Murphy’s Love: More Is Not Always Merrier

Dear Stacy:

My husband and I have been trying for baby #3 for about a year. We had quick pregnancies before, but I’m older now, and I think that’s having an impact on our results. My husband seems to shrug off each negative test, and is enthusiastic about trying again, but I can't let it go. It’s more than just being disappointed in the moment. I feel defeated and defective, but secretly, I think I might be a little relieved. I recently realized I’m not that interested in trying again. I don't know how to tell him that I'm done with this. I think a family of four is just fine, but I know he has his heart set on this. What can I do?

–Four is Fine

Dear Four:

You are right – four is fine. What’s not fine is feeling bad about yourself as you recognize that you really might be ok with your family of four. Keeping all of this from Husband is about as un-fine as you can get. Short answer: tell him ASAP. Read further for the long answer.

Consider this: there is a chance that his happy-faced enthusiasm is a cover for his own complicated feelings about the circumstances. Meanwhile, there also is a chance that you will become pregnant before you even read this response – and you might continue to feel this ambivalence throughout your pregnancy. The central relationship issue is not whether you have another baby – though the babymaking process invites a unique form of tunnel vision – it’s whether you and Husband can talk about your feelings honestly.

For many, the getting pregnant process has become similar to the getting married process – the wedding date has become interchangeable with the nine months of (so-called) blissful pregnancy. But coming home after a honeymoon trip is very similar to coming home with the baby: many people focus on the getting there rather than looking at the firm foundation needed to support a family at home. And that’s not entirely hard to understand. If we all knew how hard partnering or parenting really is, we might not ever give ourselves the chance to experience it. You and Husband have weathered these storms already – you are married with children – this is a strong indication of your bond and your co-parenting skills. At best, more conversation will clarify your confused feelings and deepen your relationship – both of those are central tasks before any decisions about baby #3 ought to be made.

Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to stacymurphyLPC@gmail.com.

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Tue, 30 Sep 2014 01:55:45 -0400

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