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Coming to terms with not having any more children...

(24 Posts)
fourforurtwo Thu 02-May-13 21:40:28

Probably in the wrong place but didn't know where to post this.

I had always thought I'd have/planned to have, certainly for the last 10 years, one more DC. Whilst I love the DC I already have dearly, I felt my family wasn't quite complete. I had very easy pregnancies and births, and adore babies, even the sleepless nights didn't worry me because I have odd sleeping patterns anyway so don't find them too hard.

At 30, when I realised that I wanted another, I thought I had loads of time. 2 failed relationships and 10 years on, I think time has probably run out. I have symptoms of early menopause - most women in my family have gone through the menopause completely by early/mid 40s - and (although I haven't been tested) I suspect my fertility is low.

I am seeing someone, but it is very early days and even if that lasts, any discussion about starting a family would be a very long way off (and probably too late for me, if it isn't already). Plus we have 6 DC already between us, so even making the huge assumption I could still get pregnant, and the even huger one that things last and our relationship goes down that route, financially and practically another child may not be possible.

Although I think I have probably known this on some level for a while, the more time passes, the more I find myself thinking about it, and the sadder I feel. I think I need to come to terms with the idea of a future without one more baby (because the overwhelming likelihood is that I won't have one), but how do I do that? Also not helped by the fact a lot of people I work with, and a big group of my friends, are all 5-10 years younger than me, and pregnant/have small DC.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 22:02:07

I think it's probably like any form of grief - you have to give it time.

But it's ok to be sad about it even if it's a totally impractical dream. You're letting go of something that is dear to you, and that hurts. No shame in acknowledging that.

It may be worth asking yourself whether you want a relationship or a child more, because there is always the route of donor sperm if you feel this a dream you simply cannot let go. I think it likely your current relationship wouldn't survive that though. Have you spoken to him about it?

Lovingfreedom Thu 02-May-13 22:07:13

Sorry this is a bit of a non issue IMO. You've got six kids between you already? Enjoy the ones you've got and with this many kids you are almost bound to become a granny at some point. If you have a baby with your new partner, great. If not well...you've got a lovely big family already.

looseleaf Thu 02-May-13 22:19:44

Loving Freedom it clearly is an issue for the OP, so i'd say it therefore is an issue? we're not talking about how you would feel in the same situation.
I only comment as have a good friend in a similar situation who has 2 amazing boys and I too couldn't understand why that wasn't enough but I listened and do think it's personal to everyone and a very big deal for my friend who'd imagined having more children but hasn't .
OP I do feel for you and I feel complete with our 2 children but even I will feel sad when realise menopause might not be far off as it closes a door I guess

fourforurtwo Thu 02-May-13 22:27:42

I did give some thought to the donor sperm route (I have a friend who is currently TTC doing this) but there are a few reasons why I wouldn't do it. I could attempt it though - the fact I wouldn't maybe means my desire for another baby isn't overreaching? Hadn't thought of it that way before.

We haven't really spoken about children, like I say it is really early days. The DC are aged 7-17, although most are in their teens. 4 of the 6 are his, if things last then yes between us it's a huge family already, but it is early days, so no guarantees there.

fourforurtwo Thu 02-May-13 22:31:11

I do feel as though it's closing a door. It's that thing of thinking you always have time - and now I realise maybe I don't. I am honestly grateful for the DC I have though, but I had them relatively young, when I didn't have much money, or time, and I think part of me wanted another chance to do things differently...sounds horribly selfish I know.

lemonstartree Thu 02-May-13 23:16:12

not selfish at all. Sounds like you are a thoughtful, intelligent woman who would just like another baby. Nothing wrong with that... but if its not right at the moment, don't do it ( I know you won't) and maybe try to think that if it is meant to be, it will be??

buildingmycorestrength Fri 03-May-13 06:37:06

I had to come to terms with this a couple of years ago, for different reasons. It is hard.

For me, it helped to untangle all the associated issues about aging and being the centre of attention when pregnant, stuff that wasn't really conscious at first but definitely there.

Still sad, but no longer broody. sad

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 03-May-13 07:39:48

Have you considered that the way you're feeling may be displaced sadness over something else? You say you love babies which is fair enough but, with six children already, what is it you're really looking for by giving birth to a seventh? Recapturing lost youth? Feeling useful? Feeling included with your younger friends?

Perhaps, rather than another child, you need someone to help you see the advantages of being an older woman?

buildingmycorestrength Fri 03-May-13 07:59:02

Cogito exactly, that's what helped me in the end. Realising I was sad about those things which a baby...symbolised. And then realising a baby isn't actually a symbol but whole human being that keeps you awake!

