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Is my heart ruling over my head?
in Marriage, relationships & families
40 replies 4.6K views
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I don't think that either you or your partner are communicating with each other particularly well, you with your desire to become a police officer and your partner with her fears over you becoming a police officer. You need to talk to each other, really talk to understand where each of you is coming from and to find a way forward that works for both of you.
As for your comments about contraception and women not realising they're pregnant for 6 months, what a lot of tripe. Whilst birth control is reliable it is not 100% reliable and both men and women are responsible for their own sexual health and reproduction.
I have personally known two women who didn't realise they were pregnant until 6 months and neither is what you would describe as a larger lady. One is built like Olive Oyl and only found out she was pregnant after seeing the doctor about something else and didn't start showing until month 7 when a wee bump suddenly appeared. The other women ironically was training to become a police officer when she found out she was pregnant during a medical and even more shocked when a scan showed she was six months gone. Sometimes these things just happen.
Thank you for all your replies. It’s very humbling that you’ve all taken time to first read my thread but also take time to reply, so thank you.
To try and answer questions in one hit:
Our current childcare is mother-in-law. She already provides childcare Monday to Friday for both our boys and our 8-year-old niece, whom lives with mother-in-law. We couldn’t be more fortunate to pay very little towards childcare already, but the idea of paying for early morning childcare occasionally, went down like a lead balloon. It also rules out the possibility of mother-in-law coming to ours first thing in the morning, as she will have to be at home for our niece. We don’t have any other family close enough to be able to support the idea of coming to our house first thing. My partner has to leave the house at 6am every morning to be at work for 06:45, which is why such an early start for the boys to get them to childcare depending on the shifts, as some mornings I too will need to leave at 6 for an early shift or not be home until past 7am off a night shift.
The pregnancy thing – we’ve worked out we conceived before my application went in, so this doesn’t really match up, although I appreciate your alternative point of view. At times I have certainly been made to feel guilty and she has made several comments, including last night when my eldest wanted a cuddle from me before bed and she says to him “you’ll have to get use to cuddles with just mummy soon, when daddy starts his shifts”. This isn’t a daily thing but certainly once or twice a week, a comment of this nature will creep out.
The communication is certainly a problem for me. Every time we seem to start discussing the job and consider options, within a couple of minutes my partner is in tears. This is a big barrier for me, because on one hand I want to talk about it and on the hand I don’t, because it breaks my heart to see her upset all the time. I can’t lie when I say that seeing her get upset about all this really has started to take away some of the shine off the idea of being a Police Officer, which is what brought me here. It’s unfair of me to talk about her like this, without being able to defend herself and opinions, but I do find that most of the time she can be ‘half glass empty’ and always picks out negatives in ideas/suggestions and ruling things out before acknowledging the pros. Examples being; a couple of suggestions I’ve made in terms of our household, she has dismissed the ideas, then 3-4 months later she goes with the ideas herself…!
As for reasons of apprehension from my partner:
Danger – of course this is something she doesn’t like the idea of me not coming home one day. However, to counter-balance that, I have reassured her and gone through the statistics of how rare a Police Officer gets killed in the line of duty – none in my county for over 20+ years. I’m more likely to be in an RTC on the way to and from work, than I am on duty. But I understand her point of view, especially with young children.
Shift work – this is probably the biggest issue due to the unsocial nature of the first couple of years in probation. We have both held jobs that finished at 4 and involved no weekend work for the past 8 years. We have routine where my work allows me to take the boys to childcare and pick up again, so we’re all home by 5pm. The idea of me not being home during the night, the evenings where she has to put both children to bed on her own and the daytimes over the weekend, doesn’t enthuse her of course. Which again, I totally understand. However, my counter-balance was that I will be able to help more with childcare during the weekdays when I’m on days off and also, we will plan our time together better, as currently we tend to take each day as it comes.
Lifestyle – the thing my partner regularly refers to is, “it’s a lifestyle you bring children into, not a lifestyle you bring into the children’s lives”. Again, I don’t disagree with what she is saying, but as I said to her, if I had progressed with my old job, chances are I’d have been on the road a lot and hours would have become a bit more unsocial; although not as much as being a PO.
In answer to the question behind the reason for my job changes was I was forced to change jobs back in 2015, due to my current job in a different sector coming to an end with it being a fixed-term funded post. I then did a couple of jobs in between joining the Police, which wasn’t really me but had to pay the bills. Then I got my foot in the door with the Police and this is where we are today.
