Pregnant at 40 and don't think I can raise child. What to do?

(55 Posts)
pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:04:00

Would really appreciate opinion on my current situation. I am separated and live alone with my 7 year old DD. I have a good FT job but between working and looking after DD, it's a lot. I live in a new town without much in the way of friends which I moved to for said job. Family live 'across the pond' so don't have family support here in the UK.

Ex-P and I got back together briefly and I got pregnant. Wasn't expecting it at all at my age and felt euphoric for a moment after previous years and years throughout my 20s and 30s of miscarriages.

However at about 10 weeks once the euphoria wore off I realized how crazy the whole situation was - being pregnant by myself in a new place, with the pressure of already raising a young child. I thought, perhaps, a termination might be best and booked two appointments but each time I arrived I couldn't go through with it. I'm now 16 weeks and, to be honest, I just feel it's too late in the day to go down this route.

I do not want to get back together with Ex-partner but honestly don't feel I can cope with baby alone without any kind of support network. Lately I've been thinking seriously about adoption which makes me feel crazy and like a character out of '16 and Pregnant' and not a professional rationale 40 year old woman.

I appreciate some of this is hormones, but I honestly don't believe I can raise two children very much solo. I would appreciate some thoughts about what I should do.

Please no flaming in relation to reference to termination and please don't bark at me for being a 'bad mum' etc.

lougle Sun 26-May-13 20:20:51

You sound very stressed and your post give the message that you feel out of control. Perhaps you see adoption as a way of gaining some control over what happens?

Adoption is an option, if you honestly don't think you can raise this baby. Perhaps, if you approached Social Services, they could chat it through with you, and then you will have a much clearer idea of whether it's a serious consideration or whether it would be out of the question?

I think they will offer you counselling anyway but I think it'd be a good idea to seek some.

Will ex be involved if you decided you could raise the baby?

No flaming here for being sensible and considering all options. What specifically do you feel yiu couldnt cope with if yiu had the baby?

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:28:40

Thx all for your comments. ExP would love to raise baby with me but that's not really what I want and I would prefer not to have his influence and involvement.

I think a lot of this is disappointment that things have turned out this way --- of course, life never works out the way planned. I know there are many many mums who cope by themselves with 3,4, 5 kids. But the issue for me is support - I imagine they have family and friends around to lean on, which I just don't.

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:29:38

Stealth, I don't think i have the stamina to look after two totally alone and I think financially things would be incredibly difficult - I couldn't make ends meet with childcare costs and work by myself.

It is harder with no support. Do you have a local children's centre/sure start?

Right. Im not sure what to suggest. Cohld you ask your mw about adoption and what woukd be involved?

skyeskyeskye Sun 26-May-13 20:33:47

I second the local Children's Centre, they will be able to give advice on support etc and may be able to provide counselling for you. I think that you need counselling of some description to talk it all through.

You need to look into childcare, tax credits etc and see how you would be financially.

girliefriend Sun 26-May-13 20:34:25

I think you are understandable freaked out which is probably not helping you think straight.

I am a single parent to a 7yo and can totally understand how you feel as have wondered myself what would happen if I had another baby on my own.

However I could not imagine any scenario where giving the baby away to someone else would be o.kay. Is your 7yo quite independent? Mine would love a baby brother or sister and I think would be quite helpful. Would the dad be supportive and help you out?

I think you are scared but I am not sure that is the right reason to consider adoption.

Not sure I am helping sorry.

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:36:19

Thanks Jazz - there is a local children's centre and I know there are various services for support, but fundamentally I'll have to do this myself.

I've spoken to my MW about it who was kind of baffled. I don't really 'look' like someone who can't cope or is struggling financially but obviously looks belie reality. I have looked into adoption but know how embarassed I'd be and how upset and equally baffled my family would be. Adoption would feel like a BIG FAIL but after having numerous scans and seeing baby develop and move I just can't swallow a termination sadly.

Feel like I'm in 19th century victorian home for unwed mums!

