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How do I tell my OH I don't want children?

(117 Posts)
lollydollydrop Fri 10-May-13 14:51:31

Hi all,

I am looking for some advice from others and especially those who have experienced similar to me as I am curious as to the outcome.

Basically, me and OH are just turning 28, been together 4 years and living together 2.5, friends since we met at Uni aged 18. I got pregnant 4 months into our relationship, and ended up having an early abortion as everything was wrong at the time- new relationship, living 200 miles apart at the time at other ends of country, but more importantly I was struggling with bulimia after recovering from anorexia some 4 years previous. The termination was the worst time of my life- and the 1.5 years after that when I became quite depressed and obsessed with baby names..I became very broody perverse enough, and always thought that one day, when the timing was just right we would have a family.

However, fast forward to today, I have a 2 year old nephew and 5 year old niece who I adore, but I do not think I want my own anymore. I just keep thinking about the lifestyle change and what my life would be like either way, and I see more negatives of having children than I do positives? I see myself happier without- I think. In part its to do with wanting to have freedom to do my own thing and earn my own money, I have never been very independant and struggled for money with low paid jobs, but I am due to graduate with a masters in December and I want a new life for myself. One where I can afford to treat myself to a nice moisturizer or theatre ticket when I want/need it, instead of waiting for a birthday to come round or my OH to treat me. I want a career. And I dont want to be an 'older' mum. I will be starting my career at 29 probably, and kids seem incompatible with that.

Also, with my history of eating disorders I cannot cope if I am unable to exercise. Atm I go to the gym 3 times a week, sometimes 4, sometimes 2 depending on uni deadlines. It kills me if I have 3 gym free days in a row- 2 is all I am comfortable with. Please dont tell me I need counselling- had that for 5.5 years with a consultant psychologist and I have reduced exercise from its worst at 5 hours a day, before and after every meal, to 3 times a week. I am ok with that.

But I want be ok at not doing that with children around.

I worked out that, to get my pre preg figure back I could exercize whilst new born was sleeping and should be back in shape within 12 months, but for the 2nd DC I would need the gap to be quite short so that the first will still be taking afternoon naps whilst I exercize in the lounge. See, its very important to me. But what happens when they are at school? They have to be up at 7am to get to school and me work- I cant go gym before then- and after work if I go to the gym by the time I'm home I will have missed out their evening meal and they will be in bed! Plus my relationship will suffer.

I am focusing on the exercise and weight as its so important to me and I cant change. I have had to miss the gym for numerous days lately and its made me wonder how I would cope with kids. I dont know if I could

Has anyone had experience of a. telling your oh you dont actually want children (oh really really wants them) and how did he react? and b. how on earth do you fit formal exercise into a daily routine with children? When I think about the future, all I can see is me being utterly miserable and trapped (oh, and fat to boot). Exercise helps with my mood, and I use it instead of anti-deps. Also with my weight as I now tend to overeat, especially when emotional or stressed.

Realise this is completely selfish and prepared for abuse, also not gone into much detail about OH which I will later, for now I have to shoot but thanks for listening xx

scottishmummy Sat 11-May-13 21:32:03

it's not a criticism,it's an observation wholly derived from your posts
majority other women don't get anxious if they can't exercise
recovery is a journey,it's not a straight progression,well done on your recovery

lollydollydrop Sat 11-May-13 21:38:38

I do tend to put on weight very quickly/easily. Not sure if its related to a change in metabolism post ED or what, but I would rather control my weight through healthy exercise then mess up my relationship with food. Aint no way I'm going down that path again! It also acts as a bit of an anti-depressant for me, I dont really like the thought of being on them, exercise is natural happy high!

kickassangel Sat 11-May-13 22:32:15

You sound very analytical and meticulous. This has probably helped you greatly in your studies, but can create conflict in relationships. Other people don't fit into set behaviors, they mess them up, particularly children.

I don't think you're in a position yet to make this decision. You need to get work sorted out, then see how you feel.

No-one can predict the future, but you sound like you want it all laid out on a spreadsheet and organized. How do you cope when the unexpected happens? Because the more people that you have in your life, the more that unexpected things happen. All the planning in the world won't help if you have a dc with special needs, or you or OH get sick, unemployed etc.