I felt better after a while when I realised that although having a baby would temporarily get me some attention and all the rushes of overwhelming baby-love so on, not having a baby would let me do things for me which might be creative or exciting in a different way.

Plus I might get to sleep, lose the weight, think about my career (ish), have a slightly tidy house, etc.

But then I got sucked into Mumsnet again and spend all my time doing this now. grin. Plus, thinking about it now I am still sad. It all just goes so ,much faster than you think.

Anyway, hope you are okay, OP.

fourforurtwo Fri 03-May-13 08:29:45

Cogito, only 2 of the 6 children are mine. I honestly always imagined I would have a 3rd, I've never pictured my future without one more baby... am struggling with ageing. I don't look my age at all, but of course I am. I suppose losing my fertility is an inescapable sign of ageing, however young I may look on the outside.

I am lucky, I have a nice home, good career (I have always worked ft so now, because I had my DC young, I am actually in a good position work-wise. My friends who have DC my age are all adamant they don't want any more children, and love their freedom. But because of working etc, I've never felt tied by my DC.

I think perhaps there is an element of feeling useful etc - in another few years, all being well, both my DC will be away at university, I don't know what I will do with my time.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 03-May-13 08:42:44

I'm in a similar position. Always imagined myself having a football team of kids but made some bad choices of men, only managed one (lovely) DS entirely by accident and now I'm well and truly middle-aged... C'est la vie Best laid plans of mice and men and all that.

'Feeling useful' is a huge driver of human existence. We all need a purpose and we all need to feel fulfilled. If not knowing what to do with your independent time is the part of your life that's missing then perhaps the way forward is to tackle that specifically and think of other, age-appropriate ways to engineer it that don't involve pinning your hopes on another child

ElectricSheep Fri 03-May-13 08:51:59

in another few years, all being well, both my DC will be away at university, I don't know what I will do with my time.

I wonder if your sadness and potential broodiness are perhaps more about making the transition from the all-consuming phase of motherhood to being a mother with adult children iyswim?

It is scary. My DC have really dominated and shaped my whole life for almost 35 years. Now, I have the prospect of being able to choose what I do, where I go, my future. That's a big part, for me, of wanting to hark back to the experiences that I enjoyed as a younger woman of having babies.

I also went through the most accute broodiness for about 2 years and if I could have had a baby then I definitely would have. I seriously considered conceiving with a younger male friend. In the end the desire passed and on the whole I don't regret not having more dc and being tied to the same sort of life for another 20 years.

I haven't really embarked on my new sort of life yet smile But I'm working on my plans!

fourforurtwo Fri 03-May-13 12:40:00

Have been thinking about this some more. I don't think I know how to be a parent to adult children, I have lived almost all my adult life without my own parents, and so I don't have any sort of template to go on. Having another baby now(ish) would keep me in that phase of having little DC and a sense of purpose which I don't feel I have otherwise.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 03-May-13 13:16:02

Then you urgently need a purpose. A long-term goal. Could be learning a new skill, changing career, volunteering in your community.... there's a host of stuff that is either fun to do, rewarding to do or both. I was talking to someone last week about a colleague who recently retired and has taken the whole thing very badly. He never made plans for retirement, thought he'd be young and dynamic for ever and is totally at a loss filling his days. Same kind of thing.

Mumsyblouse Fri 03-May-13 13:55:16

I have also felt the same, just one more. But funnily enough although at times I have really thought about it a lot, and cried over a lot of episodes of OBEM, I finally feel ok about it (I'm in my early-forties) and am starting to see the benefits of being fully available for my two existing children, who seem to need me just as much as they get older as in the toddler days.

What I'm trying to say is that it is natural often to feel sad at the ending of our reproductive lives, but that this is also a natural stage, and sometimes these things are a little less hurtful as time passes.

lookslikewemadeit Fri 03-May-13 16:17:31

I had an operation when I was 36 which meant I couldn't have any more dc, so I can your sadness. It's something that took a year for me to come to terms with, especially - as you say, you're often surrounded by friends with young children. I already had two teenagers but it was still hard to close that chapter in my life.

I dealt with it by throwing myself into other activities, there were a lot of things I could suddenly do when the dcs became more independent - I took up a Master's, learned an instrument and took up a new sport (which I now compete in). When they left for university I made the most of my free time to go travelling. My relationship with the dc has changed, we are all adults now but of course they still need advice and (sometimes) a bit of a nag!

