Grieving over not having a second child(36 Posts)
I'm 44. For years I only wanted one. We went round and round in circles trying to decide whether to have another and decided we were happy as we were. I just couldn't face having another baby as I found it so hard the first time around.
I don't know why, but in my heart I always thought another one might come along or I would suddenly feel at peace with my decision. I never have.
It plays on my mind all the time. I talk to friends about it, I obsess about having only one and how many children other people have, it goes around in my head all the time.
DS is now 8 and a half. I'm very old to be thinking about another. DH does not want another. It would be hard but I can't STOP thinking about it.
I know it could be that I'm probably too old now and it's suddenly hit me, I just don't know. I just want all the thoughts to stop-they are driving me mad! I have had counselling but it didn't really help. I was just told to deal with it or try for another basically.
Can anyone relate and how did you cope?
My story is a long one, but will shorten it for the benefit of any readers!
I married young. All I wanted was to be married with children. My husband procrastinated on the child-front for 10 years before we finally had DS (7). When DS was 2 ½ I had two miscarriages quite close together. When DS was 3, marriage broke up.
I have since remarried (6 mths ago). When my DH and I started dating we talked about children. DH has a DD (13). He said he was open to the idea of having another. I had been through so much over the last few years and being in a new relationship I wasn’t ready to consider another child at that point. Anyway DH and I went back and forth on the issue for while. Just before we got married, I told DH that I was finally ready to have another child. Then he dropped the bomb that he was done. He’d moved on from the idea. He loved our family of four, in which we’ve got one child each and didn’t want to add a third child. Even though I do have a SDD and adore her, she has her own mother and she doesn’t replace my need for another biological child. BUT DH is right in that having another child isn’t just me having a 2nd one, it is US having a third in terms of emotional and financial cost.
Anyway, despite being willing to listen to my needs and open the subject up for discussion, he is holding fast on his decision and won’t sway. I go through times when I’m OK with this and can see the benefits in not having another.
Other times, like at the moment it is ALL I can think about. I see Mum’s with more than one child, I see pregnant Mums, I see babies and it all makes me sad deep in my soul. My BFF has just had her first child and I realised how jealous I was when I started secretly hoping she wouldn’t cope and would decide that this child would be her only instead of having the 3 she is planning. How awful is that!?!? I’m also finding that my love for my DS is so intense that it hurts. I love him so much that my heart breaks every day when I look at him and watch him play. I’m terrified daily of something happening to him, and I feel the most intense bittersweet feeling at each of his birthdays. I’m terrified of smothering him with too much love and him feeling too much pressure to be the ‘good son’!
So in search of some support and wise words, I went searching online and found this thread. You all sound so lovely and supportive of each other, so I decided to post my story too.
I hope to get back to that place where I feel acceptance of my blessed life situation. I have a gorgeous 7 yo boy, a beautiful 13 to stepdaughter. I have A LOT more than a lot of people, including some friends in my own life that lost their chance a having a child. I have been given a second chance at love with a beautiful man who love me like I have never been loved before.
thank you GreenFingered and all the other posters, this thread has helped me focus on what's important. I have one DD and it was a difficult time when she was born and although DH and I have always said we wanted more, now that it's time to seriously think about it I've swayed between wanting another one and thinking that DD is enough.
She is enough, and always would be enough. However, I think GreenFingered I would feel the same if we didn't try for our second DC.
And I agree with PennyN above and also wish you the best of luck.
Hello again , greenfingeredgoddessyou have once more written everything that I think ....exactly. It does make me feel better to know that there are other women like me ....I'm not the only one who has this regret, sadness and lonely feeling. My mum did once advise me not to 'spoil' the joy and love for my son , who already exists , pining for another imaginary child who may or may not have completed my family. I also feel that all our attention is focused on our son...nagging, do this, don't do that ....there isn't another sibling to take away the attention sometimes.i just wish that one morning I just wake up and not feel like there is something missing in my life!
I've read and re-read this thread rather a lot, I can relate to rather a lot of it.
I only have one, I have a son who is soon to be 3 and he's amazing. I left it a tad late to have him (36) but in the grand scheme of things its not really that late, anyway I had planned to have more, I always saw myself with at least 3 in tow, I come from a big family and thought I would have a big family. However I didn't bargain on falling ill while I was pregnant and then being told after my son was born that I have a life threatening medical condition and was lucky we were both here still. I was then advised not to have any more children, so my future family vanished and I mourned it.
