to be bitter about only having one child?(68 Posts)
I have one DD. I desperately want another child but my husband point blank refuses, he just will not entertain the idea of another child. She is almost 7 now and I've spent the last 6 years being increasingly bitter about all those around me who are fortunate enough to have more than one. It's got to the point now where I avoid pregnant friends and acqaintances and those with newborns. I know it's selfish, but I just can't bear it. I'm now past 45 so it's not even as if it's really feasible to have more anyway, but it doesn't take away the bitterness. I'd leave my husband in a heartbeat if I didn't think it would be disastrous for my DD.
did you ever talk about this before you had your DD. I mean did your DH make clear his feelings on this early on in your relationship? If he did then YABU. If not then YANBU.
YANBU to feel sad.
YAB a bit U to avoid everyone with babies, losing these friends is unlikely to make you happier in the long run.
delightfullyfragrant - no, he never specified that one would be enough. He loves our DD, it's just that he'd rather pursue his hobbies and interests and not have to sacrifice any of 'his' time to look after another child.
Sounds like just one of many resentments you feel towards your husband.
Here's a good one: my mother's best friend married a man who was adamant he never wanted children. Difficult sacrifice, but she was a very accommodating person who thought he was worth it & accepted his wishes. The husband was a Uni lecturer. They were together about 17 years. Then he left her because.... he got one of his students pregnant. And they had at least one more child together after that.
Some people are serious Turds.
what were his reasons for not wanting more?
I had severe pnd after my first and refused to have anymore (till I went on Prozac and thought everything was wonderful)
Is it something you had talked about before having kids?
I always wanted four but the reality of how hard bringing them up was has stopped that! My husband was happy to go with the flow and see how we felt at the time. Has he always said "just one"?
I can understand why you would want a sibling for your dd totally.
sorry x posted.
Men can be selfish with regards to giving up stuff!
I know I'm being unreasonable avoiding other mums etc, just feels really hard sometimes. I literally do not personally know one other person in my situation.
I only have one DS...I badly wanted more but DH didnt. I was bitter but now DS is 10 and I am over it. I sometimes look back and think it would have been nice but life is good now, I have a good job, nice friends, good social life and I dont resent DH at all...he had his view, I had mine and on an issue like this no compromise can be made.
I'd leave my husband in a heartbeat if I didn't think it would be disastrous for my DD. - to me this suggests there must be other issues. It would be more disastrous for your DD to grow up in a non loving environment.
Dont focus on what you dont have and focus on what you do have. Like you say, if you are over 45 you cant have another baby anyway so you need to deal with your resentment and move on...bitterness is so bad for the soul, it will et away at you so you need to try and get over it.
Hugs though, I know how shit it is...I was so desperate to give DS a sibling but life never quite goes to plan.
you don't know anyone with one child OP or you don't know anyone whose DH doesn't want more than one.
I know lots of people with one, some out of choice some because one partner doesn't want more and some because they couldn't get pregnant again. Oh! and others because they financially can't afford any more.
There is a certain grief associated with not having the family size/dynamic that you want.
Anger is certainly a stage of grief, but one you should be able to get past. If you can't move on in this issue, you may need help - counselling or the like.
Regardless of how your DH refused etc, chances are the opportunity to have another child has passed, and you need to accept it.
Whether you should leave your DH over this, it seems to me a big call if other aspects of your life are good - but letting this one issue consume you won't be good for you, your relationship or your DD.
Staying together for her isn't really the best thing, she should be in a loving family, consider what you want for her in her own married life/family - my ex SIL was told at 18 that her parents stayed together just for the kids, and she felt horribly betrayed and hurt, her whole childhood was a lie - her memories tainted. It's not always in the child's best interest for you to stay with someone you don't love.
I have a few relatives who only had one child. different reasons as to why but it should be a joint decision rather than one person being adamant and not listening.
I feel for you op but you need friends pregnant or not, don't be bitter towards others x
I can understand your DH's pov to be honest, it is one of the reasons I also stopped at one dc, because I have a lot of interests that I'd have to give up if I had more dc. It's not being selfish, just choosing how you want to arrange your priorities in life. I've never wanted my life to revolve around children.
In fact, I wouldn't even have had my dc now if I hadn't managed to get DH to agree that my hobbies/sports wouldn't be compromised too much. He was keen for a dc so agreed that he'd be able to cover childcare for evening activities, pay for additional home help etc. So I think when you are the person in a relationship is keener for dc, it's worth agreeing to take on the bulk of the responsibility, as that might convince your DH. Although I guess even if you manage to persuade him now, you might not manage to convince Mother Nature...
oh I know a few with only children, for various reasons, but no, I don't know anyone else whose husband refused to have more. I do live in a very child rich area. there are only 3 other only children in my dd's class.
