When did you feel ready for 2 or realise you were done at 1?

(35 Posts)
littlelionman Wed 04-Sep-13 16:30:22

Hi there,

DS has just turned 1. I didn't enjoy pregnancy (prolonged sickness), then had a traumatic birth and postnatal period (likely have PN PTSD). The first year has been tough (sleep deprivation, adjustment to motherhood etc). I adore DS but can't imagine doing it all again, even though before I was pregnant I thought I would want 2.

DH really wants 2, and wants to talk about babies again next year. He says everyone has told him it's just "too soon" for me to think about another baby and that I'll change my mind. Lots of friends have said that even when they were exhausted with their first they still knew they wanted another.

Just out of interest, when did you know that you were ready for a second? Did it take weeks/months/years? Or when did you realise that you were done at 1?

ShowOfHands Thu 05-Sep-13 18:46:15

I had ptsd and pnd after having dd. I found my whole life thrown into disarray. I remember feeling that I wasn't at all myself. Quite apart from the intrusive thoughts and the flashbacks/nightmares, there was a real sense that my whole world had contracted down to this baby who I was sort of terrified of. My anxiety was sky high and I felt like I was suffocating. I couldn't remember laughing or smiling or spontaneity or how I possible enjoyed anything. I definitely couldn't imgaine putting myself through it again. I couldn't even contemplate having another and I'd wanted a big family. The ptsd and then pnd came from a horrendous birth experience and it wasn't until I got help and dealt with that that I was able to consider a second. I didn't admit I had a problem for months, years really and pretended it was fine. Once I'd had counselling, I started to talk about having a 2nd. And it wasn't considered out of a maternal urge but more a weighing up of what we wanted in the future, our desire to give dd a sibling and the knowledge that I was hitting 30 and really it was now or never. I waited until dd was older because I needed to sort myself out and I knew for us it would be better to have a 2nd when dd was at school. I couldn't have even thought about having a toddler and a baby. DD was 4.4 when ds was born and she started school 4 days later. It was perfect. One on one time with the baby and dd was old enough to understand, help and love her brother.

I can also reassure you (and there's a fairly recent thread somewhere which I'll dig out for you about having a 2nd which confirms this) that it's entirely possible for it to be EASIER having a 2nd. I think especially when you've had a rough time first time round. If you sidestep the ptsd thing by having a non-traumatic delivery, it's SUCH a pleasant surprise to find that you can have a baby and feel normal. Not anxious or worried or terrified or crippled by ptsd. Just you, but with a second and lovely baby to squidge. And you enjoy it more. You are more aware of the little pleasures in having a tiny baby. There's the reassurance there of course that you've done this before, there's no massive shift in perception like first time round when you've gone from childless to a parent. You've just expanded the love a bit, no massive life change. And for me at least, I was so much better organised because I had to be and I was organised from day 1, not sliding under a pile of worries and not able to get out until it had spiralled and I didn't even know how to start being me again. I'd already carved out my niche as a mother and I knew who I was as a mother. DS was probably quite privileged. DD had to put up with a lot of floundering.

Only you can make the decision really. But you'd be going into it with your eyes open. I'd make sure you get help with the trauma. The birth trauma association is marvellous. Talk lots about what happened and then think about the future. It helped me to know why I was traumatised. I knew in the end that it was feeling I'd failed. The massive gap between what I'd wanted (home waterbirth) and what I had (bluelight transfer, a lot of intervention, v stuck baby, 8hrs of pushing and an emcs) was a horrid gulf of depression and I felt out of control. I worked very very hard to know how I could manage to remove the element of loss of control and fear from a second delivery and that meant forgiving myself and accepting that another cs was possible. I did have another emcs but it was a very positive experience because I was prepared for it and felt in control and 'present' instead of feeling like the birth was something done to me iyswim.

My 2nd child was 2 this week. He was absolutely the right choice.

violator Thu 05-Sep-13 18:25:38

When I found myself in a psychiatric hospital with PND 14 weeks after a much planned baby and lovely birth, I thought "I'll never, ever risk this happening again."
He's 2 now, I'm pretty much recovered after the most horrific time of my life. Never had even an inkling of mental illness before he was born.
It's changed me utterly, in many ways for the better.

I'm not remotely broody. I feel sorry for mums I see with toddlers and newborns. My friends with two or more are so stressed.
I don't think I ever want to have a number 2. I'm 37 too with a strong family history of early menopause so don't have years to ponder it.
I think I just know my limitations and they don't stretch to another child.

loveisagirlnameddaisy Thu 05-Sep-13 17:27:48

Yes, it does make a difference knowing the difficult phases pass. It's given me much more optimism!

loveisagirlnameddaisy Thu 05-Sep-13 17:27:13

Couldn't imagine how 2nd children came along after the birth of DC1, I was in utter shock and despair and mourning for my pre-children days. But after a year, when it had all calmed down and things felt so much more manageable, I slowly came round to the idea. 2 years 9 months later, DC2 was born.

