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To be terrified to have a child

(35 Posts)
Fragola76 Wed 04-May-16 07:17:23

I was wondering if i was the only person to feel like this, everyone else seems to just do it. In theory having children seems nice, in practice, when i start thinking of everything that could go wrong I just don't think i can do it-I'm mainly thinking about caring for a child with a disability, or an illness later on, the possibility once you have a child that you could lose it and then the more mundane stuff-it's hard-and what it does to your relationship. I could go on and on but basically, is anyone else this scared/overthinking, or in fear that they would not be resilient enough to have children? People always say there isn't a perfect time to have children, but the timing is perfect for me now, i just can't bring myself to do it as I am just too worried about the consequences.
Any thoughts or encouragements welcome!

katemiddletonsnudeheels Wed 04-May-16 07:20:57

I'm the same!

Miloarmadillo1 Wed 04-May-16 07:25:56

You don't have to have one. Childless by choice is ok. For most people, either they haven't really thought it all through, or they decide the positives outweigh the negatives.
FWIW, my third child has a medical condition which is likely to have long term consequences. She is a joy every day. If I could take it away from her I would, but if the choice was having her with her condition or not having her at all I would keep her every time. I imagine you are more resilient than you give yourself credit for.

katemiddletonsnudeheels Wed 04-May-16 07:27:53

I think OP is perhaps like me where we both want a child but are scared to have one.

stairway Wed 04-May-16 07:46:52

Are you an anxious person normally? Things do go wrong in the reproductive process but by in large people are able to manage and do not regret having children.
Whether you have children or not life is full of things that can go wrong I don't think having children alters the balance.

VulcanWoman Wed 04-May-16 08:01:37

I wouldn't bother, it's hard enough when you want them to start with. It's not compulsory and non of anyone else's business if they call you out on it.

anniroc Wed 04-May-16 08:04:28

You don't have to have a child. I have two, and the best way I can sum up what it's like having them is that they are a constant source of comfort and worry, every day. I don't think this will change for a long time. You don't want to regret not having a child though, I know people in this situation and I'm not sure it's something I could live with.

Lottapianos Wed 04-May-16 08:06:38

Ive been agonising over this issue for years now OP. Having children is a huge risk and that level of risk is not for everyone. Having children is seen as the 'normal' thing to do but as other posters have said, plenty of people choose not to, for a whole host of reasons. More women than ever are reaching their mid 40s without becoming mother's so you will be in good company if you decide not to. It's a huge decision and it can be tough, good luck with it

ollieplimsoles Wed 04-May-16 08:08:49

You asked for thoughts and encouragements op, you must want us to talk you into it!

The timing was perfect for us too, we had jobs we loved with flexible hours. A great, stable home, savings etc. We had dd last year and she is a joy!
I have anxiety and had to push a great deal of those doubts to the back of my mind and just 'jump in'

But you could wait a year and see how you feel?
It may take you a while to fall pregnant too.

havalina1 Wed 04-May-16 08:21:04

OP, I remember feeling the same as you. I'd volunteered at a new children's hospice and I was so shaken by the heartbreak I saw. I remember asking a friend how on earth did she have kids knowing the pain of sadness and ache could also be part of it... I can't remember what she said but I'm here now with two babies of my own and I never think like that anymore. For me it was a reaction to seeing the anguish.

And... one of my children is/was sick, and we have spent a few days in hospital and at clinics etc, seeing other sick children, (seeing a child have a seizure was hard) was rough but after a few days I just saw other children, I saw parents and children, not parents and sick children.

Your post says you want encouragement so you just want to have a child. Nobody can tell you "everything will be ok" but it's more than likely it will smile and if it's not, you'll still be fine smile

I actually don't get the whole relationship stress thing. Your relationship changes and so much of that is a wonderful shared mutual adoration of your children. It's not all bad!!

katemiddletonsnudeheels Wed 04-May-16 08:25:17

Vulcan, I am desperate for a child but very worried that I'd be a terrible mum or that I would discover I hated parenting when it was too late.

