Is it all worthwhile??

(180 Posts)
noniks Mon 20-Sep-10 11:57:30

Hi all
40 yrs old, no kids and never been interested,
however the body clock is ticking louder and I am becoming uneasy about what to do with my future.
Have great life, job, hubby, home and lovely family with godchildren galore.
Something is missing though....and it may be a child,I feel like I have a void in my life.

Thing is that I hear so many great things abou parenting, and everyone says I'd be a natural...but then so many other things about how hard it is, and how you sacrifice so much.....and life is never ever the same

I genuinely don't know what to do....I need honest experienced answers please, please, please.....am tying myself in knots..(sad)

noniks Mon 20-Sep-10 11:59:13

and the other thing is...am I just too blinkin ancient now anyway???

mumblechum Mon 20-Sep-10 12:00:48

Most MNers are, by the nature of the site, going to tell you that you should if you can.

But you need to appreciate that the great job may go down the swanny, and that your relationship with your husband may go through a rough patch in the first year or so.

Tee2072 Mon 20-Sep-10 12:03:40

First of all, you are not too ancient. Come over to Forty Towers where we currently have two mums over the age of 40 who are due in December. I myself had my son at 40. He's 15 months now.

Is it the hardest thing I have ever done? Absolutely.

Is it the most rewarding thing I have ever done? Even more absolutely!

Life is never the same. You have this small person with their own personality, ideas, thoughts, needs, wants, desires. And for the first few years (and I'm in the middle of that part!) you have no idea sometimes what those things are and your frustration runs high and you're so tired you can't think. And then they smile at you. And hold their arms up for a hug. And kiss you on the cheek. And snuggle close.

If you want a baby, have a baby. Its the toughest job you'll ever love (slogan stolen from some country's military, US marines, maybe grin).

motherinferior Mon 20-Sep-10 12:09:31

It is very wearing. Childcare is expensive. You become obsessed by a series of boring things, from nappies to schooling. Much of the first few years feels like swimming uphill through custard. And it is quite hard to admit just how wearing and boring and custardy it is, because you are supposed to add that you Wouldn't Swap It For The World.

Plenty of delightful, fulfilled people don't have children. It isn't compulsory.

Tee2072 Mon 20-Sep-10 12:26:30

motherinferior I absolutely, and on a regular basis, admit how wearing its is. I do not find it boring or custardy, however.

I have no family nearby, although my son goes to daycare two half days a week so I can run my company, I often threaten to put stamps on his bottom, hand him a bottle, and ship him to his grandmother in Florida Parcel Post. grin

I do also find it very fulfilling. And totally worth it at the end of the day.

claricebeansmum Mon 20-Sep-10 12:37:49

It is the hardest thing you ever do. There isn't any training and you can never walk away.

The first years are hard - totally dependent being is relying on you for everything.

And then it all changes and just as you get the babyhood sorted, they become toddlers and that is a bigger challenge, and then you get that sorted to some degree and they skip off to school and you get used to that and then they become teenagers which is a bit like toddlers but with more door slamming and bigger implications when they mess up...

Some days you do wonder what it is all for and then other days it is like a walk in the park and you wonder how you ever didn't have children.

Last night my DS (14) put his arms around me and said 'I love you and everything is so perfect at the moment and I don't want it to change'. Swap that for my own office and corporate credit card - never!

It is the biggest adventure you'll ever have but you need to be sure you want to really do it and that you have the right equipment - that's a lot of patience and good deal of common sense. And the ability to give up a good deal of what you feel defines you as you are now.

Fennel Mon 20-Sep-10 15:07:53

Mostly I really like it, these days, it was harder when they were tiny.

But I am still not quite reconciled to quite how much having children has buggered up so many of my other priorities in life. Career, freedom, ability to just up and start again somewhere else, ease of giving up job and finding a new job in another country. All things I do miss, massively. I probably would do it all again, but in the end, children fill a void, but they make holes elsewhere.

I find being sensible and responsible and sober on a long term basis just a bit boring.

Faaamily Mon 20-Sep-10 15:12:20

You're not too ancient. Of course not. If you want a child, you could and should go for it. But it doesn't sound like you do really want it. If you've got to 40 and still aren't convinced, would it be the right thing to do?

Parenthood is wonderful - cannot imagine a life without my children - but it is tiring and hard work and yes, you will make huge sacrifices and no, life will never be the same again. Anyone who says otherwise has got to be insanely rich with huge amounts of help!

