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KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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My husband and I each have a child from a previous marriage

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My husband and I each have a child from a previous marriage and we agreed to not having more children we got married, but I've had a change of heart and now I really want a child with him. He has not and will not change his mind on the issue. I have tried everything to get over the longing for that child and I have soul searched all of my reasons for wanting one. I have written honest letters to him about my feelings, spoken with him about how I feel and prayed for my heart to change, but nothing makes the longing and sadness for what I will never have go away. How can I move past this?
You have my sympathies for being in such a difficult situation. It certainly doesn't seem that your husband is going to change his mind. One thing for you to consider is, can you be happy in your marriage without having another child? It is hard to think of ending your relationship over the issue, but putting aside your hopes and dreams can lead to deep regrets. if you're not interested in ending your marriage over this, you do have a few options, depending on what you need you're trying to fulfill with another child, and what your husbands objections. Can you tell me more about those?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I do not want to end my marriage over this. He is more important to me than another child, but I'm just so sad. I want another child for several reasons. I want to feel more bonded with my husband. I want another life to love and care for and to make our blended family feel unified. I want my daughter to experience being a big sister (she's always asking about it). I want to finish what I started in my first nuclear family that is no longer intact. I know that I'm mourning that loss and I know that a child cannot "fix" what has been broken in that respect. I definitely feel like someone is missing from our dinner table. I have tried to focus on getting in shape and spending time on my hobbies and focusing all my energy on what I do have, but I still practically burst into tears when I hear someone else is pregnant. I'm thankful for everything I have, I would just like to be able to put this behind me and I don't know how to make the hurt and sadness stop. I feel so rejected that I was vulnerable enough to tell my husband all of my innermost feelings about this and he just isn't interested in sharing that kind of love with me. I know he doesn't view having a child the same way I do, but it just hurts my heart that he sees me in such agony and he understands why I feel this way, but just tells me he's sorry, he can't do anything about it.
If your husband doesn't want to "start over" raising a new child for the next 18 years, I wonder if he would consider being a foster parent. It can be very fulfilling to give a child in need of a home, but it isn't the commitment of having your own child. If this isn't something that would fit with your family, perhaps you would be interested in being part of the Big Brother Big Sister Program. There are many kids who need a caring adult in their lives. Your children and husband could be as involved as they want to be or it could be something you do on your own. If nothing will work for you emotionally, except to have a child with your husband, you may need to do some work to truly accept that it will never happen and it's no one's fault. You can try to think of it as if your husband had a vasectomy, or is in some other way unable to have children. As you said, you are morning the child that will never be. You can only let go of him or her as best you can. The child may continue to be a shadow figure that lives in your mind. It's something you will have in common with many women who have lost children or who were never able to have them.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I don't think that fostering a child or being a big sister will work for what I am going through. It's like you said, emotionally that will not work for me. Neither of those options will make me feel that automatic bond and closeness that our own child would bring, or the automatic love that comes along with a sibling for our girls and our family. I know that I need to "truly accept" that it will never happen, but that's the part that I'm having trouble with. You said that I "may need to do some work" to accept it, what kind of work are you referring to? Individual counseling is really the only thing I haven't tried and that's why I sent the email to you. It's been going on for about a year now and I thought time would heal the wound. Sometimes I can live with the decision and feel halfway okay for a second but most of the time it surfaces again. It's hard to feel like someone is holding you back, but I know it's not fair to him either that I changed my mind. It's pretty much on my mind every day, several times a day. I just want to stop wishing and hoping.
Thanks for clarifying your question. Considering the length of time you've been dealing with this and the emotional pain you're suffering, seeing a therapist does sound like a good idea. It seems to me your experience is much like grieving a child who was miscarried except with the added emotion that comes from hoping the child still could, one day, being born. I think that's making it extra hard to let go of the idea of the child. There is a technique you could use while you're waiting to see a therapist. It's called thought stopping. It begins with making a list of positive thoughts about your family, your life, and your marriage. When you start to have a thought about the situation, tell yourself to STOP. This can be just in your mind or even out loud. After you stop that thought you don't want to have, you substitute one or more of the things from your list to think about instead. It is a technique that works better the more you use it.
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