Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
How do I tell my OH I don't want children?(117 Posts)
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
Is he under the impression you do want children?
Sit down with him and just tell him. If its a good relationship he will listen and you will talk about it. Thisis just too important to pussy foot about - he may really want children, be indifferent, or share your views.
It seems a shame that you have had counselling and feel you have no benefit and 'can't change' as the exercise thing does not sound to me very emotionally healthy for you and I suspect is getting in the way of more than just children.
It is perfectly possible to still be 'you' and have time for yourself with children, it helps if you are organised and have a supportive partner.
If you don't want children, that is perfectly fine, it is not compulsory. Just be clear and open with yourself and your partner about reasons why not.
It's ok to not want to have kids, no matter what the reason.
However, as you have realised its not fair to keep that decision/realisation from a partner. So how to tell him?
You could wait until he mentions kids in passing, and just blurt it out. Though its probably better to actually plan to tell him and work out what to say.
Have you ever talked about children? Do you have a feeling about whether he wants them or not?
I think there are a few different issues intertwined here.
Firstly, I think that beginning a career at 29 is not a reason not to have children. I graduated my MA in 2012 at age 33 and so I'm only just beginning my career now. We plan to start trying for kids in 2-3 years time - ok, so we won't be especially young parents but neither will we be old fogies! If you did want to have kids then I see no reason not to do it based on your age.
Secondly, with the exercise, I think its a case of "where there's a will there's a way". If you want something enough then you'll find time to fit it in. Surely your OH could do the school run on certain days or manage the childcare so that you can fit it in. A partnership should be about compromise and so both of you would need to work together to find a balance.
It feels somewhat as though you aren't saying that you don't want kids, but rather that you don't think they will fit in to your life. Personally I think that they are pretty different issues.
I think it would be good to talk to your partner about the possibility of not having kids. See how he feels about it. If it is a deal breaker to him then it is only fair that he gets to make that decision in an informed way. And the same for you. Or maybe it will lead to a discussion about how you could adjust your lives to enable you to have kids and also to meet your other needs.
Life doesn't suddenly stop because you have kids, and neither should it. I know loads of people who manage to maintain their jobs, hobbies etc as well as give plenty of love and attention to their kids.
I would think about what you and your OH would like in an ideal world (not what you think is practical) and then look at how you can make that happen.
You need to talk about this, and I mean really talk. I didn't want kids and was open and honest with my dh when he proposed. I basically gave him a free pass to back out. He said he was ok with it, but he wasn't. It nearly cost us our marriage. Ironically I changed my mind at 39 and have just had a little girl. I couldn't be happier. Yes it's relentless, but there is nothing like the love you feel for your child. No one can explain it to you.
Incidentally I still exercised when pregnant and stayed fit and healthy. I walked out of the hospital a size 8 everywhere except obviously round my stomach. 8 weeks later that's flat too, and no I didn't starve myself, exercise madly, or anything else. You can have kids and keep your fitness.
If you don't want children, you simply don't have to. It is a choice.
There will be plenty of people prepared to tell you it's the best thing since sliced bread and some (admittedly fewer) others who tell you if they had their time over again they would choose not to have kids.
There are some people who cope well and find life barely changes, others for whom life completely changes. You can see that on any given day by reading some of the threads on MN.
At the end of the day, you have to discuss this with your OH. And if, as you say, he really really wants children, then you have to let him go, I'm afraid and let him find someone with that same desire. It's not an area for compromise.
I think you should shift the focus of children to your relationship with food and exercise, if I'm honest.
I think you do just have to sit down and say it - obviously as he's known you so long he knows your issues?
You could of course also just have one child, talk to DH about the fact you want to go back to work full time after maternity leave and childcare will be 50/50 or that he can take the lion's share if he prefers (you are in a strong position to emphasise you expect him to take an equal if not leading role) and you can exercise at weekends and on Wednesday evening while your OH looks after the child, and accept missing bedtime that day, if you both want to find a compromise. I am not saying that is a good/ right or healthy choice, just that it could be an option if he really wants children and you really, really are sure he is the man for you and like children and would like one, but the exercise, career and money are the issues.
I do think if you were to have children you would have to get your head straight about not passing on your food and body image issues inadvertently - that for me would be the biggest reason you should be thinking hard! So many women who's issues have never got to such an extreme stage pass on such harmful attitudes on these topics - as you know real damage can be done!
I think that you still sound obsessed with exercise to the point where it's clouding other bigger issues in your life.
I'm not saying everyone must have children just because I liked it, but I will say that the love, fulfillment, joy, satisfaction and wonder of having children can never be matched by the freedom to stick with a zealous exercise regime.
- Mothers do get to gyms.
-You can also have a gym at home.
- I had my kids at 36 and 39.
MrTumbles - sorry but that is NOT a compromise. If one partner doesn't want children, and the other does, there is no compromise. Create a human life should be about two people who both WANT to do that.
OP, you say you think you don't want kids and it's probably highly likely you don't. This is what you say to your DH. You must be totally honest and say while you may change your mind, he must not rely on that and if you don't change your mind, he cannot throw this back in your face at a later date. He must then decide what is more important - his love for you and if that is enough, or his desire to have children.
Agreeing with others, why you don't want children is entirely personal to you as an individual and not for anyone else to judge. However, if you know your partner wants them, it is vital that you tell him clearly and soon. This is not something that you want any ambiguity hanging over. You don't want him to spend years trying to persuade you down a path you're not happy with. That would be cruel.
Is your OH even thinking about having children now? To me it sounds like you are maybe obsessing about this issue when it isn't a problem yet. At 28 it's not like he has to rush off and find someone to have his babies!
Just chill out and look after your immediate concerns. There's no need to feel you're pulling the wool over his eyes when it doesn't seem to be something that's even being discussed. You never know - maybe he changed his mind too. Let the topic come up when it happens organically, and then be honest. But of course, if you don't want to have a child don't have one. I can't near it when people say women should have a baby 'just in case' they regret it. It must be just as bad to have a child and then regret it daily for 8 years!
"There's no need to feel you're pulling the wool over his eyes when it doesn't seem to be something that's even being discussed. "
It may not have been discussed but what if it's assumed? It's pretty normal for couples who have been together 10 years to assume there will be children at some point in the future. Deliberate childlessness is a far less common outcome, let's be honest. Late twenties they're not kids out of school any more. OP has to at least check what he's thinking.
You do not have control over your eating disorder.
Is this ED really going to shape your whole life?
Isn't it worth tackling it more, again, further.
Well done on keeping it in check as you do currently, but you can aim for more.
Having a child may stress the ED, as would illness, infertility, money worries, job stresses etc
I hope your DH is aware of your ED, could you start to talk to him about it?
EDs are fatal illnesses for many, I know that, so if yours stops you from having a family, but leaves you alive, then maybe thats as much as you want to aim for,
But you can aim for more, to really kick it.
There are a few issues here and I think some very sensible comments have been made. Some of your reasoning sounds very obsessive about the exercise thing and what strikes me is that you are very vulnerable because of this, not just because of the child thing, but if you had an accident, or a job where it was hard to fit in or all these things. I do know someone who was anorexic and exercised obsessively her whole life, but unfortunately it was at the expense of close personal relationship, and of children- I think she was happy with her choices in so far as she could not see outside of them, but no, I don't think she attained any contentment whatsoever staying literally and metaphorically on the treadmill her whole life never daring to step off.
