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Grieving over not having a second child

(79 Posts)
GreenFingeredGoddess Fri 01-Mar-13 10:50:37

I'm 44. For years I only wanted one. We went round and round in circles trying to decide whether to have another and decided we were happy as we were. I just couldn't face having another baby as I found it so hard the first time around.

I don't know why, but in my heart I always thought another one might come along or I would suddenly feel at peace with my decision. I never have.

It plays on my mind all the time. I talk to friends about it, I obsess about having only one and how many children other people have, it goes around in my head all the time.

DS is now 8 and a half. I'm very old to be thinking about another. DH does not want another. It would be hard but I can't STOP thinking about it.

I know it could be that I'm probably too old now and it's suddenly hit me, I just don't know. I just want all the thoughts to stop-they are driving me mad! I have had counselling but it didn't really help. I was just told to deal with it or try for another basically.

Can anyone relate and how did you cope?

Skp87 Wed 03-May-17 17:39:12

I really feel for you OP.
I am an only child myself, in my thirties. It's alright being an only child (in my experience).
Thing is you did what you thought was right at the time, you had a difficult time first time round and thought you'd be happy with one. You weren't to know how you'd feel in 8 years time? I don't hav the answers but all I will say is be kind to yourself x

Tigerthecat Sun 09-Apr-17 21:15:52

I had my child after 6 years of trying, well wishers told is it was stress when we couldn't conceive and getting nhs funding took ages due to ignorance of local gp. Went into ivf naive, found out that my husband had issues and that it was practically a miracle that this form of ivf worked. After a traumatic birth, PTSD and quite a difficult baby, it took a while to entertain the idea of having another. We had one frozen egg and felt sure this would be the sibling. It didn't defrost and to me it felt like a bereavement. I went through the gruelling process of a live cycle again and we just learnt it failed. I feel so guilty that l can't give my child a playmate and so conscious that her dad and l might be so emotionally demanding of her love right now. I feel real anger toward two child families and that everyone either feels sorry for me or is judging me for having one kid. At the same time that the ivf failed my best friend told me she was pregnant with her second. My husband just wants me to snap out of it but l feel so alone.

Fortunatepiggy Fri 03-Mar-17 21:50:50

Agree I had a very happy childhood as an only and never felt lonely

MesmereldaM Thu 02-Mar-17 20:58:10

My husband is a happy successful only child. He's close to his parents and now has me and children of his own. He has plenty of friends. He was offered certain benefits being an only child as they could afford better holidays and pay for school ski trips etc it certainly hasn't disadvantaged him in any way.

Fortunatepiggy Thu 02-Mar-17 20:38:48

Really helpful hearing everyone else's views though thanks

Fortunatepiggy Tue 28-Feb-17 12:54:25

This is a great thread. I'm still dithering.. 40 scared of rocking the boat on my life now getting easier and ds starting school soon. More money less stress less worry with one and I'm an only child so not worried about that factor but ... Worried I will get to 44 and think I wish I had tried. It's very different if you try and can't have another than choosing to not try to have another and I think that's what I am struggling with x

OatmealMum Fri 21-Oct-16 12:48:23

Letting go of the thought of a second child isn't easy. It's losing somethng you never had.

We tried for almost two years until I got pregnant with DD. Knowing that it took so much time, we've been TTC ever since she was born. When DD was 3, we even went to see a doctor. Nothing seems to be wrong with either of us. We had some minor fertility treatment as well. Nothing happened. It was such a pain in our heads that we decided to leave it soon.

After the treatments I've tried to cope with the idea of us being a family of just three. I went to counceling twice andd that helped a bit. Now my DD is 5 and I'm thinking that the age cap would be so big that they wouldn't be playmates any more. Finally I'm okay with the idea that we'll let the nature to decide. I'm even thinking if our life would get too complicated with another child.