I am very chilled out ordinarily.

StillDrSethHazlittMD Wed 04-May-16 08:41:36

anniroc said "You don't want to regret not having a child though, I know people in this situation and I'm not sure it's something I could live with."

Personally, I'd rather regret not having a child, than have a child and then regret having one. And I know people in that situation. We're not talking a car that you regret buying and sell it on to someone else.

OP, you do not have to have a child if you don't want one. The world will not fall down. You will not be sent to prison. I wish more people actually thought about it than just did it because "that's what people do, isn't it?"

Osirus Wed 04-May-16 08:46:11

I'm the same - but 33 weeks pregnant! This is an IVF pregnancy, so obviously was planned. It's still incredibly scary and full of unknowns. I sway between looking forward to it to being terrified. I think it's normal; it's a massive life change. I'm a naturally anxious person though and I worry every time I let my cats outside! I can't see a baby being any easier!

Malvolia Wed 04-May-16 09:45:34

OP, I think what you are feeling is entirely normal, particularly for people who have not always considered children a necessary part of their destiny and who have to think hard about whether this is something they might want, as it's the ultimate time-sensitive decision. I'd never planned to have a child, had serious doubts about my suitability/resilience etc, and after much thought, had my only child at 39. I'm under no illusions that my life would have been different, but good in a different way, without him, but ultimately it's a decision I'm happy I made.

I would echo what others are saying - having a child is not compulsory. Not having a child is an increasingly common decision. Why not give yourself permission to think about what your life would be like if you choose not to have a child? Are you coming to an age when you need to make this decision immediately? If a doctor said to you tomorrow that you were infertile and could never conceive, would you be relieved or disappointed to have that decision taken out of your hands?

The fact is that in having a child you open yourself up to contingency in all kinds of ways, as you say, and while that's part of the enormous interestingness of having a child - for instance, I've become far more political since having my son, particularly in terms of environmental activism - it's also OK to decide that this isn't for you.

MorrisZapp Wed 04-May-16 09:51:46

Seriously, don't have one. I dithered and swithered for years then said to heck with it and has DS. He's a joy of course, I love him more than anyone in this world.

But it's harder than I ever could have guessed and it shuts down so many future choices.

You don't have to have kids. Really, it's ok.

HPsauciness Wed 04-May-16 10:05:45

I think it's fine to be nervous about a huge life changing decision. It's fine to worry you don't have enough experience, I didn't, had no friends with children at the time, clueless really. I found the thought of it daunting, cried for days when I found out I was pregnancy (not sure why) and struggled a bit in the early years. However, having my girls has been an absolute blast and one I would never ever want to have missed out on. It's genuinely fun as well as worrying, it's not one thing.

You are wrong that everyone else just leaps in without doubts. Even if you have one child, you may have a next child with difficulties/disabilities, you never every know.

I don't see this type of thinking as a reason not to have children, unless you simply don't want to have children. It's not a guarantee type situation.

mummyto2monkeys Wed 04-May-16 10:08:12

I can honestly say that my two children are my greatest achievements in my life. It is a joy to watch them grow, to feel them grow inside you and then to watch them as they develop and grow from infant, to toddler, to child.....I have never laughed so much, I have never loved so much and I have never been so happy. What I will say is that having such high levels of anxiety is not normal, I used to be the same until I was given anti anxiety meds for nerve pain. The difference was incredible.

I realise that there are so many things that could potentially go wrong. But that is life, we could walk in front of a bus tomorrow but there is no sense in staying locked inside your house just in case. I speak as a Mother who has had quite a lot go wrong but I will never regret my decision to have my children, they are wonderful children and a delight to me each and every day.

You wouldn't avoid cars because of the risk of car crashes, so if you desperately want a family go for it. The joy, love and connection is so wonderful that it outshines the possible bad things by miles.

