If you had PND/anxiety with your first, when (if ever) did you feel ready for DC2??

(29 Posts)
BotBotticelli Thu 02-Jan-14 12:03:36

DS1 is now 13mo and i am recovering from a very hard year with PND and anxiety. I have had CBT counselling which has been a great help, but things are still not perfect. I have found being a mum harder than I ever thought possible, and DS has been a very challenging baby (a colicky screamer, then early teethin, generally very unsettled and hard work, fights naps but really needs them, very frustrated at every milestone etc etc).

I do feel like I am coming out the other side of it all, and do enjoy my time with my DS now, but I do think one of the main reasons I feel better is I am back at work 3 days per week. Plus, DS seems much much happier now he can walk and toddle about. I think he hated being a baby almost as much as I hated looking after a little baby.

ANYway, back in the days when I was pregnant, DH and I always planned to have two children: I am a twin myself and have many fond memories of playing with my sister as a kid. I always envisaged having two, but now I am not sure I can face going back to that dark place again sad

If you had an experience at all like mine with your first, did things ever change in your head to the point where you felt like having a second baby? When??

And did you get PND the second time round? I am so scared of putting myself back into that newborn baby situation again that I found so very difficult to cope with.

I would be so grateful if anyone can share their experiences. I have no one in RL I can ask this of.

lola88 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:27:25

I could have honestly written your post DS is 23mo now and i've settled on no more kids, I couldn't face it and the fear would prob send me back there before i even gave birth. I have a niece that I take care of very often and made lots of friends with kids so I don't worry about DS being lonely that prob has something to do with my decision.

People often say to me it would be ok as you never have 2 the same but that just makes me think I could have a baby that is worse than DS he was at least happy some of the time and got better when he started walking at 11mo, I also think it wouldn't be fair on DS and DP to have me back in that place it was an awful time for us all.

SuperDuperTrooper Thu 02-Jan-14 14:04:52

I too could have written your post! You DS sounds very much like mine was. I felt so alone and isolated as all the other new mums I met didn't seem to have such a difficult time. I hid my PND from most people I was so ashamed of not coping.

My DS is now 2. I/We made the decision a couple of months ago that we wouldn't have anymore. I cant face the prospect of being back there. I am scared of having an even more difficult baby plus the fear of how hard it may be having 2 to deal with. I have read many posts on here of mums struggling with 2 with even with no mention of PND to add to the mix.

I feel full of sadness and guilt for having had to make this decision. Sad for my DS and sad for my DH who would love another. Constantly having friends and family asking when we are having another certainly doesn't help.

Sorry for being so negative as I guess what you really want to hear are the happy ending stories! I bet there are some at the very least!

violator Thu 02-Jan-14 15:01:43

I could have written this too!

I had severe anxiety and depression after DS was born. I had no history of either so it was a huge shock to me, and I left it too long to get help because I thought it would go away. I ended up being hospitalised for a time - the only other time in my life I had ever been in hospital was when I had DS!

It took me the guts of 18 months to feel like myself again, it was a long, slow recovery. Going back to work when DS was 2 helped immensely.

I've learned so much about myself in that time, in some ways while PND was horrific I know myself so much better.

I found having a young baby, exclusively breastfeeding, terrible sleep deprivation and isolation at home all day incredibly hard. It just does not suit me. It suits others fine and they love it, I didn't. I love being back at work, I am so much more balanced.
However given the nature of my work and my DH's work, another baby would mean I would have to stay home for a few years. I really don't want to do that, it would set me back hugely. We could afford full time childcare for two but I don't want that either, I don't want to offend anyone but having another baby just to place it in full time childcare is not something I wish to do.

DS is 2.5 now and I love being his mum. He's a joy to be around, a whirlwind of energy and demands and he's so much fun.

I can categorically state that if I had a small baby as well I would be extremely stressed. Many of my friends are in the thick of baby + toddler life and they are not especially happy, they are stressed and trying to find that elusive balance that I have already found.