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:37:59

Thanks girliefriend - its nice to know that other single moms know how hard it can be...

MsWazowski Sun 26-May-13 20:39:15

It's totally understandable to feel the way you do, this might be a completely mad suggestion, but would exp consider raising the baby? I'm probably clutching at straws here, sorry.

Earlybird Sun 26-May-13 20:40:25

Would you consider moving 'home' so your family could help you? A friend who found herself unexpectedly pregnant did that, and hard as it was, would say in retrospect that it was the best choice.

If that is not an option, would you have more practical support in your previous city? If so, should you job-hunt there?

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:41:01

MsWaz, ExP would LOVE to raise the baby but, urgh, he would probably feed it chips and burgers and put it in front of the telly for next 10 years. Wasn't the most enlightened parent sadly.

lougle Sun 26-May-13 20:41:22

Well, the bottom line is that you have 3 choices:

You keep and raise the baby.

You keep the baby and place it for adoption.

You terminate the pregnancy.

You have very little time if you want an abortion (I appreciate that you don't at this moment). In 8 weeks you will have no choice on that.

That leaves you 8 weeks to get your head around one of the other choices.

Could you move 'across the pond' to be with family?

It's very hard to think of a solution if you don't want to place the baby for adoption, don't want to raise it with your exp and don't want to raise it alone.

I really feel for you sad

Mollydoggerson Sun 26-May-13 20:41:47

I would imagine the adopted child would suffer from some psychological damage when it realised it was the second child of a couple, and the first had been kept but the second put up for adoption. Also the first child would be deprived of the sibling relationship with it's only full sibling.

If you can't cope and don't want a second child it's not too late to terminate.

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:41:55

EarlyBird - I think you may be right. I think a move back to N America would be a bit of a big step but certainly back to Scotland might make sense. I hadn't even thought about that (stuck in hole of worry and despair).

Salbertina Sun 26-May-13 20:42:52

Please stop beating yourself up and worrying so much about what people/mw think!! The only important people here are you and dd, no/one else! If you are clearheaded enough to see adoption as a viable option, well good for you. Better that than a resentful mum, struggling to bring up an unwanted baby because she was too embarrassed/ashamed?? not to do so. Nothing to feel ashamed of, you do what you must do.

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:43:15

everyone on here has been so lovely, I could almost cry. MN can be so cruel sometimes and I really appreciate the nice comments. I feel v sad to be in this situation and quite envious of my friends with lovely partners and families but... I am where I am sadly.

Chubfuddler Sun 26-May-13 20:43:28

Is your ex your dds father? I'm assuming not as your post suggests you are alone with her...

I don't know what to suggest but this sounds incredibly hard and I have massive sympathy. So just wanted to say good luck.

MsWazowski Sun 26-May-13 20:44:19

I didn't think you would be keen from what you said earlier. I've raised two dc on my own, I know it's hard work, but it is doable. Sometimes the prospect is worse than the actual doing, sorry it doesn't help much when you're there though.

rainbowfeet Sun 26-May-13 20:44:21

I was 37 when I discovered I was pregnant with Ds now 15 months.. As a result of a brief casual relationship. I was already a lone parent with my dd now 10 from my 1st marriage.

I never really considered a termination just because I knew I couldn't go through with it because of suffering an infant death in 2008. I have nothing against terminations but as scary as the prospect of raising this baby alone I knew if I had a termination it would very much be to the detriment to my mental health.

I knew before I'd even told the Dad that he would not want to be part of it & although he is my neighbour he has never so much as acknowledged his son!!!! shock

I would say that it was my easiest pregnancy out of the 3 despite it being 10 years after my 1st!!

I can't lie to you the 1st couple of months were tough, the night feeds tiring & a slight mourning for the fun filled 40's I was planning with my dd getting older & more independent!! After a few weeks of dwelling on thoughts of being the oldest mum at the school gate & while my friends seemed to gaining more freedom I had stepped back, I started to realise that in fact I was the lucky one & my ds was a blessing, maybe even heaven sent!!! Emotionally it was tough because his Dad is such an arse but now I don't give him a 2nd thought & dd, ds & myself are a happy unit of 3!!!