Nicknamegrief Wed 04-May-16 10:16:01

Most things worth doing are terrifying if we over think them. The amount of time we can invest in a relationship can all be 'wasted' if it goes to pot. The amount of time we can waste studying for a career, only to find we hate the reality of it.
The responsibility can feel overwhelming but no parent is 100% responsible for how their child turns out. Most of us just do the best job given our circumstances and then children show us they are capable of independent thought, word and action.
There are no guarantees in life and nothing is perfect and life is one compromise to another in the shortfalls of our expectations and the reality.

TheABC Wed 04-May-16 10:19:22

Life does not come with guarantees, sadly. I have DS sitting next to me now cuddling my bump (DC2 imminent!). I have been "lucky" in that DS is perfectly healthy, but one accident or illness could always change that. Having kids is always a gamble in that respect - but the time I have had with him has included the best days of my life.

It is life changing. It is hard work. You are perfectly entitled not to have kids; they will demand reserves of patience and love you never thought possible. You will struggle to keep a clean outfit for more than 10 minutes during the toddler years. It's still the best decision in my life

StillDrSethHazlittMD Wed 04-May-16 10:20:58

Mummyto2 Plenty of people hate flying and the idea of flying, so don't fly, so am not sure the car crash analogy is necessarily the best option. I don't get the impression the OP is "desperately" wanting a family.

And that's, to my mind, the crux of it. You should only have children if you really, really, really have that overwhelming desire to have them. I don't even believe people who are ambivalent should have children (ie, "if my partner really wanted them, I'd have them, but I'm not fussed either way - and I've heard plenty of women as well as men say that) because, as I said before, we're not talking about buying a car, but creating a life for which you will be responsible in every possible way (financially and legally) for a minimum of 18 years. MINIMUM.

We should be doing a lot more in schools and universities about just want a responsibility it is to be a parent and what it actually involves.

Onlyicanclean10 Wed 04-May-16 10:31:41

I had an overwhelming need to have children and have 4. They are older now and we have GC.

I had no idea how consuming parenthood would be and if you think k it gets less so as they get older forget it. It gets worse.

We had a policeman tell us our dd had been injured abroad and might not survive. The absolute terror was all consuming and gut wrenching. She made it.

However the highs are awesome and amazing.

If you don't want a life of highs/lows fear terror elation pride. Don't mind spending literally thousands on them and have no real peace of mind then don't have kids.

VulcanWoman Wed 04-May-16 10:34:51

Vulcan, I am desperate for a child but very worried that I'd be a terrible mum or that I would discover I hated parenting when it was too late.

When I wanted a child my mind was set on it, the positive masked any negative I might have had. I couldn't imagine my future without having a child in it. I'm quite determined when I set my mind on something, sometimes to my detriment.

I used to think having a child was a selfish act but as it turns out you have to be totally selfless. That doesn't mean you have to be a martyr to your child but you have to be prepared to do you best for them whether you like it or not, keep on keeping on, do the best you can for them, until they're are fully cooked grin

Sorry, probably haven't helped matters in hand.

Lottapianos Wed 04-May-16 13:10:12

'We should be doing a lot more in schools and universities about just want a responsibility it is to be a parent and what it actually involves.'

Very much agree with this - much more information needs to be available about the reality and responsibility of being a parent. Living your life childfree should also be discussed as a perfectly reasonable and fine alternative to parenthood.

AdrenalineFudge Wed 04-May-16 13:14:02

If I was this unsure I don't think I'd go ahead and have a child because as a PP has mentioned it's better to regret having not having one than to regret the child once they're here. That would cause no end of devastation for all involved.

OliviaBenson Wed 04-May-16 13:14:51

I'm the same and this is why we have decided not to have children. My friends have a very poorly child and I just don't understand how they cope, they are amazing. I just don't think I've got it in me to give all of me to a child, and certainly not one who had long term problems.

I just wish I wasn't judged so much for it- although it's becoming more common , there is still a huge social pressure to procreate.

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