Yanbu to feel bitter. I know a close relation who only had one child and spent the rest of her life being bitter and jealous of pregnant women and friends with more than one child. She even point blank refused to acknowledge her dil's pregnancies.
I know it must be hard to see pregnant friends, but I think you need to try and at least open your heart a bit and be happy for other people, or else it will eat you up. I'm sure there are loads of brilliant things in your life that you can be happy and proud of. Focus on them.
I'm sorry you feel this way.
If there is no way of changing the situation and it doesn't sound as if there is, then you just have to make the most of what you have. Feeling bitter and resentful is not healthy for you or your daughter. Enjoy the daughter you have, you don't want her to look back on her childhood and think that she wasn't enough. Life is too short for regrets.
I can feel for you OP because my DH is the same, he just won't discuss it. I know he's right in some ways - we couldn't afford another child, we'd have to move, I can't afford to give up work (am freelance) etc etc but I still wish we could have another one deep down. Yes we are happy as we are but I don't feel complete and it saddens me that I don't seem to have any option. No advice really but I do sympathise.
Thank you for your lovely responses - I am trying not to be bitter towards other mums, I think today was just a real low and I needed to vent a bit. I suspect counselling is something I need to consider.
Good luck with the counsellor, I think it's something you need to explore. You've spent 6 years unable to process this fact and it's eating you up - you're very resentful of your husband and staying with him because? he puts money on the table? you're scared to go it alone? I don't know. But if you're not happy with him then maybe it's time to start thinking about what will bring you happiness as you shouldn't let one "bad thing" dominate your life.
Slight tangent here, but try to make sure your daughter isn't aware of this. I was an only child (not by my parent's choice), and while my dad was -as far as I know - happy with this, my mum wasn't and used to express her feelings at length on the subject. When I was a child it was distressing - both because my mum was so obviously upset and because I suppose it made me feel inadequate; by the time I got into my 30s it was just really bloody irritating and tiresome - a favourite time to rehearse the "I'm so unhappy I only had one child and that we failed you as parents by not providing you with silings" was when we were celebrating my or my dad's birthday .
I have enough 'bagage' from my own childhood that I am very careful not to let my daughter be affected.
I have only got one. Can't afford another, even if I was 10 years younger and had a lovely partner to father him/her.
Do I sometimes get sad? Yes. Do I allow myself to get bitter? I try very hard not to. Because what would I gain? What is the point of being so clouded by bitterness that I can't enjoy the lovely child I do have?
I think it is unreasonable to be bitter for six years, to the extent that you avoid certain people and wish to leave your husband. Of course your daughter is going to notice this. How can she not? For her sake and yours I think you do need to try and break this cycle. Such a shame to waste the life that you have in bitterness.
It must be very hard for you.
As its v.unlikely you will have another child I suppose the only way forward is to find a way of dealing with your feelings.
I do hope you can. I recognise those feelings of longing. My oh refused o ave anymore after our first two. It broke me up and I used to wander around mothercare!
Things took a very unexpected direction for us but I do rember those years of yearning and frustration.
7 is a lovely age - I would make the most of it and move on for all your sakes. If you feel like you have more time and love to give another child then there are lots of options open to you that might alleviate your feelings of loss.
I really feel for you, so sad
I think you should definitely go for counselling to help you to deal with this. Not because of it not being fair on your husband or friends or whatever, but for your own sake. It's no fun to go through life with such a massive sadness on your shoulders, and the right type of therapy really can help.
I understand the bitterness. My situation is different but I think the pain is feeling is similar: it's about not having the life you feel you ought to have.
I have three lovely DC, but I should have four. I've given birth to four but only have three.
It's taken a while but I've come to terms with it - although I still feel terribly sad when I see a pregnant woman, and yes bitter on days but I need to concentrate on what I do have rather than what I don't.
Op you sound like maybe another child is the least of your worries? If you don't want to be with your DH it doesn't follow that leaving would wreck your DcS life
Another one here with only one child, I can totally understand where you are coming from, I feel bitter about it sometimes, I would love another child, but know it's not going to happen, So I try to concentrate on my lovely DD and be happy with what I've got. Hope counselling helps.
I feel for you OP, it must be very hard. But I also agree with the advice here, to focus on all the positives and enjoy your dd's childhood.
When it comes to children, it's not quantity that's important. If your dd has a lovely upbringing and is loved and valued, you will have a happier family than one with 3 or 4 kids who don't invest that love and care.