Not only couldn't I have the family that I wanted, I also had to deal with the fact that I might not live long enough to see my son grow up, get married and have children of his own and that was / is devastating.
It feels as if there is a little hole in my soul that will never by filled but I'm trying my hardest to paper over it because I'm not one for "what if's" and I kinda figured that as my son is here with me now, in the present, that I need to be in the present with him, so if I can't give him a sibling the least I can do is give him a life less ordinary , so that's what I'm trying to do.
Some of your grief OP seems to come from the exposure to images of multichildren families and also to a feeling that bigger families are the norm. But things have changed so much. The average family is no longer 2.4 children, but 1. something. These may just be statistics, but they show that so many children are onlies nowadays. It is the new norm, and no less wonderful an experience. Our children will find ways of living with that reality. I know it from my DD's school. Quite a number in her class are onlies. They will reevaluate the nature of friendship and relation for themselves. That at least is not something to worry about,
Thank you so much resmom. It was very timely for me reading that as I caught myself sinking into a downward spiral this morning looking at a friend's pics on FB of her son and daughter. I understand what you mean about the grief coming in waves-I just try to recognise that I am feeling low but tell myself it will pass and later, I probably be feeling fine.
I didn't know there were websites celebrating one child, I'll have a look at those, so thank you.
Looking for and diving into new challenges is such a good idea and I am guilty of having too much time on my hands to sit and brood, so I'm going to try and do more.
I really hope that you can find some peace.
Thank you so much to you green fingered goddess for starting this thread and to everyone to has shared. I hear you. I have felt so alone in this situation over the past year; today I found this thread as I cast about on the internet in the hopes of finding something that would help with the grief. Without going into details, through many twists and turns, including 4.5 years of waiting for international adoption that is now not going ahead, we are in the year of realizing that for us, our one beloved child will be it for us. Intellectually i understand that this is a good or at least a valid decision for our family. (I am trying to no longer frame things in terms of right decision). But emotionally the grief I feel for myself--and for a child that would have been given a family--is palpable at times, like my heart is being pulled from my chest. I know what you mean when you say 3 just doesnt feel right (for me in my family, not yet).
Reading this thread has helped so much in knowing i am not alone and in understanding more deeply that the grieving is natural. It even made me reflect that wouldnt the world be a colder place if we were not feeling enough creatures to mourn and support each other in the passing of dreams, hopes, and stages?
What am i doing to get through? These are just my own thoughts, i dont know if they will help anyone else as each of us faces such unique paths.
For me, when the grief hits, i am trying to remind myself that grief does come in waves and cycles (even, as pointed out above, hormone-related ones) and that it does eventually, eventually ease so long as we keep moving forward. In this line, i have been trying to rejoice in the family and opportunities i have, although to be honest, when i look at my family i still sometimes actively feel drawn into grief and longing rather than joy so at this point this is still a conscious act/effort, rather than easy and unconscious. But i know this will transition.
Also, I have found that throwing myself into interesting professional opportunities (eg challenging courses, trainings) has helped. These have given me some respite from mourning and I think help me make a habit of focusing on other thingswhich i think has been important in helping me fight my risk of getting trapped in the grief being my centre or my defining lens. Similarly, I search for and check in with websites that celebrate the choice to have one child and these have helped. And, having read one of the above threads, I am now setting myself the challenge of even just a few minutes of meditation giving thanks for my ongoing healing and for my joys, even if i dont feel it happening each day. I suppose in a sense, overall, i am trying to write my own story, so that it is a story more of my own choosing than one of the grief that tries to grab me. I dont know if these make sense to anyone? Just thoughts in case they are useful.
I haven't been on MN for a while and have just seen that there are more posts on this thread. Thank you to everyone who has posted.
Two months ago I turned 45 and have been in a very low place with this. A couple of weeks ago, I was sobbing to a friend. I am constantly running through the pros and cons in my head-it's exhausting.
The reality is-it's very very unlikely that I would be able to conceive even if I wanted to-I'm trying to focus on the positives of having only one but at times, my sadness threatens to overwhelm me and that's when I just have to try and distract myself.