For all the practical concerns you raise there are possible answers, BUT that does not matter at all if emotionally you can't cope with a curve ball being thrown at you. Children are a life time of drama and curve calls. I think you need to get to a place emotionally where you can deal with things disrupting your life.

Fwiw, your mother sounds quite controlling, and there are red flags about your OH which you should look at. If you had people close to you who were less didactic you might find that you felt more in control and able to cope.

duffybeatmetoit Sat 11-May-13 23:24:55

From the other perspective. I was with a guy from your age until I hit 40 when we split. He and I both hummed and haa'd about having kids although he was always more anti than me. We parted as we wanted different things (not specifically over children). His big regret was that he felt he'd robbed me of my chance to have a child and that he should have decided earlier.

I should add that a decade on we are both now parents of young children and still friends. His is a new arrival and of course men do have more time on their side to have a change of heart.

allaflutter Sat 11-May-13 23:49:17

not being deliberately negative, but all the -pro advice centres on help being available from OP's partner. Well to be realistic lots of marriages end in divorce and reading Mn, men can and do leave sometimes when their dc are litle. OP need to consider how her life woulds be with dc but without help from OH (and anyone can get ill etc), as well as how it would be with OH being supportive. It also hugely depends whether she has helpful family/DM around. But if she is already anxious, she should take all the outcomes into account, incl being a single/divorced mum - unless her career is going to be so well paid that she can have lots oh hired help.

allaflutter Sat 11-May-13 23:52:32

little

cory Sat 11-May-13 23:58:56

kickassangel seems to be having the same thoughts as me

the main worry that comes across to me is that you seem to have a very strong need to have your life planned and controlled- so it's a question of how you would cope if having a child throws something unexpected at you

this is very well put: "Children are a life time of drama and curve calls."

in my case the curve ball was finding out that dd was disabled and would probably always struggle with ill health; my plans for a career and a healthy outdoors lifestyle have needed some pretty drastic
revision, but emotionally I am more or less still standing

of course nobody could be expected to like this kind of situation but the question you do have to ask yourself is "would I muddle through or would it totally throw me?"

or any one of another possible dozen scenarios: an unusually clingy and anxious child, a child with some behavioural problems, a child with mild learning difficulties

allaflutter Sun 12-May-13 00:04:09

exactly, cory, people who like to plan and control (and in OP's case also her weight), are not best candidates for being parents, especially of more than one child. I've mentioned that you can't REALLY rely on your partner, or his good health and presence, but of course, it goes the same with your dc (health). Glad to hear you aer strong emotionally, you sound happy.

allaflutter Sun 12-May-13 00:05:33

or rather plan and control EMOTIONALLY, not in a detached way like some - which would be fine. Obv verydisorganised people would struggle with dc too.

eccentrica Sun 12-May-13 10:54:20

I agree with those talking about control. I think that's reflected in your unwillingness to hear anything you don't already agree with on this thread. Earlier you wrote:

"I think I know I would be a great mum; I am creative, fun, caring, and insightful, and when we go to visit my niece and nephew, it's me they run straight to with outstretched arms squealing, not their blood uncle! I am fair with them, can diffuse conflict, challenge their learning, encourage imaginative and creative play and have took it upon myself to the their champion of literacy and as such buy them endless books."

Being a good mum is far more difficult than this, and far more to do with being able to put your children first and yourself second - perhaps not 100% of the time, but at least some of the time. That can be very difficult. It's really not about how 'creative' and 'fun' and 'literate' you are - it's not something you can control through a list of tick boxes.

I have a PhD and it has precisely zero relevance to my parenting skills (or lack of!). Parenting is about giving, giving your love and time to someone else, even when you're ill, exhausted, pissed off, preoccupied, angry. That can be almost impossible at times. It is a lot more difficult than buying books or 'encouraging creative play'. Those are the things that matter in a babysitter or childcare provider, not a mother.

specialsubject Sun 12-May-13 11:02:34

it is perfectly ok not to want children, for whatever reason. It isn't compulsory. Some of the things you want in your life don't go with having kids - and that's fine. You would be wrong to have kids and resent them.

it would be unrealistic to assume that your body would ever be quite the same after a pregnancy. That doesn't mean you would need to be fat.

