“When I see a mum with lots of kids, I die a little on the inside.”
And it’s not because she’s experienced the loss of a child, miscarriage, stillbirth, or fertility issues.
The reason Morgan, 35, feels this sadness is that she wishes she had more than one child – but her husband doesn’t feel the same way.
“He tells me that he’s had one child and that’s enough for him.”
But Morgan says that was never the plan.
“Even before we got married, we talked about having a large family. We are both only-kids and we wanted to know what it felt like to live in a full house. We wanted lots of kids running around.”
They both felt so strongly that family would be part of their future, that Morgan and her husband, James, had even bought a four bedroom home in a school zone they had researched. And a car that would seat seven.
And now the empty rooms, and the empty car seats, are a daily reminder to Morgan that she will never have the large family she so desperately wanted.
The issue of having more children comes up frequently in their home because Morgan has struggled to accept the unilateral decision that James has made.
“We argue about it a lot,” Morgan says, explaining that something in James changed after they had their daughter seven years ago. Whilst he adores the child they have, James found becoming a parent an overwhelming experience, which Morgan understands, but she suspects that there’s more to it than that.
“I have a feeling he thinks more kids will be expensive. Of course it will be, but we’ll also manage. We would somehow make it work.”
Morgan currently works full-time, and knows if she had more children, it would mean a dip in the family income; but she’s also confident they could adjust their budget accordingly, “Just like all other families.”
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The biggest problem is, however, that James won’t admit to what Morgan thinks the real issue is. He’s simply said he has changed his mind about having a big family, and wants to concentrate on the little family they have.
In the absence of that conversation, and in the hole that Morgan feels inside her because of the loss of her hope to have a large family, Morgan tries to focus on her daughter.
“I look at my daughter and think she’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I love her so much.”
Nevertheless, Morgan quietly admits, “I can’t stop how I feel. I just know something is missing.”
Morgan says it’s a difficult feeling to describe, and over the years, her grief about the loss of hope has become tinged with bitterness – which she struggles to control.
“I see a woman on the street with a more than two kids and I think, ‘Why wasn’t that me? Why wasn’t I that lucky?’ “
Holding back tears, Morgan says she knows her thinking isn’t fair, or rational, but she’s angry.
“I have to squash my natural maternal instinct to have children and that’s something I don’t want to accept.”
*Names in this story have been changed for privacy reasons.