How It Happened

So, how did it happen that David changed his mind? I’m not even 100% sure I know, but I’ll do my best to relay the story here.

I think what happened was that during the time between when I made the appointment and the day of the appointment, I was grieving “the end” of our child-bearing, and David was finally realizing just how much I really wanted this.  So while I was all set to move on, to move forward, he was quietly reconsidering his position.

I make decisions fairly quickly.  I may sleep on something, and I’m in tune with my gut feeling, but usually after a day or so I can confidently DECIDE.  And that’s for bigger issues; for small things, I can usually make decisions on the spot.  David, however, is a deliberator.  While I’m “ripping the band-aid off already,” he’s slowing working the topic over in his brain.  Over and over he turns it, day after day, week after week.

So while I “ripped the band-aid off” by scheduling that appointment, he was slowly, S-L-O-W-L-Y,  rethinking his stance.  We talked about it a great deal during this time, so I knew he was softening a little, but I also wasn’t going to allow myself to get too hopeful. Self-preservation, etc etc.

In our case, making that appointment for him was the right decision, because otherwise David would deliberate over this for MONTHS and MONTHS longer.  I made that appointment in a desperate attempt to just move on,to stop the exhausting and futile hopeful/disappointed cycle every 28 days,  but I can see now that on a subconscious level, I knew that he’d never decide if I didn’t force him.

So as the days ticked closer and closer, it became more and more real to him that we were really going to be done.  He was/is honestly fine with being done, but he began to see how much I wasn’t fine with it.  He basically decided that it would be best for me and for us if we went ahead with Number Four… because if we didn’t, I would mourn it for years and years.  Whereas if we had a fourth, while he might not be Jumping With Joy excited, he’d obviously love and cherish another child.

This was something I’d explained to him, over and OVER, but he didn’t fully understand it until the Date was Imminent.

So when there was freezing rain that started promptly 2 hours before his appointment, followed by snow that started promptly at  the hour of his appointment, it was obvious that he shouldn’t drive 30 miles to Bigger Town for it.  And when he gently asked me if he should reschedule, I told him I didn’t want him to… and he agreed.

I should be over-the-moon jumping with joy, but I’m not really.  I’m happy.  I think.  Most of the time, at least.  But I’m also feeling very cautious and weird about it all.

I’m sorry if this is all disjointed.  I’ve written and deleted this stupid post all day long.  It’s just that this is all… complicated, complex…. many-layered.  I feel like I’m either repeating myself or contradicting myself or BOTH.  It’s just such a multidimensional issue, and my feelings about it are just as complex.

Also, I apologize if this seemed really out of left field.  I’m not going for drama or attention over here; it’s just that I *thought* he might be softening his stance but I also wasn’t willing to get excited/hopeful.  And I certainly wasn’t going to write much about it, just in case.  And I was getting mixed messages:  for example, David called to reschedule the appointment, but if he was really changing his mind, why bother?  Why not call and cancel instead?

Finally, commenter Kate said it perfectly yesterday:  If you’re used to compromise and “everyone is happy” solutions, it can be difficult when mutual decisions are made mostly for your sake. It’s like you keep having to ask, “are you sure it’s okay?” And then you feel responsible for any possible repercussions.

Yes!  That’s it exactly.  It’s just so… odd that we’re making this decision for me.  I feel like if we DO get pregnant, I’m responsible for making it a Good Experience At All Times.  Which.  Wow.  That’s a lot of pressure.  (And it’s self-imposed pressure, because it’s certainly not something David expects.)

Anyway, I hope this all makes a little more sense.  Again, I’ve been so uplifted by all of your kind and encouraging words, and I always feel so much better after writing about this, even if I’m having trouble getting my thoughts rattled out into sentences on a screen.

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12 thoughts on “How It Happened

  1. “I feel like if we DO get pregnant, I’m responsible for making it a Good Experience At All Times. Which. Wow. That’s a lot of pressure”

    I know this feeling exactly, though about subjects entirely different. And it’s so much pressure. I completely understand why it feels odd and why you’re not jumping over the moon happy.

  2. Yes, this makes perfect sense. It’s why we all kept saying that there was no good outcome to this situation because it would involve one person’s preference on a fundamental issue taking precedence over the other person’s. I am the same way when Torsten and I disagree and then he gives in. Suddenly I’m not sure I want it anymore because I feel so bad that he had to give in about it.

    It sounds like it will work out, though!

  3. I know this feeling! I have pushed and pushed for things, and then when my husband relents, I backpedal. “No, no! It’s okay! You were right!” It IS the pressure of making sure the thing turns out right. It’s like, YOU wanted this so any whining about morning sickness, or needing a little extra help isn’t okay because YOU chose it.