I've also learned that there is societal pressure and expectation that mums want more than one child. Many do, but many don't.
I had to re-evaluate what I really wanted in life.
While I had envisioned having more than one child all along, I have also matured in the sense that I know we can't always get what we want, and sometimes what we think we want isn't actually the best thing for us!
"Always wanting" 2 or 3 kids cannot prepare you for the reality of having 2 or 3 kids.

I'm completely at peace with the fact that DS may be an only child. He will want for nothing, he will have all the love, affection and opportunities afforded to him that we can give.

Dollydishus Thu 02-Jan-14 15:13:11

I was very like this too. I went on to have 2 more, but with big gaps...5 years and then 7 years. I knew I wanted more and I didn't want to be ruled by anxiety and depression. Big gaps help so there's time to receiver properly between each one and not having two at the baby stage at once. In fact I waited til the previous DC was at school before having the next!

Also I found that not BFing helped...you don't have to get so sleep deprived, and there's less pressure all round. I am pro BF all things considered but I think the link between BF and PND/anxiety gets swept under the rug too often.

Also I had an excellent GP who I discussed all this with, and had a good plan for immediately starting anti depressants at the first sign of trouble. Which I did.

My moan difference with the other posters would be that I have always had some degree of anxiety so it wasn't a bolt from the blue when it got worse after having a baby.

Dollydishus Thu 02-Jan-14 15:13:58

Sorry 'recover' not receiver

violator Thu 02-Jan-14 15:15:27

I forgot to say that my psychiatrist, when asked outright what were the odds of me getting PND again, said it was higher than average.

I know I am more sensitive to the average woman to hormonal changes but that's only a part of it. I would need a lot more support from my DH, who can't give it in our current circumstances.

If you can establish what caused the PND (apart from that hormone crash) and know you can make it different second time around, then your chances of avoiding PND again are so much better.

Dollydishus Thu 02-Jan-14 15:15:59

And 'main' not moan....fat fingers and very tired. Oldest (16 years now!) is poorly and I've been up a lot in the night.

violator Thu 02-Jan-14 15:24:33

Dollydishus I really admire you for going again! It's lovely to hear.

I really don't want to take antidepressants again too, so I suppose that's another reason for me not to want another baby.

Dollydishus Thu 02-Jan-14 15:41:42

I have been really resistant to taking ADs at certain times too, but overall I do much much better when I am on them. I am on ADs now and probably will be for a long time...I don't rail against like I used to. There are no medals for struggling on feeling shitty, you know! (My GP said that, she is brilliant)

violator Thu 02-Jan-14 15:48:27

Oh I know, they're a lifesaver for many. I guess I've learned how to manage stress without them so would love to stay that way!

NorthEasterlyGale Thu 02-Jan-14 16:51:13

Yep, sounds like how I was. Had DS1 in 2012 and felt very bad for around 8 - 10 months although things did improve a bit after I went back to work (3 days a week) after 6 months. DS was a poor sleeper, suspect he had silent reflux etc etc. We'd had a bad stay in hospital (he was ELCS for breech), struggled with BF but got there in the end, wound infection etc so a rough start. I didn't really bond with him until he was probably around 10 months, kept telling DH I'd leave as the two of them would be better without me, walked out a few times but always came back after a couple of hours. Hallucinating due to sleep deprivation. Gawd, it was hideous - without question the bleakest, hardest time of my life. PND wasn't diagnosed as I am (in the words of my best friend) 'spectacularly bad at asking for help' and because I was so immersed in things at the time, I didn't realise how bad I was. I should have though, as I've had problems with depression in the past. Hey ho, hindsight is a wonderful thing grin

DS1 is now nearly 19 months and I'm expecting DS2 (due in February) - having spoken to midwife this time round, she agrees it was PND last time and is keeping a closer eye on me this time round, as is DH. Who knows if I'll develop PND this time but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it and do my best to ask for help and take the right steps when I need to.