Your post indicates that you are very far from well, with this 'need' to go to the gym. Do you ever get outside for activity? Do you have any other hobbies?

anyway, make sure your partner knows sooner rather than later.

good luck.

whitefeathers Sun 12-May-13 12:02:57

Your posts are absolutely overwhelming OP, I'm sure you're a really lovely person (you strike me as being sweet, positive and enthusiastic - the kind of person I'd like to be friends with) but I would really really worry about the emotional well-being of any potential child. Children deserve better than this sprawling mass of contradictions and control issues (and the finance thing with DP isn't healthy either)

You come across as much younger than your 28 years (which could because of the time you said you lost to the worst of your ED), your posts are huuugely self-centric but that's good. Enjoy that, spend the next few years being self-indulgent, revel in your freedom, your career etc, enjoy all the things you missed out on. Put the issue of kids on the backburner, you don't seem ready to be a parent.

quietlysuggests Sun 12-May-13 12:44:00

OP you clearly want to be a parent. You have put so much thought into it already!
But you are also clearly in a panic.
ED are all about control, but having babies is not a time when most of us can stay in control of everything. Ususally we learn to let go and not sweat the small stuff.
Continue to work on yourself, when the time comes you will be ready.

Oh and I think you are only going out with this man, so yes of course you should pay your own rent. Its not typical for people to "support" their girlfriends through further education it really isn't, he sounds like you hardly have to put your hands in your pockets when you are with him so I would not accuse him of being stingy.

I would suspect that that is just more indicative of you having rigid ideas of whats right/wrong.
Hes just your boyfriend.
You are just 28.
Your ED is not gone away.
Yet.

Marthanoooo Sun 12-May-13 16:28:09

Hi lolly. I have to join everyone who thinks you are still in the grip of your ED... Although hugely recovered and well done for that!! But you could be even more recovered to a point where the ED doesn't rule your life anymore. I am saying this too as someone who had EDs for years.

I think the point that was made upthread about trying to give up exercise for a couple of weeks would expose yourself to the extent you are still addicted. I hope you will be able to work on this... Once you have overpowered your addictions you will be really free and be amazed at the opportunities open to you.

Also another vote for possibly having children much later. I know many women who had kids in their mid to late thirties.. Enjoy the rest of your twenties. Go on find yourself (even more than you have already).

Hope this helps flowers

CrimsonRed Mon 13-May-13 05:46:56

H Lollydollydrop,

I thought I may be able to help you by sharing some of my experiences.

I too suffered from EDs and knew that having children and an ED wouldn't be managable.

For a long time I didn't think I wanted children. My Mum never did and accidentially feel pregnant with me and my oldest brother (middle child planned). She always told me to 'live my life', children can wait.

At around 28/ 29 yrs I started to 'think' about kids. But still my head wasn't sorted out and I did not want to bring kids into a situation where their mother couldn't give them what they needed.

So I was at my wits end. I NEEDED to be normal (not just for my future children, but for myself), to get rid of my demons and change my inner dialogue. So I did intensive counselling and everything got a lot worse before it got a lot better. I had to talk to all the people in my life who I had been 'keeping secrets' from. I gave myself permission to get better. As difficult as it was, it helped in the end.

At the age of 30yrs old, I finally decided that I was ready for kids. Then my DH had some medical issues and we had to wait another couple of years. Then I had fertility issues, so we waited another 1.5yrs. I finally had my first child at the age of 34yrs.

I was ready. Yes, I miss sleep ins. And yes, I find it hard to fit in exercise. But, in my experience, having a child has made me less self absorbed. And I cannot believe I spent so many years indulging my own percieved 'issues'. What a waste of life.

I wouldn't rush to tell your husband you don't want children. Keep up the counselling and be honest with yourself. Is there more you can do to REALLY sort your head out? I think deep down you probably do want kids but don't know how you will manage it. Give yourself some more time, you're just not ready yet.

HTH smile

whitefeathers Mon 13-May-13 08:41:32

Excellent post Crimson

GettingStrong Mon 13-May-13 11:14:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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