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March 28, 2012

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Dear Ms. Savvy,

My husband and I are trying to decide whether to have a third child. I feel pretty complete with two -- we have a boy and a girl -- and I've settled back into work after a long maternity leave with my youngest. Professionally, I have been making big strides and I finally feel like I am doing the work I was meant to do. So getting into baby-mode, focusing on a newborn, taking leave, etc. isn't really appealing. My husband, on the other hand, is really gung-ho about a third child. I want to make him happy, but I also know that the bulk of the changes that three children will bring will fall on me. I've told him that if he's willing to take time off work (under the Family Medical Leave Act) to stay home with the baby during the first year, I will consider it. He says it just isn't possible, given the company he works for and his position. We are at an impasse with this issue. Any guidance you can offer? -Three's a Crowd

Dear Three's a Crowd,

In the space between what your intuition is telling you is truly best for you and the place where your mind says, "Yeah, but I want to do it anyway," is the potential for either a sense of peace or a sense of anxiety. So, let me ask you this: if you feel good about having two children, are making strides at the work that you love and know that having another child will mean you have to do the bulk of the heavy lifting, then why are you even considering having another child as an option? I understand that your husband is excited about the prospect, but at the same time, he's not able to meet you half-way. Yes, he may be with a company that wouldn't allow him to take a leave of absence. But, there are other companies that would. So, that's a possibility you two can explore. If he's willing to make that happen, then you might be more willing to have another child. Relationships, to some extent, are about negotiating and that is what needs to happen for both of you to come out of this situation happy. So, I'd suggest that the two of you keep talking and keep the doors of communication open.

Dear Ms. Savvy,

I am the father of three little girls and my better half and I have decided that we are officially ready to close the door on any more kids. My wife is insisting that I get a vasectomy. In my younger days, I had several surgeries to correct different issues related to undescended testicles. I had some complicating problems and ended up back in the hospital with infections and actually spent my 14th birthday in Johns Hopkins alone, recovering from what would be my last surgery. I tell you all of this because I made a vow to myself that from that point on, I would steer clear of hospitals, surgery, etc. I know that a vasectomy is a relatively minor procedure, but I still don't want to do it. My wife argues that she has gone through labor three times (with her own trauma, stitches, etc.) and has also assumed the responsibility for birth control throughout our marriage by taking the pill when we weren't trying to get pregnant. She says it is my turn to take one for the team. What can I say to get her to understand where I am coming from? -Dude is Saying No

Dear Dude,

I completely understand that you are coming to the idea of getting a vasectomy with some serious trepidation and trauma. That is very different than your wife being annoyed because she's had to shoulder the burden of the responsibility for birth control. How about explaining to her that while you appreciate her taking on that burden, you are actually terrified of being cut again or exposing yourself to complications, hospitals and doctors? It would be like asking her to go in and relive some of the stiches and things she endured during childbirth. The fact of the matter is that seeking good birth control should not have to be a scary experience for anyone. Rather, it should be something that feels comfortable to both of you. So, in light of that, what if she considered an IUD or the two of you used condoms? There are certainly other options on the table that you both could agree on. I'm sure that if you are honest with her about your feelings and fears, she will understand and be supportive of you.

What's Mr. Unsavory's take on these same questions? For a totally unqualified view from the couch, visit The Unsavory Report.

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Ms. Savvy, a.k.a. Ruth S., offers a sympathetic ear and compassionate guidance to those in need. A social worker, therapist and yoga teacher by day, Ms. Savvy always finds herself counseling friends, family members and random people at the gym. Finally, she can reach a wider audience through her blog and help solve the world's problems without interrupting her workout. Email your questions about love, family, work or any other sticky situations that need advice and Ms. Savvy will do her best to make your problems go away. **Disclaimer: This column is not meant as a substitute for professional counseling and is purely for entertainment purposes.*

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March 28, 2012

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