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I’m wanting views on this situation and thoughts on what you’d do... I’ll try to keep it very brief but I realise there will be a lot of detail missing.

 

I’m 4.5 years out of an 8 yr violent relationship. (Including rape so he could have his second child - which I lost). I have a 7 year old (which he wanted and then wanted aborted after I was pregnant - I had a very complicated and abusive pregnancy).

 

I met an amazing man 3 yrs ago and have been taking things very slow. He has 4 kids, is an amazing dad and when we met told me he really really wanted more. I told him I had no interest in more.

 

About 18 months ago I decided I needed some support to move through the baby damage as it was obvious this man wanted more kids - he was repeatedly very open about this (as I had always wanted a big family before my ex I felt if I would be supported I could change my mind). I didn’t tell him I was seeking support.

 

12 months later, a lot of therapy and I finally felt like I was in a place where I could discuss my change of mind with him only for him to tell me that he had also changed his mind and was done with babies. He no longer wanted more. He basically said that he didn’t want to hold me back from having more kids and understood if I wanted to break up. He didn’t want to break up.

 

I had the choice of leaving my best friend and the only relationship I had ever felt safe, secure and loved or never having the redeeming pregnancy I felt I needed to really heal from my past.

 

I felt like I had just been pushed down again. I was confused and angry that he had taken this choice away from me.

 

I chose him. It wasn’t a hard choice at the time because I just defaulted back to previous thoughts on babies.

 

Issue is, now (6 months later) all my friends are having babies and I’m feeling very triggered, confused, hurt and resentful and I don’t know what to do.

 

This man loves me dearly, he is amazing and supportive and kind. He is amazing with my child and my child adores him and his kids. But I’m so angry at him for changing his mind right when it mattered most and with such a sensitive issue for me.

 

We already attend counselling whilst we slowly blend our families together and she believes this needed to be a decision we made together but he can be pretty stubborn.

 

I’d really like to know what others would do in my situation and how you would feel. It would break my heart (and his) to leave and our kids adore each other and are at school together.

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So, a baby shouldn't be regarded as a "redeeming pregnancy". This is a living breathing human who shouldn't be given the assignment before birth of "redeeming" you.

 

What does your therapist say about this "redeeming pregnancy " idea?

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Woah! Sensitive much! I am acutely aware of a baby being a living, breathing human. I never wanted to bring another child into the world if a pregnancy could be so abusive and the other parent didn’t really want them.

 

I always wanted at least 5 children because I love kids and wanted a big family. The abuse I got from my ex however really put me off any more kids.

 

Therapist said that not all pregnancies can be redeemed by another baby, but some can. It all depends on what went wrong with the traumatic pregnancy and what you need to heal.

 

I would love to have more kids with my partner, which is a huge thing for me to say. I don’t want kids for the sake of it, I want a baby with him. He’s beautiful (kind, patient, supportive, gentle).

 

I feel I need a pregnancy that is loving and kind and wanted and supportive to heal and that is the bonus for bringing a much wanted (by me) baby into this world. He was so adamant for so long that he wanted more kids that I let my guard down and thought it might be possible for me to bring a child into this world with two loving parents and no abuse. And now I’m feeling at a total loss - again.

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Yeah, so bolt's not the sensitive one here. You actually went into this relationship with you both understanding you didn't want a child. It took you over a year to convey to him you'd changed your mind. Which is fair enough. But you can't hold it against him for changing his own. No one took any choice away from you. You changed your mind and are flabbergasted at the idea someone else could do the same.

 

Honestly, just reading this, it's incredibly obvious you're going to hold it against this guy for not facilitating your "redemption baby" fantasy. It'd be best to see the situation for what it is. It's unfair to him to hold him liable for it, and it seems unfair to you to hold yourself back from what you truly want. Though I'd get another therapist if she legit thinks any context within which a "redemption baby" is at all appropriate, whether between the child or the mother's mental state behind it.

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Sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, you met, got attached and continued then changed your mind. This is confusing and unfair to both of you.

I met an amazing man 3 yrs ago and have been taking things very slow. He has 4 kids, is an amazing dad and when we met told me he really really wanted more. I told him I had no interest in more.

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I already have another therapist. The reason is irrelevant to this conversation.

