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to be feeling so ambivalent about having a child?

(40 Posts)
Theala Wed 24-Aug-11 14:29:19

Hello, I'm new and have been lurking for a few days because I've suddenly been hit with a massive attack of The Brood. I'm 36, nearly 37, and my partner of two years is 44. Neither of us have any children yet, and I'm aware that time is very quickly running out, if it hasn't already done so. (My mother went through the menopause at 40, apparently.)

So I've discussed the situation with my DP, and we've agreed that after my gynecologist's appointment in two weeks time, I'll go off the pill and we'll see what happens. So that seems all well and good and sensible.

Except I'm terrified of having a child and finding that I really hate being a mother and/or my DP hates being a father and that I've made everything worse instead of better. My DP is as ambivalent as me, and would probably not make the decision to have a child if I didn't make it for him.

I don't know whether this ambivalence/fear means that I really shouldn't have a child, or whether it's more or less normal. There is also the possibility that I/we can't have one and I'm working myself up into a tizzy for nothing. But I feel like I've two weeks to decide one way or the other now, I've been umming and ahhing for far too long.

Callisto Wed 24-Aug-11 14:32:38

If you're not sure whether you want one, don't have one. An unwanted child is not going to make your life or relationship happier or easier, quite the opposite.

Moulesfrites Wed 24-Aug-11 14:35:41

I agree with Callisto.

You sound like you don't want one, and there is nothing wrong with that.

I'm sure I read that fertility declines 10 years before you go through menopause, so if you're mum had a fairly early menopause you may struggle to conceive at your age.

belgo Wed 24-Aug-11 14:37:56

You don't have to have a child. You can have a lovely life without a child.

Crosshair Wed 24-Aug-11 14:38:52

Is anyone ever 100% sure, I mean its a big thing they will always be doubts and worries. Maybe try thinking about when you're older will you be fine without kids/grandkids ect. (obv you will be fine but is that what you want)

good luck and try not to overthink every little thing!

YusMilady Wed 24-Aug-11 14:39:40

Agree wholeheartedly with Callisto. Don't do it OP - it's not like getting a new job or car. It can't be undone.

MrsMilton Wed 24-Aug-11 14:40:31

I thought I was quite ambivalent about having a child... till I got one. Nothing ambivelant now, I can assure you smile

I think we all worry we won't be up to the job so I'd say that's fairly normal. I was lucky in that my DH was really keen and spurred me on - I wouldn't have felt good about doing it without knowing for sure it was what he wanted. I would say that some men need a bit of a kick up the bum in these areas... but if your DP has got to 44 without yearning for a child, then I would want to explore that a bit more. I think by that age most men have had thought one way or the other about whether they want to be fathers. Unlike men in their 20s or 30s who might have bumbled along quite nicely without ever considering it or assuming it's something they'll do later.

Do you think this relationship will last? Having a child is tough on couples, it rarely improves a shaky relationship.

EvaPeron Wed 24-Aug-11 14:41:08

How would you feel in 2 weeks time if your gynaecologist told you that you'll never have children / it's not likely? Relieved? Disappointed? Devastated? What about your partner?

What do you imagine your life to be like in 13 (ish) years time when you turn 50 and your partner is 58? Looking after a young teenager and saving for a uni fund / house deposit or looking forward to early retirement?

Theala Wed 24-Aug-11 14:43:47

I know it can't be undone, that's why I'm not rushing into it. In fact, I've spent much of the last five/six years not rushing into it.

I think I would really like to have a child, but in ten year's time, which is obviously not going to happen.

Changing2011 Wed 24-Aug-11 14:48:25

I dont know ANYONE who says they regret their children. Not one person.

Some might feel like it on occasion, but its fleeting.

Some people do not automatically take to motherhood either, but Id agree with another poster who said, you will feel different if your chance is taken away.

Theala Wed 24-Aug-11 14:50:43

MrsM, my partner was 'stepfather' to three kids of his previous partner for about ten years, so I think that fulfilled his child-yearning thing. (He still sees them even though they're in their twenties now.) I don't think our relationship is currently shaky, but obviously I'm aware that having a child will change it utterly.

EveP, I think I would be both disappointed and relieved, if that makes any sense. Relieved that the decision was taken out of my hands, and disappointed that I would never get to be a mother.