Life is never the same again but I don't regret my decision as I knew I didn't want an only child. If I were younger and could guarantee a sleeper, I'd for for DC3 as DP would really like to do it.

Shakey1500 Thu 05-Sep-13 17:20:16

No I don't feel guilty for not trying for a second. And I've never even felt a pang.

littlelionman Thu 05-Sep-13 10:00:35

Like ButteryJam I'm wondering how those who went on to have two coped with the 2nd? I've read a few threads on here by Mums who are really struggling with 2. Does it make a difference that you've learnt from 1, and you know that the baby phase passes? Does anyone love DC2 dearly but think they really should have stuck at 1?

Does anyone with 1 regret not trying for 2?

jammiedonut I went for the coil too to make sure we didn't make any big decisions on a whim!

Thanks to everyone that has posted - it's obviously an issue lots of us are dealing with.

jammiedonut Thu 05-Sep-13 09:43:10

It's early, so all I'd say is don't rule it out. I was much the same as you, found pregnancy extremely difficult, childbirth isn't an experience i wish to repeat very soon. My back has suffered lasting significant damage from carrying a heavy baby and subsequent impact of childbirth.
I've just this week sat down with dh and discussed the timing of another baby. Iwas always convinced I'd want them close together, but we've agreed to wait at least three years before the question is raised again. I just don't think physically i could manage lifting a toddler and a newborn, it's as simple as that. I also had a traumatic, deprived childhood and now that ds has arrived can't put my selfish desire to have a baby girl over his needs. It'll be easier to provide for one than two, at least for now, so I'm happy to wait.
I think it's such an emotive decision. You may find that when your child is no longer a baby that you'll desperately want another. I've had a coil put in so that the process of having another child isn't as simple as me stopping my birth control pills!

LuigiB Thu 05-Sep-13 01:28:32

It took me six years to even consider dc2. After I had ds1 (emcs), I thought that I would never have another one. I was mainly scared of the sleep deprivation - ds1 although a really placid baby, was horrendous at sleeping still is.

But one day I saw an ex-colleague who was six months pregnant. Just seeing her big bump put a small desire for another one in my mind and I knew that it was now or never.

Ds2 is now 4 months old and I have never regretted having him. Unfortunately he is a crap sleeper like his brother, (posting this after the first of three feeds in the night that he does), but I am much more able to cope with it this time. Personally i really like the age gap too, ds1 is lots of help and is very self sufficient, I just hope they are close as they grow up.

NatashaBee Thu 05-Sep-13 00:02:17

I said 'never again' after DS was born. He was generally a good baby but still doesn't sleep well at the age of 2, and was in NICU for a few days after birth and was unable to breast feed. All in all I felt a bit of a failure. But now he's a little more independent I have been thinking about another one... As far as pregnancy and the early baby days go I don't exactly relish the idea of doing that again. But we live abroad, a long way away from any family, and I don't want DS to get lonely.

ButteryJam Wed 04-Sep-13 23:42:05

OP, Ive wondered the same! Those of you that changed your mind after the 1st being very difficult, was the second baby easier?

LadyBigtoes Wed 04-Sep-13 23:38:54

OP - I had my babies at 35 and 40, so from my POV you are fine! I know fertility is supposed to decline from 35 but recent research suggests it's not as bad as was made out. When I talked to my GP about it, aged 39 she said "of course you can get pregnant again! my surgery is full of 35+ pregnant women!" So I'd still say give yourself a break and time to think (and explain to DH that's what you need).

neunundneunzigluftballons Wed 04-Sep-13 23:36:02

It was nearly 3 years before I considered having number2 after a traumatic time on number1.

Cjilly Wed 04-Sep-13 23:29:30

I always wanted 4. Had DS and was adamant that one was enough for me!
I'm pregnant with DC2 but in the risk of being flamed, I'm not overjoyed about it. I had the worst time raising DS by myself for the first two years of his life (DH was still at uni and I had to drop out) so was living down south alone while he was in the Midlands(Long story) and even though I love DS to bits and he was and still is an amazing baby(little man) I do not possess the 'doting mother' gene. I'm enjoying it more now that he's almost 3 and talking a lot.

So how did this one come along? I hear you ask.. I felt so guilty at the thought of denying DH the experience to raise a newborn. He missed DS birth as I spontaneously went into labour and he was too far away. He wasn't around when DS was reaching his milestones etc so I felt guilty at the fact that, through no fault of his own, he missed out on a lot and so here we are.

Tbh, I wouldn't be feeling so bleurgh if this pregnancy wasn't so hard on my body!

