It’s so normal for you to want a baby. And then another, and even another.
Maybe your heart yearns for enough babies to form your own basketball team–or even a baseball team.
But what if your husband isn’t on board? What if he thinks you already have enough kids?
What if he doesn’t even want one child?
One husband told his wife they needed to work on their marriage before they’d be ready to conceive.
To his wife that sounded the same as “We’re never having a baby,” which made her wonder about the benefit of being married at all, since she had always wanted a family.
But just because he’s shaking his head now doesn’t mean he won’t get behind the idea of growing your family.
There are a few simple things you can do to make him much more open to the idea.
Here’s how you can inspire your man to say yes to a bundle of joy.
1. Get Happy
If you’re often exhausted, overwhelmed, depressed or otherwise unhappy, your husband may see the prospect of a new, tiny family member as too burdensome because he’s already having a hard time keeping you happy.
To paraphrase George Michaels, if his best isn’t good enough then how can it be good enough for two?
He gets a lot of his own sense of success from knowing you’re thriving and delighted. In my experience, all husbands do.
If he sees you laughing and smiling, he feels proud. When you’re stressed and complaining, he feels stressed and tired too.
And he may think (because you may have said it) that you have too much to do already.
If the problem seems to be that you’re overburdened, a baby is not going to make sense to him. That’s more burden–not less.
He wants you to be happy again. He thinks it’s his job. When that goes missing, he feels overwhelmed.
But of course the only person who can make you happy is you.
If you’re laughing at the slapstick comedy that is your home life instead of yelling or nagging, he’s going to have an easier time understanding the draw of extending the family.
If you’re singing and smiling most of the time, he’s going to feel relieved and see more possibility for a bright future. Including a near future with a bundle of joy.
If it’s a baby you want, figure out how to delight yourself every day.
2. Appreciate Him
Alicia got the heartbreaking news that she and her husband could not conceive.
Undeterred, she quickly hatched a new plan.
She told her husband, “I think we should adopt!” But he didn’t seem to think it was such a good idea.
Frustrated, she tried to persuade him of all the positives: They would be able to skip pregnancy and delivery and just bring home their child, giving an unwanted baby a good home.
Her husband changed the subject.
When she told me about her challenge getting the baby she wanted, she was feeling hopeless.
“He just seems to shut down whenever I say the word ‘baby,’” she told me.
From what Alicia shared, I had a feeling her husband was not feeling very appreciated.
In singlemindedly seeking maternity, she had stopped appreciating him and all that they had together.
She was constantly talking about the baby he couldn’t give her.
When Alicia realized that, she decided to express her gratitude for her husband.
She told him, “As much as I want a baby, if I never get one, I’m just so grateful to have you as my husband. Having a baby would be icing on the cake of getting to spend all of my days with you.”
It was a moving moment for them both.
The next day, her husband brought home adoption paperwork.
3. Express Your Desires in a Way that Inspires
Alicia’s husband might have also been more receptive to her being so family minded if she had said what she wanted in an inspiring way.
At first, she was telling her husband what to think, and that never works, in my experience.
My husband doesn’t like when I argue with his thinking or try to persuade him with logic.
So even though it’s as tempting as devouring a freshly baked cookie to indulge in the Great Baby Debate, consider sticking to your desires instead of arguing with his thinking.
He may be right that it isn’t the best time to conceive while you’re still nursing or he’s changing jobs, for example.
But if that doesn’t change your desire, then you can simply honor yourself without contradicting him by saying, “I hear you. And I would love another baby.”
After acknowledging how much she valued her husband, all Alicia needed to say was, “I would love to adopt a baby.”
It wouldn’t have been a demand, even though she wanted that child with all her heart.
Her husband couldn’t wait to grant her heart’s desire once she said it that way.
That’s how inspired he was.
4. Affirm His Fathering
What if your husband is too harsh with the kids or loses his temper with them or lets them eat cereal out of the box in their pajamas when you’re gone?
That’s something I hear a lot from moms–that their husbands don’t parent the same way as them. At all!
It’s easy to start thinking you’re the better, more conscientious parent. You might think he needs some help knowing how to be a good dad.
It’s only logical to want to give him some helpful suggestions.
What I discovered the hard way is that “helpful” in wife language equals “critical” in husband language.
My husband got defensive when I tried to help him improve and started to avoid me so he wouldn’t have to hear about all the ways I knew better than him.
I thought I was subtle. He thought I was insufferable.
Looking back, now I can see why.
Maybe you’ve done the same thing with your husband in the area of his fathering.
You didn’t mean to be critical, but that’s how he heard it when you told him to be careful when he was throwing the kids in the air.
The less he feels successful as a dad, the less appealing it is for him to want to take on another kid.
If you have kids, finding the things you admire about your husband’s parenting and acknowledging them does wonders for turning that around.
If you don’t have kids yet, admiring how he interacts with tiny relatives or friends’ kids or letting him know how much you appreciate how patient and tender he is with you will go a long way toward opening up a possibility that wasn’t there before.
If he knows that you think he’s an amazing dad (or will be), he’s going to feel more inclined to take on another child.
Especially if he knows that saying yes to a baby will make his wife ridiculously happy.