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So undecided about having another child

(23 Posts)
ginzillas Mon 13-Oct-14 08:41:26

We have a beautiful DD, who is two-and-a-half. I have never felt the urge to have another DC, apart from a vague 'Hhm, I suppose it would be nice'.

But the negatives of having another DC seem to outweigh the positives right now. We don't earn a great deal (skint at the end of each month, usually) and as I'm self employed, I'd only be able to take about two months of maternity leave before going back to work.

We don't have any family nearby so the cost of childcare would stretch us to the limit. Added to that, I suffered postnatal anxiety last time after a difficult birth, initial feeding issues and trying to work whilst looking after DD when she was tiny. In all honesty, I felt like I lost myself for a good few months. I had suicidal thoughts at some point and would wake up crying in the middle of the night, feeling complete despair.

I had counselling which really helped. These days, I'm more or less back to normal but I still have moments of feeling that I can't cope and I'm terrified of going back to that dark place. DD was too young to realise at the time but she'd certainly notice now if Mummy was sitting on the sofa sobbing and ignoring her. DD still doesn't sleep well so DH and I are both often exhausted from broken nights. And I can't imagine adding a crying-all-night newborn to the mix!

Reading all the above, I know that I sound miserable. I'm not. I utterly loved the experience of being pregnant and despite the difficulties, I have many happy memories of DD's newborn days.

I feel so lucky to have her and have never doubted my love for her. She is the light of my life - and DH feels the same. We adore her, love spending time as a family, have so much fun together and would do anything for her. I have never felt that my family of three is wanting. So why change things, especially when DH is also not fussed about having another baby?

However, I feel guilty at the thought of 'depriving' DD of the chance of a sibling. And other people have started commenting too, which is driving me bonkers. It's not even the grannies, who wouldn't dare say anything! It's friends, who say things like 'Get a move on and having baby number two'. I even had a comment on my Facebook wall.

I know people mean well - and I didn't tell many people about my counselling so they're not being insensitive - but it just adds to the guilt. How do you cope with that and also, how do you know if it's just not right for you to try for number two? All the signs show that we'd probably be better off sticking with just one. But how can I get over this indecision?

bluebeanie Mon 13-Oct-14 12:37:11

I really could have written your post op, only my dd is just 1. I enjoyed bits of pregnancy and the tiny baby stage, but I had PND and suffered badly from anxiety too. It is the only time in my life when I have given serious thought to suicide. I also got professional help. It only stopped when I returned to work (compressed week of 4 longer days). This is a good balance of us as a family. It is still a challenge to fit in housework/any form of a social life/time with dd etc.

We too, don't earn amazing amounts, but can cover all our expenses and save a bit towards her future. We too don't have any family nearby to help so after everything is paid we have run out of money by the end of the month. It also means dh and I have less time to ourselves outside of the home, which I do moarn.

I had a burning desire to have a baby and now we have one. The first year was really hard and it still is to some extents. I have no idea how we would work with two dc - financially, logistically, mentally. A second baby feels like a 'should'. We've already had a few questions, but I expect it to get a lot more frequent in a bit. No advice, just wanted to say you are not alone.

Lovelydiscusfish Mon 13-Oct-14 13:13:06

I have a dd the same age as yours, I love her so much and love being a mother, and have absolutely not the slightest intention of having another child! Dh feels the same. We both work (him from home, me out of it and full time) so feel that we would be spread too thinly in terms of time and attention we could give two children, to the detriment of both. To be honest, when I even imagine it, I imagine bitterly resenting the new baby for taking up time I'd rather be spending with dd!
Also financial resources -it is important to us to have the money to be able to provide dd with extra-curricular opportunities if she wants them, and potentially to be able to afford private education, depending what happens -we can do this fairly comfortably for one, but not two.
But more than any of this, one child just feels right for us both -it is an emotional as well as practical decision. As for depriving her of a sibling -well, I have a db and I do love him and wouldn't want to be without him, but dh was an only child and really loved that too, and all the attention he got! I think at the end of the day, a child is best of with, where possible, happy parents, whether that means no brothers and siblings, or numerous!

ginzillas Mon 13-Oct-14 20:14:54

Thanks for your comments. Such a relief to read your opinions.
Lovely, what you say about it just feeling right for you is sort of how I feel...until I allow the guilt to get the better of me. But then I'm the sort of person who feels guilty about everything anyway.
interesting that your DH was happy being an only. I asked my friend who's an only if she was happy growing up. I expected reassurance. Instead she told me that she was lonely and, as a consequence, always wanted at least two children. Argh!
Blue, do you worry about slipping back into PHD? My main worry is going back to the bad place and being unable to cope.

bluebeanie Mon 13-Oct-14 20:43:08

Absolutely. It was a really bad and lonely place. If I had baby no 2 it wouldn't just be coping with a baby either. I'd have another as well.