 

I take on board what you’ve said and you’re right, I shouldn’t hold it against him and I don’t want to. He is absolutely entitled to change his mind. As much as I sound (and am) angry, I am very logical and struggling to make sense of my feelings when I genuinely accept the logic of it all.

 

What I truly want is a baby with him. I absolutely do not want a baby for the sake of it and I have zero interest in looking for a new partner for the sole purpose of having a baby.

 

I just feel cheesed off because I never would have taken my baby wall down if he wasn’t so adamant he wanted another baby and then when I changed my mind, he changed his and now I can’t put the baby feelings back behind the wall.

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I just feel cheesed off because I never would have taken my baby wall down if he wasn’t so adamant he wanted another baby and then when I changed my mind, he changed his and now I can’t put the baby feelings back behind the wall.

 

I think it's natural that you are going to feel disappointed that things didn't work out the way you expected.

 

Anytime we do work on ourselves expecting a particular outcome, we are usually disappointed with the results, because we can't control the thoughts and feelings of other people, nor can we predict what happens in life.

 

The challenge here is how do you own those feelings and come to recognize that the healing work you did needs to be for your benefit... one of moving through that grief and letting go of the past... vs. doing it for the benefit of the relationship.

 

Here is what I see... you have a loving and supportive partner that helped motivate you to explore the letting go of your past. You, with the help of your therapist, were the one to go through all of those feelings and come out the other side. That's huge! Many people never get there.

 

Is it fair that after all that work that he changed his mind? Probably not. Should you honor the fact that you went through it and focus on that vs. the fact that he changed his mind? Absolutely.

 

Here's the thing... having a baby is technically a decision that needs to be made together but at the end of the day, it's a deeply personal decision as to whether or not someone wants a child. He is free to decide for himself that he doesn't want one, and you are free to be angry and upset that he changed his mind... the question is where you both go from here.

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Thank you for such a fabulously worded, non judgemental and helpful response.

 

As you said, the question really is where do we go from here. I don’t know and I guess I’m looking for where other people would go if in my shoes.

 

This is an incredibly painful topic for me, one I’d rather avoid but know I can’t. Our couples therapist said we should have made the decision together and because we didn’t, is why I’m now feeling like I am.

 

Unfortunately a lot of the scars never seem to leave, no matter the amount of therapy.

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I would end the relationship if I were in your shoes. There's a lot of resentment there and given your past and circumstances, I would recognize that I've lost sight of the bigger picture and need time alone to heal. If I were in your shoes, it'd be apparent to me that I have not healed completely yet. My desire for a child eclipses the happiness I'm already experiencing in a happy and loving relationship and if I'm willing to put my own and my existing child's happiness and stability at risk I am not 100% ok.

 

I agree with you, OP, that your partner's change of heart is upsetting. But I'd need to do a lot of reflecting on why that bothers me so much.

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Unfortunately a lot of the scars never seem to leave, no matter the amount of therapy.

 

It seems you have a variety of legitimate reasons for wanting another child with your guy, yet when someone gets close to the idea of one of being a `redemption' you have a very big defensive reaction to that. Try not to get hung up on the term. But in this statement here (like others) you, you wrap it up once again about healing the scars from the past.

 

This is an incredibly painful topic for me, one I’d rather avoid but know I can’t.

 

I am not trying to be insensitive here. I think your desire for having a baby is genuine at the same time complex. But I also think the idea of not being able to have one after all is what triggers you and causes the pain to bubble up. I can totally understand wanting to put the past behind you for good. But this may not be the way.

At least not now.

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I don’t know and I guess I’m looking for where other people would go if in my shoes.

 

It's a tough call OP, it really depends on what is more important for you... a long term relationship with this man, or having a child.

 

He basically said that he didn’t want to hold me back from having more kids and understood if I wanted to break up

 

This makes me wonder if he really did change his mind, or if all along he didn't want more kids but went along with it, never thinking you would go through with the work you did on yourself... and once he realized how serious you were, and your level of willingness to work through your stuff, he panicked.

 

I mean at the end of the day he will either change his mind or he won't... where I would go in your shoes is to continue sharing my feelings and thoughts about this with him, and to process my own feelings around it, reflect on what was really important and which decision I would have the least amount of regret over.

