I do?

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InertPotato · 28/09/2018 14:47

So, you guys didn't discuss this before you were married/had children?

How long have you known that you wanted a big family?

Even if your answer is 'he knew all along I wanted a big family' - I kind of feel like no one really understands how many children they want until they have them. I entertained the notion of four before I had my first, and my husband had to cajole me into number two.

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safetyfreak · 28/09/2018 14:48

You are acting totally irrational.

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MishMashMosher · 28/09/2018 14:51

Sorry but the person who wants the least amount of children gets their way. You can't force someone to have a child.

I say that as someone who desperately wanted a third.

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Haireverywhere · 28/09/2018 14:52

Sorry you're sad OP.

I'd be wary of forcing the issue if you are happy now as he may come to resent you if things are changed by a third baby in ways he is predicting now. Can you talk about it some more, regardless of the past? I think it's a bit unfair to say we agreed on X children so that's what I want because sometimes things change (I'm not saying you have but people do). I feel for you.

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shannon2 · 28/09/2018 14:53

Thank you. This is what I need to hear. I know I need to come to terms with this but I am just kind of low level devastated at the moment, if that makes sense.

We discussed having children but didn't put a number on it. It would have seemed kind of brave to plan on 3 children before we even knew we could have 1. (Due to some previous surgery I had as a teenager, we didn't know if we would be able to have any without IVF.)

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MrsStrowman · 28/09/2018 14:54

This isn't something that can be compromised on, so the person who wants less gets veto, you have multiple children already, enjoy the family you have rather than wishing for something else.

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Unicornandbows · 28/09/2018 14:58

I understand that you are upset however the person who doesn't want another wins..

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CountFosco · 28/09/2018 14:59

A family member thought a bit like this although there was also a big amount of 'there's limited resources in this world and a lot of uncared for children'. So they became foster parents. I'm not recommending you do that though without a lot of discussion. And I suspect from what you've said about your DH he thinks that would stretch you even further. He'd be right there but my relation"s kids have grown and developed such a lot because of having to share their lives with some very damaged children.

I'm biased though, I'm one of 4, DH is one of 3. We have 3DC which is right for us, I agree with you that 2 is too small and neat, we like the chaos of 3. I very strongly think it's of greater value to have siblings than a private education but we have the money to pay for a house in a good location so have access to good state schools with naice pupils, maybe I wouldn't be so blaze if we had fewer options.

As far as what you do? Argue and cry probably. How much of the childcare does he really do? Will he listen if you tell him your life is enriched by siblings and you really want that for your children? Does he understand how important this is for you?

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shannon2 · 28/09/2018 15:11

I did suggest fostering but I think he is right that it would stretch us even further. It would be a challenge with work.

To be fair he is wonderful with the children and does do his bit when it comes to childcare. (He works more hours than me but he does pull his weight when he’s at home.)

We do have good state schools here - so arguably private schools don’t really add much, but that’s a whole separate discussion really! I also strongly feel siblings provide more benefit than a private education especially at a mediocre private school but I know not everyone feels this way.

I think he does understand I am upset but as everyone has pointed out, by virtue of being the one who doesn’t want another child, he feels the discussion is not worth having as he gets the final decision here. And of course he does.

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Chosenbyyou · 28/09/2018 15:13

I want two children (we have two!) and my DH wants three children.

We are having two children. My DH is respectful of my decision - if he pushed it I would feel uncomfortable to be honest.

You need to respect your DH’s decision and try to deal with your own emotions to move on.

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Dontsweatthelittlestuff · 28/09/2018 15:14

Don’t waste your existing chrildrens childhood by hankering after something that is not going to happen.

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Chocolateismyvice · 28/09/2018 15:18

OP, I really am sorry that you're feeling this way. Especially if you had a vision in your head, and a big family is what you're used to. But I have to agree with the others, the person who wants the least/doesn't want any more unfortunately gets final say.

This bit stood out to me...
He cites all sorts of reasons from finances (we are considering private education, would want to be able to fund university etc) to time available to spend with them 1 on 1.

These are all very valid reasons that he is giving, and very sensible. Better that you are outstanding parents to two children that you can offer a lot to (time, finances, etc) than stretching yourselves with 3.

You're absolutely reasonable to feel the way you do, but your DH is also reasonable to not want another child for his Reasons stated.

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AuntBeastie · 28/09/2018 15:20

I can see why, to your DH, this seems like a one sided argument. His concerns are very factual - if you have a third child it will be the case that you have less time, money and attention to bestow on each. They will have fewer opportunities. There will be more need and fewer resources.

Your arguments aren’t less valid, but they are less quantifiable. It’s very hard to measure things like good citizenship and sharing skills. Not to mention that these benefits might never arise. You recognise yourself that the family might be conflicted rather than harmonious.

All you can do is lay your case fairly before your husband - that you have faith that you and he as parents could raise a large family well and happily.

If he remains unconvinced you must make your peace. Are there other ways you could create that feeling of community in your family? Maybe by volunteering or by being the house where your DC’s friends are always welcome? There may be ways to create the environment you want with the family you have.

