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Coming to terms with not having more children

(14 Posts)
snarfblatt Mon 25-Mar-19 14:39:56

I'll start by saying I know how lucky we are to have a child, so I realise this is already a privileged position to be in!

But I always wanted more than one and I'm really struggling to make peace with not doing that. We've often talked about having a second but realistically know it's probably not an option given our circumstances, and have had more serious conversations recently to that effect. Hearing it out loud broke my heart. My partner's initial enthusiasm for it has definitely waned now that DC has more of a personality, as he's worried of the effect it would have on their happiness (although partner has also said 'we'll know when the time is right' - but at 35 and 41, and given our situation - renting, no savings, partner not currently working, no family support - I don't think that 'right' time will ever happen).

I know that bringing another child into the mix would most likely be detrimental to all of us, and in particular our current DC. And of course I know that we might not be so lucky as to conceive anyway, and another DC could have a disability or one of us could become ill or die and our whole situation become even more perilous.

But it's all I can think about. I want to experience being a mother to two children (I always wanted three so two feels like a compromise already - ridiculous I know). I want another child. I want my child to have a sibling (and I speak as someone not particularly close to their own siblings). I don't feel complete as a family of three. I don't want to be the sole playmate for my DC and want them to have someone else in their life than me and their dad. I'm so worried I'll just become increasingly sad about it as the years go by, and that it will cloud all the other positive experiences I'm having.

I know it's stupid and selfish but I don't seem to be able to shake these feelings no matter how much I know that practically the decision makes sense. Is anyone else in the same position, or been in the same position and managed to come to terms with it? Do I need to accept that I'll always be sad but just do a better job of focussing on the positives? Does the sadness eventually subside after a certain point - maybe it's hormones making me feel this way right now because my body is still fertile - as far as I know - so my biology is overruling my sense?

BooseysMom Tue 26-Mar-19 21:28:47

@snarfblatt..Hi, I just wanted to say you're not alone in your feelings. It's def hormones making me the way I feel. We put it off for so long and so we were really lucky to have DS. We were renting a really unsuitable house but thankfully got out when DS was 4. I was 41 when I had him and like you I always saw myself as a mum to more than one but we tried and failed and now I'm 47 and I have to come to terms with it. Thankfully DS doesn't seem interested in a sibling but I worry he'll hate us one day as he'll be lonely and trying to cope alone with us as elderly parents.
Now the other side to the coin is this.. I have been on the One Child Families topic for a while and there are alot of stories of mums who have not regretted having just one and have found they can focus more on their one and have more money, etc. So it's not all bad.
But i would say you're not stupid and selfish for wanting another. Follow your heart and what is right for you will happen. Good luck x

snarfblatt Tue 26-Mar-19 21:37:32

Thank you @BooseysMom, and I'm so sorry you went through the pain of trying for a second. It's heartening to hear you've come to terms with it although I imagine it was tough for a long time there. I think I'm feeling anxious about it particularly at the moment because of the age factor and worrying that we'll regret not trying now, should we decide in a year or two to go for it and it doesn't happen. But I also know you can't predict these things and that's not a good enough reason to potentially make an already precarious situation worse!

I do know a few single child families, having grown up knowing hardly any, so it does feel more prevalent now - and DC would be in excellent company smile

Thanks again for replying! I'm feeling a bit calmer than I was yesterday (got my period so it clearly was on my mind even more than usual)

BooseysMom Thu 28-Mar-19 20:01:53

@snarfblatt.. Thank you. Well I have to deal with the guilt of not trying hard enough for a second as I was just always too knackered being that much older! It takes it out of you at any age tho. I always went with the philosophy if it happens great, if it doesn't then that's tough. We were never going to bother with IVF. But now I regret not trying more seriously and I say I've come to terms with it but have I really? hmm it depends on how bad my pmt gets!
Like you say you just can't predict what will happen. Often the more stressed you are the less likely it will happen. I had 2 mcs then DS was conceived when we'd given up thinking it will happen and we didn't even know for 12 weeks we were expecting!
Glad you're feeling better now anyway. Remember what will be will be smile x

snarfblatt Thu 28-Mar-19 22:00:43

Thanks @BooseysMom smile Things happen for a reason tends to be my philosophy so if our lot is to have one child then I'm sure I'll accept it eventually. Tbh I think it's the possibility that makes it worse - knowing we could but shouldn't if that makes sense? Thanks for your comments and I hope it only gets easier for you!