Does your partner know anything about your thoughts on children, or about how much your body issues are driving this? Of course you do not have to have children but you do need to talk with him, and sooner rather than later. You could have one child only, and many people do overcome a deep phobia to have them (e.g. people overcome fear of childbirth), but of course this is a deeply personal decision and you may not want to have children for other reasons anyway. But all this is a conversation for you and your husband, not perhaps all at once, and over time, and it may also change as you get into your thirties anyway as (some) people's feelings on having children do change over time.
And- I do have friends who have chosen to be childfree and really do enjoy their lives an enormous amount- but it's nice for it to be a choice and not something you are prevented from doing due to your other fears.
I think all of your reasons for not wanting children are totally valid, and if I had my time again I wouldn't have one. They are hard, hard work, you have to be very selfless and not really want a life for the first 5 years of each child's life, and that is very hard work.
I think separately from that, as others have said, the ED is still a big part of your life and I wouldn't contemplate having children while still in the grip of an ED. Lots of reasons, but mainly I wouldn't want them to pick up on stuff and develop one themself as a result of watching/learning from me.
Whether you decide to tackle the part the ED plays in your life currently if you don't have kids, well that's your personal choice and I won't attempt to nag you. If you are certain you don't want kids (and you sound bloody sensible to me) then for goodness sake tell your partner clearly and firmly and don't back down. I wanted and tried for kids and I still regret it.
OneMoreGo- you regret having your kids?
Chocs I'm sure she's not alone.
well it's clear to me that you're not ready NOW. i wasn't at 28 either. you've got a new career ahead, a change of your view of your life so far and a child would certainly put paid to that.
so i would tell him that. i do think you need to be totally honest about these things, sooner rather than later. i think most people assume that women want kids. just not true.
one last thing i'd say that having a child is so, so hard. but it is a long term investment the rewards of which are so great. not something you go into lightly, but also a decision that you're right to question every now and again.
I was not really ready at 28. My oldest was unplanned, and born when I had just turned 30.
I also think it sounds like your eating disorder is not under control. Your main focus seems to be on your body shape.
As for exercise? If you are fit, and it sounds like you are, you are probably going to be able to exercise for most of your pregnancy, and getting your pre baby body back will most likely happen within a few months, rather than a year.
My gym instructor was teaching ab attack classes and step until she was 8 months pregnant!
You can have children and exercise. You can wait until they are in bed and go to the gym/go for a run then or at weekends when you can share more of the childcare with your OH.
Having children is hard work- don't go into it lightly but equally don't rule it out if it's just your need for exercise that is getting in the way. There are ways round these things.
Don't necessarily think you'll put on loads of weight that will take ages to come off- it's not the same for everyone. In fact some people lose too much weight after pregnancy due to breastfeeding and not looking after themselves/ not having time to eat properly. It is important you recognise that your body will change and with your history you will need to make sure you do look after yourself properly if you do go ahead with a pregnancy. However, a lot of women love their pregnant bodies and do become more accepting of themselves after pregnancy.
But do not feel you have to have children anyway. You do have to put them first especially for the first few years and, although it is rewarding, you do have to make sacrifices and only you know if you can do that. Also being a parent is very stressful and ,if you are already an anxious person, you may find the mental side overwhelming at times.
Having children is not everything- mind you neither is having a career.
You need to do what is right by you in the end- but you do need to be honest with your OH as soon as possible and accept that this might result in the end of the relationship.
I wish you well.
you're not wrong in anyway to not want kids,you need to be clear to dh
you need to be transparent that its not something you desire at moment
be prepared he may leave you to be in relationship with woman who will have kids
My career was just getting into the swing at 28, I was having a ball socially and was adamant I was never having kids. I had my son at 34, and it really shocked everyone, they thought I never would. My career is still great.
You might feel like this now, you still might feel like this in 6, 8, 10 years time, but you are allowed to change your mind.
Your life, your body, your choice.
Not having children is an absolutely valid choice. However as others have touched upon it seems that exercise addiction has replaced the ed. I say this as someone who has been in residential treatment for an ed.
It is absolutely clouding your judgement on the children issue. I have lived with the fear surrounding addiction/control and it has ruined careers and relationships. I have put my life on hold because of my ed in the past. I am so relieved that I have a wonderful family now and it didn't destroy all my opportunities (although I live with it every day).
I hope you make the right decision eventually before you no longer have the choice and that you can make it free from the tyranny of addiction.
I am 42 and dont have kids. Never ever wanted them.
But as a poster said above, your reasons dont seem valid to me. I never justified it. If anybody asks (and boy do people ask). I just say I aren't interested. But I love kids. Other peoples that is
OP at 28 you are over thinking this. Focus on your health and addressing your ED. You are worrying about hypothetical problems raising hypothetical children.
The thing with having children is that it is unpredictable, you don't know what kind of mum you'd be or what kind of family you'd have until you do it and every child is different.
After DS1 I got fat and couldn't get much of anything done. After DS2, now 6 months old, I am out running every second evening and am shedding weight quickly.
You don't have to make this decision right now. If your OH wants to discuss it make it clear you aren't ready.
It's up to you whether you have children. I am no help with how to tell oh that you may not want them as only you know him well enough to know how to approach things.
I can, however, share my mil's story. She also suffered/suffers from anorexia- was hospitalised at 18. She didn't have periods for so long they said she was infertile. She had fertility treatment and went on to have 3 kids. She is still very slim and toned (size 6-8) at 66. She has always worked full time, and ended up as a single mum when her oldest was 6. She keeps slim and fit by walking- she has 2 dogs and takes them out twice a day for at least 45 minutes! And often over an hour. These walks tend to be a route march so keep her in great shape. When the kids were older and could be left/ were at swimming club/ gymnastics etc she did keep fit classes several evenings a week. She also cycled whenever she could.
In other words, it's doable, but may be easier if you change the sort of exercise you do. You can also buy running buggies and/or strap a baby to your front in a sling whilst walking everywhere.
Ultimately though, there is no rule that you MUST have children. Just don't rule it out because it may be hard to get to the gym. Think of all the options before deciding.
Congratulations on your academic success. How do you tell him? Quickly. If he wants children he needs to know what you are thinking. And you will probably have to tell him quite often - it took me three years to work out that my first husband really meant it when he said he didn't want kids.
I don't think the problem would be combining children with exercise (I think you could manage that with one child) but more about the factors that have caused the anorexia in the first place as these tend to become greatly magnified after childbirth for most women.
It is of course absolutely fine not to want children.
But the reasons you quote for not wanting them don't seem good. I second the post higher up that says you are not over the ED. If you are reasonably happy and functioning, then congratulations and feel proud of yourself for coming this far, it's a great accomplishment. But you sound as if you are willing to sacrifice motherhood for the sake of hanging on to the remnants of the ED. You can aim to make all the pieces of the jigsaw fit if you want to. You are still young enough to have a career, a good salary, and children, if the only thing that jeopardises those multiple aims is a fear of loss of control over body shape/exercising.
But you don't have to, and you don't have to decide yet either, for now you just need to be honest with dp and maybe have some searching discussions about your fear of not exercising and whether you choose to work on that? Good luck.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
You are absolutely entitled not to want children if that is what you have decided. But it is best to be absolutely honest in a serious relationship if your partner wants children. Otherwise it is terribly selfsih and unfair on the other person.
I was suffering from anorexia and bulimia and had a BMI of 16 when I got pregnant unexpectedly (age 29) in 2009. For the first few weeks I was still making myself sick and struggling with the realisation that I was gaining weight. Around 7 weeks I realised that I had to make a choice, either end the obsession with food/weight or have a termination. They are not compatible. you recognised this yourself.