So, imo, unless you really, really want a child/children, you probably shouldn't go ahead with it. Doesn't make sense as a cure for some sort of pervasive feeling of boredom/discontent, iyswim.

Hope that doesnt sound too patronising/harsh.

Do you have a partner? What does he/she think?

Hassled Mon 20-Sep-10 15:15:54

It is relentlessly hard at times, you do change, you do have to make sacrifices. But yes, it is all worth it.

But I agree you're going to get fairly one-sided opinions on Mumsnet!

saintlydamemrsturnip Mon 20-Sep-10 15:24:33

Depends on you really. 3 children, 1 has a severe disability. Never thought it would happen to me, but then you never do do you?

Is it difficult? Can be.

Is it tiring? Probably but I've forgotten what life before children was like.

Am I happier now than I was before children? Absolutely.

Am I more stressed now that I was before children? Yes.

It's so individual. I loved the first year of ds1's life- felt like I was floating I was so happy. Lots of people hate the first year. In our case life very definitely doesn't get any easier as the kids get older because ds1 will never be even semi-independent, let alone independent.

I always wanted kids, I've never had any form of stauts anxiety and whilst I enjoy the work I do I work mainly because we need the money (would be quite happy to stop if we didn't).

If I hadn't wanted kids or my career had been important to me I think I would have found our situation really much harder than I do.

"never been interested" - don't do it. I'm glad I never did though I wanted to when I was younger (I'm 38). I don't have the biological compulsion others do and I like my life the way it is.

I'm a foster carer so I get to work my arse off in trying to help kids but if anything it has firmed my resolve to not have any. I can't wait for foster dd to grow up and move out and for my (worthwhile but incredibly hard) job to be done.

I'm essentially a selfish person and though I try my best to care for dd to the best of my abilities at heart I don't truly think I'm that good at it - and nor do I really love it.

longgrasswhispers Mon 20-Sep-10 16:06:44

Apart from the fact that it is absolutely exhausting and can be mind-numbingly boring, it's made me feel like the person I was always meant to be. I honestly couldn't want anything more in life.

BUT it's frightening. In that I am terrified of anything happening to her. I used to think that the worst thing that could happen would be to lose my DH, but now I know that there is something much, much worse.

It makes you very, very vulnerable because of that.

Don't know if that makes sense, but I've tried to explain it as best I can.

mamasunshine Mon 20-Sep-10 16:31:06

For all of the hard work, change in lifestyle and expense it really IS worth it smile People generally regret NOT having children, or more children. I've never heard anyone say they wish they had never had their children. How do you see yourself in 20 years time? What will Christmas and birthdays be like etc etc? How many more years will just work and life as it is keep you satisfied with living?! Generally 1 or 2 children eventually just slot into life and it doesn't definately mean you have to change it too much/

motherinferior Mon 20-Sep-10 16:37:12

Godalmighty, my life has changed totally since I had children. And I've worked since they were both very small.

Things I didn't have to take up bits of my brain with 10 years ago:

nappies
tippy-cups
small socks
Ofsted reports
Spellings of quite simple words I've personally been able to spell since 1970
Times tables
Going to the park
Dinner-money cheques
The numbers, eating habits and general availability of an array of teenage babysitters
the admissions policies of a range of different comprehensive schools in south east London
numberlines
I could go on.

None of these make my heart leap, I must say.

sethstarkaddersmum Mon 20-Sep-10 16:46:17

remember if you only have one it's not as hard as having 2 or 3 - sounds obvious but a lot of the people you hear moaning about being knackered are that way because they have several children so their odds of a good night's sleep are much less than if they only had one. (Us, for instance. 1 felt pretty easy, 2 was hardish and 3 is tough.)
I know many people with one-child families who have quite civilised lives.

seashore Mon 20-Sep-10 16:50:59

I had my first at 37 second at 40,am with my dh since we're both 18 yrs old and I was never overly pushed about having children. But mother nature is harsh!! It's not easy to get away, but, you don't have to do it.

If you do the advice I would give is check out any health issues that you may have ignored (a few things caught up with me after birth, things I ignored because they weren't big problems but under stress of birth etc became really tough). My own childhood was stressful which may have contributed to why I was so indifferent to having dc for so long, I now wish I had dealt with a lot of that.

It will be the hardest thing you ever do if you go for it. On the other hand I definitely know I'm a better mother having waited and matured, I just could not have done it younger.