Maybe the key idea to my own "healing" was when I thought what I want to be: a great and happy mum of one wonderful child or a miserable desperate mum not able to be happy of the great moments with her child. I cannot choose to be a mum for two, so these are my choices. I decided to choose the first, even though it was hard at first.

I don't know if my story was of any help to others. I hope so.

Fortunatepiggy Tue 20-Sep-16 16:54:01

Great post mummylovesvader

I am currently 40 and agonising over whether we should have second child or not (although this decision may well be taken out of my hands I appreciate because of my age ) ds is 3.5 now. Career is getting back on track, have only just now began to feel that we could cope with another but am worried about my age, poss health probs, miscarriage, chance of multiples, impact on my son.. Everything really!

I am an only child and never felt lonely if that's any consolation

MummyLovesVader Sun 14-Aug-16 12:39:23

My first MN post - thank you everyone who has posted, it is such a comfort to have you words of wisdom!

In particular to Goddess - I hear you and share your thoughts and anxiety on this. Gosh, it feels like such a lonely journey, doesn’t it? But in reading this, I see we are in good company and there are lots of great coping suggestions here on this thread.

DP and I both come from close families with siblings, so we always planned to have 2 children to ‘complete our family’. By choice (careers etc.), we came to parenthood late - we are both 44 and we have a DS now aged 4.5. We conceived quickly and had a dream pregnancy and birth, but we both really struggled with the demands of having a challenging baby in our early 40’s (terrible sleeper, didn't sleep through until 4yo). We didn’t have the energy to try for a sibling for 2 years, but we blindly believed that when we did, we would conceive quickly. TTC unsuccessfully for the next 2 years, then had a complicated mc at 11 weeks which left us both stunned (my son handled it brilliantly). In January this year, we decided to stop TTC, cancelled IVF and agreed we were very lucky to have what we do.

Since then, I have been emotionally torn about the second child that will never materialise. Some days I am fully bought into the decision we have made. On others, I am full of regret - of not starting a family younger, of not starting IVF sooner, I feel contempt for families with two children (or pregnant with the second), and judge them negatively (including those at my DS’s school :-0). I almost feel smug when I see a mother struggling with two children - thank goodness that’s not me etc. When I see families together (especially parents of our age) I cannot stop myself from calculating the age difference between parents/siblings and between the siblings themselves, and pondering whether it’s too late for us.

I torture myself (and DP) by suggesting every now and then we start TTC/reapply for IVF, but then we both talk ourselves out of that - how could we cope with the sleepless nights, the impact on DS and how it would break the wonderful family dynamic we finally have, the age difference between siblings would be too great now, the increase of problems given my age and mc history etc.
We have started to look into adoption, but my ambivalence means it’s doubtful this will come to anything.

I recognise thinking like this isn’t helping me move things forward, it is keeping me in a place I don’t like, and where I don’t like myself, and actually it is taking up energy that I could plough into being the best mummy I can be for my DS.
He has never known a sibling and probably never will - and whilst some days that makes me very very sad, he is happy, grounded and wonderfully social and likeable. Does his miss a sibling? No. He knows no different, and will be just fine without one. The issue (and solution) therefore is with me.

Have you tried writing both sides of the argument down, and referring back to this when you’re feeling overwhelmed? It has really given me some clarity and helped me break the frustrating thought cycle - I’ve put some of mine here (just a quick brain dump, not the most articulate!).

