One child, not by choice

(10 Posts)
MrsTriceratops Mon 10-Sep-12 23:18:24

Just hoping for a bit of solace - I'm really struggling with us being a one child family, and going to stay that way. Not that I don't love it, in many ways - DS was conceived after multiple IVFs, when I was already very long in the tooth, and we are a happy little family on the whole; I am very, very aware of how blessed we are to have him and he makes me happy every single day. And I do positively enjoy many of the aspects of being a one child family - being able to devote all our attention to him, the flexibility and so on, especially now he's nearly 5 and becoming his own little person.

But, but, but - I never actually chose to be mother to just one child. The choice was made for me by the fact I didn't meet DH till I was 40, and then it took us several years to make it to parenthood at all. We were lucky to sneak in there at all, under the rapidly closing doorway. So it was never really on the cards that we'd have another child.

But I've never really got my head around the idea that that's it, we're complete as a family, I'll never be pregnant again, never have a newborn again, never get to see another wonderful little person who's the result of our union grow and develop. I always wanted more than one child, and I still do.

It doesn't help that pretty much all my mum friends have 2 or 3 DC now. I can remember each and every subsequent pregnancy announcement over the last few years with painful clarity, each one was like an arrow in the heart. I just want that to be me, just want to be like "everybody else", just want to have what most people take for granted. But it's not going to happen.

We finally went down the IVF route again this summer - had always been thinking about it but literally couldn't face it for a long, long time; given that by the time DS was born I was already in the serious danger zone age-wise, there was little reason to hope we'd be lucky a second time. But when I had my hormone levels tested earlier this year they were surprisingly good, and so I thought we might be in with a chance. DH was never as keen or as hopeful, but willing to try.

Anyway, obviously it didn't work out, and I am now in the position of having to accept that that's it: we are and will stay a one child family. And I just wanted to hear from others who've been in the same position, if you're out there - those of you who like us, never planned or chose to be a one child family, but had that choice forced upon you. I can see that I will have to come to terms with it somehow, but I am really struggling with the finality of it. Not that I don't love our life together - I really do; but I just wanted that (big) bit more. So if you've been through similar and come out the other side (or not...) it would be lovely to hear from you. Thanks.

VintageEbonyGold Mon 10-Sep-12 23:37:20

<sticks hands up>

I know exactly how you feel. I love my DS to bits but catch myself thinking, wow, he'd be a great big brother etc.

I had him young, bad relationship, split up and since then I have not met anyone. I'm 34 now, DS 17, and it's been a struggle due to health for the last few years. If I get back on my feet AND meet someone, it'll be pushing it to have another child and they wouldn't be close to DS

I doubt I'll meet anyone as I'm a bit useless so seeing families everywhere is a bit sad

N0tinmylife Tue 11-Sep-12 14:38:27

I'd have loved a second child, but we tried, and it didn't happen. It is hard going, but I have found determinedly focussing on the many positives of having one does help.

If I'm honest I do sometimes wonder if the reality of having a second would match up to the ideal. I have found having one child very easy, and enjoyed every bit of it, whereas with two I can imagine its much harder to find time and energy to give them both what they need. I also had a very easygoing baby who slept through from 10 weeks. There is obviously no guarantees that would happen again, although that is what I imagined for my second.

I have also got back into a hobby I had to give up when DS arrived. There is no way I would have the time or money for it with two children, so again that helps. I hope you do manage to come to terms with it. Its not fair, but as you say yourself, there are many positives!

MrsTriceratops Tue 11-Sep-12 21:07:07

Thank you both for your replies. Vintage, yes, I too have those thoughts about what a great big brother he'd be. Although while I think that's true, I think he does also enjoy having my/our undivided attention! Sorry to hear about your relationship and health situation, that sounds hard. I hope you do meet someone one day - fwiw, I met my DH on the internet; our paths would never have crossed in RL and yet when we met, we just clicked straightaway. So it can be a wonderful thing like that.

N0tinmylife, thanks for sharing your ways of dealing with it. Unlike your DC, my DS didn't start sleeping through till he was 4 (that's 4 years), which was one major reason we delayed looking into further treatment for so long; so in my fantasy world, DC2 would have been the polar opposite...

You're right about it being harder, probably, with two (although I did once meet a childminder mum of 5 who said she thought that just one was the hardest of all...!) - obviously there's all the territory of sibling rivalry and squabbling to negotiate as well as dividing up attention/resources - and we did think long and hard about whether we'd be up to it, both being older and pretty tired already... But it was just a real heart vs head thing.

I'm trying to tell myself that as you say, it isn't fair - but things that aren't fair happen to an awful lot of people, in an awful lot of different ways, and I suppose we do just have to live with it. And it could be an awful lot worse - meeting some of the lovely women at the clinic this time around who were going through cycle after cycle with no success as yet was a very clear reminder of that. I am a mummy, after all, and it doesn't matter in a way whether that's to one child or ten; I'm still a mummy.

PinkChampagneandStrawberries Tue 11-Sep-12 21:11:52

I am in a similar position my DS is 6 and I have been TTC for over 3 years it breaks my heart thinking I will never have another baby and DS will never have the brother or sister he wants.

Eggrules Tue 11-Sep-12 21:22:35

I would have loved another child. I had poor health after DS was born and I feel the choice has been made for me too. I come from a large family and all my siblings have at least two children, no problems. I wish my DS had a sibling.

