Look for additional means of fulfillment
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, being that much older when the child graduates high school, etc., and to a lesser extent, the additional stress, strain on finances, etc. So how do I let go of this nagging feeling inside? I share his concerns, though I'm more prone to say, "Let the chips fall where they may," that we can deal with the stress, the money, even a child with a health problem. 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?
No More Baby Blues
Dear Baby Blues • They sell newborns at your grocery store? "I ... 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." I'm not saying you should or shouldn't have another child 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? Even 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.
Carolyn Hax's column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.