Kids or not -struggling

(14 Posts)
Dakinired Mon 11-Jan-16 09:32:59

I really need some advice and I hope you guys can help me get my head straight.

I'm mid-thirties, in a fairly happy relationship of over ten years. I moved abroad several years ago to my partner's home country, and in all honesty it hasn't really worked out. I had a good career in England and felt positive and ambitious; years later i feel like a broken shell of my former self. Language, culture and finding a job have been a huge struggle and I have ended up settling for a menial job with no real prospects just to get by. Although we managed to achieve a dream and buy a house, there have been a lot of problems with the neighbours and it's been more of a nightmare on lots of levels. I had a very scary brush with chronic illness and a nervous breakdown and am also still struggling with long standing gynae problems. It's just been a really tough time and my emotional reserves are completely drained. And now on top of all that the huge decision about kids.

I have always been quite ambivalent about having kids. My parents divorced when I was small and it was always clear to me that they regretted having kids. My mum raised me and my sibling on her own and we lived quite an isolated and unhappy life, and my dad was emotionally distant. It's very hard for me to see past all the power struggles, conflicts and disappointments in families and convince myself that doing it would be worth it.

In spite of all that I have had moments where I wondered if it could be for me. I am really happy all my friends have done it. Babies are lovely but everything beyond that scares the living daylights out of me. It's hard and relentless raising kids even if you love them, and there's no guarantee they will even like you at the end of it all. My gynae problems also make a c-section inevitable which is scary.
I also worry what it would do to my relationship. It's the only thing that has got me through the last few years and if it was compromised I would have nothing. He decided he wanted kids just a few months ago but understands my POV. He says he will stand by me either way but thinks his life would be worse without them. I get the impression he hasn't really thought it all through, that he is dumping the decision on me and will become bitter in the long run.

Here's where things get really complicated. We had unprotected sex a couple of months ago when we were drunk (I have to stress this is the *one time* this has ever happened in all the time we have been together). I regretted it straight away and ran to the toilet and tried to wash it. I should have taken the morning after pill but i looked in the calender and the odds were minute. We had been discussing trying for kids and I'd convinced myself somehow that I would probably think it was OK if it ever happened. But deep down I didn't believe it would happen and that I'd be saved from ever having to make a decision about it. Well - 2/3 weeks later I discovered I was pregnant. I went into complete meltdown. Not just upset, we are talking constant panic attacks, not sleeping, crying, screaming, barely being able to string a sentence together. The shock was huge. It was obvious I couldn't go through with it and should have thought things through more carefully. I couldn't risk continuing the pregnancy then changing my mind. The state I was in made deciding while pregnant impossible and I terminated the pregnancy a few days later. I don't regret that decision, i still need time to get my head straight on the issue and it would have been hugely irresponsible to go through with it in my mental state. I seriously would have ended up on a psychiatric ward. I really do regret putting myself in that position, being so irresponsible, and putting my partner through it.

What the hell do I do now? I'm so confused. I look at my friends with their new babies and beautiful kids and wish that the decision had been as straightforward for me. I desperately wish I wanted kids. But there is a huge black cloud of fear and uncertainty over everything. I don't know if I could cope with stroppy kids, hateful teenagers, the worry and constant stress and guilt, no down time and no way out. I feel like I barely have a grip on my life now, how could I throw the emotional hand grenade that is a baby into it? But I see how my friends are happier and more grounded than ever before, and I feel all the love that a normal person feels when I hold their babies and teach their kids little things and spend time with them as a family. I can't help but think that the only thing holding me back is fear. Or am I just fooling myself and should stick with my original gut instinct? Some days I feel so clear that it's not for me, that I should listen to myself and not feel pressured.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

mellowyellow1 Mon 11-Jan-16 19:12:37

Hi Dakinired, you might want to repost this under relationships or chat as you may get more replies! It sounds like you are paralysed by fear at the moment, and possibly still coming to terms with the termination? Have you considered counselling? I actually went through a similar situation myself, in fact down to a tee with the termination aswell.
I think what is helpful is to try and live in the present; easier said than done though I know. No-one can say if having kids is right for you or anyone because I guess you don't know until you've had them? And by that time it's too late to do anything about it anyway. There is a thread on here about people that do regret having children but it's important to realise that just because you feel so ambivalent it doesn't mean that it's not for you. Likewise you could have a perfectly happy childfree life too.

Sorry if that hasn't been much help, I do understand where you're coming from as I felt exactly the same. It's only now at 28 weeks pregnant I am finally starting to get my head around things.

Again I mentioned counselling, this could be really helpful to helping you come to a decision and that's the main thing. In some ways being 'on the fence' is even worse. I wonder if your upbringing has affected how you picture family life and made you scared of the future?

Anyway hope this helps, sorry it's so jumbled smile

Dakinired Mon 11-Jan-16 19:52:43

Yes you are right, it was only 4 weeks ago so still very confused. Mostly im disappointed with myself that i didnt suddenly turn into a serene earth mother all glowing and nesting. But I'm not giving myself a hard time about it as the shock was completely logical and understandable. It was literally bullseye first time. On here i read that even if you only have sex once a month only 3% of couples will get pregnant, it was incredibly bad luck. But it was going to happen sooner or later i think and at least i have a small window left to get my head sorted out and make a solid decision, whichever way it goes. You're right, sitting on the fence is hideous. Im booked in for counselling. You are right about my upbringing too.
Were you also anti kids? What made you change your mind? Congratulations and well done for being brave and making a decision!!

mellowyellow1 Mon 11-Jan-16 20:42:17

Don't beat yourself up about not becoming an earth mother. You'd be surprised how many women feel the same, myself included! Maybe give yourself a bit of a time out from thinking about it? It can take over your thoughts otherwise and become a bit depressing in a way. Don't underestimate the stress it puts on you trying to make an enormous decision like this.