 

Thing is... now that you have found a wonderful man, know this means you are capable of finding another wonderful man who's values will align more with yours around kids... we get stuck on this idea that there is no one else out there for us or that we have found "the one" when in reality there is no "one"... there are just choices that we make.

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When you start a relationship with someone, it’s critically important to know and be on the same page about a number of things, IMO. Marriage, babies, the role (or lack of) religion in your lives - and actually - how to handle aging parents, etc. If you are going to walk the path of life together, you need to make sure you are walking the same path. It kind of forms the « contract » and « vision » for your relationship. I don’t think these are things that can be compromised on. It’s your life path.

 

Your relationship « contract » was one of no babies. (Even if he expressed wanting them at some point - this is what he agreed to and decided to come to terms with).

 

I’m not trying to place blame - but I do think that it was unwise to head down the path of looking to change the terms of your relationship without talking about it and making sure you were still on the same page. IMO, this is kind of something you did to yourself...

 

So - now - to your question. What would I do in your shoes?

 

In your shoes, I would stay with my partner. Why? Your child is 7. Having another child at this point - particularly if you need to find a new partner who also wants kids (which may or may not happen) is more than just having another child at this point... it’s having another family. Having children who are about 10 years apart is different. They will not have a traditional sibling relationship where they grew up playing together, etc. While one is off to kindergarten, the other will be in high school.

 

Everyone has a different life path. No two paths are the same. So - while I get the pangs of jealousy (which I think is perfectly normal and healthy, btw) - and kind of the roller coaster of emotions you put yourself on...Do you REALLY want a 2nd family? Diapers? Midnight feedings? The non-stop running of toddlers? Dealing with two children in vastly different places in life with vastly different needs? Not having your autonomy for another 20 years? I wouldn’t - but that’s me.

 

There is no right or wrong answer - but I would acknowledge the feelings as « normal » and look to appreciate my own life path, as twisted as it may have come to be (btw - for what it’s worth - I think most of us end up with kind of twisted paths at some point... life is rarely straightforward).

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Thinking of this from a best interests of the child perspective I would leave the relationship now since it sounds like his kids are getting attached to you and you're moving towards more attachment -with your mindset I'm not sure you're going to make parenting his children -potentially your stepchildren -a priority -you'll feel resentful that you didn't get to have another child, for one thing.

 

I would have another child, despite the age difference (I know of many who have done this) only if it's not about "redemption" because there is no guarantee of how you'll feel during or after pregnancy or whether it will feel redeeming. Have another baby if you're 100% into giving to a child you create - doing whatever needs to be done in the child's best interests. Not because you have a desire for redemption. If the main focus is redemption I'd seek redemption by maybe volunteering to help single expectant moms who are in need, or maybe at a NICU holding preemies, like that -so that you feel that you are contributing to the best interests of a pregnant mom or an infant in need in a positive, life affirming way. Just a suggestion.

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I think the idea of a "redeeming baby" is...strange. Any baby you do have in the future should not bear the responsibility of redeeming the pregnancy you lost, or your rape. You need to completely move past that before you even consider another child, lest you have a traumatic pregnancy and end up blaming him/her for causing you further emotional grief.

 

Additionally, do you really want another child? Or are you simply having FOMO because of Facebook?

 

Furthermore, you should not be blending your family if you're not even married and unsure as to whether or not you want to continue.

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Honestly, you did not want another child - nothing wrong with having one child, having potential step kids and not wanting another. its not a "mental block" to get over. He wanted one, so you tried several years to "fix" yourself to want what he wanted. You didn't share you were working on this issue, now he has changed his mind and probably not overnight. He knew you didn't want more kids and over time, he probably weighed in his mind what was important - a 5th child or being with the love of his life.

 

Honestly, if this man is the love of your life, I would not leave him. I would work through the issue of sometimes life not working out the way you want --- i would reveal to your therapist that you never told him that you were trying to change your mind about a baby.

 

I would take a break from Facebook.

 

I would work on communication skills with you guy because clearly if he had no idea you were in therapy this whole time, you need to learn to be a bit more transparent.

 

Your living child matters - creating stability for that child by your choices an if you are going to marry - choosing someone who is also a stable, supportive force.