Best of luck trying to decide, it's a hard one. smile

Rhubarbgarden Mon 20-Sep-10 17:45:00

Yes very difficult decision. I took the plunge because I thought I might regret it, even though I wasn't keen on kids, and babies terrified me, quite frankly. But I kept seeing myself with an adult daughter, and that was something I thought I could enjoy. In fact the more I thought about it, the more I realised I would be missing out in the future if I didn't have children. Like you, I wondered if it would still be physically possible, so we decided to 'see what happened'. Well I was pregnant almost immediately, and it scared the living crap out of me. The more I read about it, the more I started wondering what the hell I'd done. It took me the full nine months to come to terms with it.

But now I have a stroppy little 3 month old, I have to admit I'm enjoying it, and no-one is more surprised than myself. Of course it's hard, and tiring, and I miss being able to do, well anything that isn't baby care really - even making and drinking a cup of tea is a challenge these days let alone things I used to fill my free time with like gardening or seeing friends.

Is it worth it? Yes. It IS different when it's your own. You don't have to be an earth mother or 'really really want kids' to find it immensely rewarding.

didldidi Mon 20-Sep-10 18:15:42

if I could have my time again I wouldn't have children. If you're not sure my advice is don't do it.

FunkyCherry Mon 20-Sep-10 20:00:31

I'm 34. Just had my first.
I was 'talked into' children by my other half.
I wish people were more honest about how boring it is.
She's lovely, but its only by having her I've realised how much of my old life I'm giving up and I'll miss.
If you're not sure, don't do it.
Its a totally irreversable decision.

noniks Mon 20-Sep-10 21:06:27

some wonderful advice....thanks all of you wise women out there. x

Ragwort Mon 20-Sep-10 21:15:52

mamsunshine you've never heard people saying they wish they'd never had their children because it's probably the most taboo subject in the world. There MUST be people who have regretted having children but dare not say it 'out loud' - I would only admit it on an anonymous website. I couldn't possibly say it to anyone else.

If you are not 110% sure you want children, don't do it. It's not fair on the child, on you or on your partner.

I wish I felt that having a child is the most rewarding thing I have ever done, I envy mothers who rejoice totally at 'being mothers' - but not everyone's experience will be like that. And what a banal reason for having children 'Christmas and birthdays' (to be perfectly honest, celebrating Christmas and birthdays was much more pleasurable before I became a mother grin).

MuddyMessyMuddle Tue 21-Sep-10 11:49:59

Don't have a child you're not sure you want as it is hard enough being a parent when you really do want the child!

It's a really difficult decision though for women when there is a biological time limit. Nobody can prepare you for what it will be really like, you only know when you've done it.

Even if you were sure it was what you wanted, some days you will feel that your life is horrible because you have kids but, for me anyway, other days feel like my kids are what make my life so good.

It depends how you look at it wrt all the things you have in your life now like your job and social life etc - whether you will feel that you have 'lost' and 'sacrificed' all that and that your life has been ruined or whether you will feel you have 'gained' things and started a new job (parenting) with a different social life (revolving more around other parents and their kids rather than going out in the evenings and not worrying about babysitters etc). And whether you will value time spent with your DH as being together even when children are also with you or if you only feel together when it is just the two of you.

FunkyCherry Tue 21-Sep-10 14:23:43

Can you imagine what it would do to a child if a mother ever admitted that parenthood sucks???

Agree with Ragwort its the most taboo subject ever that is easier to discuss anonymously.

catdoctor Tue 28-Sep-10 18:56:40

Hi Noniks - don't know if you're still watching this thread - I had to answer, though not sure I can help! I had my first baby 11 weeks ago, aged 42; never wanted children, never liked them, spent hours discussing with hubby as we got older, decided to 'let nature take its course' as we couldn't make our minds up. Just when i thought - thanx but no thanx, nature had taken its course. Then agonised over termination, then heavy duty gardening to miscarry. came to terms, now have beautiful, perfect baby. Love him dearly but most of the time I HATE IT. Am stressed out of my head worrying am I doing it right, tired all the time, responsibility NEVER STOPS, how can something be so stressful yet so boring at the same time? I thought it would be more fun. My head says we're doing fine with healthy, thriving baby, my heart is frequently sad.Friends and family an irritation as they're so happy for me!What a miserable piece I sound - can't express much freely as frequently women my age have suffered deeply to gain a child and expect me to be grateful. I think which ever way you jump you will make a happy life - there's no right or wrong, you'll just get on with the choice you make.

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