In my case, I decided to continue the pregnancy and my relationship with food has improved beyond belief. I have not made myself sick once since then. I am now a healthy size 12+ with a BMI of 22, and have just got pregnant a second time.
I have to tell you that the way you are thinking about this, like trying to plan what time you can exercise once you've had two children (!!) when you haven't even got pregnant with the first yet, shows that your obsession with your weight and your body is totally out of proportion. There are SO many other things to consider, it's so much bigger and more important than that, and although you gesture to other issues, by the end of your OP it's clear that really it's the stuff about your body which you are obsessed by.
Unlike the people saying "you can exercise and have children", I am telling you that having a child is not compatible with having an eating disorder. Because it's not right to be so obsessed with something else, it is simply impossible to give your children the attention they need if you're constantly beating yourself up about not having exercised or about having eaten a biscuit six hours ago.
You are still young (although the people saying it's fine to wait until you're late 30s before starting to think of conceiving are out of step with biological reality) and I seriously think you need to address your obsession with exercise before you consider getting pregnant.
Thank you everyone for your helpful replies- and so quick too! Sorry I didnt mean to disappear, and I appreciate the opinions/advice. I will attempt to fill in the blanks as my original post was a bit rushed and so maybe comes across as a little immature and somewhat incomplete. Many of you made comments which hit the nail on the head.
It would probably help to know more about what has happened in the past, to understand the present and maybe future.
* The early termination* was such an awful, difficult time, and by no means an easy decision- I actually changed my mind and came away from the clinic when I was booked in for it, I couldn't go through will it. It felt amazing driving away with OH thinking that we had 'escaped' and were going to have a happy ending after all. Then I was sick in the car (I had TERRIBLE 'morning' sickness) and the gravity/reality of the situation hit me. I ended up back in the clinic a few days later when I realised that the reason I walked out first time wasnt really because I wanted a child, it was just because I didnt want to have to go through the procedure. My family (well, my mother) made it clear that they thought the idea of me having a baby was ridiculous. My mum was positively furious at me for getting pregnant- but I was 24!!!!!! It was a conversation/argument with her after the first visit to the clinic that prompted me to return- she made me feel like children would be a big mistake for me at the time, told me how hard it is etc etc and I just felt that i wasn't strong enough to go through it without her support. My OH's family bit their tongue as they are very polite, but I was completely embarrassed and mortified at a family dinner when I realised OH had told them all. His sister had a then 1.5year old daughter, and they let me and OH take her out in her pram to 'see what it was like'. At that time, it was scary!
So I ended up having the termination at 7 weeks, and it took me a looong time to get over it- I actually barely saw my mum afterwards because part of me felt angry at her, and my OH has always 'blamed' her for my changing my mind and going back to the clinic. True be told, it took me one and a half years to properly forgive her and become close to her again. Rightly or wrongly. The termination messed me up a bit, and I actually ended up going to a medium for a psychic reading and tarot reading a year later- half way through she asked me 'Did you have a mis-carriage or a termination at about 7-9 weeks? Because I can see a baby girl here, she's fine and your grandparents are looking after her'. Whether anyone else believes or not, this gave me some comfort. I also swore that I would never EVER go through a termination again, but this meant that I would only get pregnant when I was absolutely sure it was right and the right time. Our families reactions werent how I envisioned them. I felt ashamed. I want it to be such a joyous occasion, I want everyone to be crying with happiness!!! I feel like I would rather wait a bit 'too long' so that when it happens, both us and everyone we hold dear with also be longing for it to happen. I cant tell you how awful it is to tell your mum you are pregnant and to have the reaction I had. She said some truly awful things to me. I have forgotten them now but my OH said something about threatening to dis-own me (one time when she phoned me and was ranting about it, I put her on loud speaker so my OH could hear her horrible attitude and why I was sobbing my heart out). I think I have since discovered why my mum acted in this way- I was an unplanned pregnant. She had me when she was 31, but actually, she had decided she didnt want children, and I was an accident. 9 months later she got pregnant again, and then after her 2nd DC got pregnant a final time- but ended it with an abortion herself. I asked her a few weeks ago whether she regretted having children, or something along those lines, as I was trying to understand the pro's and con's, and she said 'Well, it wouldn't have ruined my life if I didnt have them'. I think I have taken that to mean she wouldn't have me if she had her time again. That makes me very sad.
Anyway, I vowed after my termination to do everything right for next time- if there was one- and also it sounds corny but I wanted to better myself (not referring to my ED specifically) out of respect for the memory of my unborn DC. Otherwise, I may aswell have had her. I need to make the life for the child i do have better than the life I would have been able to provide 4 years ago. If that makes sense.
Passing on ED to DC/My relationship with food To be honest I understand the concerns, but insinuations of passing on eating problems to a child anger me, as I am so so good with what I eat and extremely proud of myself. I would be able to set an excellent example for any children. I am an unfussy eater, and will try anything. I eat balanced, home cooked meals and ensure that I always eat three square meals a day, I never skip breakfast and am flexible in what I eat, I don't count calories or measure anything, I have snacks in-between meals if I am hungry, indulge my sweet tooth with a pudding if I fancy, organise packed lunches, treat myself at the weekend and dont feel guilty, join in with a bacon and egg sarnie just because its a lazy saturday morning and generally enjoy food, life and the 80:20 rule. I am more worried about my OH passing on unhealthy food habits- he Never ever eats breakfast (unless it bacon sandwiches at the weekend), and he is extremely faddy with food- for example he doesnt like eating anything the colour green, certain foods cant touch on the plate, other foods have to be all mashed up together (like mash and beans), jacket potatoes have to be sliced a certain way else he freaks out and he eats very very few fruit and vegetables, also not a very varied diet generally he would happily eat chicken/bacon/sweetcorn/cheese for every meal, if not the rest of his life!!! When he is difficult at the dinner table I do get annoyed, especially given my history as I think we should support each other to eat well, but also I am furious if he thinks he could carry on like that- as if kids arent fussy enough!!!!! I used to check the calorie content of everything, record it, restrict calories, ensure calories burned were more than calories consumed, never finished a meal vs bought food for binges, only bought diet food, purged etc etc. None of that now, you would never know I had any problem with food. I love food. My only issue with food arises when I am stressed out doing uni work at my desk, I do tend to get hungry and reach for the sweet/carby things. I also have a love/hate relationship with Christmas as it can feel like a free rein to binge- but i know this is a difficult time for many sufferers and recovered, and tend not to buy all the extra Christmassy food for our house- theres only two of us and I would prob end up eating it all, I have a bigger appetite than my OH. I just save all the nut and choc tins for my mums!
I would hope that I could pass on the importance of being fit, healthy and active to my kids, as too many children live sedentary life styles so I would encourage participation in sports with friends, swimming and bike rides with the family etc. Hopefully they will see their mum as being active and able to kick a ball round with them, and see the benefits for themselves (compared to my OH, who has never been in a gym and had one personal training session in a park last year and was sick into a bush). I am acutely aware of the possibility of passing on issues though- and especially to a daughter so that IS something that I would work on. I feel that every year that passes I have changed a lot and made great progress, I am happy with where I am at and do not feel the need to change or reduce exercising. I think 3 times a week is reasonable. I used to do quadruple what I do now!!
Omg I am tired and in bed OH just turned up g2g!!!xxx
The termination stuff is tough for you and I think it is admirable that you are thinking so carefully about not making a similar mistake.
However I'm afraid the denial, anger and control are palpable in the rest if your post. The amount of energy you are putting into justifying the ed/ exercise addiction is totally disproportionate. As is your outrage that people think it is an issue.