- DH and I will die and he will be left alone —> good, strong, genuine friendships require investment but when they are established, they are just as good as family
- DS is lonely —> in moments, probably yes, but this teaches my son to self-amuse and to be creative in his own thought process
- DS won’t have a sibling to be his moral companion/he will be more swayed by external influences/people —> with exposure to a broad circle of friends, my son can learn to be discerning and learn who to trust
- DP and myself are (and probably will always be) his best friends —> there isn’t anything wrong with this in moderation, and when he makes more friends his age, he’ll realise we’re old fogeys anyway!
- Siblings benefit from someone to play with, and develop better social skills —> the most gregarious, socially adept people in my wide circle of friends, colleagues and family are more often than not singletons

When I feel very down and feel I have in some way disadvantaged my son by not giving him a sibling, I google ‘successful only children’ and realise the world is full of people who are balanced, successful, happy, contributors who have benefitted from being only children. Not so much a ‘lonely only’ as a ‘super only’!

drvy Mon 18-May-15 22:09:09

Dear GreenFingeredGoddess - I'm a 48 year old man, married for 26 years and we have one 15 year old daughter. I read your initial blog and everything you wrote is how I feel everyday. I kept putting off having another one, always having a reason to put it off knowing I would probably regret it. Our daughter was and is a handful but is an amazing person. She is responsible, works hard in school and has recently been accepted into an arts school for dance. She has dyslexia and during elementary school was extremely hard on all of us helping her do her homework. It would take 4 hours a night, she would shut down and not want to do it but we fought through it and now she is a straight A student and does her homework without asking her to. She will stay up until midnight to get it done or studying for a test. I don't see how we could have done it with another child. I know we would have but it would have been really hard. I am very proud of her but I always find myself looking at other families with two or more children and I get sick thinking about not having another child, my wife is fine with it, but it eats at me everyday. I kept thinking the feeling would go away but it hasn't. I know she will be fine without a sibling and we will be there for her every step of the way to make sure.
P.S. - I just want you to know your'e not alone and your child will be fine. Let's be proud of them and give them what they need, our love and support.
Our future is bright!

Kelbecks79 Fri 17-Apr-15 14:55:51

I'm sitting here in floods of tears and decided to google if anyone else feels the way I do. Then I came across these posts, I have only read a few but intend to read the rest tonight. I'm feel so confused, like I have a daily battle with myself about going for another. Mhusband and I found out my husband was infertile after trying for a lot a years we had icsi ( Ivf) and luckily it worked first time, and our perfect boy was born in 2009 for some absolute stupid reason (mostly money, as it always is) we decided not to keep our frozen embryos. I've always wanted two and if it happened naturally we would have had two some time ago. Now we have asked his parents to borrow money to go again when we received the paper work (once signed you are committed) I firstly see the cost of frozen embryo transfere and just broke down asking myself why did we get rid of them. We discussed the cost and how much to pay back a month and decided that perhaps we should just be happy and grateful for being blessed with the one as we will struggle with money....... My biggest fear ......... Regret. My little boy asked me daily "mummy when can we have a baby" a lot of mums up the scho are pregnant. The truth if it wasn't for money, we wouldn't even think about it and would just go for it, the other thin is we don't have time on our side I'm 36 and hubby 40 next year. I just wish someone had the answers for me I can't go on like it surely it's not healthy ��

mumforever15 Tue 14-Apr-15 15:49:34

Hi! I am 44 and have an amazing 6 year old little girl. I had her at 38 and found it hard to balance house, work and marriage being that my husband relocated from another country. We talked about a second but put it off. We moved when she was 2 and hoped to start trying, however I had a lot of allergy problems in new place and was taking antibiotics so didn't want to try. We started trying when I was 41 but I was still scared and my husband wasn't too sure therefore I have been fearful of having a second all along, even though I really wanted to. We tried for about a year and then I felt I shouldn't try after 42. A doctor friend of the family also told me that 40 was too old so that made me even more worried. Anyway, here I am at 44 and my daughter has asked me why she doesn't have a sibling and it breaks my heart. I believe it is too late now to try and can't get over guilt and feeling that she will be on her own when she gets older. Help????? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

CynthiaDelgado Thu 26-Feb-15 10:57:03

For the op sorry you feel this way. Just to say I have 4 boys so more children would not gave guaranteed you a girl. Mon of them like shopping. I understand you feel that way but just wanted to add that when we are out and about being noisy I look with envy and the quiet one parent families. I feel as though everyone else if judging us!

