I am on my knees, folded over, with my head resting on the carpet. I am in my closet, which doesn’t see much of the vacuum, and it is the only place I can find to sob out of sight. I feel hollowed out and defeated as if I have run a marathon and was cut short at the finish line. I cry out in prayer, pleading with God to soften the heart of my husband.
I desperately want another child, and he desperately does not.
I take a deep breath and dry my eyes because my 4-year-old outside the bedroom door does not wait. He is the reason I breathe. I never knew I could love someone with such fierceness. But I yearn for him to have a sibling—a buddy, a partner in life. I picture him standing as a grown man, and wonder, is he standing alone? Does he wonder why he is an only child? Does he think we were unable or unwilling?
These thoughts have just started to surface. Like most worries, we don’t give them much attention until they threaten to disrupt our perfectly laid plans. That is, my perfectly laid plan, which is drastically different from that of my husband’s. I had assumed that once we had pushed through the toddler stage and come out on the other side, we would have another child. Do it all again, and enjoy another baby.
My husband must have seen age four as a parenting triumph—goodbye diapers, tantrums, and middle-of-the-night wakings and hello to traveling and counting down the few daycare payments that remain. My question, “Are you ready to have another baby?” sucked the wind from his sails, and he saw the next five years of our life as moving backward, not forward.
In his defense, he is nine years older than me. And we are extremely blessed to have one child when there are so many others who cannot. I will never compare my longing for a second child, to that of a woman longing for or mourning her first.
Still, I cry.
I had always imagined being pregnant again, nursing, rocking, and loving another. I hoped to experience first words, laughs, and steps again. I never thought all of those firsts would also be my lasts.
Months ago, when he originally shut down the idea, I assumed this would be like most marital dilemmas—easily solved by calculated persuasion and slight stomping of feet. But as months passed and arguments escalated, thoughts of greener grass and harsh words escaped my lips. I didn’t understand how we could be so divided. He knew I wanted another child. How will we get past this? This wasn’t a compromise to be taken lightly, on either account.
I began to wonder how the resentment I felt toward him would ever dissipate. He was unwavering in his stance. Did marriages survive this? I just wanted him to agree, to let me have this. I could feel in my bones I was meant to have another child, and I doubted I could stifle this feeling. Once a woman’s heart is set on a child, it’s like an emotional switch has been flipped.
I thought of every creative and persuasive way to change his mind. I tried being overly nice and accommodating. I tried being aloof, angry, sad—all to no avail. I’ve learned not to underestimate the power of sex appeal, so I tried that. Shockingly, that didn’t work either.
The one thing that I hadn’t tried, due to its difficulty, was waiting. Just patiently, quietly waiting.
I figured if I wasn’t screaming, “SOMETHING IS WRONG AND YOU NEED TO NOTICE,” I wouldn’t be heard. Sometimes we need to see that our perfectly laid plans are just that, our plans. He needed to hear less of my voice, and more of The Lord’s. So, I waited.
Instead of sharing my feelings aloud, I wrote them. Emotions tend to spill out and are more easily defined when I put pen to paper. I wrote my vision for the future, and prayed over it, hoping it aligned with what God had in store for our family. It was a means of catharsis, and as I released those emotions, the atmosphere in my marriage began to change. Slowly, but surely. It was as if we were in the dead of winter, and then I looked up and saw the beginnings of spring.
One day, he casually said, “We can try, and we’ll see what happens.”
I don’t know if my husband finally agreed out of a true change of heart, or out of fear for what might become of our marriage, but I didn’t care. I rejoiced and knew that darkness cannot overcome the light of God’s presence.
Today, I am again on my knees, folded over in prayer, with my head resting on the carpet. The carpet of my youngest son’s nursery, at the foot of his crib. And I am so glad to be here.