I was in various group therapy for years with people who sounded exactly like you in the grip of addiction.
I am sorry that isn't what you want to hear but I really think you need to not think about kids til you have sorted this out. You simply won't have the emotional space for very demanding little children if you are so in the grip of the other stuff.
Nothing wrong at all with not wanting kids, but sounds like you do want them but feel that you can't because of your eating disorder.
Career and body image are all things women having children worry about, but your decision making sounds like its clouded by the desire to exercise etc.
I've had 3 kids and had an eating disorder in my teens, I used to worry constantly about how I would lose my baby weight but once I had my kids it didn't seem to matter , I still find time to exercise and eat well and I'd be lying if l said my body was the same but it just isn't on my radar as much as it used to be.
I agree sort the exercise problem out before kids also .
I'm sorry to hear your family were so judgemental about your pregnancy
Sorry but planning the age gap between two future children so you can get in exercise around nap times is not healthy,rational or proportionate.
Anything could happen. You could have a child with additional needs, making them sedentary, you could have twins, you could have fertility issues, or on bed rest for weeks, you could end up a single mum, there are literally thousands of more important issues than when you will exercise.
Advising you how you could incorporate exercise into your future imagined routine is enabling your obsession.
Before i had my daughter I too was obsessed with my body and weight. Now I really am not very interested- I'd say it's about number 50 in my list of stuff I think about.
Until you are prepared to get it in proportion, you are not psychologically in a position to have kids.
I am getting mixed messages from your postings. There seems to be a bit if you that would love to be a mum but it sounds like you are scared if getting it wrong.
Please excuse me if I have got that wrong. There is nothing wrong with not wanting children and they definitely do change your life forever and are bloody hard work but they are so worth it.
For what it's worth I think it sounds like you would be a fab mum if you decided that was what you wanted. You are over thinking though and stressing yourself out.
I definitely think you need to have an honest conversation with your OH though to at least make him aware there is a possibility you will never feel ready to have children.
Hope it all works out for you. x
Thank you for the nice message, I realise my second post was somewhat contradictory- and cut off half way through! I sort if wanted to lead up to the present day and paint a picture.
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 I've wiped their bums, bathed them and had the privilege of being 'chosen' to do bed-time and tuck them in. I love being an Auntie. And I have always wanted to be a mum.
However, what got me thinking about whether or not I want this to happen wasn't actually anything to do with exercize, not really. That was definately my concern when I posted my message, and so clearly came across, but I have more general concerns I wish to air.
I feel like, in the past 6 months or so, parenthood has gotten a bad press. In particular, I seem to have read lots of new stories lately suggesting that being a mother isnt all its cracked up to be, many regret it, etc etc. The comments on these stories tend to rein-force that view point, and I am wondering how much I have romanticized motherhood from childhood days of playing 'mum' with dolls, my fantasies etc, and how different this is from the reality.
Of course, I am not stupid, and dont have rose tinted specs when it comes to this issue- I know from my niece and nephew how utterly relentless and shattering it is. I come away from a day with them completely worn out! And thats just a day! And we are both so grateful for a nice lay in the next day! So whilst I love them, I am not jealous of my SIL and although some visits make me more broody, mostly I am just so grateful for my life at the moment. It does also make me wonder though about having them older, as I imagine you get a whole lot more tired?! Also, I have witnessed what having children has done to their relationship.. by no means am I saying it is worse it is probably stronger, however little things that we (my OH and I) take for granted are brought into sharp focus when we spend time with his family. For example, my SIL and BIL get excited when they get to go to Asda just the two of them as MIL is looking after the kids..say it feels like a 'date'(!). And when I was on buggy duty when their first born was smaller, they walked hand in hand sighing saying that it was lovely to have the chance of holding hands together, as they rarely got to do that anymore. I remember being slightly shocked and a bit sad for them. But I suppose this is reality?
So back to the point about the media portrayl of motherhood. Not even that actually, its mothers themselves saying that either its bloody hard work, or to the worst extreme they wish they hadnt had kids. This admission got me on the search for forums/discussions etc online regarding the topic, as I sought out views from people who either had children and regretted it, or conversely did not have children and regretted it. I sought to understand which decision would be hardest to live with, should I make the 'wrong' choice.
I was taken aback by the strength and volume of opinions on the subject- but particularly the number of women who expressed regret at having children. I do admire their honesty (though never to their children) and think women should be more honest with each other on the topic. I do think that some women are not completely honest with themselves and harbouring secret regrets, although of course I appreciate that others (in fact, most I imagine) truely view motherhood as the best thing to have happened to them, they wouldn't change it for the world, the love for their little one is like nothing else etc etc and all the other cliches that are re-gurgitated. I sought a little more honesty than that. Or perhaps, a little more of a balanced viewpoint! Highs and lows. I know it is extremely taboo to ever say that you regret your children (or even think it) and I think if any child, or adult for that matter, thought that their parents felt this way... well, the damage doesnt bear thinking about. However, conversations between women need to be more honest about the possibility of this regret. And also the impact upon your relationship. I read one survey whereby it was found that the majority (if not all, I dont remember the figures) of married couples dip in happiness/life satisfaction levels after their first born arrives, with happiness levels only recovering once they leave home! I know there are massive highs associated with children, but there are also an awful lot of shitty bits (no pun intended there), and it was suggested that overall people's well-being actually suffers from having children, on average, etc etc with caveats.
As I get older, I also become more
cynical pragmatic and I think that you should only bring children into the world if they are going to contribute something to the world/society. I dont believe in breeding for the sake of breeding, we live in an over populated world whereby more human beings isn't necessary, it's actually pretty detrimental on environmental levels. So having many (I'm talking 16 and up kind of numbers) children in my controversial mind is actually quite irresponsible, regardless of whether you are living off the state or not. I admit I love that program, and imagine it would be a completely unique way of life having a massive family, but it is a little on the indulgent side. Controversial. When having a conversation with my SIL about having/not having children I let her know that my OH's best friend and partner do not want any children (neither have for years) and she said 'I cant understand that, isn't it natural to want to pass your genes on etc'. I think this line of reasoning for having a child is utterly ridiculous!!! I understand somewhat the logic (I am a Psychologist) but really, the world will not die out of humans just because you decided to re-frain from producing!
Which brings me to another point.. It seems in my research that actually, the decision to not have children is becoming more and more popular. I am not referring to infertility here, which is absolutely horrific for anyone to go through and I feel for them- but the conscious decision. I wonder whether its becoming a more 'intelligent' decision to not have children.. I don't know.
All this leads me to believe that if/when I have children, I will raise them to be good and decent people who have a lot of love in their hearts, and are ambitious and bright. I do think that this world is in a crisis compared to when I was a child- and raising a child in this day and age is so different from then that it makes me a little uneasy- and what we need is more people who good upbringings who want to better it in some way. Else what is the point? This sounds completely awful- I had one shocking thought a couple of months ago whereby I mused 'Ok, so i could have a baby and raise him/her and provide for them, give them a good childhood, but then what's the point? Its fine to raise that child, but there should be a good 'outcome' at the end- they should have a 'point' to them'. I cannot believe I actually thought this. I must have been in a straaange mood that day!!!!