To those of you who are struggling with the decision to have another, I know it isn't an easy decision to make and there are lots of factors to take into account (relationships, financial etc) but there is one thing I can tell you after nearly nine years of having an only-the love you have for them becomes very intense. They have the full glare of your love and attention, they are your sole focus and I think that can be a pressure for them and not always a good thing. I often feel my DS never gets a chance to just "be"-we are always there-asking/telling/discipling/nagging without a break it feels sometimes. He can never hide behind siblings-of course, parents of 2+ children may disagree.
I feel like our family is incomplete. Everywhere you look, there are pictures of mum, dad and 2 kids. 3 is an odd number, I even feel lonely being a 3, it's too quiet. On holiday it doesn't feel right. I'm always looking at other families with one more child and it looks right.
I don't want to upset anyone-I'm just writing down thoughts as they come to me-I think I will aways regret not having another and always wonder what we would have called another one, what it would have looked like etc etc.
I may try counselling again, I just need to find a way of dealing with all the thoughts in my head. Those that are struggling with your own decision, I hope you can come to one that you feel happy with and that suits you and your family.
Hello everyone, been a bit of a lurker on here. Green fingers your post just touched such a nerve with me! You've said exactly how I feel these days. I'm 42 later this year,have a Ds who will be 11this year.Me& DH have had ups and downs,I had a termination about 9yrs ago which in hindsight I regret and feel guilty about and grieve for even now. We started trying again about 3 yrs ago and I got pregnant straight away,as previously,but miscarried on Christmas Eve just short of 12 weeks.That was really hard.Had one cycle of IVF recently, but didn't get pregnant.I feel so very sad about it all.I feel that I should've been more assertive about keeping that baby. I try and remind myself there are so many 1 child families, but nothing seems to assuage the guilt, the pain, the anger with myself. Reading your post though, I feel less alone.Hope we all find our peace sometime soon.
we want a second and its just not happening, which i find upsetting because I got pregnant with DD straight away after getting married and we started trying.
The doctor has now referred me for fertility treatment but of course it might not work, and im trying to accept that we might not have another so Im not too disappointed. But its so hard and I think i know what you mean about 'grieving'.
Doh! (It's late ...)
Both of the threads I tried to link above are kinda 'good news':
... and the TTC one I meant to link is:
BTW GreenFinger - great news that you've seen a nutritionist and 'sorted out your hormones'. Maybe that's the reason it hasn't 'worked' YET, but surely puts you in a far better position going forwards?
I'm in a similar situation (its a long story) so I found your post more than a little heart-breaking.
When you say "I know it COULD be that I'm PROBABLY too old now ..." I just get the sense that you don't want to write yourself out of the game completely just yet - and good for you.
So I did wonder whether its possible that you're scared to REALLY try for DC#2, just to protect yourself in case it doesn't work out, perhaps because you're afraid that 'failure' - having REALLY tried - might hurt you more than it does already?
But honestly, what have you got to lose? Couldn't you try to postpone your grieving and give yourself a window, say, of another year TTC - because you never know. And if at the end of that time you still hadn't conceived, do you think you might find it easier to accept in the longer term, knowing that you'd given it your best?
If you haven't seen these threads already, why not have a read of some good news like:
... and there are a good few ladies your age TTC here:
If I were you, I'd buy some OPKs (e.g. Clearblue Digital Ovulation Testing Kit £31 on Amazon), start taking a good prenatal vit, perhaps think about some other supplements (e.g. DHEA) get some acupuncture ... stop over-thinking (easier said than done, I know) and start shagging on those crucial days!
Really, really best of luck x
Sorry - have come to this thread a little late. I have one DD. I have not entirely managed to come to terms with the fact that she is an only child. I am very aware that physically my body seems to be playing havoc with my emotions. I swear I can feel myself ovulating each month and the week before my period is due the anger and bitterness in the knowledge that there will be no more children is incredibly powerful. I have no answers, I can only empathise with your situation. On a lighter note however, when the longing is particular persistent I try to really concentrate on the possibility that if I tried for another, I could end up with twins. Twins at 48 would turn our lives upside down. Could I realistically cope with 2 new babies? I doubt it. 4, 5, 6 years ago perhaps, but not now. It's not a great help, but the thought does distract me.
