Friday, August 7, 2009
Interview with: A mom who wants more children
Today's interview is with my friend Kelly, from What God has Blessed Me With. I asked Kelly to share a little of her story today because I felt like it would really resonate with so many of us. Kelly wants more children, and for reasons she doesn't always understand, her husband feels like they are done.
I know for me, during every pregnancy, Jeff tells me we are done. While I totally accept his authority in this area, it does hurt. I wonder what I'm doing wrong and what I could do better. I think we can relate to Kelly's feelings...maybe not in this specific area but certainly in others.
I guess I'll start by introducing me and my family. My name is Kelly, and I have been married to Shane for eight years. I had my oldest son when I was 15 years old, then I lost custody of him when he was two. DJ goes back and forth between his dad and great grandparents, 80 miles away. I get to see him every other weekend and for a couple weeks in the summer. My husband Shane and I have two boys together. Grifyn is almost eight and JonStevin is almost two.
My husband and I did talk about children before getting married. He had met DJ before he had even met me. Shane didn't want any more children. Raising DJ with me was good enough for him. I made my wishes known, that I wanted more, but I guess we never took each other seriously. So I married him anyway.
Shortly after getting married we had Grifyn. I went on birth control after that, because I listened to people telling me that I didn't need to have any more children. That what I had was enough for me. God worked through that anyway, and while I still had an IUD, I got pregnant with JonStevin. I no longer use any birth control, for several reasons, but that's not what I'm writing about today.
I always knew that I wanted a lot of children. I feel like it’s my reason to be here. Being a mother means so much to me. I feel like God made it easy for me to have babies because I should have lots of them. I love having babies, raising my children, and our daily experiences. I have a passion for children.
My husband is very careful to make sure that I don't get pregnant because he doesn't want any more. It is depressing. I always imagined my house full of children. When I look at pictures of my children, when they were newborns, I become nostalgic. I wonder if I will ever feel a baby inside me again. My heart aches and my arms feel empty. I feel a tug at my heart every time I see a baby, or even a woman expecting.
I’ve cried a lot lately. I know so many women getting pregnant and having babies. There are baby pictures all over the place. I can hardly stop from welling up every time I see one. I should be one of them right now, and I’m not. It’s because he doesn’t want me to. I have absolutely no problems with getting pregnant (to the point I sometimes feel like I need to apologize for being able to have children, when so many can't).
I have several good friends that struggle with being able to have children. I feel awful knowing that I could so easily have one, but my husband doesn’t want any. Okay, to be completely honest, I feel jealous of these women. It’s just not fair. These wonderful women are married to men that have to put a lot of effort into having a child with their wives. (Doctor appointments, shots, in-vitro. Please don't roast me for not knowing what all goes into it, but I know that it is extremely hard, time consuming, and expensive.) I could give that to my husband if he only wanted it, without all the work or money.
I feel like the one thing that I have to offer to him, one thing that I could give him so effortlessly and easily, is rejected. He doesn’t want what I want the most to give him. Isn’t giving him children one of my wifely duties?
Now I must say that my husband doesn't just come out and say, "No we are not going to have any more children ever". That would be heartbreaking.
The other night we were eating dinner on the couch and he made a joking comment about if we ever have another child we are definitely never going to feed them off our plates so they will never learn to do it. Comments like that spark hope in me and make me hope that maybe there is another child in our future.
But then I'm just let down again when he says:
Why are you even thinking of baby names? (Yes, I have the name of our next son or daughter already picked out.)
We don't need any more children. (Need? What is a need for children? I need children to give me a reason to be a mother.)
We can't afford anymore right now. (I’m not doing a good enough job with our money? My money management skills aren’t good enough? I’m not being frugal enough? How much more money do we really need for more children?)
Who will take care of the children if you get hurt or sick? (ME! The very few times that I have gotten sick I still got up and took care of everyone. Does he think that I have neglected the family to take care of myself? )
I have also never neglected to give him the attention he needs and deserves. I always have time for him, and his wants and needs. What about my wants and needs? Does he not care that I want more? His reasons break my heart, because I don’t believe in any of them. To be honest, his reasons change frequently.
His actions speak louder than words though, and they are the loudest after we have "had relations" and all hope is gone. During the time that I should feel the absolute closest to my husband, I feel the most empty. Knowing that once again he has asserted his control over whether I have another life growing inside of me. There have been times that I have avoided relations, because I didn’t want to go through the pain afterward, knowing that we were both doing it for different reasons.
I often think about what in the world I'm going to do when my boys grow up and don't need me as much or as often. Sometimes I really question what my husband expects out of me. It is clear that he wants me home. But if I’m not home to raise our children, why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? Taking care of the house only takes so long. I put everything I have into raising the children that I do have, but then what? I'm only 27 years old. When I look at my future, I see a lot of emptiness, lots of lonely nights at home alone. (He works night shift, always has and doesn’t plan to go to days.) Why shouldn’t I have more children to raise?
My sister recently had a baby girl. My feelings of jealousy were only overpowered by my guilt. I had no desire to see my niece for the longest time. All I could feel was pain. Why can’t my husband see how much I want more children? Why can’t he see how much they mean to me?
I pray to God to take this desire away from me. If I'm not meant to have any more children, than I have prayed that God take away my desire to have more children. He hasn't yet, but I do know that my Lord is faithful.
I feel like I'm alone in this. Is there anyone else out there who longs for more children and dreams of a large family, but their husband doesn’t? I know lots of families that have two or three children and don't want anymore. I get tired of hearing that I should be happy with what I have. That I should be grateful that I was able to have the ones I already have. I am grateful. I know how blessed I am. I just feel there is a space in my heart that only a child could fill, unless the Lord himself fills it for me.
I can feel Kelly's pain. Usually she's a really fun and upbeat person. (And she's a great mom.) Can you relate to Kelly on this level?
I want to open the floor for questions or comments. I truly hope we can encourage Kelly today. Also, if you have the opposite experience, please share that. Perhaps there is someone reading whose husband wants more but they do not. Please share because that might help Kelly, and others, struggling in this area understand it all better.
I wanted to thank everyone for last weeks lively discussion on being (or not being) quiverful. It's still going strong, so feel free to continue commenting. Let's just keep it nice.
Posted by Michelle at 8:16 AM