The adoption option is something you don't have to rush into & I'm sure your mw could help you with talking to someone about that.

Good luck with what you decide x

Chubfuddler Sun 26-May-13 20:45:45

Just to add in your shoes I wouldn't feel adoption was viable - you have a seven year old who is going to wonder where the baby went. And possibly whether she may be sent away too.

Wolfiefan Sun 26-May-13 20:46:40

Why on earth would anyone flame you or call you a bad parent? You need support and understanding of your situation.
Can ex p offer financial support?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 26-May-13 20:48:27

You're very brave to be considering all the options. It took real guts to voice these thoughts to your midwife and I'm very sorry that she looked "baffled". She should give you on-judgemental help and support - whatever you look like

I follow a lot of blogs and some of them are (randomly) American adoption blogs. Obviously the US has very different adoption legislation than us and babies can be relinquished within 24 hours of their birth. I think what I've gleaned from these blogs is that, understandably, emotions are fraught during pregnancy and thereafter. However, one quote has stuck in my mind which was from a blogger really stressing that adoption (which is obviously a long term choice) should not be used as a solution to what are short and medium term problems such as childcare etc as that is when real regret etc sets in as the birth mother realises that perhaps her circumstances were temporary and, when they change, that actually she could have kept the baby

I think adoption is an outstandingly brave choice - if that is the route you go down - however, I do think (as everyone else has said) that you should absolutely ensure that you have examined every single option very, very carefully. I know that childcare is expensive. However, have you looked into childcare vouchers and tax credits etc?

Ashoething Sun 26-May-13 20:49:27

I think you should ask for some counselling re the possibility of termination. You still have time if that's what you choose to do-it wouldn't be my choice but its your life.

I think adoption would be very difficult-how woul you explain it to your existing child? What if the child came looking for you in future?-how would you explain keeping one child and not the other?

I think that you may find as the pregnancy continues you begin to believe in yourself more and will find a way to manage. All the best whatever you choose.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 26-May-13 20:50:57

Please don't cry pb (((hugs))). I really hope we can help and support you. As I said in my earlier post, you are very brave and strong

vitaminC Sun 26-May-13 20:51:06

Please don't take this the wrong way, but you sound very "type A", like you need to control everything. You ex may not share the same values and principles as you, but at the end of the day, the child would very likely grow up much happier being well-loved than wondering why he/she was abandoned, despite a diet of chips and too much TV!

Maybe you should get some counselling, to discuss the best way to deal with this situation, but also whatever in your past is making you need to be in control now!

On a more practical level, it will be hard, but I'm sure you would cope. You need to find out about - and take advantage of - all the help available to you.

I was a single mum of 3 for 5 years, with no family in the same country as me, and very little support. It was hard work, but I survived and am now remarried to a very lovely husband, who is great with my kids and is a huge support to me. The hardest part for me was learning to reach out to others and ask for help when I was struggling!

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:54:03

Thanks for all your posts. ExDP IS my 7 year old's father -- we tried to reconcile briefly, probably for all the wrong reasons hence getting pregnant! He had just been through chemo, there was a lot of sympathy and trying to make things work having been more aware of his mortality etc. Had been told he was infertile so... not expecting this.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts. I absolutely adore my DD, she has been light of my life, just wish I felt equally excited about this one.

rainbow I too had some late mcs and having been through that, just can't go through the anguish of a termination, which I know is what it will be.