There was once a time when I didnt think I was physically capable of having children, I thought the anorexia had rendered me infertile as my periods disappeared for 3.5 years, even when I was recovered, eating well and a healthy weight. I became involved with a man 8 years my senior, who categorically did NOT want children, and resigned myself to the fact that I couldnt have them. In fact, I actually told myself I didnt want them, to help me cope with the situation. I felt saddened when, after a lovely post meal with the man in question, we wandered round a park on a summers day and there were children playing which made me coo and smile. His response was one of dry cynicism, such was his personality and sense of humour. Several weeks later the unimaginable happened and I got my period back. I still remember it to this day; I phoned my Dad when I was still on the loo in sobs of tears to tell him!! I got my period! It meant I didnt HAVE to be childless- now I had a choice! I ended the relationship with the man shortly after.
I could go on and on, but need to start revising for an exam next week, I am very much behind! This has been quite cathartic, although I do intend to respond to individual posts and suggestions! Jeez, now I realise how I have always been thousands of words over the limit in my essays this year... ramble ramble!!! ;)
There are typos in my posts from my stupid key board keys, and my stupid brain. Sorry!
All I can say is that having children, like everything else in life, is what you make it.
There are no guarantees, you might have a wonderful baby who sleeps through the night, you might end up with a seriously ill or disabled child who turns your life upside down.
You might regret it, you might not.
My mum says if she has her time again she wouldn't have children. That is not a nice thing to hear but who knows, had she gone down that route she wouldn't just be feeling a different set of frustrations and regrets.
I do think there is a lot of competitive martyrdom that goes on with parenting. You honestly don't have to lose yourself for five years or more, becoming a slave to every child's whim. Yes, you have to put them first when they need it, but this isn't incompatible with having a life and/or outside interests.
Every choice in life comes with its upsides and downsides. There is nothing that we take which doesn't have a price.
The danger with over thinking is you become paralysed with indecision and do nothing at all. Time moves on and then it does become too late for real.
All I can advise is that you are as honest as you can be with both yourself and your partner about what you both really want out of tis time on earth together.
Just a thought.
When you're, say, 45 or 50 years old and someone asks you why you chose not to have children, what will you say to them? (People do ask, my friend is 51 and hasn't had children).
Because from what you've said here, you're putting your need to exercise directly in front of having children.
Will you feel differently by the time you're in your 50s? Will you look back and realise not having time to exercise simply wasn't a rational reason not to have children?
You may look back and think it was the right thing - that being able to exercise was so important to you that you made the right decision. But equally, you may well look back with regret at that decision.
I know you say you love food and you have no issues with it now, but it does sound like you've transferred those feelings you had about food to exercise (and I say that as someone who has experience of ED).
Of course, it is totally your choice whether to have kids or not. But your DP needs to be aware of that decision asap.
This struck a chord with me - like I say, I have experience of ED myself: Sorry but planning the age gap between two future children so you can get in exercise around nap times is not healthy,rational or proportionate.
That is very true about being paralysed with indecision! I often get into this situation, I am a natural worrier, always have been, and a very analytical thinker and it has up-sides and down-sides. Mostly up I think. I have learnt to do things when they are right for ME, not for anyone else. e.g. My OH and I started our relationship living 200 miles apart, and he wanted and wanted me to move from my home town to be with him, he would not move to me, but I was happy where I was, and needed to test how I felt about the relationship first. I moved after 1.5 years, and it was the right time for us personally. We stayed in the SouthEast for almost 2 years and now we are back in the North for a year, before back in the South for 2, then back in the North to buy a house!!!
I also only learnt how to drive when I was 26. Living and working in Manchester City Centre, I never needed to drive. To keep my parents happy I tried once when I was 22, before I was mentally ready or wanted to. It failed. Catastrophically- panic attacks, the lot, and I HATED driving. Then I learnt when I felt the time was right, and loved it. I have done the same with University; I always knew I wanted to go back and do a Masters, but I was so frightened because it was during my degree that I became ill with anorexia in my 2nd year. I lost a relationship due to it (interestingly, my OH's best friend- the three of us were very close from the first night of Freshers and all through the 1st and 2nd year. My now OH fell in for me which I didnt realise at the time, but I fell in love with his best friend. I lost that relationship and my female best friend due to the illness). I also had to take a year out to get 'treatment' but when I returned to finish my 3rd year, all my old friends had graduated and I was now chronically bulimic. I hated final year and never wanted to go back. I worked for 4-5 years and became stronger mentally and physically stopped bad habits such as weighing myself/measuring my body. I also cut down on the gym drastically- but in my own time, when I was ready, at my own pace- to the point where I knew I could cope with the demands of a very intense masters course. I am very proud of where I am today and how far I have come, and rightly so. I am un-recognisable to what I once was, and completely happy with who I am. My diet is better now than it was even prior to developing an ED, and as for exercise, I have been a regular gym goer for 11 years (years before over-exercizing became an issue) so obviously that is a big part of me and I would never want to stop exercising, I'm just finding a healthy amount. For me personally, 3x a week is a healthy amount.
I am hoping that in a similar way I will 'know' when/if its the right time to have a baby and start a family, and not give in the peer pressure or family opinions. I can only hope that it wont be when its 'too late' for me, if I do decide thats what I want. And I think probably I will decide that. I would like to be persuaded to that view anyway
Have you been to OA? Overeaters Anonymous. I'm sure you've heard of it (though don't know why it's called over eaters anonymous, as it's for anyone with an eating disorder, or anyone with a fucked up relationship with food).
I say this because it's clear you've had 5.5 years of therapy, because you know how to explore the minutiae of every situation! You could probably do with being in a group context where you are 1. with people who have the exact-same addiction (and therefore won't let you kid yourself) and 2. you will be addressing the addiction - starting with that you have it and admitting you are powerless over it ie it is out of control.
You justify eg your food (and your partner's food - in detail) and your exercising but I don't buy it: imo it looks like classic denial. Sorry if that gets your goat.
It may seem crass to say that it is no wonder you have tried to disappear when your mother didn't want you. She sounds pretty fucked up tbf. Anyway, I'm sure you've explored that to death in therapy - now it's time to address your addiction in an environment that doesn't give you acres of space but cracks on with the central issue. ie, OA
Of course you should tell your partner you don't want children. He has to make an informed choice and you can't hope it'll go away.
Everyojne has focused on the exercise, but that isn't the only reason for not wanting children, which you will see if you read my post carefully enough.
It's also about the freedom more generally, and the lifestyle.
In my working life I have always struggled for money, for several reasons. Low paid part time job in the North, yet living in the city centre meant money was an issue. Then when I moved to the South, slightly better job, but the house we were renting completely ate up my salary. I think 80% of my salary went on rent and bills. It made me more ambitious to want a better paid job and be able to fend for myself. In the North, my Dad would help me out/bail my overdraft if I got into difficulties, and in the South I had to rely on OH to treat me. I dont want to rely on anyone else!!!! But he insisted we split the bills 50:50 despite him earning 20k more than me a year (don't start me on this point, I will fume!) which essentially meant I had no spare money and all our leisure money had to come from him. This is not healthy.
So now I hope to earn a better living for myself and my future, and possibly family. I would like to rely on myself for a change, and be able to pay my parents back. I never wanted for anything when I was a child. Now I havent had a foreign holiday for 4 years as I cant afford one, but really feel like I need one, I guess I didnt realise how lucky I was at the time, I thought a holiday a year was normal(?) but it isnt in my relationship, and I want it to be. I cant make it happen at the moment on my wage, and OH would rather go camping in the UK which I cant really stand. Having an interesting career I deserve instead of dead end admin jobs will fulfil me intellectually and financially enable me the things I feel I have missed. Re-fraining from having children is just an extension of this. Also two of our couple friends have elected not to have children, and I admit I fear both being jealous of them if we do have them, and not being able to join in with their lifestyle. Sorry if that is selfish and taboo.
