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'My husband thinks we're trying for a second baby. We're not.'

As told to Ann DeGrey

I love my husband and my son more than anything. After having a miscarriage early in our relationship, I feel so blessed to have my two-year-old ray of sunshine, Jay. Being a mum brings me a warmth and joy that I never imagined possible. He has my eyes and his father's sense of curiosity, always exploring, always learning. My husband, Tom and I share a very special bond, built on years of love and shared dreams. Our little family feels complete to me. But my husband doesn't see it that way.

Lately, our conversations have taken a turn. 

"When do you think we should start trying for a second child?" he asks. He always looks so excited when he asks me this. He brings it up often, sometimes gently over dinner, sometimes as we watch Jay playing by himself. Tom comes from a large family, with three brothers and two sisters who are all close. He wants the same for our son. He imagines a house which was as fun and hectic as the home he grew up in. 

But I can't help but feel a knot in my stomach each time the topic comes up. I grew up as an only child, and my childhood was wonderful. I had all the love and attention I could ever need from my parents. I had friends to play with, and I never felt lonely. I also had multiple first cousins who felt like siblings to me. So, in my eyes, it never felt like anything was missing. I believe our son can have the same happy, fulfilling life without a sibling. Also, he has plenty of first cousins to hang out with, as all of Tom's siblings have kids.

The truth is, I'm secretly using contraception and Tom has no idea. I realise this makes me sound like an awful person but, believe me when I say the guilt weighs on me heavily. I hate lying to him. It's a lie that really gnaws at my conscience, but every time I think about having another child, I feel a sense of panic.

Watch: MM Confessions: My partner doesn't know. Post continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

It's not that I don't love children; I adore our son with all my heart. It's just that I don't see the need for a sibling, and I worry about how it would change our family dynamic. I’ve always believed the saying "If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it." I feel our family is perfect the way it is.

But Tom won't let it go. He is always telling me about his family trips as a kid, and how supportive his siblings are of him. I can see the dream he has, and it breaks my heart that I don't share it.

When I think about having another baby, I think about the sleepless nights, the nappies, the endless cycle of feeding and trying to settle a crying baby — I just don’t want to go through that again. I keep thinking of how much of myself I had to give up. I'm just now starting to feel like myself again, finding a balance between being a mum and being me. The thought of starting all over again has given me so many sleepless nights. 

As for Jay, I know he is happy, thriving, and getting all the attention and love he needs. What would happen if we brought another child into the mix? My attention will be taken away from him and I’m not prepared to do that to him.

And yet, I feel so guilty. I see the hope in Tom's eyes, and I know I'm keeping a secret that would hurt him deeply. I feel like I'm betraying his trust every day. But at the same time, I believe I'm making the right choice for our family. I believe Jay will be perfectly fine as an only child, just like I was.

I hate that I am now a liar, pretending that I’m not using contraception, hiding the pill packet at the back of my drawer in our wardrobe — one that Tom never touches. When he asks if I'm ready to try for another baby, I just tell him, "Sure we can start soon." But I feel dreadful, knowing that I will never be ready. 

I even act surprised and "disappointed" when my period arrives. Sometimes, I make excuses about timing or stress, hoping to delay the conversation. I tell him that we need to wait for the right moment, perhaps after our next holiday or once our son starts preschool. I’ve even told him I'll start buying ovulation kits so we can have sex at the perfect time.  

It's a difficult position to be in, as I’m torn between my husband's dreams and my own needs. I don't know how long I can keep this secret, and I pray my secret doesn’t come out. I've even come up with an excuse if he ever finds my pill packet — I'll just be flippant and say that is an old packet from years ago. I also hope I don't regret this. Who knows, maybe one day Jay will tell me that he wishes he had a brother or sister, and I will feel twice as guilty as I feel right now. 

Feature Image: Canva.

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