Baby Wars: Dan and Lisa

Baby Wars: Dan and Lisa

"I don't think we should have any more children," says Lisa, who has been married to Dan for 14 years and has been pregnant off and on for the last 11 years. "I say no way. Four children is plenty!"

 

Dan says otherwise. "I told Lisa from the beginning, that I wanted a big family. Four kids isn't a big family. Five kids is," he shares. "I want my wife and I to have another baby."

He loves spending time with his children and doing sports activities with them. "I think one more would just add that much joy to our family. I just like the chaos."

 

Lisa says she already feels like a taxi service. "We've got them running to a friend's house, running them to sports, school, all over the place. At the end of the day, I'm exhausted," she explains. "I don't think we should have any more children." She also notes that raising kids is expensive.

 

Dan is confident they could work it out financially. "I know we can afford five. They're still young. They're not going to college yet," he says.

 

"We can't seem to resolve it," Lisa says, revealing that they have been fighting over the same issue for three years. She turns to Dr. Phil. "Do you think you can help?" 

"Why is this so important to you? What is the difference between four and five, or five and six?" Dr. Phil asks Dan.

 

"That's my point," Dan says, noting that he grew up with a big family. "Getting together on the weekends and just being together with them, it was always a good time."

"He says on a [scale from] one to 10, he's a 10," Dr. Phil says to Lisa, referring to how eager Dan is to have another child. 

"I'm saying I'm a 9 1/2," she replies, noting that she feels that strongly in the other direction. "That other half is the respect that I have for him." 

"My kids are 10 yes as well," Dan points out. "In a family decision, we win."

"I don't think so," Lisa says.

"Do you have any consideration for her point, 'I'm tired. My body's tired. I don't want to do this anymore'?"

"Yeah, I love my wife, and I respect that," Dan says, noting that he loves her just the way she is. "She's a great mother. I love her to death, but I would like to love her some more."

"You have four kids, but yet you work six days a week," Dr. Phil says to Dan. "So, who's primarily taking care of the kids?" Dr. Phil inquires.

"She is the primary caregiver," Dan admits. 

"So you want some more for her to take care of?" Dr. Phil aks.

"I take care of them too," Dan assures Dr. Phil.

 

"I do 98 percent," Lisa says. "I do the majority of it."

 

"Why stop at five?" Dr. Phil asks the couple. "Why not six, seven, or eight?

"If I had the cash flow, brother, I'd be all over it," Dan says. 

"You think that's a good point: why stop at five? Just have six, seven or eight. But my point is, it's not going to be any easier to stop between seven and eight, than it is to stop between four and five," Dr. Phil says.

 

"I feel like I was really content with three," Lisa says. "I had the two, then I was pregnant with the twins and lost the twins. I was devastated and scared to get pregnant again to go through that, but I did, three months later."

"See, that's my compromise," Dan says. 

"I compromised," Lisa corrects him. "We had Dalton, our third one, and then he said, 'How about another one?' And I thought, well, it would be nice for him to have a playmate, so we did have another one."

 

"Somewhere along we started slapping numbers on this thing," Dan says. "I think we can get to seven financially."

"Can you be happy with four?" Dr. Phil asks Dan. 

 

"I am very happy with four. I think I can be even happier with five," Dan maintains.

 

Dr. Phil offers the couple some advice. "Here's the thing: People will get focused on something that they think they want. I'm not saying that you

don't, but hear me out. What they really want is the feeling that they believe that event, object, that circumstance will bring them," he tells them. "If she's not at peace with having a fifth child, can you have that feeling with the four that you have by saying, 'This is my family'? You've got to weigh what she has to say."

 

He continues. "My belief is, in big decisions like this, it takes two yeses and one no," he says. "This is a decision that a husband and wife have to make, not me. This is something that you have to negotiate, and you shouldn't do it unless you feel at peace about it, and you're not right now, and you could be very resentful if you're forced into it, and that's not a good place to be." He reminds them to be open minded as they negotiate, and don't argue about it. "You've got to honestly try to see the other person's point of view and then negotiate this thing."

 

Both agree.