Are you thinking about having another? For me, it's such a hard decision to make. I feel guilty.

Happydaze247 Mon 13-Oct-14 20:54:04

Another 'undecided' here too.

DD is almost 2, it was a difficult birth and she was not an easy baby. I simply cannot imagine having another like her AND having a toddler to care for. It's the practicalities that I can't get my head around. For example: how can you drag a 3 year old around the streets because dc will only nap in their pram?!

There's a good thread, in this section, that I keep referring to, to convince myself that it wouldn't be so bad if she was an only.

On the other hand I would love her to have a sibling and I quite like the idea of being pregnant again and having another baby. I know this sounds ridiculous but I feel like I deserve a second chance to actually enjoy the baby stage. I sometimes feel cheated that dd was so difficult and I was so miserable.

misskaybee Tue 14-Oct-14 21:22:54

I'm thinking about having another. Ds sllept through from 3 months is a happy baby and content. But I've been feeling really broody when I see people around work who are pregnant and I see little new borns. I remember the early days I went crazy and a few months ago doctors said I had PND but I'd like to have 2 children. If I could by pass the first 6 months I would have loads but I fine 24/7 holding a baby drives me crazy. But it's not for long and DS has just turned 1 and it's gone so quickly. But then I want to start my own business and having another would push that back. But tou always regret things yoy don't do and when I'm old I want to have more than 1 kid.x

ginzillas Thu 16-Oct-14 09:50:52

I go from feeling 'let's definitely stick at one' to 'I think that we should have another'. I always thought that I'd have two. It's just that I found it so much harder than I expected to.

DD would love a little brother or sister - she is obsessed with babies. Although she does find it quite hard to share anything at the moment (she was very cross to learn that she has to share her granny with her new baby cousin!) so it would be interesting to see how she'd deal with that side of things.

I just think that it would be nice for her to have a little playmate but we have to get a move on, in that case, because she'll be three soon and the age gap will be so big. I am a very indecisive person anyway and the fact that DH is ambivalent about another DC is making it harder.

Truth be told, I am terrified of giving birth again as I had such a horrendous experience the first time. In fact, that is probably one of the major factors in me being reluctant to have another.

Weirdly, I never get broody when I see tiny babies. I much prefer toddlers now!

Lovelydiscusfish Thu 16-Oct-14 18:44:54

Interesting about the sharing thing. I just proposed to dd the other day that we invite her best friend from nursery over to play at our house (he has never been), she went really funny about it, telling me he'd got his own house, mummy and daddy. I thought, I wasn't proposing adopting him!
Yet she is very keen for she and him, and me, and his mummy, to all go on holiday together!
She's quite sociable generally, after a shy phase a few months ago, and mixes well at nursery, with a few friends and one "best friend', as she and he describe each other. So, although I know it's not the same as a sibling, I don't feel she's missing out on a play-mate as such.
Sympathies to those undecided though -it's such a tough one and a big one really, isn't it? I think I'm lucky that dh and I feel (at least for now) fairly confident in our decision.

ginzillas Thu 16-Oct-14 19:12:19

lovely they get really territorial over their own stuff and own space don't they? It's really funny. I think DD likes the idea of a baby but would probably be a bit shocked by the reality.
We're hoping to move nearer my family and that might be the deciding factor for us because my mum would help out. There's no way that I'd be able to cope without family support another time. I know people do manage but I nearly lost my marbles last time and wouldn't want to risk that again.

OneSkinnyChip Wed 22-Oct-14 17:23:05

Another undecided mum of one. If I'm honest I have no desire to have another child but feeling sibling guilt even though I rarely see my own siblings hmm I hated being pregnant and the baby stage is just dull. If kids could arrive aged 2 I would have a dozen grin

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Wed 22-Oct-14 17:52:12

What OneSkinnyChip said, except I'm too old to have a dozen Mork's grin

It's difficult because any parent with more than one will obviously love that child too. Once they arrive, you can't imagine life without them and are just as protective as you are of your PFB [in the sense of anything bad happening to them - less so about grime]

I do have two children but was very ambivalent about having a second. It was a huge shock to the system having a child, even a wanted one and I didn't cope that well if I am honest. It took a lot of persuasion to TTC2.