I know this will sound patronising BUT when I was your age I didn't want children. Never had. I have a career, am very independent, always earnt my own money and had no desire to have children. Also I'm disabled and although that wouldn't prevent children it would mean I wouldn't be able to live my life exactly as I wanted to. Met DP when I was 30, children were never discussed. When I was 35 I suddenly realised I did want a family, and I wanted one with DP. I had a good career, I could work it around my children. DC1 is currently having a nap and we are planning DC2!
So, yes, you should discuss your thoughts with your DP, but even from your own posts you haven't made up your mind. You sound very strong, it doesn't sound like you will be persuaded against your will, but you'll know when the time is right. But sound out with DP what he'd think if it didn't happen, let him know you're worried and why, it's unfair to do otherwise.
Springy, thank you for the OA suggestion, yes I have heard of it and maybe should take a look. I have books on similar topics which could help with that side.
I have seen so many different people over the years; private therapist, counsellor affiliated with a Women's charity, self-help groups, NHS professionals- Clinical Psychologist, family therapist and a Nutritionist. I do feel like I have a deep understanding. And yes your's and others suggestion that I am in denial does get my goat but I'm not going to bother defending myself, that wasnt the purpose of the post.
My OH knows I am ambivalent about having a child; and it isnt on the radar anytime soon, so I dont know why I think I need to decide either way when I dont. Logically, I can see the pro's and con's of each, and could be happy either way. OH has given up somewhat entertaining me with talk of babies, as I can be very fickle and change my mind. not in a superficial way, but with lots of things in life I'm a bit 'Phoebe from Friends'
The reason for my urgent original post was that I had read yet another DM news article about pregnancy and a few comments said that they regretted their children.. I panicked and thought, OMG I do not ever want to live with that regret, how do I tell OH if I did decide that? I think that when I am in one of my strong 'I dont want them' moods, it is very strong and maybe he doesnt realise how so, but then it dissipates and I perhaps warm to them again/positively want a child. So its hard swinging between the two- how does anyone ever decide which one for sure????
Erm, from your last post, this is your current OH? Are your concerns about not having DC at all, or not having them with him?
Thank you Bears, and I didnt take it as patronising. I guess this is what I am hoping for, to know for sure as I get older and in the meantime to have a career first. It just goes against what I envisioned regarding having a family (when I was younger-early twenties). I didnt want to start a family in my mid 30's, I wanted to stop by about 30 and be a youngish mum! Obvs that isnt going to happen, and I need to get my head around that but it wasnt right for that to happen either. I have to remind myself that, although I am 28, I probably lost about 3 years of my life to the ED, whether that be in bed depressed, with my head down the toilet, or chained to the gym. Now however, I am free of those things its opened up possibilities (and a heck of a lot more time!!!) so I feel like I want to extend my youth and live a little for me before DC.
I have mentioned not having them to OH, he doesnt know how he would feel.
If I have them, it will be with him
The point is - you don't ever get to decide 'for sure'. Life isn't like that. You do the best with the info you have at the time.
In my view, what makes life worth living are the connections you forge with other people as you live it. Children are an obvious way of forging a deep emotional bond with another human being, they can make you feel connected to the next generation, you can look forward to sharing their lives and experiences.
I do think some people have children because it is simply the 'next thing to do' and some people think it odd if you don't. Why I don't know, the world has more than enough children in it already.
But what ever you do, please don't be influenced or guided by stuff you read in newspapers or magazines. My own theory is that if you tend towards regret and bitterness, this will flavour your life whatever path you take, whereas if you can find joy and comfort around you in various things, no one life decision leads you down a path marked misery.
You don't have to have children to be happy or fulfilled, but it may be that it makes you happier. The problem with this decision however is that it does have a time limit - you can learn to drive whenever but you can't kid yourself that after 35 getting pregnant will just happen.
Re: money, I should also add, we have a kind of reverse situation, DP was a student when we met, so I earned £20k more than him, and there was no way I was having kids until we were financially secure! At 29, you have at least 5 years before you really need to make a decision, and a lot can change in that time. Honestly, at your age if someone told me in a few years I would be debating DC2 I would never have believed them, but I knew when it was right to have DC1 and have honestly never regretted a thing.
he insisted we split the bills 50:50 despite him earning 20k more than me a year (don't start me on this point, I will fume!) which essentially meant I had no spare money and all our leisure money had to come from him. This is not healthy.
This is the bit that worried me though. Is this still the case? What if you have DC and you want to cut your hours, do you think this will be an issue?
he insisted we split the bills 50:50 despite him earning 20k more than me a year
what do you think would happen if you had a baby and weren't earning? would he support you or insist you live off your savings?
this really doesn't sound good to me.
OP, can you resolve to think about it in a year?get started in your new career and see how that settles down with your life. You've been through a lot - have some breathing space. Tell OH you're not sure yet.
I wasn't sure at your age - but by 30 I was and now have two DCs.
OP, what you say about your OH making you pay half even though he was earning £20,000 more than you in very, very worrying. He loves you and wants a child with you, doesn't he? So why does he treat you so very badly? How could he enjoy having that extra money when he knew you were struggling? And you'd have to ask him to bail you out? There's a big difference between asking your parents for help and asking someone who's living with you.
If you did have a child together, how would that work financially? No wonder you worry about security and money. Would he then dole out money to you and ask you what you're spending it on?
You say you were spending 80% of your salary on rent and bills - what proportion was that of your OH's?
I have to tell you, from that piece of information alone, I think you'd be better off not having children with him or even staying with him.
If you don't want children, you don't want children. Full stop.
I'm sure you'd love a child and be a great mum if one came along. Blah blah blah.
Letting your partner know asap is the best step forward, it will be tough and there'll be tough choices to make. Having a baby to keep a relationship is never the best choice.
I know, it makes me too..
His reasoning was that its 'not fair' for us to do anything but split the bills 50:50, since we both live there and have an equal share of the house too (we are just renting atm). No matter how many times I tried to argue my point, and boy we really came to blows about it, he was steadfast and that was it. He also argued that he's on 'not that much more' than me when you take out the fact that he is paying back £500 per month to credit card debts and a loan from his Nan to buy his car years ago.. plus it takes a lot of petrol in his (3 litre) car, so all in all it was just a couple of hundred pound more per month. I dont know if I believe him. He is very irresponsible with money and just wastes it/buys extravagant things. I came home 6 months ago and he had bought a 52 inch TV for a grand. Now he wants a cordless hoover for £260. Its just ridicuous. He does treat me though, and bought me £200 worth of white stuff clothes last month as I have no clothes, plus he buys me special moisturiser for my eczema, and regular flowers for me because we like fresh flowers in the house. He will buy all my drinks when we go out, and picks up the tab at every meal out. So my outgoings other than bills dont have to be neccessarily high, as he's footing the bill, but I dont like it all the time. How do you explain to him that the rent money should be spilt proportionately? I think that is only fair, but he truly and honestly thinks it is completely unfair. It is infuriating. He is a very logical person also, he works in computer programming, and thinks in numbers and code, he's always working out the probability of things, how much %age time was lost stuck in traffic, how much each meal costs, etc etc. Our mutual friend, a Psychology graduate and now Assistant Head Teacher at the age of 27(!) jokes that he has Autistic tendencies. But actually, its not really a joke, he does have some sort of issue. He can be hard to live with, but so can I. We support each other in different ways, and my strengths make up for his weaknesses and vice versa. E.G When he needs to write a letter or birthday card, I do it, whereas he helps me with technical things!
