We can't handle more children

00:49, Jul 11 2012

Andrew's wife wants to get pregnant, but he doesn't think they can handle a fifth child. How can he take back control of his life?

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Dear Chris,

About four years ago, my wife and I converted to Catholicism. She demanded that I have my vasectomy reversed, which I did. However, she is opposed to using any form of birth control and is actually hoping to get pregnant.

We have four children ages 13, 12, 11, and 9 (10 in August) and money is very tight right now. We're renting a home, have bad credit, and have absolutely no savings in the bank. 

She homeschools our kids and even picks out their clothes for the day (usually dressing our three boys in identical outfits). 

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She gets up at 4am every morning to go to the gym and on her return, it's off to church. This is every single day. 

Close friends who know about the situation say that I need to stand up to her. But I don't know what to say. 

She does everything and I just have to worry about my job. But I don't think that we could handle another child and I don't know what to do. 

I've tried talking to her, but she will not listen. What should I do?

Andrew

I think you are right to be reaching out and seeking help as this doesn't sound like a very desirable situation for any of you.

You are raising a number of concerns, but most importantly it sounds as if you have lost your sense of being part of really important decisions for yourself, your relationship and your children. 

"Just having to worry about your job" implies that somehow you have handed over responsibility to your wife, and while you are clear you do not want another child, so far you haven't found a way of feeling like you have an equal say in such an important decision.

I am curious to know if the issues you are concerned about have always been present in the relationship or has it been more since the time of your conversion to Catholicism? 

When I hear about the early morning rising, attention to exact details and daily rituals of the children being dressed the same, it leaves me wondering if there is some underlying anxiety or mental health issue your wife is dealing with.

It may be worth you gently talking with her about whether she has become more fearful or anxious over the past few years, and seeking some reassurance from your local GP about this.

Whatever the reason for the current situation, it seems you need to figure out a way of having more of a say in how you participate in shaping your family life.

Your friends are right in encouraging you to take a stand for your own wellbeing and for your relationship and children's sake, and the first step is to let your wife know you want to make some changes to how the two of you make decisions.

You might need to acknowledge that you have been happy for a long while to leave things over to her. Be clear about what issues you want to tackle. From the concerns you describe, I would strongly urge you to get the help from someone you can trust.

Do check they are skilled at working with couples, and make sure you will be able to express your concerns with whoever you choose to help.

By writing in, you are making a stand for something to be different and you are clearly worried about what will happen if you all have another pregnancy to deal with.  

I do encourage you to take the next step and start making some changes for you and your family. I wish you well.

For more advice and information on counselling, visit Relationships Aotearoa online or join them on Facebook.

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