Think best thing to do is chat with someone in person who can see things in a more objective way (as all you do) and which is hard for me to do at the moment because I feel quite hormonal and panicky.

rainbowfeet Sun 26-May-13 20:56:30

I do understand the ashamed side of it too, I felt incredibly ashamed at first, like I was a naughty 16 year old who got caught out!!! wink I hated having to explain it all at my mw booking app but she turned out to be so supportive.
I didn't like asking anyone for help & still don't as I feel like I've got myself into this & as a result have not had a night out since he was born. (Resulting in a bit of a clingy mummy's boy)!
My step Dad said to me after 1 tearful conversation that no one judges me nearly half as much as I judge myself!! & its true. I hope that I can do my children proud one day by getting back to work & I hope they look back & say that they had a happy childhood!! grin

PicardyThird Sun 26-May-13 20:57:22

What chubfuddler said about your 7yo - I think going down the adoption route would be incredibly hard on her as well as you, tbh.

Is exp able to provide financial support? Also, obviously I don't know him or what went on in your relationship, but if he is keen to be involved I don't think it would be fair to deny him a measure of involvement, which would also take some of the pressure off you. If his parenting practices aren't ideal (and from what you have said they are definitely not what I would want for my child, but not actually abusive, iyswim), you need to discuss these things with him in advance. Does he see your dd?

Obviously, as I'm not facing your challenges, I don't want to blithely say 'oh, it'll all be fine'. But I do think the reality may not be as impossible as you (understandably) fear. I also very much support the suggestion that you get some counselling to talk all this through.

Good luck.

MeiMeiMeiMei Sun 26-May-13 20:57:31

Could the baby be adopted against your ex-P's wishes?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 26-May-13 20:58:15

pb - I have a 5 month old DS and am unexpectedly 7 weeks pregnant with DC2. I have to be honest and say that I swing from feeling pleased to miserable quite often wondering how I'll cope and I have a lovely DH and no money worries.

I know that you say that your ex-p isn't the best dad but he's obviously doing OK with your DD and it sounds like he would be hands on and want to help.

I agree - you need to talk and talk about this to someone. Definitely more than one session so please get something set up. I'd give the midwife a swerve and go to your GP. Do you have a nice one?

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 20:58:20

Your quote, Gobbolin resounds a lot. A lot of people do rash things and make long-term decisions based on very short-term problems. VitaminC I used to be laid back but think I've become 'type A' out of necessity (I write this while picking lint from the carpet!)

I have renewed faith in the support on MN. xx

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 21:00:50

God and thanks to mentioning some of challenges of adoption. Am so myopic at the moment didn't even think what DD would think when baby didn't 'come home' from hospital. Imagine myself conjuring up some soap-opera type story that would provide painful narrative for rest of her life.

Chubfuddler Sun 26-May-13 21:08:35

If she were younger I'd say adoption was possibly a viable option. As she's 7 and the baby's father is around and I doubt would consent, I can't see it as a realistic option.

I'm afraid you've either got to have the baby or terminate.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 26-May-13 21:09:42

Yes - the issues with DD are very real. As she is a a bit older, you would also have to address what she was asked at school, etc, as she presumably has mentioned the new baby to her friends.

The other issue too is that my understanding is that, in the UK, a newborn baby cannot be placed with an adoptive family for at least 6 weeks. Therefore, the baby would be in foster care for this time. Additionally, the choice of adoptive parents would be solely made by social services. Unlike the US, you would have no say in the process. Further, there is not really the culture of "option adoptions" that there seems to be emerging in the US now.

I'm not trying to scare you off here but just want to make sure you're factoring all of this into your decision making processes.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 26-May-13 21:15:19

As you're. Not married to the baby's father, he won't have any parental rights unless you register him on the birth certificate, agree a oarental rights agreement or the court grants them to him.

However, he could petition the court to get these parental rights as part of any adoption process and coukd essentially end up looking after the baby as the court is more likely than not to find that it would be in the best interest of the baby to be looked after by its father rather than adopted. Therefore you could end up with the net result of the baby being looked after by your ex-partner in any event but after a nasty court battle and the baby being in foster care until it is resolved.

