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Please help me see sense, really need opinions and I am struggling.......

(7 Posts)
changednameforthis99 Wed 12-Oct-11 13:41:51

Have name changed for this as I have made myself quite identifiable to people in RL under my usual name. I know this is a common problem on this board. I have read almost every thread on here while I drive myself insane….
I was hoping that if I gave a few details of my situation someone might be able to give me some advice.

So, I have one adorable DS who will be 5 around Easter. I am 36 (just). I had a difficult time with 5 miscarriages before DS was born. Then 5 weeks before his birth I had a mini-stroke due to a pituitary haemorrhage (diagnosed by MRI, only symptom was horrible headaches). I stayed in hospital until I was 38 weeks and he was safely delivered by C-section under a general anaesthetic.

I had sort of convinced myself until recently that another DC was out of the question in case I had another stroke which could be really serious. I have recently found out that in fact I would more than likely be fine (told this my GP, although he is referring me to a specialist for more info).

I have had other reasons not to try for a DC- two bed house, not a great deal of money, work in a family firm which would be severely strained if I was off for any period of time, I will also most likely find myself running this firm in around 4 years time and so should really be thinking about increasing my workload rather than reducing it. I also found the baby stage very tough with DS. I was very stressed and tired, possibly had PND, and have even been told by my own mum that I was rubbish at it but I made it through and since then have found each new stage to be more wonderful than the last.

I do though have a horrible nagging sadness that I haven't given DS a sibling. It is with me every day and has begun to take over my life. DS is a smashing little boy, bags of fun and very kind- we are so proud of him. I have made very sure that he has no idea that I have these feelings about our family of 3.

I feel different and like an outsider around other families, I feel I have failed DS and DP. I feel people are judging me, I know I shouldn't care but I do. I carry guilt with me every day which is taking over my life, and I am angry at myself for this because, really I should just be content with what we have.
However in so many ways we are a terribly lucky very happy family and I am petrified of rocking our little boat by having another DC. DS really is such a happy sociable boy, I just don't know what to do.

I have no yearning for a tiny baby, (see struggled with baby phase above), but do wish I had 2 DC. Its hard to explain but I feel guilty, a failure and left out of normal life. I don't really understand why as I am honestly not a 'keeping up with the Jones' type of person.

I see so many other people with logical reasons (e.g. lack of money, space etc) not to have more children who just go ahead and do it with a confidence that they will just manage somehow (good on them BTW). I can't seem to have this faith that things will just be OK.

DP says he is more than happy with our lovely DS but he wants me to be happy and would have another if it is what I really really want.

If I had a magic wand I think I would like not to feel like our family is incomplete and not to worry that DS will suffer for it. But I don’t know whether this sense of incompleteness comes from actually wanting a baby or just feeling like this is what I should want……

I don’t know what to do can anyone help me?

Lasvegas Wed 12-Oct-11 14:00:12

99, I have one DD 9 yrs old. I only ever wanted one child. DH had snip when DD was 2.5 years old. Never had any regrets. DD says she would not like to have a sibling as she likes having me and her father all to her self. DD is kind to younger kids and gets on fine with other kids. I have no regrets.

Abra1d Wed 12-Oct-11 14:03:44

You know, I think that sense of incompleteness can go and on, no matter how many children you have. I could have gone on having them, after I'd had my two, but my mother warned me I'd feel just the same after three. And I probably would have.

Now I'm really glad I stopped while I was still young enough to enjoy running around with the two we already had.

I know many, many single children who are happy and outgoing and don't seem to have any longings at all for siblings.

Llanarth Thu 13-Oct-11 08:06:51

99 I'm so sorry you are feeling this in such a profound way. I recognise every single emotion you express, but in a less significant way. But i think if I allowed it, this issue could dominate my life too so I instead focus on the positive:

I breathe a sigh of relief when the playdate with twins is over and peace is restored to our house. At those times when I find my DS's behaviour challenging I remind myself how much more patient I can be than I would be if I had another child screaming at me at the same time. I enjoy taking DS out for lunch, just the two of us, which is something I know I wouldn't do (nor afford to) if I had a baby in tow. I think how close we were to not having any children at all (fertility issues), and I think about those friends of mine who will never have a child, despite desperately wanting one. Counting your blessings sounds trite but it gets you out of the cycle of looking at the negatives.

Here's the nub. All the research shows that only children are as happy, or happier than children with siblings. Your DS will not suffer from being an only child, especially as he has such a loving, sensitive and aware mummy. So I'm sorry, but your DS isn't actually a reason to have another. The reason to have another would be if you and your DH actively wanted another child. I'm exactly like you. I don't actually want another baby (and I certainly don't want to go the extremes we would need to go through to get one). But the fact I don't want another one makes me feel awkward. I feel people must think I am odd, that I am unmaternal, that I never really wanted children, that I regret having my son or don't get sufficient pleasure from him to have another. The hardest part for me was coming to terms with the fact that completely seperate from the fertility issues which mean it's possible I couldn't have another anyway, I don't want another child, and that that doesn't mean I am any of those things.

I don't feel the sense of incompleteness you mention. My family of three is perfect and everything I could hope for. When the three of us go out for a walk with the dogs, come home and settle down to an afternoon of lego and Wallace and Gromit, I don't feel anything is missing. I wonder if the incompleteness you feel is because of society and everyone else's preconceptions? If having just one child was the norm in society, would you still feel incomplete? Maybe the fact you haven't reached resolution about your decision whether or not to have another will be contributing to your feelings of incompleteness - you can't get closure when such a big decision is hanging over your life. I found I felt a lot more 'settled' with each step I took away from having another DC - telling the clinic we wouldn't be coming back, giving away our DS's baby clothes, telling parents/friends we would only be having one, planning my return to work when DS starts school, furnishing our house for a family of three etc etc.

I hope you find peace with whatever decision you make - your current state of turmoil sounds exhausting.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 13-Oct-11 18:51:15

Llanarth says it far better than I ever could.

I am sorry to hear you are in such turmoil but you need (I think) to guard against believing that everything would feel right if you had another baby - first of all, because it might not feel right (as abra1d says, that feeling of wanting one more baby could go on and on) and secondly (and I don't mean to sound harsh) your sad history of miscarriages may mean that the second baby never materialises. Perhaps that's another area where you need to explore your feelings - are you willing to open yourself up to the possibility of another miscarriage on your way to another baby?

I do hope you find some peace, whatever you decide.

CatCouscous Fri 14-Oct-11 11:56:12

Llanarth,
I just saw your comments in another thread as I was looking for one-child family, thank you, your wise and grounded comments are already making me feel better about having 'only' one child :-).

Llanarth Fri 14-Oct-11 13:12:27

Thank you - but I'm more wise and grounded on the page than I am in real life - I still have wibbles every now and again smile

But I have found great support in this little safe part of cyberspace. In particular, I was helped by a post by runningminxie on this thread here:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/one_child_families/1120247-Why-do-people-feel-guilty-for-not-giving-their-child-a-sibling/AllOnOnePage

The book she recommends 'Parenting your only child' by Susan Newman is worth getting.

I also found that a very short comment on a one-child thread in the Parenting section bizarrely touched me - it was by a poster, presumably with two or more children, and it it simply said:

"I think that one child families are lovely, and wouldn't judge any family that either makes the choice or has one child because of circumstances."

And it just made me think, yes, one-child families are lovely! There is something very 'right' and natural, and privileged about focussing your energies and love on raising one child to adulthood to the best of your ability.

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