I have a lot more friends now who are child-free, either younger than me or who have never had dc. There is a whole social world out there of people who have freedom to do whatever they like most nights and I find I relate more to them now, than my old friends who are still tied down with young dc.

fourforurtwo Fri 03-May-13 16:41:52

I do need to think of other things to do. Its difficult though because at the moment my life is still very busy with work, home and DC. So I don't feel as though I have much free time. But that will change in the next few years so - in the absence of a baby - I need to think of stuff I can do. Not sure what yet tbh. I am not a volunteering sort, I don't have many interests. I'm sure there is something its just knowing what.

Shellywelly1973 Fri 03-May-13 16:57:25

Its interesting as to why any women would really want more then 1 or 2 dc especially as we have more choices nowadays. I say that as a mother of 5. Dc range from 23-4yrs.

I've posted this week about the desire i have for another child as its very unlikely i will have anymore. Im in the situation of knowing i need to separate from my partner but if i do, more dc are highly unlikely at my age.

Personally, i found the suggestions of liking the attention uncomfortable. I am very private & found any attention whilst pregnant intrusive.
The idea of filling my time as the other children grow up also dosnt apply as i have a Ds with SN who is unlikely ever to live independently.
Studying? I did a law degree in my late 20's as a hobby.
Career? Again v.limited due to Ds but i do work. Many people would love my job, ticks lots of boxes but to me, its a convenient job.

Today, i realised if i could chose a baby or a partner, the baby would win! I do not know why i feel the need for another child, infact i wish it would go away...

PicardyThird Fri 03-May-13 17:45:23

I'm 36, have two dc, whom I had interspersed with four non-consecutive miscarriages, and have this week almost certainly had my fifth (missed mc). After my fourth mc last year I received a diagnosis, but the aspirin and progesterone didn't help this time.

I've been spending a lot of time thinking about it being just the four of us permanently. Dc are 5 and nearly 8, and pretty much from dc2's birth I assumed no. 3 would be coming along one day, but for the first few years we weren't in any hurry. Things are obv different now, of course.

There are heaps of reasons why the sensible thing to do would be to call it a day and enjoy life without nappies, sleepless nights etc. But there is something that overrides that. It's partly a biological urge - I'm clearly still fertile (this conception took us 4 cycles, the longest it's ever taken) and regular and feel ready for a pregnancy and baby. But there's something else, as well, a longing for another baby that just is.

I don't have the answer to it, and obviously the miscarriages probably give this a bit of a different context, but I do very much understand and think this is something that probably can't be rationalised away. I can certainly offer a lot of empathy.

ElectricSheep Sat 04-May-13 13:59:41

On Picardy, I'm so sorry for your loss <<hugs>> Hope you're ok.

I understand the longing for another, particularly after mc. It is very very strong. My acute 2 years of broodiness was following a mc and it was very hard to get through without a pg. But it did pass after that time thank god.

But whatever age you are and how ever many Dc you have, the end of the repro years does at some point have to be faced. I suppose my feeling was that I didn't want to have more DC for a relatively fleeting feeling of longing when it is a 20+ year commitment. There has to be more to life than children, surely? Perhaps nothing as all-consuming or important, but something we can enjoy and feel satisfied by?

<<drifts off humming Butterflies tune>>

perfectstorm Sat 04-May-13 14:43:34

I know how you feel. I always imagined a large family, but after wasting several years in an abusive relationship by the time I married I was 31. I have 1 son and had an ectopic last year. I'm now 39, and my mother went through the menopause mid-40s. I just am starting to accept that it may not be on the cards for us, which is kind of heartbreaking. I try to focus on the good stuff - lovely child, lovely husband, good friends, good life in general really - but it is hard. It's hard. I think it will always be one of those aspects to life you mourn a little. I'm just trying not to allow it to damage the happiness I do have.

I'm a little helped by 2 friends on IVF. I have my son, and it feels like a salutary reminder that not everyone is as lucky. But it isn't always salutary enough, and it can still hurt that I only have the one chick. It feels like someone is missing, crazy as that sounds.

perfectstorm Sat 04-May-13 14:44:12

Picardy I am so sorry. I send love.

fourforurtwo Sat 04-May-13 21:23:24

So sorry for all of you, I have been lucky I know, pregnant twice (both accidents, neither any attempt at TTC) and 2 DC.

My image of the future, which I have held for the past 10 years, always involved a happy relationship, and another DC. I never thought of one without the other. I never had a serious relationship pre-DC, perhaps that is one of the reasons why I struggle to imagine a life without children (plus not having my parents around, so also no idea what you 'do' as a couple when children are grown...)

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