I'm really grateful for my little family. I have two close friends that have really struggled with fertility one of whom has been trying for seven years without success.

I am resigned in my head to my family the way it is and most of the time I can accept it in my heart. I see my DS(5) with friend's toddlers and I do occasionally pine for one more.

DH is absolutely convinced one is a complete family and that makes it easier.

nananaps Tue 11-Sep-12 21:24:46

Mrstriceratops are you me by any chance??

I had my ds at 33 after 2 mcs.
The hardest job i have ever done in my life. He eventually slept an entire night through when he was almost 5 and at school.

I cannot express to anyone how absolutely amazed that we feel to have him, we feel that he is a fluke, a miracle, somehow we got him and he is here, strapping aged 9.

So when he was 5, we felt ready to try again.
In march this year, i had a 5th miscarriage. (7 total)

That to me was mother nature telling me by way of sledgehammer that we would just have the one child.

I went to my GP, got lots of advice, agonised over contraception because this went completely against everything we had been doing for 4 years or more.

Decided on the pill. While waitng for period in order to commence the pill, i sought councelling to try to come to terms with my losses, and to accept that i would never again be pregnant, or have another child.
This really helped, i had got my head round it and was at peace with it.

Weeelll, period just wasnt coming.
It apears, that i am now 20 weeks pregnant, huge in the style of a hippo, exstatically happy and still gobsmacked that at the age of 42, after giving up all hope, odds stacked against me, that i am doing it!!!!

Life throws shit at you but then occasionally, it will throw pure gold too xxx

theoriginalandbestrookie Tue 11-Sep-12 21:28:49

DS is 6 and because I was diagnosed with endometriosis and my age we don't have another, despite going through 2 operations to clean me up to TTC.

Generally I'm reconciled to it. DS is a wonderful child and I keep reminding myself how lucky I am to have one healthy happy DC. Someone who works for me is going through IVF age 41 ( she has no children) and with odds like that I'd be very ungracious not to realise how lucky we actually are especially because apparently me managing to get pregnant in the first place is a lucky fluke because I was on the pill for so long.

I do still find little gut wrenching moments. Like when one of the mums from DS's class appear with a rounded belly and news to announce I find it hard to be pleased for her. Or every now and then like today for example DS announces that he really really wants a little brother (but then he can announce with equal passion that he wants a new trash pack set). Or there is a childless lady in the office who I'm quite friendly with, I have told her my circumstances a number of times, but she keeps asking me if we are ever going to have another child.

But on the bright side now DS is 6 I'm getting some time free again which I wouldn't if he had siblings. I was an only too so I make sure to arrange for friends to come over often so he isn't on his own all the time. Apparently only children are very popular because everyone knows they will be the ones organising sleepovers and play dates - which is fine by me as its nice having a house full from time to time. He has loads of friends in our cul-de-sac which is good as well.

So yes I can't say that I don't have the odd wavering moment for what might have been but it's not something I think about these days too often.

WhyTheBigGoldPaws Tue 11-Sep-12 21:34:46

It's funny that you should post as I was thinking about exactly this tonight. We have one DD who's 10 but it was never my intention to have an only child. I m/c a few years after having DD and then we ttc but with no success. DH was never that keen to have another one (he's a little older than I am and not really a natural parent although he's a good Dad) so time ticked away and now I don't think it will ever happen - I am getting older (39) and DH refuses to discuss another child so I am in a similar situation as you.

We are very happy as we are but like you I never thought I'd be Mum to just one child. If I only ever have one my DD is everything I would have wanted but I hate the idea that I'll never do it all again and wish I'd savoured the moments more when she was small - they are little for such a short time. I had PND and was struggling to juggle work/money - all the usual stuff - and in the mean time she grew up! She's had a lovely childhood and I know she'll still need me for a good few years yet but if I had known that she would be my only one I would have tried to enjoy it all a bit more I think.

I hate it for DD as well - she's fantastic with little kids (but maybe because she doesn't have to live with one?!) and would be a brilliant older sister. I also feel there's a lot of pressure on her, as though all our hopes and ambitions are for her to realise - there's no-one to share that with her.

I think a lot of the issues are in my head tbh - I don't feel like a 'proper' family and I don't feel other people view us as such which is probably not true. But so often people comment on how easy/cheap/whatever life must be with only one compared to their 2/3/4/5 etc that it's hard not to feel like that!

I think the only positive thing I can say is that, like NotinmyLife, I do wonder if the reality of having more than one child would live up to what's in my head. Our life is pretty hectic and we are not that well off - I'm really not sure how we'd manage with more than one although of course most people do!

My only way of dealing with how I feel is to be grateful I have a child at all as I know many people never get that chance, and to try and do the best job I can as a parent even if it is to 'only' one child. I also get slightly smug when my friends' kids fall out and feel glad I will never have to referee between squabbling siblings smile

No magic answers but I do sympathise with how you feel.

MrsTriceratops Thu 13-Sep-12 21:49:20

Thank you all so much for posting, I found so much that resonated in all the posts. While I'm sorry that others are in a similar situation, it does help to know I'm not alone in this. Hope that makes sense, I am exhausted atm, physically and emotionally, and really need to get some good nights' sleep in.

Sorry to be so brief for now, I really wanted to reply to people properly, but I think it's all a bit too overwhelming atm, we only got the BFN at the beginning of the week and it's still very raw. But again, I thank you all very much for taking the time to post, and if I have more energy soon I will post again.

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