PattyODoors Mon 23-Feb-15 07:58:40

Frozenfairy I'm in the same situation at the minute, I feel so guilty for resenting hubby for not wanting another child. I'm trying so hard to concentrate on my DD and hubby and be grateful for what I have but I can't. I know we'll regret it in a few years time when it's no longer an option but right now nothing I say will convince him. I'm in my late 30's and feel time is running out. Every time we talk about this it ends in ferocious rows.

liz98 Mon 16-Feb-15 20:24:50

I just wanted to say hello...I still look at the threads every now and again to check how everyone is doing, it's a while since I was posting on here and it is a while since my last mc. I'm sorry you still feel so sad about the situation. I still have one ds, he is 6 and half now. I am happy with our family set up, there are still many moments when I think how nice it would be for him to have a brother or sister, but to be honest I just think I don't want to waste life wondering about what if's. You say that other parents feel sorry for you, do they say that or is it possibly in your head? I know lots of parents of three or four who may feel pity for me, but to be honest, I think they also have issues with their kids too. I don't think it is the number of kids you have that determines their happiness, I really don't. Do you think this pity that you think they have is also coming from what you think and you project it onto them? I'm really sorry if this sounds harsh, I don't mean that at all, I'm finding it really hard to write down my thoughts.
I bet your ds is really happy, yes he could be playing happily with a brother or sister but equally he may be arguing and wishing he had more time with his mum or dad. My ds loves time with his friends, and from talking to mums with more than one, the time with friends is very different from time with siblings, so just because he loves the company of other friends doesn't mean he misses having a brother and sister.
I've also felt wound up watching bigger families and thinking they are having a much better time. But it's not always like that, I also see mums struggling through playgrounds with a little one screaming, and one or two running off up ahead and looking so harassed...Last year we went on holiday with another family with one kid, so that my ds had someone to play with, and guess what?! They did play together, they also argued and sulked and they also ran off and played with other kids at the campsite, sometimes together but also sometimes apart. I guess that is the experience if you have two kids. This time we're going camping with the three of us and I am confident he'll make some friends to play with if he needs to. I also know that the three of us will have fun together.
One thing I will say about having an only, I honestly believe that it has made my ds more sociable. He is really coming into his own at the moment, has joined a few group activities in the last year and I am really proud how he has joined in with the groups and made friends and enjoyed it. His confidence has grown so much and he is a very sociable and popular little boy (and I'm not just saying that cause I'm his mum...;-) ). I bet yours is too, cause I bet you've put time and effort into making sure he makes friends and has chance to socialise. When I compare that to my childhood with a sister 3 years older than me who didn't want to play with me most of the time, I think it is so much better...
I didn't want to go on for so long, I hope that some of what I've said makes sense to you. I just really felt for you when you said you are crying when you were typing. I honestly don't think it is so bad, at least for your ds. And I think your counsellor is right, I think you need to focus on yourself and work out what you can do to make yourself happier, without focusing on one thing that is may not going to happen. Really sorry if that sounds harsh, I don't mean it that way. I hope you read this and it helps, sending you lots of hugs x x x x

Kaydev8 Wed 11-Feb-15 18:48:46

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

GreenFingeredGoddess Sun 01-Feb-15 10:45:06

I'm so glad this thread is still going! I haven't been on for ages but it really helps reading through the posts. My heart aches for those of you who have had such a hard time with this.

I have good days and bad-but unfortunately I am still really struggling with this. I'm 47 this year so almost 3 years since I posted the original thread-there is always a dialogue going around in my head-sometimes I can quieten it down, but lately I have just been feeling very low. I seem to have come to the conclusion that everythinng that is wrong in my life stems from not having 2 children-sounds stupid I know.

