Mom Tricking Her Husband into Having Another Baby: How Bad?
Filed under: Opinions
Overheard at the playground:
Mom 1: "I want another baby but my husband's not into the idea."
Mom 2: "Why are you talking to him about it? He'll be happy once you have the baby. Just have it."
Um, really? Would most marriages survive that? To find out, I called my friend and Mommy Advisor Rosanne Tobey, director of Calm and Sense Therapy, a counseling service, for her take on the situation.
"Well," Tobey says, "first of all, it's so not guaranteed that 'he'll just be happy once they have it.'"
"I hear this discussion a lot when couples are thinking about adding another child, for instance, going from two to three children," Tobey adds. "And the hard part about just going for another one without getting your husband on board with the idea," Tobey continues, is that you can't guarantee anything about the future."
For instance: What is she planning to do if her husband doesn't adjust? In other words: What's the plan if her husband is not happy once the child comes?"I think when we're young," Tobey says, "we have this fantasy that we can overcome anything with love. As you grow up, you come to realize that love isn't always enough. It is an unfortunate fact of life, but love isn't going to put in place parenting or coping skills where there aren't any. It's not going to put sleep where sleep is needed. Love won't put money where there isn't enough."
"Of course," Tobey adds, "all of these can be overcome by two willing participants who want to make it work. The problem comes with the assumption that the person who starts off not wanting this situation will definitely rise to the occasion once a decision is forced upon him. It's disrespectful to the child, to your husband and to your marriage."
This mom was also saying that she didn't want to have to give up on her dream of having another child. But her husband is not on board with the idea -- at all.
That's so hard, Tobey agrees, yet, "By being in a couple, you've agreed to sacrifice your ability to make decisions as a single person. You agreed to make life-altering decisions together. And making a decision together takes the needs of both sides of the couple into account. It's not fair to impose a life script on someone else like that. Yes, maybe he could adjust, or maybe he has a different life script for himself. Certainly there are examples of a surprise family addition that have worked out fine. But there's a difference between a true surprise and a pretend 'surprise' that was really a trap."
"We don't always get all of our dreams to come true," Tobey says. "Sometimes, even when it's really hard, giving up a dream helps you to fully appreciate the dreams you've already achieved."
So what does this all mean for the overheard-at-the-playground mom?
It may mean mourning the loss of what she doesn't have and hopefully it means being present for the child or children that she already has. And sometimes, of course she'll feel like 'Gee ... I wish...' and that's a part of life, too.
The bottom line, Tobey says: "Despite the fact that this mom is being told that, "Everything will just be fine once the baby comes,' she has to ask herself: What if it's not?"
If you've ever had a less-than-perfect parenting moment that has left you wondering, "How bad?" Send it to Sabrina at PrincessLPink9@aol.com. She'll try to answer as many as she can.
Sabrina Weill is the founder of the pink and princess-y gift site: PrincessLovesPink. Many of the Mommy Advisors in this column are the writer's personal or professional friends.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.