I am taking on board all of your posts, btw, and I thank you for them. They've given me even more to think about. smile

Megastar Wed 24-Aug-11 14:51:29

Having a child is a massive deal, it really does completely change your life, I agree with some of the posts that you both have to want a baby and agree on that so as not to cause resentment later on. I also beleive it is normal to feel completely terrified about having a baby.
I was not a broody mum but my kids have changed my life and although it is the hardest job in the world i can honestly say that i never laughed as much as I do now. Maybe it's the fact that you have given yourself a deadline that has made you panic, I think you need to sit down together and work out if you will be happy with a child and if you will be happy with a future without a child.

scrambedeggs Wed 24-Aug-11 14:52:59

If you're not sure whether you want one, don't have one

this ^

EvaPeron Wed 24-Aug-11 14:56:23

I guess the other question I could ask is how would you feel in 2 weeks time if your gynaecologist told you that you were already pregnant?

lesley33 Wed 24-Aug-11 14:57:40

"I dont know ANYONE who says they regret their children. Not one person."

I do. Two people actually. They both say they love their child, but if they had their time again they wouldn't have children.

Changing2011 Wed 24-Aug-11 15:00:00

How sad Lesley sad

I know plenty of people who shouldnt of bothered having children, they dont find joy in it or find space in their lives for them. But Ive never heard anyone say they regret their children.

Ragwort Wed 24-Aug-11 15:02:09

Changing there have been a few threads on this subject recently; it is the last 'taboo' to say you wish you hadn't had a child but that doesn't mean that some parents realise (too late) that they made the wrong choice.

If you are ambivalent about it (and your DP isn't that bothered) then I really, really wouldn't recommend it.

Why not spend some time volunteering with children to see if you like that? Yes, I know that is nothing like having your own but it will give you some ideas.

GingerWrath Wed 24-Aug-11 15:02:27

I too was completely not bothered, thought babies were smelly noisy annoyances, got to 34 and thought 'what if we don't and get to an age where we can't and end up regretting it?', we stopped using any contraception with the attitude 'if it happens it happens', 8 months later I was pregnant and terrified. First words out of my mouth when the test was positive were 'oh shit!'

Fast forward to present, I have a 5yo DD and she is AWESOME! She is hilarious and I wouldn't be without her.

I still don't do babies!

AMumInScotland Wed 24-Aug-11 15:03:42

If you're feeling broody, then I think you probably do want a child. You are just scared of the changes to your lives that having a child will undoubtedly bring, and worried that you might be making the wrong decision by going with your gut and not your head.

If you've been feeling broody on and off for a few years, then I think you'll regret not doing it far more than you might regret doing it. And I don't think most people really do regret it, except perhaps sometimes when they get pregnant by accident and don't really feel its something they chose.

Theala Wed 24-Aug-11 15:04:06

Yes, I found a thread on here earlier about women who regretted having children, which spooked me quite a bit.

Changing2011 Wed 24-Aug-11 15:07:06

If you leave it too long and have one, then love it and want another and possibly another, you will kick yourself for not doing it sooner.


I cant comment on it personally, I was a mum at 21 and therefore cannot visualise a life without my DD in it. Having another soon, but it has taken 6 years to get round to it (life, work and other things happening).

HardCheese Wed 24-Aug-11 15:14:59

Eva Peron, I was just as ambivalent, and so was my partner. I know exactly what you mean about wishing you could put it on the long finger, but not being able to because your fertility will not last (and I am two years older than you). My partner and I, after what felt like a lot of discussion that didn't arrive at any particular clarification, eventually decided to stop using contraception while acknowledging it might already be too late, conceived on - literally - our first go, much to our total shock, and I'm now ten weeks pregnant. While I would be lying to say that the ambivalence and fear is 100% gone, I have a strong feeling of certainty that this was the right decision for us, and would be heartbroken if I miscarried. And my partner is much more straightforwardly thrilled!

Only you can work this out with your partner - and obviously having a child in 2011 isn't compulsory! - but I certainly wouldn't interpret longterm ambivalence as meaning you are someone who shouldn't have a child. I see us as people who've rationally thought through all the upsides and downsides and calculated the cost to our health and relationships, and who aren't rushing blindly into something. Good luck, whatever you decide.

Theala Wed 24-Aug-11 15:16:18

I have been feeling broody off and on since I was about 32, AMIS. My ex and I had almost decided to have a child, but then broke up before I conceived. When I was single, I switched off the brood, but now that I'm in a happy stable relationship, it's back with a vengeance.

AMumInScotland Wed 24-Aug-11 15:30:04

Then I don't think the ambivalence is anything more than fear of the unknown. If you were saying "I've never felt broody but think we ought to get on and have a child now if we're ever going to" then I'd be saying, "You can be happy and fulfilled without children". But I don't think ignoring the broodiness is a recipe for happiness - you can live with being broody and not acting on it if you feel life never gave you that option, but living with "What might have been" is difficult, when you know you could have gone for it and bottled out.

HeifferunderConstruction Wed 24-Aug-11 15:31:00

Everyone is different

I think emphasis on being full of glee is too much its a big thing some worry is normal

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