He also said that, when we are married we will have a joint account everything goes into and we each can spend from, as thats what married couples do. Maybe he just has a rigid idea of how you manage money/life when you are just a couple compared to a married couple? He is extremely traditional in that regard, brought up in a village with rose tinted specs on the world (and children), and he is very rigid in his thinking. We went through a rocky patch a year ago and I decided that I had to empower myself so that I could support myself financially if I needed to, and wouldnt feel trapped in a relationship- hence I went back to Uni. I made the decision one weekend he was away, and when he came back I was telling him I wnted to do it, writing my letter of application, handing in my notice at work (before knowing if I got in uni) and 3 weeks later I was starting on the course, 200 miles away and lived on my own for 5 weeks before he could move up to join me. Because I had 'made the decision' on my own, and it hadnt been a joint decision, he decided that he wouldnt support me financially with the decision, though he eventually decided yes he would move up with me, we again spilt this house 50:50 despite me being a student who doesnt work. This means that my Dad foots my half of the rent, the bills, the groceries, everything. I did ensure that on the rental agreement, OH name is down for 100% of the rent, should it go belly up so my dad isnt legally responsible.
I understand the feeling of not wanting to trap yourself at home holding the baby when there are other things you still want to be able to do. As, let's face it, many men still do, relying on their wives to pick up the slack.
So I made very sure that dh was going to be hands on. I was happy to drop to part-time work, but dh did
more than his share of nights and baby-care and I could go out and do other things as much as he could.
As long as your OH is on board with sharing the load, parenthood is largely what you make it to be (barring ill-health I suppose).
And what you're leaving out of your imagined scenarios is the overwhelming love you will have for your child, which makes everything seem much less of a sacrifice.
But you certainly need to sort out the finance issues!
'When you're, say, 45 or 50 years old and someone asks you why you chose not to have children, what will you say to them? (People do ask, my friend is 51 and hasn't had children).'
My honest answer is always 'I just couldn't be arsed'. It sounds terrible- but like the OP I love love love the freedom of my life- and just don't have that 'thing' inside me that would enable me to be an unselfish parent. I work with children, and find them endlessly entertaining and loveable but am always glad to go home!
I like to think that through my work I have helped more children than I could have been by being an indifferent and resentful mother.
Lolly I think before thinking about kids, you need to work on your relationship.
Food issues aside, he seems very selfish financially, and although you've tried to rationalise and explain it, it doesn't make it okay. Your dad pays for your half of everything because he won't? That's terrible.
I wouldn't tie myself too him, personally, and I definitely wouldn't ever consider having children with someone with that mentality.
He sounds lovely and supportive in other ways, but if the finances aren't right, it won't last. You'll end up resenting him for keeping you in poverty because he thinks 50/50 is the only acceptable way, under any circumstances.
Just tell him you don't want kids, or that you do -when you have decided. Not much point discussing it till then.
"I am hoping that in a similar way I will 'know' when/if its the right time to have a baby and start a family, and not give in the peer pressure or family opinions. I can only hope that it wont be when its 'too late' for me, if I do decide thats what I want. And I think probably I will decide that. I would like to be persuaded to that view anyway."
So you DO want children??
It is fine to have them or not have them. You don't have to decide yet. You DO have to be honest with your OH about your thoughts on the matter.
I think I could be persuaded either way. A fence sitter... OH and hormones may pull me over the edge to one side, or future career/financial freedom may pull me the other way..
I guess its nice to try and seek opinions of those on both sides of the fence so to speak
P.S To those who mentioned about it not being 'normal' to think about exercizing when DC are here, I dont think theres anything wrong with trying to plan things, even if plans dont work out the way you want, at least you can aim for something and be flexible if it does change/doesnt happen. I like to organise my life, and the thought about DC 1 and DC2 naptimes came about just once, a couple of days ago laying in bed listening to the primary school children opposite our house at drop off time 8.30am I entertained myself by working out what time those people would have to get up, what happens if they are still at work when school finishes, wondered how late after school clubs run till, whether my work would be flexible and let me pick them up and whether I would prefer this or work normal time and OH get them (he works from home) Pondered it would prob be me getting up to get them ready for school and take them, worked back in time to when I had them and wondered what would work with getting figure back. My SIL didnt really get her figure back, and shes the only person close to me with kids so its made me think you have to make a conscious/concerted effort to do so.
Since you are blowing so hot and cold about the idea it would probably be better to wait.
The logistics of childcare can be complicated, but they are the details and infinitely less significant than the fact of another living human being.
if you can't make a decision, don't.
things very rarely stay the same. and the best way forward will become clearer.
although I am 28, I probably lost about 3 years of my life to the ED
You're still losing years, and may lose having children, as you bow before your ED.
I know I'm going in for the kill but read your OP. You spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the ins and outs of exercising after having children. YOu don't want children now because you won't be able to exercise and you can't cope with that. You know and I know that that is part of an ED. yy you've got it down from obsessively all week at every opportunity, but it's still there, still dictating your life choices.
If an alcoholic said they'd got their drinking down to only 3 times a week, instead of every possible opportunity, you'd recognise that the alcoholism wasn't sorted at all.
I am truly astonished that in your long line of various therapies, no-one suggested you get on with your recovery yourself - instead of having it 'fed' to you - by engaging yourself with the relevant 12-step programme.
Oh right, so then the only option is to not exercise at all springy? Unlike alcohol, exercise is actually good for you. I dont see how you could compare the two. I find your second post entirely insulting and I shall not be engaging with you any longer. You have absolutely no idea what level of recovery I personally took upon myself- which was a hell of a lot, thank you- and have no place telling me, or anyone how they should recover from an eating disorder. Unbelievable.
I think your main issue is wanting to control every aspect of your life OP , the thing about having kids is that sense of control goes completely out the window , I struggled with it in the early days but you soon just adjust to it and you accept that body/ finances / time etc aren't a given.
It's not bad just different and the good makes all the bad aspects of parenthood seem very minor.
I agree with springy I'm afraid. Before you jump down her throat re-re-read your first post (which you seem to have dramatically backtracked from incidentally). It screamed addict/control. Your super - defensiveness seems very telling and I agree that the rest of the stuff is a red herring. Sorry you don't want to hear that but I think both springy and I know of what we talk...
However, I suspect you will just act affronted and keep trying to divert attention from the real issue.
I think there are quite a few things going on here:
a) first of all, though I do not doubt that you have come an amazing way in your recovery, it may be that you have still some way to come before you are able to cope with further stresses- and having children can put an awful lot of stress on you
I am not one of the parents who regret having children at all, but I do recognise it for what it is: a unique commitment where you have to be prepared to drop almost everything to deal with an emergency- so you have to be strong enough to do that without it triggering any kind of relapse
supposing for instance that you have to have an emergency caesarian- that would be weeks before you could exercise safely: could you cope emotionally?
or what if your child falls ill and needs you at home or at their hospital bedside for a week or two: how much harm would that be likely to do you?
b) secondly, it seems to me that there are still issues that need sorting out with your partner. Again, it is about making sure that you could both cope if life with a new baby threw something unexpected at you
what would happen about money if you were unable to earn for a while because you needed time to recover after the birth or you just decided you needed to be home with the baby?
who would be paying for things the baby needed- and later on for clothes, trips, educational activities for the child?
if money got tight for any reason, could you trust him to put his children first?
would he cheerfully pull his weight if you needed help- remember that once you have a child, that child needs looking after even if mum is temporarily unable to do so; so would you for instance be able to be ill without feeling guilty?
