Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: I want to try for another baby, my husband doesn't. We have two beautiful children and a happy family, but I always wanted more. We started later than planned, and we're both late 30s, so he's concerned about health risks (mostly for the would-be child), being that much older when the child graduates high school, etc., and to a lesser extent, the additional stress, strain on finances, etc.
If I really, really pushed, I know he'd give in - he has said as much - and I know that's not right. We both need to be excited at the prospect.
I'm not really satisfied at work and have little else in my life that fulfills me personally; it's my role as a mommy that seems to define me now, and I love it. So maybe that's why I can't shake this feeling that another child would make me more complete.
How can I stop tearing up at diaper commercials or the sight of a beautiful newborn in the grocery store? How long is it OK to mourn the children we won't have?
I'm not saying you should or shouldn't have another child - that's for you, your husband, your banker and your doctor to wrestle with - but either way, your life needs your attention.
There's nothing wrong with feeling as if parenthood is your calling, but you're verging on peril when it becomes the way you define yourself. Your kids will grow up and move on, including your third child, if you have one, and then what? As your kids get older, you'll need to revise your Mom role to occupy an increasingly smaller place in their lives, for their sakes.
I urge you to consider other ways to find fulfillment. Here's some incentive to do it, in case you're not feeling any right now: It'll set a great example for your kids. Everyone at some point in life feels a bit unmoored, unsure of the point of it all, alarmed that work and dishes are all there is.
It would help your kids immensely, in ways they might not recognize, to see you redefine yourself in a way that's enduring, useful, and an honest expression of who you are. Wouldn't hurt for you to see it, either.
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