Wait until you move home and think about it again assuming time is on your side. As for the grandparents/rude FB people. Either slap them down with "it's not the right time for us/we've decided to only have one [and then changed our minds]/or imply that a 2nd is not an option medically. People usually back the hell away from that.
Or you could be v unBritish and actually tell them they are being rude. I'd certainly delete those sort of comments and block them.

LizzieMint Wed 22-Oct-14 17:59:05

I've got three quite close together - it was easy for me as we always wanted more than one. With regards to the practicalities - things just fall into place and become your new normal. It's impossible to imagine before you get there, but it really isn't so hard to deal with a toddler and a newborn. There are difficult stages of course, but on the whole I found going from one to two much much easier than going from none to one. The baby tends to get dragged around to playgroup or whatever and the toddler has to get used to entertaining themselves for a while when you are feeding etc (not a bad thing!).
They gain a lot from having siblings, but of course they lose your undivided attention.

OneSkinnyChip Mon 27-Oct-14 09:18:29

Tread I think we are the same person grin
Can I ask what swung it for you? What made you go for it a second time and how did you find it?

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 27-Oct-14 11:59:56

Hi OneSkinnyChip. I loathed being pregnant, had an unpleasant labour/birth, quite bad at the baby stage. It's just dullsville and I am a total zombie with poor sleep though I can function on substantially less than I used to. More than anything I think, that I am an introvert and really enjoy having time to myself. Having to take even a much loved child everywhere all the time does my head in. The feeling of total freedom to leave the house with just a front door key even now to pick up a pint of milk is like going on holiday. Weird.

We had agreed on two children [though DH was quite keen on three but I drew the line] provided that they were reasonably close together; and felt to some extent as though I would be reneging on a bargain, depriving my child of a sibling/friend [v important to DH], and I knew I would love a second child just as much as my first. It was more a case of just getting through the pregnancy and the first year. DD1 was hard hard work as a baby though and I was not keen to repeat the experience. Finding the energy to TTC was a big obstacle too!

DH is from a small family and even smaller extended family whereas I come from a v large family and v v large extended family so grew up with lots of family events/holidays/tons of cousins to hang out with though none lived v close by. I am not particularly close with my siblings but I find the culture of a small family [his - loads of politics] tough to deal with and as I now live in the UK I thought it was important to give my DD1 some family at least.

I adore DD2 [as well as DD1] and have no regrets. She was a very easy baby, slept through at 8 weeks with just a dream feed. I had a v short mat leave the second time around and kept on a full-time nanny but even when not at work [FT], the antics of a toddler to chat with and entertain while often exhausting make it weirdly much easier.

They are 4ish and 2ish now and for the most part get on very well and are v affectionate with each other. While I could technically have more children and if there was an accidental third child I would cope, I feel my family is complete and I don't wonder about it. Had I never conceived DD2, I wouldn't know what I was missing iykwim? I'm v glad the cheeky monkey is here though. grin

OneSkinnyChip Mon 27-Oct-14 22:42:45

Oh God Tread we really are the same person grin

I hated pregnancy, birth (CS in my case which took me ages to recover from), my whole hospital experience was just horrible and I felt in terrible pain and overwhelmed with exhaustion. DD was easy too but it didn't feel like it at the time (she also slept through by 8 weeks), no issues other than a bit of colic. And YY to alone time. I crave it and I get it working from home but that may not be manageable in the long term.

I honestly feel like I am psyching myself up to go through the whole thing again but I can't help obsessing about MC / having a child with SEN / anything else I think I can't cope with. The whole thing fills me with dread. I would have a slightly bigger gap (DD would be 3 before any new sibling arrived) so it seems mad to go back to the baby stage just as DD1 is becoming human smile

Anyway, sorry for hijacking thread and thanks for your openness Tread, it really helps to hear from someone with the same feelings about pregnancy and the baby stage!