With regards to deciding to have DC2, I knew I wanted more children and as I'm older (will be 38 when DS2 is born) I don't have lots of years to play with, so decided to just go for it. Despite the fact that I dread a return to how things were (actually, most of the time I just try not to think about it as it scares me so much - definite head in sand) DS1 is so much fun now that I think I'll be able to cope better as we have slightly different circumstances and because I'll know how much better it can get.

Also, my DH is an absolute star - the man deserves a medal for the support he gives me and for putting up with the person I became when things were bad. I always knew I had a good 'un but until I had DS1 I never truly realised how amazing he was - I wouldn't be having DS2 if I didn't know how utterly fabulous he is and that I can rely on him 100% even when things are so very bad.

Do I worry about how I'll be in maybe three or four months time? Yes. A lot. But I just tell myself that it can't possibly be as bad as last time (denial, anyone?). And if it is, I'll get through it - it might be a terrible year but I survived first time and I can do it again. Perhaps it's foolish optimism but I am where I am and once the decision to have DC2 was made, there's not point in dwelling on the negative. Might as well look to the future, put in place what plans I can to mitigate the risks and plough on.

Hope you manage to come to a decision that works for you.

Sorry for the length of that!

Quintessentialmadonna Thu 02-Jan-14 17:05:38

I have just been diagnosed with PND. I still want to have another though. But not for a long while, until fully recovered etc. I think a lot of it depends on your cause of PND- as previous pisters have said. Mine was hormonal... But I had a coil fitted right after my DD was born which really did not agree with me amd I perservered with constant heavy bleeding and back ache for 6 months- which, with a baby in tow , was obviously exremely draining. The docs wanted me to stay on it for at least the 6 month minimum though. Also relationship probs/ unforseen financial probs did not help. Who knows; maybe all of this os irrelvant and I would have got PND regardless (my mother did too, so maybe even heteditary predisposition) But, never the less- Next time I will ensure we are very financially able, much stronger in our rlship and I will not go back on the coil! All this may make no difference of course... Hoever at least I know I will be doing all I can!

elsiewoo Thu 02-Jan-14 18:01:08

I have a 3.4 yo DS, and had PND for the first 9 months of his life. He was also a very difficult baby - colic, reflux, poor sleeper etc. It was a very dark time, but antidepressants pulled me out of it and DS improved in time. I couldn't contemplate having another child until very recently, and gave birth to my DD 15 days ago. So far I'm ok, and am being monitored by the mental health team, in addition to my family and friends. It could happen again, but I feel confident that either I or someone else would spot the signs before it got so bad again. I'll be very glad when the newborn stage is over, but I'm trying to enjoy it this time around.

ArthurCucumber Thu 02-Jan-14 18:17:43

I had awful PND/anxiety with dd1, who was also a screamer, couldn't be put down without crying herself sick sad. She improved from about 11 months onwards, although was still demanding, and my mental health began to improve after about 13 months, helped a lot by going back to work. I still swore I'd never have another, until she was about 2 yrs old when I changed my mind.

We had dd2 with an age gap of exactly 3 years and I actually found it a healing experience mentally. Dd1's birth had been horrendous, but dd2's was easy. Where dd1 screamed constantly, dd2 was a placid little chuckly thing. It showed me that I wasn't a shit Mum, that it had just been the luck of the draw. There were a few wobbles when dd2 was newborn because every time she cried I panicked and thought "it was all starting again". But it never did and gradually I calmed down again. Dd2 slotted right into our family and was clearly always meant to be there.

I had a slightly different experience but thought it relevant. I had pnd/anxiety after dd1 was born (though she was a placid baby, it was more connected to the birth experience). I had dd2 when dd1 was 2yrs 4months but I planned to make it a very different experience. I paid for an Independent Midwife, this not only gave me more confidence about the birth but more postnatal care.