It may also be worth pursuing a few dreams which would be less easy with more kids. Think of things you can afford to do with one, or which are more practical with one, which you couldn't do with more. Maybe some city trips abroad, where you won't end up dragging 4 whiny kids around and can really enjoy each others company. You could also capitalise on the fact that you don't have the problem of vastly different ages to cater for. And in a few years you'll be able to do mum and dd spa days!
We have two kids, and are very happy with that, but when I look around, if I envy anyone at all, its not the friends we know with 3, 4 or more. If I had any other scenario I would go for a single child, because all the ones I know are really calm happy families. Not saying the others are all unhappy, but I've seen first hand the sheer work load of balancing lots of different needs. If you were to fall pregnant again now, you would have a massive age gap anyway which would restrict your and your dds lives, so I would definitely try to accept how things are and enjoy it
Although I'm not in your exact situation, I know that it can be heartbreaking when you want more than one child. I have one lovely boy but it did take a long time to accept and come to terms with the fact that he'd be an only child.
I did talk to someone about it and it helped me - I get a bit sad sometimes, but I always tell myself that we are so lucky too....
Maybe talk through how you are feeling because resentment will just eat away at you.
I echo other, and find your situation incredibly sad.
I'm not sure how you can reconcile it, but it needs to come out and be spoken about with your husband, then at least you can decide whether to forgive him for being him, and your bitter feelings.
I have to say though, that its more disastrous to stay with a man you don't love and can't forgive (even if its nothing specifice to forgive, just normal flaws!) than to leave. If that is the only choice I would say its always better to get out than stay in a situation for 'the child's sake' because children are not stupid.
I do agree that you must at least try to focus on the brilliant things you have.
We have an only 7yo. We never missed an opportunity for a sibling and he's still an only. I was only 35 when he was born. No apparent medical reason for him not to have a sibling (just the mysteries of biology) and I have loads of sibs and couldn't imagine what it must be like to grow up as an only. He has a lovely life. Lots of cousins, lots of holidays that we can only afford because he's an only and a busy social life. It's not what we wanted for him but everyone seems to be enjoying it.
Sorry, forgot the important bit. It was hard to accept no more kids, although no one to blame. But it worked out okay. For you, I think, it depends whether you want the afterwards. I was very sad for a while but now...all's good.
mumbubble - have you visited the One Child Family board? - have you read any books about parenting an only child?
Is your DH sad that you are sad? How often is the subject raised?
Do your friends/family know that this is the reason you have one DC?
How much would his hobbies/interests be effected?
Is his "point blank refusal" also a feature for other discussion - eg new car/holiday/redecoration etc - or was it just limited to this matter?
Just concentrate on counting your blessings instead of counting what you don't have, you are truly blessed to have a happy healthy daughter. There are always possibilties in your future to foster children when your daughter leave home or to go to university? Although when she turns into a teenager she will keep you busy enough trust me! Then before you know it grandchildren to dote on. I understand why you feel sad at having lost out on having another child, the longing may well pass. Enjoy your little girl
My god, you could be me! Same kind of age group and same situation with my DH not wanting another child because he didn't want to give up any time spent on his sports - even though I did and still do 95% of looking after our DD. It is desperately hard not to be bitter and I completely understand your thoughts about leaving your husband. For me, it's that I feel so let down by my DH. He knows how much I want another child and I know he feels guilty about it so he does his best to avoid the subject altogether.
Someone upthread mentioned that it's a form of grief, and I agree with that. Sometimes we can be sitting having dinner and I'll suddenly get hit with the very real feeling that there's someone missing and I feel my eyes well up. Not that I'd ever let my DD know about this, of course. She's asked why she doesn't have a brother or a sister and I just say that sometimes these things just don't happen. I'd never hurt her by telling the truth. I feel thankful every single for my amazing DD and try very hard to focus on that, difficult though it is.
I feel for you, mumbubble, and understand absolutely how you feel.
Yanbu. I think if he felt that way I would have another anyway and just take on the majority of parenting- like a single parent might. It's not ideal but better that than feel resentment towards your dh and others. That regret and resentment may build up to the point you separate anyway and by then it might be too late to conceive again.
I can understand your frustration but echo everyone else in the fact that you need to count your blessings. There is always someone worse off than you.
I'm 41 and, after three years of trying, it's become clear we are never going to have children. The problem lies with my DH. I just wish we had one child.
mumbubble, you say your DH will not entertain the idea of another child.
My DH was the same....I went ahead and got pregnant anyway.
Can I ask why you haven't?