Throughout this whole process I knew this would have a big impact on our family, especially in the first couple of years through probation. The whole time I have said I will take every opportunity to make the lifestyle as best as possible for us all, and what might be ‘short term pain’, I certainly know there would be ‘long term gain’ for us all. Whilst my attitude shouldn’t be to get off shift work as quickly as possible, I know that I’m no longer 21 years old with no responsibilities or dependents. Therefore, I know if I want to make this work, I will have to consider the various opportunities in the force that would allow more flexibility at home.
1 - had 3 older children, earlier pregnancies all fairly obvious to her and also visually. Surprise pregnancy - periods continued all along, no obvious bump. Got kicked by a horse and had stomach pains as a result, so went to hospital to get checked out, where they found she was in labour.. Time between learning she pregnant, and giving birth - approx 2 hours. (baby was full term)
2 - had two older children, was in her 40s - periods became a bit irregular and she put on a little weight but no obvious 'bump' assumed it was the start of the menopause. Found out as she was given a routine pregnancy test prior to having a minor elective procedure. She was about 6 months along.
3 - younger woman, on the pill and taking it continuously for medical reasons. (so no periods). between 5 & 6 months pregnant when she found out
4 - friend who had had other medical issues and had been told that her chances of getting pregnant naturally were zero, and very low even with extensive medical assistance, so it never occurred to her as a possibility. She was built like a beanpole but also very fit - no sign of a noticeable bump until she was about 6 months pregnant. The medical issues mean her periods were very irregular, and she'd had a couple, so again, no change from her normal, non-pregnant state
I've also known several others who had no obvious signs, they knew because they had been actively trying to get pregnant and therefore took a test as soon as it was a possibility.
Also - periods vary hugely, between women and for the same woman during her lifetime. Some are regular as clockwork - I have one friend who was always dead on 28 days, like a metronome. I've never been regular - I could very easily miss one or two without realising, if I wasn't keeping track. And it's very common for a woman's cycle to change, or take time to settle, after a pregnancy, too, so someone like OPs wife who has another relatively young child might not e back to a predictable pattern.
It's very odd to suggest that the OP's WIFE is the one accused of being manipulative or guilt-tipping when OP's the one who has made choices which have a major impact on them as a family as a whole without telling his wife or trying to agree them in advance.
It sounds as though they both really need to learn to communicate more effectively and perhaps both be prepared to compromise .
Slightly old info, but policing doesn't even make it into the Top 10 UK most dangerous professions.
Anything involving working at a height, or with/around heavy machinery, is far more dangerous.
Police injuries, and the very few deaths, are very well publicised - much more than those of Lorry Drivers or Builders.
As before; the OP's partner is thinking only of herself, not of what is best for her children and family (including her partner) in the medium and long term.
OP, best of luck moving forward with this.
Dismissing her fears and concerns is not the way to go.
They had two children and managed, although she did say sometimes they were like ships passing in the night.
The problem of early starts is no bigger than your shifts.
Why is only your job being considered the problem. . She could change to a job that did not require such an early start.
Marriage should be give and take, not all give by one and all take by the other.
The comments about not getting cuddles from daddy are cheap. They'd get plenty of cuddles but at different times.
If your MIL is happy for you to drop them off early when you're working an early shift (or for your partner to drop them off on her way to work) then I think the children will cope well enough. They won't really remember anything different. I'm sure you know you're very fortunate to have 'free' childcare. You might want to start looking close to where MIL lives for nurseries for when you get your free hours. IIRC it's at age 3.
I'm sure you'll find plenty of ways of pulling your weight around shiftwork. You could do any amount of shopping/cooking/ cleaning/laundry on your days off which would give your partner more free time when she's at home.
Thanks for the reply. Certainly not dismissing her concerns and fears and doing everything I can to alleviate them. However, its a bit like me with flying - no matter how much people tell me it's the 'safest form of travel', I'll never be 100% confident to fly. Poor analogy I know, but my point being, however much I reassure her, I don't think I'd win her round.
We've been together for 11 years now and recently got engaged. I would consider us to have a strong relationship and I have every confidence we are strong enough to get through the initial period on shifts, before other opportunities arise.
If anything, it's been very much the other way round. Her career so far has been the one that has seen me pick up a lot of the slack as she is out of the house for the best part of 11 hours a day, Monday to Friday. I've always said that her job would come first in all this, as she is longer standing in her current role, which she enjoys and gets paid well. I'd never tell her what to do and would always support her with decisions.
To add - the early starts for the children would be a maximum of twice in a 10 day period, sometimes once, sometimes none, due to how the shift pattern falls, so isn't a considerable amount.