On the face of it, my second should have been so much harder; 1st birth, no real plans, 2 hour labour, easy & contented baby compared with 2nd birth, planned homebirth, ended up with transfer to hospital & epidural, 20 hour back-to-back labour, much more difficult baby with a liking for puking if moved too much after feeding. The thing is it wasn't harder because I had more support. I had little dips and would worry that it was starting again but it didn't.

Can you plan to have help - could you afford a doula/mother's help type of thing for after the birth so you can get a break/shower/bath/hot drink in peace? I think the key is working out what the root cause of the problem was and figuring out what would have helped you so you can plan to have that in place.

We decided to have DS2 shortly after I went back to work. My boss was a first class **, and just made everything even more impossible.

Yes, I got PND again, but we were both on the look out for it, and so it was caught and treated much more promptly (like it would have been if the first fucking Dr hadn't written me off as fine as I'd got dressed and got to the appointment. Took 6 hellish months to get sent to GP by DH for the second time).

Second time round was much less evil. Were not having a third even tho I've got my eyes and heart set on newborn cuddles with 2 imminent arrivals!

I had horrendous, very sudden onset PND with DS1. I got help very quickly though as I've suffered depression in the past. I was adamant I wasn't doing it again until DS was 18 months when suddenly it was like a switch went on & having another became all encompassing.

There's a 2.7 year gap between my two and yes PND did come back. It was more slow in onset this time but I'm still struggling and it is hard. But I wouldn't be without my two little boys for anything, we take things slowly and day to day.

I'm starting to get broody again but I know another would be a disaster. I think it's more a reaction to knowing we're not having another (we only ever wanted 2) that's making me feel this way rather than a real desire for a baby.

Sorry, waffling on now a bit. It's a hard decision to make.

BotBotticelli Thu 02-Jan-14 20:55:45

Thank you all for sharing your stories and being honest about a difficult subject....interesting that around half of you decided not to go back there again, and the other half of you did go on to have another one.

I think I need to give it another year, take the pressure off myself, and just decide not to think about it until DS1 is two years old or something? Maybe I will feel differently about things then. I am in my early 30s so have a bit of time to play with so there's no real need to 'hurry' i guess...

Picked DS up from nursery this evening and the big wrinkle-nosed, toothy grin he gave me and the way he leapt up into my arms gave me a feeling of total joy and happines that I haven't really felt that often since he was born, so maybe things are heading in the right direction...

StickChildrenTwo Thu 02-Jan-14 22:47:44

My first DS was just like yours OP. He screamed and grizzled through his first 18 months. He was highly strung and just terribly unhappy despite numerous trips to GP, paediatrician and Cranial Osteopath. Nothing cheered him up, except time. I was anxious and depressed and just so incredibly worn out by him, BUT he became such an amazing, loving, chatty little boy that we did go there again (Took us 4 years to pluck up the courage though!)

The way we saw it is I knew we wanted another but I allowed myself time to accept that it may well be hard work and miserable for the first year or so. We weighed up the pros and cons and decided that another baby and a sibling for our DS was ultimately more important long term. Throughout my second pregnancy I told myself it may not be the beautiful experience I had expected first time round. I told myself not to buy into the fairy tail of cooing, smiley babies and gentle, blissful walks in the sunshine with a happy baby. I went into it with my eyes open but secretly hoping for the fairy tail I felt we'd been robbed of first time round. (Not that DS1 wasn't worth the year and half of hell, believe me he was worth every second of worry and depression but it was so so hard on us and our marriage!) Anyway, DS2 was born 4 years after DS1.

It was just as hard as I had remembered it being with DS1. He once again was a miserable baby with intolerances and other health problem requiring him to have lots of physiotherapy which he screamed his way through every session sad . I did develop PND again and I was pretty miserable for over a year. However, DS2 has just turned 2 and I can honestly say (whilst he's still hard work sometimes) things have got easier and I now see the benefits of having the two of them. He is adorable and funny and just absolutely scrummy. DS1 adores his brother and it was the best thing we could have done.