I repeat: I don't think it's terrible having children at all: I don't even think it's that hard. There are almost always solutions to the everyday logistics if you are resourceful and willing.
But there is no doubt that the last 16 years have thrown up multiple occasions where both dh and I have had to put our interests and our needs on the backburner to deal with a child who needs us.
If you are both strong enough to do that unquestioningly and without losing it, that's the sort of thing that strengthens a marriage because you develop an admiration for your partner that never goes away. If one or both parents is unable to do it- that's where marriages break down.
Thank you for sharing cory, I can relate to how you feel. Re your point about the C section, yes I would be able to cope because I would not be in a rush to start losing baby weight instantly anyway- thats why I said in an earlier post it would take 12 months. I plan to spend those first couple of months taking it completely easy and just enjoying my new baby, and lose weight sensibly and gradually. I plan on doing less intense exercise, but of more frequent duration. I know my partner would support both myself and the child financially and emotionally, we are actually a pretty good team (comes down to his 50:50 thing) and work well together. We help each other out, take on extra responsibilities if one is busy/ill/tired etc and know our strengths.. OH is in charge of most of the cooking, as he is better than me and I never had a role model of how to cook so dont really know how- my mum relied on micro meals! OH has even said in past that he would be a SAHD if I wanted to. But I would rather take that role, I think, for a year at least. I would feel I was missing out else. We do need to discuss the money issue, I think it would work the same way it does for all the couples in our families- it is just shared. Mum doesnt have to report to Dad for what she wants money for, justify any spending etc. I think maybe I need to have a tighter rein on it/him though as we arent saving at the moment and I see no reason given his salary why we shouldn't. But then I'm crap at the practical side of things like arranging to pay bills and keeping on track of that- he's much better. I try and curb his spending or say we dont need items/to eat out etc! Getting super strong is definately a priority before kids anyway, and getting holidays out the way etc. I have achieved a few of my 'to do' list already, and he's getting more house trained too!!!
We may have a problem when it comes to nappy changing though... he thinks thats solely a 'womans domain' and refuses-half joking- to get involved. I told him- not joking- that if he didnt help out with that, there would be no baby! He doesn't clean the cat litter tray though, so we'll see... a way to go yet!!
You know pregnant women aren't allowed to clean cat litter trays, right?
I know- brilliant isnt it?!
Start with the cat poo, move on to the baby poo...
OP, we're all different but anyone who thinks something is a woman's domain is not someone who sounds like a 50:50 person.
How would he be a SAHD without changing nappies? That phase lasts 2-3 years...
50shades is exactly right about control vs kids and control might be more key to you than any specifics of the ED, the nap timetable etc.
Yes, I would think that someone who is addicted to exercise should cut it out altogether - for the time being, at least; a good long time. We all also need to eat which, as you pointed out, isn't the same as eg an alcoholic, because we don't need alcohol to live. Tis what makes an ED somewhat troublesome (but there are ways to effectively address it eg OA). YOu are basing your decision to not have children on the fact that you won't be able to exercise. Sounds like an addiction to me. eg an alcoholic who can't drink while pregnant.
It's an addiction you have, lolly - same as any other addiction. Excuses, excuses, backtracking, denial <yawn> - that's how addictions go. Fine if you want to do that but those of us who are addicts will easily see through it, I'm afraid. Having a strop doesn't make any difference, you're still an addict. You could at least admit you're an addict and then, if you choose, not do anything about it. That's fine - only you'll get nowhere with your recovery, but that's your choice. Just don't go to extraordinary lengths to cover up that you are an addict.
Actually, I think you would blossom in OA - because at long, long last, you will have the tools to address your addiction yourself. Intensive attention from various professionals hasn't cracked it, clearly - OA really does address the core issues. YOu have to apply yourself, mind, and you have to want to be well, and all that that means.
Why should I go back and read your other posts, in detail? Why should I spend so much time on you? I'm not paid to scutinise your inner life to the nth degree. I am also not interested to scrutinise your life to the nth degree. I am only going on what you have clearly posted (and insist you haven't).
I think I've made it clear that I am an addict - but I know I'm an addict and I work on my recovery. I don't blame other people, or attack people who tell me the truth, or endlessly re-write my story (when it's there in black and white!!). It is mighty onersome when an addict comes along, attempting to drag the universe around with them, insisting anything and anyone support their addiction. It's dull, lolly. When (!) you get properly into recovery, you will know what I mean.
I don't think that you are misleading your OH, since you've told him you are ambivalent right now, and that is the impression you're giving us here. He knows what he needs to in order to make his own choices, which is right and fair.
It is completely fine to not have children. All I'd say is to concentrate a bit more on enjoying life for now if at all possible. You seem to be expending as much energy on worrying about your decisions as I'm currently spending on looking after my toddler. If you don't have them, make sure you actually enjoy that freedom!
crazyhead, I think a good part of it is my procrastinating from my University work! I will be glad when its all over and me and OH can go back to having a bit more of a life. We are planning a holiday abroad when I finish too, to celebrate! I'm so excited Get it in while we can!
lollydolly "When trying to help people in life or on here, I have the courtesy to LISTEN to them properly/read every post."
Thing is, lolly, I took the time to write two long responses to your posts earlier on this thread, and because you didn't like what I had to say, you completely ignored them. So you didn't even have the courtesy to acknowledge that I had taken that time (and this probably applies to others too).
I wrote in both of my posts about my own eating disorders and how I had overcome them, the first time I have written about them on this website (or indeed any other), and you chose not to even acknowledge them. Personally I don't find that very courteous at all.
You are doing a lot of 'talking' on here and very little listening. I think you would do well to listen a bit more because you are coming across as pretty rude to a lot of people who have made the effort to try to respond to you.
I apologise you feel that way eccentrica, I do honestly appreciate people's replies, and it was my intention to respond to everybody individually actually, however when I returned home I had such a lot of comments, and gaps in my story I wanted to complete the picture before going back to address specific comments/suggestions. I did not intend to come across as ignoring anyone, as I have not done so believe me I find the posts very interesting and helpful. Truth be told I probably should not even have posted the message for a few days until my current work commitments have died down a little, sorry. I did not mean to cause hurt and appreciate it is difficult to share, so of course personal accounts are very appreciated. Perhaps I am just a bit pre-occupied. And not with exercise before anyone jumps on me, but with work! I will reply privately when I can
It sounds like you are undecided and I would try and work out how you feel before broaching the subject because it may well be a deal breaker. Are you prepared to walk away from the relationship if he wants kids and you don't? If you are worried about practicalities of exercising then you probably won't have time for formal exercise I struggle getting time to shower some days but breastfeeding will get your figure back quickly and you'll become strong picking the baby up constantly and fit running after him/ her. Your life will be different but amazing with it. And yes I am biased!
disclosing such significant mh experience will always be challenge and put you on defence
you do appear to still have food issues,this affects your judgement and life choice
Re the children issue you need to be transparent to oh,letting him go if need be
bouncysmiley I agree that there may be no point in talking about it properly until I/we are sure either way. It is definately a deal breaker. How old is your DC? Just wondering about getting time to yourself to do just everyday things like shower. I think you need help on hand at first, from either OH or parents maybe, to help with that whilst you set up a routine and things settle down a bit
scottish I am and always have been very open with OH, and I have never actually made my mind up either way, but if I did I know I would have to tell him. I think maybe we'll only know how we feel in a few years.. I don't think I have any worse food issues than the next woman to be perfectly honest, thank you for your post though
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.