Therefore, if yiu do go down the adoption route, it would really be in everyone's best interests if he agreed in the first place. S he doesn't petition the court fir parental rights. However, it sounds like he won't.

specialsubject Sun 26-May-13 21:22:16

every child a wanted child. That is good parenting.

your decision and NO-ONE else's.

good luck in whatever you decide. I would only suggest that you decide quickly.

pbandjam Sun 26-May-13 21:23:21

Urgh. Getting more complicated. Thx for posts about adoption. Didn't know all the details having just skimmed information. Because I'm from US also assumed it was a bit more like there. thx.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Sun 26-May-13 21:30:12

No - UK is the complete antithesis of the US. Hence David Milliband etc going to the US as they want to adopt newborns quickly post birth and that simply isn't possible here

If you do want to go down that route and essentially subvert ex-p's rights (and I make no judgements about that. Just saying it as a matter of fact), you would be better to go back to the US and place for adoption there - preferably in a state where unmarried fathers have no rights. However, I think you would need to ensure that you had had a very large amount of counselling in the UK before doing that. The adoption agencies' counselling in the US does not seem to be rated by birth mothers as the agency, of course, is not truly independent and charges adoptive patents for their services.

freetrait Sun 26-May-13 21:39:03

Hi there,
I would definitely get counselling. Find someone to talk it through with, someone good, so if the first person you find is rubbish, move onto someone else grin. I hope it will become a lot clearer to you when you've talked it through.

There are no rights and wrongs, just what's best for you and your family. I completely empathise with the money worries, but would you not accept that worse case scenario, going on benefits and living a life style that is very different from perhaps what you have at the moment might not be the end of the world. It would be different, it would be change (which is always scary), but it might actually open up different paths for you that could take you to all sorts of places. Just think of J.K. Rowling, writing Harry Potter in a cafe. Single parent etc etc smile.

If it's more coping with the physical and emotional demands of a baby (and a 7 year old), then I say go get yourself a support network. You can do that! Of course not so easy with family away, but there are services out there to help vulnerable parents. You might not look like one, but they are open to anyone who needs them (children's centres, health visitors etc). Sometimes just making new friends, perhaps having a postnatal group (they might be first time Mums and younger than you, but does it matter?) can make all the difference.

Don't beat yourself up alone, go get help now, talk it through and I hope you can make a decision you are happy with.

Lilka Sun 26-May-13 22:49:26

I think it might be a very good idea to get some counselling as soon as possible, to help you come to a decision. If you decide abortion is not the right path, then you do have time to think about your other options. And if that happens, know that you have the right to have support, and also to change your mind and change it back again as many times as you want. You don't need to justify your decision making to your extended family members, friends or any other nosy acquaintances. The only people you should be considering are yourself, the baby, your daughter and to an extent, your ex partner.

One option you could conider is a move towards your family or any support network you have in the UK who can help you out after the birth. Would that give you more confidence in parenting your baby?

I am a UK adoptive mum and I do know quite a bit about adoption law and procedures so I can help explain that if you would like more information. It is a process which takes some months and will involve your baby being in foster care for those months. However for you that can be a good thing - you have a time period to make your decision. After birth your hormones and emotions will probably be all over the place and the protected weeks you have to change your mind will give you some distance from the initial after birth hormones etc to let you think more. Don't be afraid to change your mind then either.

But I would say this - you can't make a real decision on adoption until after the birth, and I would just echo the sentiment given above about temporary problems not usually requiring permanent 'solutions'. Generally, when women relinquish their baby purely over concerns such as finance/childcare/housing, those are the situations where the birth mother is much more likely to regret her decision. And having spoken in person and online with women this has happened to - it's not a 'wistful moments', light kind of regret. It's a severe thing which has a massive effect on their lives. So I would only consider adoption if, after the birth, you really do not want to raise the baby yourself or really consider yourself incapable for more reasons than financial/practical things.

As a single mum, I really appreciate that it is hard at times and I can guess you must be going through a rollercoaster of emotions and fears. I do know a couple of other single mothers who found themselves pregnant and worried, but after the birth they did raise their babies and are very happy that they have their children, although of course being a single mum can be pretty hard at times. Take care of yourself

pbandjam Mon 27-May-13 11:51:01

thx everyone for lovely and helpful comments. Will arrange counseling next week once long weekend is over ta.