My advice would be to be realistic. Take your time and really work out what you think and believe to be the best for you and your family. Don't feel pressured into having another if you don't feel able to do it again. Prepare for the worst but over all whatever your decision know it will come right in the end.

Good luck with whatever you decide. x

SuperDuperTrooper Fri 03-Jan-14 09:50:51

OP those feelings of love and happiness do become more frequent and are so special for us PND sufferers. My DS is 2 now and he is, for the most part, an absolute joy. I'm still left with high anxiety, rather than depression, but I suffered this from time to time before having a child. The PND just rooted it a bit more deeply I think which is why I'm still struggling with it.

I'm 38 now so don't have so much time to play with which is why I felt the need to make a decision on this now to take the pressure off me. The should I/shouldn't I debate played in my head every day and wasn't helping my anxiety. You are in a better position where time is on your side so waiting awhile to make this decision sounds like really good plan.

All the best and wishing you all a happy (and easier!) new year!

IHaveSeenMyHat Fri 03-Jan-14 14:20:17

What a great thread. I also struggled with anxiety and PND for a long time. My DD was/is a high maintenance child and I still feel guilty when I say I haven't found motherhood nearly as enjoyable as I thought I would. I'm also a SAHM which doesn't help in that respect!

DD is 2.3 now and I'm still a long way from considering a second child. Sometimes I wonder: do I really want one or do I just feel like we should? That might be the fear talking though, the idea of suffering another SPD-ridden pregnancy plus having a demanding child to look after and having to suffer that (potentially quite awful) small baby stage makes me want to run for the hills screaming grin

I'm not sure what will make us want to take the plunge, age possibly (I'm 33). I am quite prepared for another less-than-idyllic experience, but, like another poster said, having two actual children will be worth it. Shame it takes a few years to reach that point.

violator Fri 03-Jan-14 15:01:12

IHaveSeenMyHat, PND does make you question things you'd always taken for granted, I never imagined having one child. There was always two in my imaginary life.
Life you though, it's not just the fear of it coming back that scares me. It's the realisation that I would be having another because it's the "done thing" and what I thought I would do before I became a mother.
I'm certain now that if we ever decide to try again it will be because we really, really want another child and not because we feel we "should" provide a sibling to DC or because it's what everyone else is doing.

alicemac83 Fri 03-Jan-14 15:17:24

I feel excactly the same as you OP, I had a horrible time first time around, and I remember vowing never, ever to put myself through that again. Now my DD is 3 and absolutely lovely. She's like a little friend, and I genuinely enjoy her company. She's started asking why she hasn't got a sister (she is adamant she doesn't want a brother!) and I've started to think about giving her a sibling. I am terrified of going through PND again, but I've been given lots of advice - ie, start counselling before the birth, have a support network in place on the assumption it will come back, and write yourself a letter reminding yourself you will get better.
I had trouble BFeeding and feeling intense guilt when I bottle fed which I think was a trigger - so I've told myself not to beat myself up next time around. I'm also hoping that being mentally prepared for it might keep it at bay.
Best of luck xxx

ediblewoman Fri 03-Jan-14 16:26:51

I had PND with DS (also spectacularly bad at being honest about how I was feeling/asking for help so didn't get help until DS was 13months by which time I had returned to work three days which really helped).

I had therapy when DS was about 2, I paid as NHS only offered CBT which I felt wouldn't help me deal with the underlying issues. I had six sessions, looong conversations with DH about what I needed from him and DD was born when DS was 2 years 9 months.

On paper DD should have tipped me back into PND, premature, crash C section, stay in hospital, difficulty establishing breastfeding due to jaundice and prematurity.... and it was fine. I think the routine I had established with DS meant I didn't have those feelings of isolation that had hit me first time around, DH was amazing and all in all it was the best decision ever.

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