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Dreamingofkfc · 28/09/2018 15:24

I think it's important to tell him exactly how much it means to you. I was desperate for a third, my husband would have happily stopped at two. I let him know how much it meant to me to try for another so we did. 3 is great and we r both happy with the decision. Problem is now I want a 4th.....haven't talked properly about it yet! I read something like, men have one more child than they'd ideally like and women have one less - think they will ring true for us

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glintandglide · 28/09/2018 15:25

I’m pregnant with my second and my DH seems to think he wants 4 but this is absolutely my last. I was one of 3 and it was too many. I don’t know if he’s serious about another 2, but if he is he’s going to have to leave me and find someone else to have them with. There is no compromise to be had here

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Omgoap · 28/09/2018 15:29

Not having siblings or having less siblings does not mean that they are more well rounded members of society or better able to cope in the big wide world!

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shannon2 · 28/09/2018 15:30

Thanks for the replies. This is very helpful. I wouldn’t want another after a third - for me 3 would be the right number. It’s true that his reasons make a lot of sense on paper. Though they’d also have been reasons not to have a second. He does understand the benefits of having a sibling because that’s why he wanted a second and didn’t want our oldest to be an only child. But to him those benefits stop after the second.

Maybe over time I will come to feel more at peace with this. Or maybe I won’t - there are worse regrets to have in life I guess.

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shannon2 · 28/09/2018 15:32

omgoap I know, and I’m very aware that some reading this will have an only child and be totally happy with that decision, and it’ll be the right choice for them. This is something which is not black and white at all.

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AhYeahOkayThen · 28/09/2018 15:33

I still think people should discuss number of children regardless of circumstances. My husband was told as a teenager that he was probably infertile, turns out he wasn't, but there are still complications with his fertility. I am an older first time Mother so we also knew we had more limited time to have them.

We still discussed the numbers early on in our relationship, he wanted 4, I wanted 2, we settled on 3, but that was because I changed my mind all on my own about only having 2 after I gave birth to our daughter. But had my husband said no let's stick to 2 after all then that would be that.

The additional children are all hypothetical though as we may not be able to have more.

@shannon2

You need to find a way to move past this because it sounds like you're allowing your sadness and desire to sour a good relationship.

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glintandglide · 28/09/2018 16:04

AhYeahOkThen but your situation is quite different to say, mine and many. I met DH at 18. No one knows what they want then, despite what they say. We have both changed massively as people during the last 20 years. You can judge, but surely you can also see some of us have grown into our relationships, and people and things change.

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shannon2 · 28/09/2018 16:05

I can certainly see now that perhaps we should have discussed it earlier! But there are many unknowns here. And I don’t think you really know how you’ll find motherhood until you experience it. I find that I enjoy it even more than I had expected.

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Fullofregrets33 · 28/09/2018 16:08

I have a friend who is one of 4 and they are the closest family I have ever known. I really envy them. But its not that way for everyone. I know for certain that any more than my own 2 children would be too much for me because my son is hard work.
We have a lovely life at the moment and it feels very balanced because we have a boy and girl. I think you should respect your husbands wishes and enjoy the two you have

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Saltedcaramelcake · 28/09/2018 16:42

I guess there isn't much anyone here can do to change your husbands mind, it is his decision. Only you know if he's the kind of person to change his mind.

I've sort of ish been in a similar situation, before me and my husband were married or had kids we discussed this, obviously. He said he wanted 2, I wanted 3. We are both from 3 child families and both had a decent happy upbringing, niether rich money wise but very loving. He wanted 2 for practical reasons, car size, house size, holidays made for 4 etc. I wanted 3 as if just always imagined I'd have 3, no real reason.

After we had our first child my husband changed his mind, he told me that he wanted 3. We had our second child and shortly after that he said he didn't feel like our family was complete (yeah!). We are planning to go for number 3 next year. He's totally on board though and he came round to 3, I didn't bully him into it. If he'd have decided he was done at 2 we'd have stopped at 2 and I'd have to respect his decision. I was lucky in some ways that my husband wasn't dead against it, I think he just imagined 2 would be easier. I also think maybe part of it was being left out as a child as his siblings are twins, who knows though?

Op unless your husband changes is mind of his own accord there isn't much you can do, I don't really think it's something you should talk someone into.

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shannon2 · 28/09/2018 16:59

No, I agree with you. To be honest I don’t really bring it up much any more because it feels there’s not much to discuss. I just have a sadness not just relating to the fact the decision has been made for me, but the fact we are on such different pages relating to the value of siblings and family size etc. I appreciate that not all 3 child families are happy. But he feels that even if they are, they get a worse deal. It’s hard for me to articulate what I mean really. But he doesn’t feel the same way and that is really tough.

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HurricaneFloss · 28/09/2018 17:03

I feel this taught me many essential life skills - including the fact that you don't always get what you need, sometimes you have to wait and share, resources are limited, time is limited, and you need to learn to get along with people

I managing to teach that to my only child, thank you very much.

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