Er Almandine presumably because to do so would be deceitful and shocking behaviour.
i had only one baby from my marriage - because he wanted to be a dad before his twenty-fifth birthday (she was born in june, he was 25 in july). he didn't love me and we didn't have any more babies.
thirty years later i still sometimes refer to my one daughter as 'the children'. its not so bad, as her husband is one of the 'children' now, and they have a baby of their own .
still have the feeling that 'my other babies' were never conceived - but it doesn't hurt so much now. i accept it. i started to work towards accepting it at the age of thirty-six. at that age, i accepted old age, deliberately, and left behind all hopes of further children.
Op, I'm not in your exact situation but i do have one child and would have liked another (so would dh) but it never happened so we've recently stopped trying and drawn a line under it due to partly our ages (I'm 39 he's 47) and because we already have a very full life with lots of hobbies and interests ourselves.
However, I feel the maternal pang desperately sometimes and still feel an overwhelming sadness that I'll never gave another child. I also feel very envious of other people pregnant with their second. I do know how you feel op, it's a horrible feeling.
I just try and focus on what I've got, a lovely child, great dh, nice home, a gorgeous dog and for the first time in ages money in my pocket.
I'm lucky to have one healthy child and I constantly remind myself of that.
Only have one DD and would have loved more. Not that DH insisted on no, but he wasn't keen and we didn't try very hard Too late now.
I'm always paranoid something might happen to her, and then I would be lost. Stupid I know.
We got a dog instead. Sometimes I think DH would have preferred another child!
bamboostalks - so you think my behavior was deceitful and shocking.
I did say to DH I am having another baby. He was not happy, but obviously not concerned enough to prevent a pregnancy.
mumbubble, I don't think you are selfish.
spent one evening in a pub with another mother-of-one admitting to grieving for the 'other' children we never had. not something you can usually talk about as there is always someone who hasn't had the opportunity to have even one, and it would seem terribly greedy and heartless to them if we talked about being broken hearted because we could not have more than one.
What you are suggesting is deceitful. Perhaps in your case it was benign indifference? That is quite different to vehement opposition.
I am certainly not suggesting the OP gets pregnant with out her DH's consent! I am not suggesting she is deceitful.
I am asking the OP (OK, slightly high jacking her thread) why she didn't insist on another child. Maybe she has more respect for her DH than I did for mine. I am curious because she obviously wants another child very badly, but has chosen not to forge ahead and get her own way.
Please don't think my DH was showing "benign indifference" to having another child. He was quite open and vocal that he did want to have another child. I was quite insistent I did. There were rows and periods of not speaking to each other. I was very focused on having another child, and made no secret of it.
Spero of course my DD is not daft, she can see we're not 100%, but she is blissfully unaware of my bitterness re her 'only child' status
LapsusLinguae thanks for the tip re the one child family board. DH is so certain of his choice that he doesn't really bother if I'm sad. My close friends know, his friends and our families - not really. His interests are very time consuming and he works irregular shifts - they would definitely be affected. TBH we haven't really had any other major things that would divide our opinion.
MamaMumrOrangeTheGolden thanks for the link
Almandine we rarely have sex, once in the last 18 months
I know I'm lucky to have a happy, healthy child - I really do, it's just hard to shake the bitterness sometimes. Of course my DH and I have other problems, but just leaving is not a straight forward option. I don't not choose it lightly.
I will seek help - but I have to say, all these responses have been very heartwarming and kind - much more so than I had expected - thank you so much x
Wanting a second child is a desperate feeling. Partly because you know how wonderful it is to hold your own newborn & also wanting a sibling for your child. And then a big dollop of guilt thrown in because you know how lucky you are to have the first one.
Are there other issues with your DH, or has something brought this to a head now? At 45 you are pushing it, but you could still consider donor eggs. Or even donor embryos if you decided another child was more important to you than your marriage.
Good luck mumbubble
Over time I've felt more at ease with how things have turned out.
sounds like there is so much sadness going on with your relationship. i can empathise, i have a feeling of missing out having been single 7 years because my dh upped and left suddenly.
I am 43 and it's that feeling that time has run out now. One life and all that.
Yet, i would prob be deeply unhappy if like you my relationship was crappy AND I had not been able to have another. The fact that he has insisted on it, and that's that. iyswim
Shelby2010 if I left it would be in the knowledge I still wouldn't have anymore, but I wouldn't feel so bitter. But it really isn't an option.
There has been quite a number of 2nd and 3rd babies round here recently - siblings to my DD's friends - so with quite big age gaps and that just brings my feelings closer to the surface I suppose. green-eyed monster and all that.
Twentyseconds- so glad that your sports/hobbies have not been too compromised.