If this guy is all that and more - i would not throw him away and risk it all just to try and find a man who is eager to have a baby.

 

Remember - there is no guarantee. you might meet someone new, you might miscarry again and find you didn't choose well and be resentful.

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It's a tough call OP, it really depends on what is more important for you... a long term relationship with this man, or having a child.

 

 

 

This makes me wonder if he really did change his mind, or if all along he didn't want more kids but went along with it, never thinking you would go through with the work you did on yourself... and once he realized how serious you were, and your level of willingness to work through your stuff, he panicked.

 

I mean at the end of the day he will either change his mind or he won't... where I would go in your shoes is to continue sharing my feelings and thoughts about this with him, and to process my own feelings around it, reflect on what was really important and which decision I would have the least amount of regret over.

 

Thing is... now that you have found a wonderful man, know this means you are capable of finding another wonderful man who's values will align more with yours around kids... we get stuck on this idea that there is no one else out there for us or that we have found "the one" when in reality there is no "one"... there are just choices that we make.

 

also - how long has he been a divorced dad? if they met early on after his divorce he could have been all rainbows about another baby -- or even being in a honeymoon period with her, and then reality hit -- the balancing the kids with work, with dating - and the fact that she felt that she was done gradually made him come to the realization that he was fine with no more -- gaining a child through marriage would be plenty. Finding a man who is your best friend is rare. I would be in no rush to marry if you feel you have to sort through some things, but i would not dump him to find a baby daddy. you don't know if the grass is truly greener.

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The first thing I'd tackle for my own head is whether or not I MUST regard myself as damaged. If I opt to drop that characterization, I'd gain a far clearer--and cleaner--perspective for all future decisions.

 

I'd challenge the idea of using a baby as a therapeutic device to heal myself, and I'd opt instead to just heal myself. From there, I'd own a better platform for decision making going forward, and I'd be able to trust my own choices.

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It sounds like you originally sought support to work through the trauma of your abuse in relation to pregnancy because of your partner's desire to have more children.

That concerned me when I read it, I wonder if you see what I see there. In your abusive relationship, you were taught that your feelings and body choices did not matter. It was what he wanted that mattered, only, even if it caused you pain and suffering.

Once you were out of that relationship, you applied some of that thinking to your current partner. He expressed wanting more children, you knew you were not in a position to do so, but rather than decide that was a dealbreaker for you, you stayed and then tried to make yourself do something because he wanted it - not for your own healing, not for your daughter who has suffered trauma too, to help guide her.

It's an important distinction, the why you decide to work on it. Because you did it for him, you now feel angry and ripped off , as he does not want more children after all.

 

From here, you can continue to work on yourself but not for what a man wants. For you. For your daughter. The pay off is in healing yourself, the freedom of your own inner self.

 

I adore the idea of holding babies in NICU. Something like that is healing in a positive way for you and for those babies. So many babies need touch, to feel they are loved, and you have a need to choose freely your own will to give a child your love.

 

There's so many ways to be complete without giving birth. Perhaps challenge that a pregnancy is necessary to be at peace.

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Just wondering, did you tell your partner that you were going to therapy for twelve months and working on your feelings about having a baby? You never said in your posts if he knew about it? The thing is, I understand that no doubt you put a lot of emotional work and also money into having therapy for a year. But if he didn't know then he actually had no idea or expectation that you were working on this and you were going to change your mind.

 

If he didn't know, then you've kind of sprung this on him and you're expecting the result you wanted without any prior openness or communication with your partner. Open communication is very important in relationships and if you hadn't discussed your healing journey with your partner, he didn't know that's what you wanted.

 

I understand that you've been through a lot of trauma and loss of pregnancy and you need healing and redemption. But what happened to you was not your partner's fault and he doesn't have to do what you want only because you need to heal from your past. I think it's normal to feel angry but I think you need to aim your anger at the situation itself, not directly at your partner. He did want more kids in the beginning and for three years you didn't. When you repeatedly get told something for years, you start to believe and accept it. It looks like he came to terms with the fact that you didn't want more kids and set his mind to that. Once you set your mind, it's often hard to change it. Besides, he already has four kids and you have one. So five between you. Maybe he began to think that not having more was for the best, since you didn't previously want to anyway.

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