Hi, I have a 2 1/2 DD who was not planned. Her dad and I were only together 6 months when I fell pregnant. He's 42 and I'm 32 so huge gap. We love our DD to bits and we've said we would have liked a 2nd but we really want to get engaged, married and there is financial just generally we are thinking long term with uni fees etc. and of course my BF age. I had a terrible time at her birth where it was going perfectly for 5 hrs and got to 9cm and then she was in trouble and they used ventouse/ forceps but they came off several times and left our DD terribly injured and being treated for cuts on her head and face and having to go to physio etc for muscle damage and me terribly torn etc. sorry tmi. I landed up having PTSD and have only now just started feeling better about things. I think we are so scared from the first time and have thought of every possible excuse not to have another and I have researched only children coming up with all the positives of only having one but our house is still full of DD baby stuff and I get quite jealous when my friends announce no. 2. I don't know if its just broodiness or is it me really wanting another. I don't know if we should just enjoy our beautiful gift and give her everything. We could afford private school, any extra mural activities she wanted to do etc etc but if we had two private school is out the window and we'd have to make them choose carefully what they want to do. It's so difficult because I don't want to regret not having another but not sure how to know we're making the right choice and be at peace with it. Any advice?
FWIW, I don't 100% think my parents chose to only have 1. But circumstances meant that, by the time they were ready to think about another, it was too late, and here I am. It's not a bad thing, I have a relationship with my family that siblings won't ever had, and I wouldn't change it for the world. Yeah, there are some really hard things about being an only, and as I get older, I have to face them and it scares me. But I wouldn't change my upbringing for the world.
I don't know if this is any help. I've not been trying for children yet. I know (think) I only want one, but I know I don't know what's possible til we try - if God wills it, I will have a child. I suppose I think I owe it to my parents, who have been the most amazing family I could ever wish for, to say that being an only is not awful - it can be amazing. I know my obligations, I recognise that in so many ways I cannot fully meet all expectations, but I wouldn't change my history for anything....
Thanks mozzarella. I'm feeling (thankfully!) so much better today.
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I'm not sure what a TFMR is but don't give up hope, I would say you still have time on your side-and you're right, it is a helpful thread. The subject matter is not something that gets talked about that much (not in my experience anyway).
GreenFinger, I'm sorry you're struggling so much with this situation.. please don't be too hard with yourself, no matter it was hormones or what you choose to do what you felt right not only for you, but for your DS and your family too..
I'm also struggling, I have a DD and I'm recovering after a TFMR which left tons of guilt and doubts..We're now trying to have another child but I'm soon 41 and not very hopeful.. but many answers in this thread are helping me to see the positives aspects I could find in a situation that I didn't really choose ..
A warm hug and keep focusing on your DS!!
Thanks ilovelilos. Your situation sounds very difficult. I really hope that you can resolve it.
I'm really struggling today with PMT and everywhere I look, there are families with more than one child. Have just been on FB and family members are sharing pictures of their DCs all hugging each othe and messaging each other saying things like "I love you so much my big sis!"-I've been in tears this morning. When I have PMT though, I cry at everything, so hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow!
redmusic, thanks for the suggestion re meditation. I may try that.
I was reading an article over the weekend about PND and several of the symptoms, I recognised. So, I think I was a bit depressed when DS was younger but I don't think full blown PND. Recently, I sorted my hormones out (which had been all over the place for years) with a nutritionist and that's when the really strong feelings about this started to overwhelm me. I basically think that my hormones were to blame for me not wanting another and I can't help thinking...if they had been ok, I probably would have gone on to have another. I feel so angry with myself, I'm worried my inner voice will never shut up and I'll always feel sad and resentful for the rest of my life.
Thank you all: I thought I was the only one thinking like this! I don't grieve but I have terrible guilt sometimes about not having no 2, particularly when there is the pressure from friends & work colleagues, sometimes joking but it hits a raw nerve.
I made lists and the only reasons I personally could think of was as a friend for no.1, and not to leave her to deal with both of us in old age/when we die. Yes these are pretty big reasons but I think they can be dealt with in different ways.
There seemed to be many reasons for not having any more, but I guess it all boils down to the question of whether I'd be happy, and the answer would be no. I found no.1 tough to cope with as a baby and though we also had some family health issues who knows what it would be like next time: don't want to risk PND (again???). I have a life outside motherhood which I love and find really fulfilling and don't want to give that up. I don't want to be selfish, but on the other hand I don't want to resent no. 2.
