What to do when you don't agree on # of children?


#1

I would appreciate a male perspective on this if anyone wants to give one.

My husband and I have been married for two years. He has a daughter (age 7.5) that lives with us full time from a previous marriage. I have a daughter (age 5.5) that lives with us full time from a previous relationship. We also have a daughter (got pregnant very soon after we got married) that is 18 months old and has Down syndrome. The Ds isn’t an issue at all, to me, but I’m mentioning it so you can get the full picture. She’s the best thing that has ever happened to our family, in my opinion and my girls and husband adore her as well.

I want more kids. Specifically, I feel called by God to adopt another child. Even more specifically, a special needs child. My husband says that three kids is enough. He broke my heart last night when he said that he only really wanted one kid (not one of ours specifically, but in general) but ended up having one, falling in love with someone who had one and marrying them, and had another one. He said that three is more than enough.

Now, when we were dating he said that he’d love a big family like his parents. They had seven kids in 6 years. He said it was crazy but he loved it. I come from a family of four and have always wanted a big family.

How do we go about this? Has anyone been in this situation before? I’m just crushed right now. I’m not saying that I want another child tomorrow, I just want him to say ‘maybe’. It doesn’t help that he really doesn’t have a relationship with God and I think loves material things more than people.

:frowning:

Thank you for reading.


#2

One thing I always try to remember is that we are always called to be open to life. So unless there is a serious reason for you to never have another child, your ‘limits’ right now may not always be your ‘limit’. Who knows what your family, your marriage, or your life will be like in a year, or five, or ten from now?

When DH and I discuss using NFP we always work in the here and now: is now a good time to welcome another child into our family? Do we have a reason not to? Even just that I am feeling overwhelmed with what is on our plate right now is enough for me to say let’s just wait a month or two. Right now I am expecting our fourth and I have said I would thoroughly enjoy a long break after this one. However, I am not saying we will never have another child. Who knows what the future brings?

It always confuses me when Catholics say the will only have x number of children, no more.

I understand “we only have x number of children because we can’t have another for x reason.” (and tehre are a million reasons I could see for not having another child, don’t get me wrong)

It’s the arbitrary number limit that always confused me.


#3

Me and my wife never have this problem because we acknowledge its not our decision to make, it is in God’s hands, they are His gifts to give to whom He pleases.

Anything in single digits is not big.


#4

Well, let me shed some light on things from my perspective. First off, hhaving a special needs child will be more work as she grows up. I'm not quustioning having her at all, I'm disabled in fact, but you just have to realize what things will be like in the future. Maybe your husband realizes this and wants to make sure she gets the attention she needs. My parents didn't have kids for nine and a half years after me and I'm nowhere near DS, Now as far as # of kids, I don't think is your hhusband is a bad Catholic for this reason,m but maybe he realizes things are stretched thin now with 3, esp. with one w/DS. You need to look at it from his perspective and take a moment to realize the enormity and blessing of having a special needs child & that child will require a lot of your attention for years to come.


#5

Certainly, you ahve a right to be sad about this. I am frustrated to read that you did discuss this before marriage, and he has simply changed his mind :frowning: That’s not very fair.

Do you know his reasoning for not wanting additional children? Finances? Time devoted to them? Maybe you could soothe/ease his fears somehow?


#6

I agree it’s odd he changed his mind, but I do really think you have to take your daughter w/DS into consideration in this equation. Maybe he wants to devote more time to her and her future needs, which is very noble of him if it is the case.


#7

Boy, it's a touchy subject.

As a 30 year old single guy, I have time on my hands. I would like several kids-3 or 4, but if it's not in my cards, it's not in my cards. My future wife has say in it though! LOL.

If she wanted less, I would say, "Ok honey. You win, because of the whole giving birth thing."

If she wanted more, I would say, "Honey, we are breaking our backs doing the best we can with this 4. I don't want to retire at 80-and I don't want an empty nest at that age either. I'd like to enjoy my golden years with you-not with a 15 year old."

Just my view.


#8

I’m female so this is another female perspective. It’s not uncommon for couples to disagree about the number of children. Several of my friends have expressed desire to have more children than their husbands want and sometimes a husband may want more children than his wife. What strikes me in your post is that you feel called to adopt a special needs child. Adoption is different from simply asking your husband to being open to the possibility of another pregnancy.

