Dear Addie: My husband and I have one child, who is 18 months old. I’m ready to have another baby to complete our family, but my husband feels like we’re going to ruin our first child by making her share the spotlight and having to divide our love. What do you think?—Melanie
Dear Melanie: Thanks for writing. Adding to your family with a new sibling is a very exciting time! And while I’m all for both parties being on board for taking that next life-changing step, I would encourage your husband to put on his “Get Real” hat. (It’s the one right next to the “Seriously?” fedora on the closet floor.)
Don’t get me wrong; I get it! The night before I was induced with our second child, I remember crying … sobbing! … to my husband about this very same notion. “We’re ruining his world … everything he’s ever known is about to get totally upended! We’re AWFUL, AWFUL parents!!!!” Then I called my mom and boo-hoo’d to her for a while, and she reassured me that it was normal to feel that way and shared how she felt the same way when my sister—the second child—was born. And so it goes with all of the many generations that have come before us.
Now, you’re wise to take a thoughtful approach, as many women just brush off their partner’s concerns. So kudos to you! But I’m not an idiot. You want a baby, and you’re gonna make that happen. So here’s my advice on how to approach things with your spouse:
One night when you’ve put your daughter to bed, have a gentle yet candid conversation with him. Explain to him that, as with most things in life, there’s a certain amount of trust required and that you’ve raised your daughter, thus far, to be a confident, happy little girl. A good analogy would be skydiving: adding to the fam will be like jumping out of a plane and trusting that the chute will open. The generations before ours would have (God-willing) given us a little heads up if having more than one child was a really, really terrible idea, don’t you think?
Look your husband in the eyes and reassure him that your daughter will be fine … better, even, because she gets to have a brother or sister. A younger sibling definitely can bring frustration and jealousy for the older one. (I’ll give you my sister’s number and she can address that!) But in watching my own children as well as friends’ kids, I believe that adding a new child to the mix brings with it many wonderful teaching and character-building moments. Compassion, patience, co-operation, protection, selflessness and, most importantly, love are just a few of the things that come to mind.
Now, that’s the long, drawn-out girlfriend-to-girlfriend version, but you get the gist. You know your husband better than I, so make the necessary tweaks and perhaps shorten the pitch a bit, but hit the highlights, and hopefully he’ll be ready to get started ASAP!
Good luck! Here’s to a family of four in the near future!
Dear Addie is a wife and mom of three who has done her fair share of diaper changing, morning snuggling, boo-boo kissing, cold nursing, lullaby singing, baby rocking, field trip chaperoning and sideline cheering. She believes that there is no degree required to be a parenting “expert.” You just have to roll up your sleeves, dig in, ask the questions, get the answers, and give it your best shot. Oh, and have a whole lot of love and patience on-hand!
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