This is presuming I could conceive again - no. 1 was all too easy but I'm pushing 40 and the risks are that much higher.
Sorry, rambling - too late to think coherently!
Hi Green fingered goddess,
I thought I would add some thoughts that I have been having about this topic.
I am fine some times, and at others I obsess about having another child.
I think that this month, at least, and maybe other times, I have noticed that the feelings were really strong around the time of ovulation, and I grabbed my partner and said, our DS needs a sibling ! and then, at other times I am really enjoying my work and I think the last thing I need is a baby , as I actually found the baby stuff kind of .. dare I say it ...boring ! (Endless washing, sitting on a sofa breastfeeding, endless nappy changing)
I wonder if our hormones have a part to play in our changing feelings ?
Also, the issue around wondering what you would do if you lost your child. I have thought this through, and I think the loss of a child would be incredibly difficult to bear however many children you have, because they are all so unique and ireplaceable Also, if you had two and lost one, you would have to help the sibling deal with the loss, which would be an extra difficulty to deal with.
Its probably better to assume that they will outlive you , i.e be realistic as most children will outlive their parents, and if the unthinkable happened, you would deal with it the best way you could, but don't think about the unthinkable ! and I promise I won't either.
I think in your situation, at 44, as you know its unlikely that you will become pregnant, but not totally impossible. The fact that your husband doesn't want a child won't help you to get pregnant.This sounds really harsh, but its just the facts as you have presented them on this forum.
If thoughts are driving you crazy, you could try some meditation. I learnt to do this when my son was in hospital, as he was born prematurely and stopped breathing many times over the weeks he was there.
I was beside myself and a counsellor advised that I try some deep breathing relaxation techniques. You can start with just a few minutes a day. It really helps to relax your mind and body, and clear your head so you can make a positive start to the day and deal with the here and now.
I found it so helpful, I actually believe it prevented me from spiralling into PND.
I use the technique all the time, to help with any kind of stress (We are in the process of moving so thats my current thing)
I hope you get a chance to try it !
Also, you aren't incomplete, selfish, or a failure. You are just dealing with the consequences of a very very difficult choice.
I think one of the reasons I feel so strongly about my bro and SIL fertility issues is because I feel guilty about struggling with my one child feelings, which in theory one would think would pale next to the grief of not being able to have a child at all. Obviously I can't imagine what they have been through.
My aim is to not feel so guilty about the feelings in the hope that I will be able to neutralise them a bit. Anyone else going to try and accept that these feelings are okay and natural?
We may not be able to think it of ourselves but we can remind each other.
Oh, Lilos, I do hope you and dp are able to resolve that.
Goddess, I go through phases as well where I am fine and really appreciate what we have. That is when I begin to feel scared in case we lose it all if something happened to dd. we are slightly older than other local parents, I hate to think of us as stereotypical over anxious middle aged parents of an only. But we are
I am now too old for another. We can't afford it and dp only wanted one. I was so happy to have her after 3years ttc it didn't occur to me that I would struggle with the decision. I think she is so marvellous that it is too good to be true. And then I feel awful because having a back up child in order to allay my anxieties is a monstrous idea. Not that it is a real life option.
Anyway I am getting rambly and incoherent -tired. Sorry, but thanks again for sharing your experiences. It does help.
What makes you think you will mess up your DS? You sound lovely and I bet you are a great mom.
Unfortunately I resent my husband as after his accident he didn't do what he should have done health wise to rectify his infertility problem. And over 6 years he rarely supported me through my tears and sadness that I wasn't falling pregnant. This resentment is now coming between us and I need to resolve it otherwise that will really mess up our DD!
Thanks as well, for saying it's normal to "switch between feelings"-I sometimes feel like I'm going a bit mad with all the thoughts I have. It never goes away-it's virtually constant at the moment.
I keep trying to remind myself to enjoy DS-instead of obsessing over something that probably isn't going to happpen.
Catmint, I was just reading over your previous post. The obsession with something happening to your child is a feeling I can relate to. I often have these thoughts where I think "if this happened or that happened, we would have no children and I would be too old to have anymore".
I also worry that I'm going to totally mess him up and I wouldn't have another chance to "get it right" with another child...all silly thoughts but they are there nonetheless.
I'm also very sensitive to comments about "only children" and often friends have forgotten and said things.