I think it’s wonderful that you have embraced the special needs child that God gave you and that you feel called to help even more children with special needs. But pushing to adopt a child–special needs or otherwise–when your husband doesn’t want more seems asking for difficulty in your marriage. I suggest you continue to pray about this. God can change your husband’s heart and mind if this is what God wants. In the meantime, why not look for some volunteer work that you might do with another special needs child or chldren along with your own special needs child? You can use what you believe is your calling to help care for a special needs child without placing that upon your husband. And be open to the possibility that God just might change your husband’s heart in the future.


#9

I agree that it isn't really fair that, knowing how important a big family is to you, he expressed enthusiasm for a large family while dating, then changed his mind after marriage. That said, I can certainly see how the arrival of a special needs child might change the equation for him. This special needs child is going to grow into a special needs adult, and your husband might be concerned about spreading your resources too thin to provide for the needs of this child for decades to come. It sounds to me like he's just trying to be responsible.

[quote="lindeno, post:1, topic:189031"]
It doesn't help that he really doesn't have a relationship with God and I think loves material things more than people.

[/quote]

I really don't think this is fair at all. Just because he has some practical concerns about the size of your family, especially given the fact that one of your children will require extra care for the rest of her life, does not make him someone who "loves material things more than people." Of course, you know him better than we do. If his love of material things really is greater than his love of people...well, you picked him.:shrug:


#10

[quote="SpaceNeedle, post:5, topic:189031"]
Certainly, you ahve a right to be sad about this. I am frustrated to read that you did discuss this before marriage, and he has simply changed his mind :( That's not very fair.

Do you know his reasoning for not wanting additional children? Finances? Time devoted to them? Maybe you could soothe/ease his fears somehow?

[/quote]

I'm not really sure. He just says 'we're done'.

[quote="Coco82, post:6, topic:189031"]
I agree it's odd he changed his mind, but I do really think you have to take your daughter w/DS into consideration in this equation. Maybe he wants to devote more time to her and her future needs, which is very noble of him if it is the case.

[/quote]

If that were the case, yes, it would be noble of him. I don't think it is, though. She's very normal and isn't any different than any other child. You'd just have to meet her to see. ;)

I do 99% of childcare for all three kids. I just feel that I can handle another child and I really want another and I wish that he would see it how I do. I'll really never see it as he does. I've prayed for God to take the longing away if it wasn't for us and so far, it's still here.


#11

Gee, thanks for making me feel even worse.


#12

[quote="lindeno, post:1, topic:189031"]
. . . It doesn't help that he really doesn't have a relationship with God . . .:( . . .

[/quote]

That right there is the BIGGER issue that you need to deal with right there- In fact nothing else can be 'right' if this is left unresolved!:sad_bye:

Get him on an ACTS retreat or something!!:thumbsup:


#13

Gee, thanks for making me feel even worse.
[/quote]

NO - maybe God picked him for you, so that you can help straighten him out! :thumbsup:


#14

I'm sorry to tell you this, but having a child w/DS won't be just like any child. They're gifts just as much as any other, I'm not questioning that, and they offer a lot, but she will require special attention for the rest of her life your other kids won't. She won't be like just any child. You have to realize this now before you have more kids. Raising her is going to be very different. I think you don't understand that yet and it wouldn't be fair to her or your other kids to take on a bigger load.


#15

Actually the way I see it the op has THREE special needs children.

Any child who is seperated from a biological parent has special needs. The DD 7.5 especally could face a myrad of issues. Most times fathers don’t get sole custody of their children. This raises really big flags as it is. DD 7.5 will have to deal with who her bio mom is at some point…but if there was early neglect there may be things that don’t appear until her pre-teen years even if she’s a happy little girl now.

As for DD 5.5…is her bio father involved in her life? Remember even though you married and she lives with you and your husband, he’s still not her biological father. It is VERY difficult on a family when vacations, holidays, ect have to be planned around visitations.

And DD 1.5…YOU may have accepted her handicap, altough as coco pointed out you haven’t had to really face many of the trials of this handicap yet, but your husband may not of. Men in some ways are programed to shame about handicapped children…not to say that they don’t love thier children, but the thought of having a handicapped child…or even more than one…can really affect a man’s ego. He won’t be saving for her college fund, but likely for long-term care facilities or half-way type houses. He also faces the dillema of not being able to teach her to provide for herself and having to leave this world without knowing she’ll be ok. That can also be difficult for a man. From his “NEVER AGAIN” response to children I feel that that may be his gut reaction to her.


#16

[quote="purplesunshine, post:15, topic:189031"]
Actually the way I see it the op has THREE special needs children.