I was never anti-kids but just unsure if it was for me or not, to be honest I still am unsure but just trying to keep positive! I decided to go for it as I found out my fertility was on the slide and also my partner was desperate for kids.. probably not the greatest of reasons but there you go!

Dakinired Mon 11-Jan-16 23:22:27

You are so right. I definitely need a break but I feel like time is running out. A month here or there clearly isn't going to make that much of a difference though so I will try to focus on getting my life on track. Have already made some big and positive changes that never would have happened otherwise. I'm trying to make lemonade from the lemons...!
I really admire you for going for it. You will find a way to make it work no matter what by the sounds of it. I will keep my fingers crossed for you smile

zeetea Thu 11-Feb-16 15:28:16

How are you both getting on?

mellowyellow I hope everything works out for you smile
Currently in a never ending mental battle with myself over a life-long aversion to having kids (bad past/depression/anxiety/tokophobia) vs husband really wants them/I think it would be lovely/we're v stable - but I just can't take that final step into TTC. I came off the pill for one month a short while ago and we didn't DTD for a whole month because I was so scared it would result in a pregnancy sad Husband v patient but its driving us both mad.
I am now thinking of coming off the pill again but I just don't know what I'm doing at the moment. How did you decide to just go for it?! x

Dakinired Thu 11-Feb-16 16:46:20

Sounds like we are in the same boat. I am feeling a million times better and no regrets a few months down the line. Have got help and medication for anxiety (really recommend it if you haven't already ) and a black cloud has lifted off my life. Made some big changes and working on trying to get myself happier so I can go for it at some point this year. My tip: DON'T DON'T DON'T (DON'T!) come off the pill until you are very sure about it, as (judging from me and my friends' experiences) you will get pregnant straight away and scare the living bejeesus out of yourself like I did. Go get counselling etc and get yourself prepared mentally so you can enjoy the journey not waste it all being scared. GOOD LUCK! smilesmile

zeetea Thu 11-Feb-16 17:08:51

I'm so glad you're feeling better now, good on you! flowers

I've never seen anyone about the depression before, but I have been wondering if I should go at this from the anxiety side of things instead, that might be better for me to treat as I am extremely anxious and its getting worse, particularly with this issue at the moment. Some days I'm sure I'm going insane.

Thank you so much, all the best xx

Dakinired Thu 11-Feb-16 17:39:59

Yep i know exactly what it feels like. I started with SSRIs on a low dose a couple of weeks ago and already feel huge difference. They're not happy pills but have just taken the edge off the grinding constant worrying and anxiety. I can think clearly now and concentrate and think positively about my future for the first time in years. Go speak to your doctor. This stuff is easy to treat, you don't have to suffer and keep beating yourself up about not being able to handle things. Be kind to yourself xx

mellowyellow1 Fri 12-Feb-16 21:57:58

Hi both, I wish you the best of luck with your decision making. It is so hard to be "on the fence" about something so huge.

I don't have depression or anxiety so I am grateful in that respect. Still feeling a bit 'meh' about the pregnancy but I hope I will be okay. It helps me to think of older kids and a grown up relationship rather than the baby fever stuff if that makes sense.

zeetea Fri 12-Feb-16 23:16:48

Best of luck Mellow I'm sure you're going to be great! I think you're doing amazing.
Makes sense to me; I'm not a baby person but it's doing things together as a family when they get older that I am thinking about too, and my Dh would make a wonderful dad.

I'm going to discuss my anxiety next time I visit the doctors, really hope to be in a better place by the end of this year too.
I hope to put all my negative associations with what I know to be 'family' to bed in order to grow and make my own, make it something it should be, it's a lovely idea anyway.

Sending love to you both smile

Junosmum Sat 13-Feb-16 00:05:38

Don't do it if you aren't certain. I wasn't and did, and I love my son but the rest of the shot, birth, the after math, my body. My life will never be the same, and not in a good way. I knew pregnancy and labour would take their toll but not to this extent. I look and feel like I've been butchered.

zeetea Wed 17-Feb-16 17:05:01

Hi Juno, hope you're okay, how long ago did you have your son?
I read some threads where people write about such awful experiences, and then others where people have no problems at all! I guess it's just the luck of the draw, and being 'ready' enough to prepare for being someone that doesn't get the ideal pregnancy/birth situation which I'm struggling with sad
Hope you feel better soon x

Lottapianos Wed 17-Feb-16 17:13:57

Hi OP, I'm also in the ambivalent camp. Its tough - seriously brutal at times. Like you, I have felt panicked out of my mind at the thought of pregnancy and parenthood and yet part of me had absolutely craved both.

I'm so glad that you are feeling more stable and have no regrets about the termination. Please remember that not having children is not the most common choice but its perfectly 'normal', and can be a healthy and wonderful thing. Its also perfectly normal to have a gut feeling about which is the right option for you but to still have a bit of doubt. Its a HUGE decision and few people are 100% on it, whatever path they choose. Good luck with it x

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