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Better Than Real Life Advice: More Than One

Dear Lauren,
Congratulations on your pregnancy! I think about you and your family often and say quick prayers that this baby continues to be healthy. Did you and Kamel agree on having another baby and when to try for the next baby? I find that my husband and I disagree and I don’t know what to do. I really feel that we are meant to have another pregnancy. He says that if it weren’t for infertility, he would be 100% OK with having another baby. However, IVF is our only option and the $15,000 price tag is pretty hefty. I would like to commit about $20,000 more to the baby tries–that accounts for one “fresh” IVF cycle and one “frozen” (using up frozen embryos). My husband keeps flip-flopping on trying IVF again and I find myself heartbroken. I’m sure the heart of the matter is a question that many couples face and I would love your advice/words of wisdom on what happens when my husband and I disagree on the number of children we want. For the record, we discussed this before marriage and he wanted 2 while I wanted 3. Now he says he’s OK with our son being an only child and I am definitely not.

Thanks,
Not a One-Kid Mom.

 

Dear Not a One-Kid Mom,

A few weeks ago when I was lamenting and lamenting and tearing my hair out about the what-ifs of another boy vs a girl, whether or not we would shut down baby making forever after this one, or keep that window open, etc a friend of mine linked me to this article by Dear Sugar. A reader writes in worried he may regret not having kids, but doesn’t want that to be the only reason to have them. She says, why isn’t that a good enough reason to have them?

There is a ton of other amazing side stories and thought provoking moments in that article that stirred something up inside of me and won’t let me go. So, please do read it and please do share it with your husband.

Now as far as my own advice? I shared this with you personally, but I think I should share it publicly as well. This is a real life conversation Kamel and I had during one of our million zillion conversations about our possible future offspring:

Me: “What if I want 4 kids?”

K: “I want 2.”

Me: “But what if we have the second and i REALLY want a third?”

K: “Maybe.”

Me: “What if the second is a boy and I really want to try for a girl?”

K: “Ok.”

Me: “Then what if we have 3 and I don’t feel done and I want another one?”

K: “But I want 2.”

Me: “But what if I really want 4?”

K: “Ok, fine.”

The hardest part about marriage for me is sharing my life with someone else. Which seems ridiculous because isn’t that the whole of it? Well no. I mean, sharing my life as far as, “Let’s do this fun thing together. Yay memories!” is completely different than say, “Let’s make this completely irreversible life choice together, something we have to agree upon even though we are totally different people and have our own personal wants and desires.” That part sucks.

I think it very much depends on where your husband is with only wanting 1. Is he so overwhelmed with life that having another child would ruin him, break him, send him into misery? Then I think his mental health wins. If this would be so financially taxing that it would create unalterable damage on your current family, create immense stress and threaten you, your husband’s, or your child’s future, then I also think he wins.

Is he simply satisfied with the life you have and doesn’t feel like it is necessary to go forward with the hullabaloo that is getting pregnant a second time? Then I think you win.

I always err on the side of no regrets. Always. Life is too short to wonder and think back and feel bad about the things we never tried or didn’t do. If he is meh about a second child, that is not good enough for me, personally. And maybe the process of trying and going through IVF, whether it works or not, will be satisfying for you. To say, “ok, I tired, I gave it my best shot and this is the outcome,” may be enough. But to deny your family, your wife, yourself the opportunity to see if it is in the cards – I think that is too big of an ask.

And if this is really purely just about the money expense of it, well… I’ve never regretted the money spent on a vacation. I’ve never regretted the money spent on my child for clothes or daycare or strollers. Ok, I shake my fist at daycare, but then I remember how good it is for him and me and how lucky we are that we can afford it. But if it wasn’t a real hardship to come up with that IVF money, if it was just more of an inconvenience? Lots of things are financial inconveniences… most of the time they provide you with that family event you had to attend or the necessary repair on the house or a surprise visit from the tax man. Rarely is the out come a brand new human of your own design.

Theoretically we only get this one shot at building our little worlds, we are only capable of having kids (Again, I guess, theoretically) up to a certain age. Now is the time. My advice is to be honest about how you’re feeling. Be brutally honest with yourself and your husband about what it would mean to you not to try for a second child, and encourage him to be brutally honest as well. Lay it all out there. I’m placing my bets that you married each other because you love and respect each other and you don’t want to deny one another major life experiences. Compromise is hard and doesn’t always feel awesome, but often when I’ve had to make a concession, the end result is actually pretty lovely. I’m hoping your husband gets to experience this sensation.

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Yesterday

Let me tell you about yesterday. Yesterday was pretty normal to begin with. Everyone woke up, Gabe was happily eating apple slices at the table when I came out after my shower. He did his normal thing where he doesn’t want to put his coat on and I ended up carrying him to the elevator while he snuggled into my shoulder. Everyone went to work and school. I read about 40 articles and edited them all. I had a salad and an egg roll for lunch because I am only human. I took a short lunch and got off early because I felt like it. When we got home Kamel was doing dishes while I made dinner. Spaghetti and meatballs with my homemade sauce. Gabe...

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On instagram last week there was a discussion about timeouts and it started a discussion about how we discipline, what are the approaches I take (What are the approaches you take?) and when. How do they work? What are we doing and why? So here we go. This topic makes me anxious because it is RIPE, ripe for judging. But so is what cleaning products we use, and so is what diapers I buy and so is all the things, so fuck it. Time Outs. We started trying these on occasion a little bit after Gabe turned 1. At around 12 months Gabe started tantruming. It was a hard time and I believe it’s a hard age. They lack communication skills, but they...

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Who the hell is she?


Lauren

I am a writer living in Seattle and I believe that life is a grand adventure and only boring if you believe it to be. Plus! You don't need money to have fun.

I live with my husband, a photographer by education and a maker-of-video-games by trade, and a baby named gabe in an apartment on the hill.

I am romantic about most things and I cry... about almost anything. I tell stories to entertain you, I spread stories to keep you in the loop. I am not a grammar freak, but I do know how to spell it. I am exceedingly proud of my scrambled eggs and I really could eat an entire pan of cupcakes. If I met me, I would be my best friend. I tend to be irreverent.

If you would like to chat with me or see what else I'm up to you can follow me on Twitter (betterinrealife), on facebook, or email me at betterinrealife at gmail.


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