Any child who is seperated from a biological parent has special needs. The DD 7.5 especally could face a myrad of issues. Most times fathers don't get sole custody of their children. This raises really big flags as it is. DD 7.5 will have to deal with who her bio mom is at some point...but if there was early neglect there may be things that don't appear until her pre-teen years even if she's a happy little girl now.

As for DD 5.5...is her bio father involved in her life? Remember even though you married and she lives with you and your husband, he's still not her biological father. It is VERY difficult on a family when vacations, holidays, ect have to be planned around visitations.

And DD 1.5...YOU may have accepted her handicap, altough as coco pointed out you haven't had to really face many of the trials of this handicap yet, but your husband may not of. Men in some ways are programed to shame about handicapped children...not to say that they don't love thier children, but the thought of having a handicapped child...or even more than one...can really affect a man's ego. He won't be saving for her college fund, but likely for long-term care facilities or half-way type houses. He also faces the dillema of not being able to teach her to provide for herself and having to leave this world without knowing she'll be ok. That can also be difficult for a man. From his "NEVER AGAIN" response to children I feel that that may be his gut reaction to her.

[/quote]

That is an interesting way of looking at it, and I agree w/these kids there are things that have yet to be dealt with. I wouldn't begrrudge her husband for being concerned w/his daughter though. Dealing with a person with ANY disability is tough, not bad tough, but different circumstances will present themselves that won't w/a typical child. I myself, whille not that severe have to face certain limitations and often wonder how I will face them. The husband here might want to make sure his younest daughter gets the proper attention she'll need growing up and not to be lost in the shuffle. I'm not accusing the OP would do that, just putting it out there. I think the OP needs to try and see things from her husband's point of view, if it's sheer practicality, than she needs to try and get where he's coming from, discuss it so she can peace of mind. To label him as this or that doesn't help matters though.


#17

If I were in your situation I would just be patient. Don’t get too upset with his initial response to the suggestion of having more children. It’s possible that he just doesn’t feel called to have more children right now and that could change in the next year or so. I personally feel called to have more children and my DH is not so certain, but not ruling out the possibility. At least we can both agree with a 2 year old and a 1 year old at home that now is not a good time to try to get pregnant. You found out when you were dating that your DH would like to have a big family. Just because he’s not feeling that way at the moment doesn’t mean he won’t be open to the idea of adopting or having more children again in the future.


#18

I think you’re in a way not thinking about your family or children, but only about yourself. You need to think about the future, 10, 15, 20 years down the road wth your daughter and all that will go into raising her and getting good care for her. In my opnion you’re being selfish.


#19

Not sure if this helps, but here’s my story:

My husband comes from a small family - he has one brother. I am one of four. Before we were married we talked about kids, and he didn’t want more than two. I told him I wanted four. Eventually we settled on three. Having come to agreement, I let the matter rest.

We had three kids, and hubby was smitten by all of them. He started to gently ask me if I was really happy to just have the three, or if I really wanted more. He said that he didn’t want me to be resentful later in life because he stopped me from having more children. I told him I was perfectly happy with the kids I had, and was fine to stick with our agreement if he wasn’t ready for more. After a while, he said “Why don’t we have another one?”, to which I said “Okay!”, but we needn’t have worried - I was already pregnant.

After this he asked the same question about whether I feel the need for more children. I then became pregnant with my fifth. I was shattered, but hubby was very accepting of the situation. I still don’t know why he wasn’t scared or upset.

I am very grateful that he is so happy to have so many children, and I think the fact that I allowed him to work through the issue for himself, with no pressure, helped him to accept the children that God has given us. I would have been happy with just three, because I made the decision to be happy with that, while at the same time being open to the children that God wanted to give us.

Someone asked me once ‘How do you know when your family is finished?’ My answer (and I’m still surprised at my amazing wisdom :D) was “if you have two children, then that’s your finished family. If you then have another, then three is your finished family.”


#20

That’s a nice story admonsta and think the OP would be good to take a similar path. I feel in addition to my comments on the attention a special needs child will entail, blaming her husband will do nothing but produce bad feelings in the marriage. she needs to think practically and not make he husband the enemy here. Maybe he is done, and if that’s the case that’s that, marriage is a 2 way street and she’ll have to accept it. It sounds to me she has her hands full and should really wait to have more children to see how things go regarding raising a child w/DS. Despite what she says raising the child will be completely different from raising a typical child.


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