I feel judged by others and think of them as "proper" mums for having more than one. I think they look at me with pity for having "only one". I hate it when they ask me if I have any more. I look at other families when we are out in restaurants and there seems to be lots of laughter and chatter and I can feel my heart sinking. I feel as if there is a big gaping hole in my heart and I feel incomplete, it can almost be a physical ache somtimes.

When I am out, I am always looking at other mums with daughters shopping (my DS hates shopping-typical boy!!). I am SO insanely jealous of mums with a girl-I think about what she would have looked like, what we would have called her.

I did go a see my counsellor again who advised I needed more of a focus in my life-I am in the process of trying to set up a business after not working for a few years-but it doesn't make the feelings go away.

I can't talk to my friends or family anymore about this as they have heard it so many times-they have run out of things to say to me. DH gets exasperated as he says "YOU didn't want anymore"

My DS seems fine but I feel like I've let him down when he loves being with other kids. My heart aches when I look at him playing alone.

Basically, I just want to rewind and start again-I want my family of four-not three. I am sobbing as I type and just don't know how to get myself out of this pattern of thinking. I think I'm going mad some days.

I'm sorry this isn't a more positive post. To look at me, you would never guess I have all this going around in my head but this morning I just felt like bursting, I just had to get it out.

Whatsthatnoise Tue 27-Jan-15 20:47:48

DD(6) is an only and likely to always be an only. She has a disability that is probably genetic but not yet proven and although she has issues her quality of life is really good. She goes to mainstream school can walk short distances she's not that different. For years I've buried the want for another child thinking dp didn't feel the same however recently he admitted he'd love another too. I just wish it was an easy decision.

LalaLeona Mon 26-Jan-15 21:04:19

Frozen fairy I think you need to talk to your dh and make him see that this really is a deal breaker and you are never going to be happy in the marriage because your feelings are not going to go away. I have been having these kind of discussions with my dh and he has finally agreed to ttc even though he just turned 48 bless him. (I'm 12 years younger), my dd is 8 and I know there will be a big gap but I still feel it's the right thing to do. I have to at least try!! I'm so scared about it all, but I have to give it a go. My feelings when I watch dd playing alone are too painful. sad

Gr33dyeggs Mon 26-Jan-15 16:42:17

frozenfairy sorry you're feeling like this. No words of wisdom I'm afraid but didn't want to read and run.

frozenfairy123 Mon 26-Jan-15 16:08:42

I'm in the same situation and I'm having a really bad day. I just can't breath when I think that this is it. Want another soo much for me, our family and my son. We have no cousins locally. Time is running out as I'm getting older and I've considered leaving my hubby as I hate him for this soo much. But can't leave cos I still love him. It just feels so unfair xxx

MarysPrayer Wed 07-Jan-15 21:41:23

So very true sad

Gr33dyeggs Sat 03-Jan-15 15:42:47

marysprayer its so hard isn't it! Theres no middle ground - we 'win' and have a 2nd knowing every bump in the road will be all our fault because its what we wanted. They 'win' and resentment will set in and we will always wonder 'what if?'. sad

MarysPrayer Sat 03-Jan-15 14:59:36

I can really relate to your post Gr33dyeggs I have a 2 yr old dd and would love a second dc, but dh is unsure. Like you, we had a difficult birth and dd was not an easy baby but I can't help longing for another. I'm also in my (late) 30s so can't afford to wait any longer.

Like you my biggest feeling right now is fear. I fear that, either way, one of us could end up resenting the other. I worry about what effect this could have on our marriage.

It scares me that so many only children choose to have more than one child because they always wanted siblings themselves. I scares me that dd will have no family around her when dh and I are gone.

Sazorchard31 Fri 02-Jan-15 15:27:53

There is no reason why you would be blue lighted again or premature but I understand your fears as we have friends with lifelong problems and its something putting my husband off a second.

Your decision will not be wrong, do what feels right for your family and it'll be the right decision. Have a think over a few more months if you're not clear in your mind.

My dd is nearly 5, has her attitude moments but it's all part of growing up I hope! smile

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