You've had some really good advice, I'm sorry I wasn't able to be as helpful. I think especially considering a huge move to be closer to friends/family if you do decide to keep the baby.
However, You say in your OP that you are 16w and feel it's too late for a termination. I personally think that at this late stage you'd need to be absolutely sure about it and I don't think you are. I could be wrong and if I am I'm sorry.

syl1985 Tue 28-May-13 01:26:29

Instead of thinking what is possible, just have a thought about what you'd like?

You're only 16 weeks now. Plenty of weeks to come.
You're living in England, not some poor country in Africa where people die of hunger.

If you would like to keep this child then why not? How much money does a child really needs?

Number one what a baby needs is love. The money will come and you'll find support in people around you.
Maybe some will be moaning to you about your situation that you're in. Try to ignore that and them and focus on the people who'd love to help you.

"Lately I've been thinking seriously about adoption which makes me feel crazy and like a character out of '16 and Pregnant' and not a professional rationale 40 year old woman".

Everyone makes 'mistakes' (if you want to call it like this). It hasn't really got anything to do with age. Or being smart, reasonable etc. Getting pregnant is something that could happen to any lady who has had sex. And it's not only you. It takes 2 to make a child!!!

If your ex-partner totally didn't wanted to make another child then he should have worn a condom. Can't he help in some ways that would help you? I understand that you don't want to be with him at the moment. But maybe in some ways it might be nice to let him help?

flatmum Tue 28-May-13 08:17:20

Woul your ex be able to help on a practical level even if you're not together? If he is keen to be a parent, which sounds like he is, but is a bit crap at it, he could help look after them, days out etc to give you a break, but you could maintain overall parenting control and make sure all the important structure was in place. Don't suppose he could contribute financially to take the strain off? Surely he could help out.

This is what my friend does who is a single mum, she's in control but the dad has her son sat nights for a fun evening where he probably stays up too late and eats rubbish but no harm done. I don't think she takes any money off him though as he hasn't really got any. Remembere you could use a childminder instead of nursery which should be a bit cheaper.

Hope you feel a bit better soon x

MortifiedAdams Tue 28-May-13 08:24:05

shock your Ex-P, father of the child.wpuld raise the baby on his own.happily and you would rather the baby be adopted than let him have sole custody? Because he would feed a child pizza and chips??

Up until I read that I was about to write a supportive message.

extracrunchy Tue 28-May-13 08:45:17

I'd seriously consider moving back nearer family/friends. Hope you can find a happy solution.

pbandjam Tue 28-May-13 15:31:52

Mortified the pizza and chips statement was a bit of a throwaway comment but one that was meant to represent his more casual/cavalier approach to parenting, nutrition etc, the whole she-bang.

No one can guarantee adoptive parents might be better but I'm pretty confident that with ExP there would be hours of plopping baby in front of the telly and the like...

flatmum Tue 28-May-13 15:55:12

would that be so bad say 1 day a week?

pbandjam Tue 28-May-13 15:58:21

not a bad thing one day/week but just worried about a lifetime of everyday parenting... Maybe i'm just projecting...

mymatemax Tue 28-May-13 16:06:10

Even if you & dp are not together he will have to support you financially and may be able to share some of the responsibility.
Burgers & TV may be OK for one or two days a week ;)

Its not what you have planned but it will be OK, you will find a way to make your family work with a little extra person in it.

MummaBubba123 Wed 29-May-13 20:46:26

I think that the option of putting your baby up for adoption might be the hardest one of all. You'd wonder where, who and how he/she was fir the rest of your life, wouldn't you?
Termination would also leave you feeling guilty, doubtful, etc.
Truth is, you've nobody to answer to. There is no easy option. Choose whatever is best for you and your son. It'll be okay whichever way you go.

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