NoraRobertsismyguiltypleasure Mon 27-Oct-14 23:00:50

I am undecided, although not for any really obvious reasons. Before having a child I always thought I would have 2. I am one of two and although we didn't get on as children we get on very well now and I am very glad I have a sibling to help with the difficulty of having an unwell DF.
Now I have DD who is nearly 2 and I adore her as does her Dad. My pregnancy was pretty straightforward and although the labour and birth (EMCS) were not great I don't feel any trauma from it. I also coped fairly well with the first year...except for physically, I have a dodgy back and neck from years of working with children/babies plus a couple of accidents. Since my DD's birth I have had a pretty awful back. It wasn't helped by the fact that I really loved having her in a sling, in a carrier and carried for large portions of the day until she was around 14 months. I would want to do the same for a second child and fear that I simply can't - even picking up for a short period now causes me problems and I'm always saying 'I can't pick you up/carry you my back hurts'.
I don't know how you decide whether to do it or not. I do worry that I would regret not having a second and that my DD will somehow miss out, but at the same time can't bring myself to say 'To hell with it, lets have another'.

Zooymum Mon 27-Oct-14 23:23:15

I had a very hard time when we had DD and I think we didn't get comments about having another because people knew about it. It was also after having DD that I realised that when I'd previously said I wanted "children" I actually meant that we wanted to be parents and you are just as much parents if you have one child as you are if you have 12.

I found the indecision hard, so would say to myself "I don't feel ready now, I'll think again in 6 months". That gave me 6 months not thinking about it and when the 6 months were up, I mostly gave myself another 6 months. I know it sounds very "me, me, me" but I did talk to DH too.

We did eventually go for it and will have a 4.5 year age gap. I know that's bigger than most people seem to have and a bit bigger than we aimed for. But people I know who have a similar gap seem to have positive things to say about it. We will only have to pay 1 set of nursery fees, which I know has been a deciding factor for other friends.

But if you don't have another, you certainly aren't alone. It seems a really sane decision and there are plenty of children about to be playmates. DD has quite a few friends who are from one child families and they have lovely lives. I hate the term "only child" as I don't think there is anything "only" about the ones I know. They are great.

Teladi Tue 28-Oct-14 20:52:40

Thank you for this thread, ginzilla. I was actually already sitting here with teary eyes. The whole reason I am browsing the one-child families forum tonight is because I found out today that one of my 3yo DD's little friends from nursery is going to be a big sister (which is fabulous news of course, thrilled for her family!) but as usual it starts the "Oh no, what am I doing to my DD?" thought chain.

I am almost certain that my DD would be a fantastic big sister, and we could afford it (just) but I found my pregnancy and her babyhood terribly hard, and I am now used to our life as a family of three. The only reason I would be doing it is for her to have a sibling, so I feel like that isn't a good enough reason, but then I remember that not only does she not have to share her parents, she is also the only child of our entire family. She has no cousins and none on the horizon (DH and I are both eldest children of two-child families). She gets plenty of socialising with peers, but I am scared that she will be lonely, and I am scared that I am somehow spoiling her even though I try every day not to. Frankly I'm just all round scared, scared of doing wrong by my only, and terrified of having more than one.

I also feel like I am being very selfish but I don't WANT to and I feel like I should really want to, having a second kid is just as big a decision as having the first one… right?

Good to hear others' experiences and thought processes, thank you everyone for being honest!

SingleForever Tue 28-Oct-14 21:04:07

I was in the same position as you, OP, and had the second child.
I can honestly say that I do regret it.
Of course we all love him now he's here, but if I had my time again I'd stick with one. The kids don't even get on well and dd has a worse time than she did when she was an only.
The ONLY reason to have a child MUST be that YOU really, really want one. Any other reason is not enough.

OneSkinnyChip Tue 28-Oct-14 21:49:25

Single that's what I'm afraid of sad

April2013 Thu 06-Nov-14 11:18:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Thu 06-Nov-14 13:06:27

That's dreadful April. For what its worth, I think you would be well within your rights to say that you had a horrible MC and can't face it again. Though for every civilised person that would STFU, there'd be an idiot trying to convince you, you were wrong and you should TTC right now. Sigh - people are so screwed up.

I love my two, but one is definitely easier. smile Looking forward to DD2 hitting the 4ish mark so nappies and buggies are a thing of the past.

I'd agree that planning a second child simply as a companion is a v v bad idea and frankly it doesnt matter how many children you have, they'll still be on MN complaining that you expect them home for Christmas but their IL's do too and how much they'd rather go skiing; so long term it makes little odds. smile

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