Now I understand.
This difference between me and you, mumbubble is that my DH would take almost anything I threw at him. (And we had lots of sex).
I really feel for you. It must be a very painful situation.
My dh promised me we'd try till my 40th birthday, then 2 months before went back on it. For a long time I felt a huge grief, anger and bitterness. I know now it will never happen and I have moved on now definitely. Doesn't stop me wondering though what could have been, and i really related to the title of your post.
I am in counselling at the moment and whilst this isn't the main focus I do think it's helped. I don't look at dd thinking I've failed her any more and find it easier to see the positives.
Anyway, good luck op, I know it's hard xx
I used to feel the same way about two parent families (raised ds alone since birth, dad's a loser). I even used to feel jealous on ds's behalf towards other kids that have dads! I also even felt bitter towards other single mums whose dcs had contact with their dads. But you can't live with bitterness and envy, it stops you enjoying the good things in your life and destroys you. There is always someone who wants what we have and always someone who has what we want. It's hard to deal with but you just have to try your best to come to terms with it.
Piglet - this has been a lovely thread so far, I really think that comment is uncalled for. Twenty is happy with her family + life and so is her Dh, so I don't see the need for any hmm faces.
O.P YANBU. We've got a beautiful DD and we'd love a sibling for her, but it may not happen (fertility ishoos). It is painful and IMO, the negative perceptions of "only" having one child don't really help. I really hope can be at peace with having one child.
I also highly recommend the one child board here, they're a lovely bunch.
At 45 you can just, maybe, possibly, have another baby. If you wanted another baby enough you would risk it. If you don't you won't. Your call.
Goth-on reflection my comment was a little harsh.I apologise,it's just that it read like she ranked her sports and hobbies above her child. Wouldn't we all love to have children and carry on exactly as before? I would appreciate Twenty coming back and telling us if things have panned out the way she planned them. With three kids myself [14,7 and 3] I suppose the green mist descended! Sorry.
I am in your situation. I want another, DH doesn't. He was the one who wanted kids more in the first place, now doesn't want another. I feel sad but certainly don't resent him or other people with two. I plan to look into fostering or having a young homeless mum live with us (there is a program here that does that). That way I get my baby-sniffing and I don't bring an unwanted, at least by one parent, child into the world.
I feel so, so sorry for your pain.
Despite loving my husband very much I would have left him in a heartbeat if he had 'point blank refused' to have any more children. It would have been an absolute deal breaker for me personally.
If he was that intractable in his views, he would have had to accept that we would have to part and hope to find new partners who shared our life view.
What if you subsume your desperate desire for more children and then down the line your husband leaves you, or the marriage breaks down?
mumbubble I am so sorry you feel this way.
Things I have learnt ...
It is possible to separate the grief of not having another child with the anger / hurt / grief over the circumstances. My situation is different to yours but I have accepted having one child. I will never accept the circumstances (no need to derail your thread but not bc of DH).
Avoiding other people at times to protect yourself is fine. Cutting off anyone who is pregnant or had a second child is not. You lose out and people do understand. A few won't. You can cut those loose
I understand that I am the lucky ... I have a lovely DD and for many that would be the ultimate goal. Reminding myself of this helps. I know it's trite but from day 1 I've counted my blessings.
I think coming to terms with having one child is a separate issue to anger / bitterness with DH. I am sure you can come to terms with the first - I have no experience of the latter but suspect that you need to do it together.
Best of luck and sod MN etiquette ((( )))
We only had one for a very long time, and I desperately wanted another but DH had been clear from the start he only wanted one.
I went through years of second and third siblings coming along for friends and family (smiling through gritted teeth). I know how hard it is. Then I laid it on the line with DH about how unhappy it was making me. He hadn't really understood how I felt until I told him in words of one syllable. Long story short, we adopted our second, but I believe if I hadn't explained just how much it meant to me we might still have just one.
Have you properly explained (and I don't mean subtle hints) what this means to you?
Having one child is not a curse or something to feel bitter about. Enjoy the child you have instead of being bitter about one you don't. Why is she not enough?
Visit the infertility and conception boards....these ppl are desperate for a family and would give anything for 1 child. Be extremely grateful for your healthy dd op.
I also feel a great desire for another child but owing to a genetic problem know that any child I have will likely have a particular disability. I try and put it out of my mind as I know I owe it to the children I have to focus on them. I can understand your feelings but I think life is about both joys and grief or disappointment. We have to put our own tragedies and difficulties into context and focus on making the best of our lives. I hope that doesn't sound pompous it isn't meant to be its just how I try to make sense of the life I have.
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