  4. When I saw that comment yesterday I thought that she expressed something that most people in a good, committed relationship can relate to. And I wondered if that was how you were feeling. I think that’s a good reason to be feeling kind of mixed about it, though, if that makes sense. Like you know you guys usually try to compromise, and this just illustrates how ingrained that is in you.

  5. I don’t know if I DO totally get it, but I FEEL LIKE I do. When I picture Paul changing his mind, I…almost don’t want him to, because it feels so weird and crazy. I WOULDN’T be thrilled and happy; I’d feel weird and uncertain and responsible. Sometimes I think most of my drive to have another child is because of his drive not to. If he suddenly changed his mind, it’s like I’d have to rethink everything.

  6. I can see why you may feel a little responsible for David changing his mind, but I think the reality is if he didn’t want this or even the possibility of this, he probably WOULD have rescheduled instead of cancelled. Evearything happens for a reason and maybe this one was for your deeply rooted need for the 4th baby to be truly felt by David.

    I’m glad you’re happy. I’m sure it will bring you guys closer.

  7. It will all work out. I know you know that. I can’t imagine our life without our perfect, sweet #4, even as my children drive me up the wall and down again, and even as we go forward with certainty with vasectomy December 9th. It is still weird to think about all the children we COULD have that will never be – #5, #6, #7 – but for the first time ever, we have no desire to meet these people. 🙂

  8. I so rarely comment – on any blog – because I never really feel like I have anything to add that someone hasn’t already said. But I really do feel like I can understand how you feel perfectly.

    The other part of it, I think – or at least in the context of my own (very good!) marriage – is that this is something that I do, but not something that my husband does. So I will feel anxious over a decision made for my sake, but when I am the one making the concessions, he doesn’t feel the same anxiety. It may be partially a result of our relationship, but I think a lot of it is just my own personal hang-ups.

    The thing that I think you need to remind yourself, to help yourself embrace the happy part, is that your anxiety and self-imposed pressure, for lack of a better word, cheapen the loving decision that David has made. He has changed his mind because he’s okay with that decision, but maybe mostly because he loves you and wants you to be happy. So the most loving thing that you can do in return is to let yourself feel that happiness. You know? As before, I may be off the mark, but my husband and I have talked this THROUGH AND THROUGH and I have tried to be better about not making him “convince me” that when he makes a decision for my behalf, it is done sincerely and without resentment or conditions or the possibility of regret.

  9. I’ve worn these shoes, but I was David. And I’m glad we had the baby he wanted. I love my last son very much. He’s a special and loving child. But I still felt manipulated. My husband, too, backed off when I finally succumbed to his passive/aggressive attack. And that’s what it was. An attack. I couldn’t stand one more minute of the situation – it was making me crazy. His sad face, comments on every baby he saw, continued discussion designed to convince me or at the very least, guilt me into having another baby. I had very valid personal and general reasons, but his were MORE RIGHT, MORE VALID. By wearing me down, it sort of made it my decision, but somehow not my decision at all. I knew what would happen if I wavered and said ‘ok, then if it’s REALLY my choice, I say no more’. It was my opinion that babies should be wanted by both parties – more or less equally. And that in the case of a stand off, no wins.

    My situation was different for lots of reasons – the biggest being that there are seven years between the two last children. It was WAY too far.

    I guess what I’m saying is that you absolutely don’t want David to carry around any of the feelings I have carried around for the last 16 years. It changed how I felt about the equality of our marriage. I’ve gotten past it, for the most part, and wouldn’t trade David (the baby) for anything in the world. But it still tastes bad to me.

    Of course men don’t generally linger over feelings like women do, so maybe my husband would have just accepted it at some point without it leaking into his heart like it did/does mine.

    I don’t mean to be a downer at all – I have no idea how your marriage really works. But please please please let him – if he will – tell you the real truth about why he changed his mind.

    • I appreciate your comment and point of view. I think a couple of things are different. The main one being that I think it’s different for a woman to want another baby than a man, simply because it’s the WOMAN’S body that will be put through the 10 months of changes, discomforts, etc, plus the year+ of nursing. If I was asking something like this and DAVID would have to be the pregnant/nursing one, I think that would be a whole different story.

      Also, David and I have talked ad nauseum about this, and he really feels like he won’t resent it. I think different personalities handle these things differently, and he’s simply not the resenting type. (I, on the other hand, would probably feel much more like you do.) He’s extremely practical– to a FAULT– and almost can’t understand the concept of “wasting time regretting something that is a fact” <– those are his words. So, when the baby becomes a fact, he'll simply embrace it and move on. Again, plenty of us "waste time" this way– me included– but it's just not his way.

      I'm still scared to death that you are right, that this whole thing will backfire on me. The last thing I want is to ruin– or even badly scar– our marriage. But the thing is, either way we go at this point, our marriage is in jeopardy, because I want a baby so badly that if we DON'T have one, I might never get over it.

      Anyway, again, I appreciate your thoughtful comment. Thank you!

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