Always knew I wanted two, now I have two I would love another.

First birth - horrific - a medical mistake left baby fighting for her life and although she survived she has lifelong disabilities. Uncontrolled reflux until 20 months due to cerebral palsy and she only came off reflux meds the week before her third birthday. Left with untreated PTSD.

Because of many many cock ups during my second pregnancy I had to have a caesarian prior to going into labour. I resent that so very much. Baby is easy and happy and a beautiful drram but I urge you to get the PTSD sorted out - I have now been assessed as having clinical depression not PND.

Xmasbaby11 Wed 04-Sep-13 22:00:27

I was 35 when DD was born. When she turned 1, we felt ready to think about a second and started trying straight away because of my age. I got pregnant when she was 15 mo. TBH I was relieved not to get pregnant sooner as 2 years is a small enough gap for me. It does take a while to get your life back, and to get back into work.

I had a terrible birth and was left with a prolapse, but the consultant suggested i could have a c section (no promises) so I felt more positive about getting pregnant again.

sharond101 Wed 04-Sep-13 21:52:12

I had a horrid pregnancy (hyperemesis and SPD) and was anxious throughout due to having previously miscarried. DS was a difficult baby, reflux, colic, clingy and hated being put down or in his pram. It was super stressful and ultra tiring and DH is out of bounds with a bad back. I knew however at 3 months I wanted to do it all again. I could see it wouldn't be forever and realised we needed some time before trying again but with no uncertainty I knew I wanted 2. DH was very traumatised after the birth and has taken a little more convincing.

Portofino Wed 04-Sep-13 21:12:23

I never did. I was 35 when dd was born. The time was never right to go for another. I regret it only on her behalf. I never wanted to do another a baby.

Shakey1500 Wed 04-Sep-13 20:57:54

I hadn't planned on having any children. DS was a (happy) accident. However I knew straight away that I didn't want any more.

sparkle12mar08 Wed 04-Sep-13 20:49:56

Which is why I said give yourself the freedom to change your mind peachypips...

DS was pretty tough - difficult birth, PND, colic for 5 months and didn't sleep through until 18 months. For a long time I struggled with the expectation that there would be another but I didn't see how I could do it all again. The decision to try for DC2 was not easy but when DS turned 2 I started to think I might just be able to cope with another. I'm now 5 months pregnant and I'm starting to get more excited about giving DS a little brother.

To be honest I wasn't 100% sure that I really wanted DS until he was born and once or twice after and everything turned out ok, so I figure this will turn out fine too.

I often think that those parents who choose to have a smaller age gap are those with children who sleep, feed and had easy births!

littlelionman Wed 04-Sep-13 20:02:16

Thanks to everyone who has replied! It's really interesting to hear everyone's stories.

NiceCupOfTea: I've just recently been diagnosed with PN PTSD and am waiting to start some treatment. Treatment might change how I feel about the birth, but I would still be very nervous about coping with another pregnancy, and looking after another baby...I'm just starting to be able to imagine a 'normal' life again.

Ladybigtoes: I'm 35 so time is a bit of an issue. I'm not sure that DH really appreciates that when he says he wants number 2 that it means me being pregnant, me giving birth, and me (mostly) looking after the baby..even though that's what happened with DS..

I feel so broody before DS and I just can't imagine feeling that way again.

peachypips Wed 04-Sep-13 19:55:16

I'm sorry sparkle but that is just not true! If you have a bad time then that eclipses your true feelings. I always wanted four. After DS1 it took 2 years before I wanted another. Then I had DS2 and I am glad.

LadyBigtoes Wed 04-Sep-13 19:48:03

I always wanted 3. After my first, I was keen to have another soon - at 5 months I was thinking about it, but DP was too much in shock and didn't want another.

I let it go for a while but I really wanted another so much, I kept talking to DP about it and eventually he agreed to try for a second, but a third would be too much for him. Now we very happily do have a second child, but I think he was right – I couldn't manage 3 either.

Now, I did persuade him to have no 2 when he wasn't really keen - but if he had said definitely no I would have had to respect that. However, when it's your body doing the carrying and birthing, I think you have more of a veto and shouldn't be put under pressure.

If your age isn't a pressing issue, relax and see how you feel as time goes on. Our DC have an almost 5-year age gap, and I think that's been easier than some families I know who have them close together.

sparkle12mar08 Wed 04-Sep-13 19:43:02

I knew within seconds of ds1's birth that I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I'd venture to say that if you feel you're done at one, then you're done at one. Give yourself the freedom to change your mind by all means, but you know how you feel, in exactly the same way as I did.

I knew I wanted more than one before ds was born. He was an atrocious sleeper and I struggled big time with being a mother then going back to work but I still wanted another and we had dd. so I just knew and didn't change my mind.

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