I insisted we had a third child, and I’m afraid it has destroyed my marriage

As soon as I told my husband the news, I knew I’d made a terrible mistake. It was 10 o’clock on a Monday night and as usual, he was in bed staring at his work laptop.

I was shaking inside as I blurted out: “I’ve got some news… I’m pregnant.” But instead of joy, he shot me a look of pure horror. For a moment, I thought he was going to cry.

His face reddened as he mumbled, “I can’t deal with this right now.” He couldn’t even bear to look at me and instead fixed his eyes on the screen. The enormity of what I’d done hit me, as I scuttled from the room.

Four years on, I still feel guilty about the damage I’ve done to our marriage. Now I want to warn other women not to bully their husbands into having a third child in the way that I did.

We already had a seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. I should have been grateful for what I had, but from when my little girl was two, I couldn’t stop pestering my husband. I told him if I didn’t have a third child, I would wonder, “What if?” for the rest of my life.

He’d listen, then patiently explain the myriad reasons why sticking with two was the right decision. He’d say that with both our children at school, life was getting easier. We’d been lucky to have two healthy children, why throw the dice a third time?

Everything he said made perfect sense, but I couldn’t let it go. We’d go out for dinner and by the second course I couldn’t help raising the third child issue yet again. I was obsessed.

Eventually, worn down by years of badgering, he reluctantly half-agreed to “see what happens” and we stopped using condoms. We’d conceived both of our first two children quickly, but this time it took eight months of pretending not to try. When I finally fell pregnant at the age of 42, my excitement was marred by a deep sense of dread.

During the pregnancy he was in total denial. He didn’t make a note of my due date and even tried to book a builder on the same day. When he told his mum the news, he rang her in private so I couldn’t hear. She later confided that he’d sounded so flat, she wasn’t even sure whether to congratulate him.

When I arranged a 4D scan for us, it was a disaster. As the grainy image of our baby appeared on screen, he looked like he couldn’t wait to escape, while our daughter loudly complained, “I’m bored!”

After the birth, I struggled to cope. I was up all night breastfeeding, while trying to give my eldest two the attention they craved after school each day. It was far harder than I thought it would be. I was so exhausted I felt like I had permanent jet lag. Even worse, as it had all been my idea, I didn’t dare admit how overwhelmed I was to my husband.

When I finally did confess, he was furious. “But you wanted a third,” he repeated in disbelief. Ironically, he rose to the challenge better than I did and became a manic super-dad, doing all the cooking and constantly cleaning and tidying the house.

On a family walking holiday that was heavily curtailed by having a one-year-old in tow, he mumbled angrily: “Thanks for this.” I could feel the tears welling, but I didn’t dare moan again.

Four years on, the children are easier. My husband is still less loving than before, so I asked him recently if he resents me for pushing him into having another child. He told me he doesn’t – which was a relief.

Thankfully, our third is a delightful child and he clearly adores her. I was lucky in the end, but I would warn others not to risk their relationship the way that I did.


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