DEAR AMY: My husband and I have a wonderful son, who is 9 months old. Last night we talked about baby No. 2. Well, my husband TOLD me (we didn't discuss it, he just told me) that there won't be any more babies for us. He said we are lucky that our son is beautiful and healthy. I'm 24, he's 33, and I always wanted at least two children, but his telling me that one is enough made me incredibly sad. He said seeing friends who have more than one child having to struggle with bad-tempered children and health issues gave him cold feet. He said we should give all our love, time and money to our son. Is it normal that I feel like somebody died? I've been crying ever since he said this. I took all the baby stuff and locked it in the basement because seeing it made me more depressed. I have a giant hole in my life. My friend is having her second soon and I'm jealous of her and all the women who will have more than one. Help me -- what can I do to find happiness again? Am I selfish? I know he won't change his mind.
DEAR MOURNING: Your husband's choice to make a pronouncement and your reaction to it are not a loving way to communicate.
I think it is common for parents of young children to feel simultaneously blessed and overwhelmed by the enormity of parenthood. Having one perfect child can make parents fearful about pressing their luck. The more appropriate way to handle this would be to acknowledge your husband's point of view. Then work hard at staying calm enough to say, "I see you feel this way now, but I'd like to continue to discuss this over the next few months, because I feel differently. There are two of us in this marriage." You are mourning what you see as the death of possibility. But you also seem to be overreacting in a way that could have a negative impact on your son. What would it be like for him to grow up in a family that his mother always feels is incomplete? The way to find happiness again is to determine that all of the elements for happiness are already right in front of you, and to take the future one day at a time. If you can't resolve this or pull out of your terrible funk, you and your husband should seek the help of a professional.
DEAR AMY: Recently my good friend's daughter and her husband had a baby who needed medical attention. They have hosted several in-person fundraisers, as well as ongoing online fundraisers. Both parents have jobs that provide good insurance. I recently found out this young family is using funds to pay their rent and buy new and expensive things -- all unrelated to their child. I find this heartbreaking to everyone concerned. Their child is scheduled to leave the hospital now, yet nothing has been updated online and the fundraising continues. After hearing this (verified) information I do not want to participate. What now?
DEAR DISHEARTENED: Sometimes the expenses related to dealing with a sick child will seem unrelated to the illness. Parents have to take time off work or have extra transportation or housing expenses in order to be with the child.
But sometimes people use these increasingly easy online fundraising efforts in ways that seem dishonest. If you feel this is the case here, you should decline to participate.
DEAR AMY: "Mom Who Cares" will be taking a huge chance letting her depressed 18-year-old go to college out of state (or leaving the house to attend any college) before the daughter resolves her mental health issues. My wife and I made that mistake and it was the worst decision of our lives. Thankfully our daughter is back at home doing better now.
DEAR CONCERNED: Thank you very much for generously sharing your experience.