MondeoFan Thu 28-Mar-19 22:19:39

I was in this position for years. I had a DC in 2005 and really wanted another, DH said no, we were renting a 1 bed house so things were already tight, we moved into a 2 bed house, he still said no.
When DC got to 8 years old, I started to feel so sad that I'd never have another.
A lot happened but me and DH separated, I met someone else and within 3 months I was pregnant at 43 and I now have 2 children with a 10 year gap between them and couldn't be happier that I was able to give my child a sibling. I'm a single parent now. They are now 14 and 4.
Don't care what others say.

BooseysMom Fri 29-Mar-19 18:00:42

@snarfblatt..thanks smile.. hope things work out for you too. You sound chilled out about it all anyway.

@MondeoFan..thanks for sharing your story. You did the best thing for you in the end. We were renting flats for years.. my best fertile years in fact! ... and we just couldn't find a secure home. My DH kept being made redundant and I just thought ok it's not going to happen. Then we were still renting somewhere that banned kids when we fell preg and thank God we got a shared ownership place 4 years later. It took that long and so now I'm just too old to have another. I blame the housing crisis and arsehole landlords!!
Anyway ...I must try not to dwell on the negatives hmm

snarfblatt Fri 29-Mar-19 22:56:28

Thanks for sharing your experience @MondeoFan and I'm glad you were able to have a second child although it sounds like it was a rocky path for you in relationship terms. There's ten years between me and my sibling and it was lovely for me growing up!

In my most hormonally desperate moments I'll admit I've wondered what if my relationship ended and I had the 'opportunity' to try with someone else (never mind that I genuinely can't imagine anything worse than looking for a new partner at this stage in my life! Oh and I love him of course... blush)

Mummy428 Fri 29-Mar-19 23:17:14

I could have written your OP. I am going through the same dilemma now - balancing what I want long term with what we financially and physically can cope with. I used to think I would have three, but now I am barely coping with one, working full time and the pressure of being the sole breadwinner. DH is a super SAHD but he is exhausted too. We just don't have the capacity for another child now. But I'll soon be 40 and that decision may be taken out of our hands anyway, which saddens me.

I'm hoping to wait a couple years, give my career a boost while lavishing my ds with attention, and when he's a bit more independent, to then try to have another, but without putting any pressure on ourselves in a "if it happens it happens".

snarfblatt Mon 01-Apr-19 12:12:18

Sorry you're in the same place @Mummy428 - I've repeatedly gone through the 'what would I regret more - having another and struggling or not trying to have another' routine and it's not really helping! My partner has said 'when the time is right' we could basically leave it to fate but I'm a born planner and just find myself constantly thinking about all the what-ifs and maybes. I should probably just chill out a bit about the whole thing grin

I hope that whatever you decide and whatever happens brings you lots of happiness.

AlexaShutUp Mon 01-Apr-19 12:22:28

We always intended to have two children, but it wasn't to be. I miscarried dd's sibling and didn't ever get pregnant again. I was desperately sad at first and struggled to come to terms with it. Now, though, I wouldn't change it for the world.

Our dd is now a teenager. From her perspective, there are so many advantages to being an only child, and all of the worries that I had turned out to be completely unfounded. I love having an only child too. It wasn't what we planned, but I am truly grateful for the way in which things worked out. I hope that you find the right way forward for your family, whatever that might look like.

BooseysMom Mon 01-Apr-19 16:11:28

@AlexaShutUp... Thank you for your msg. i'm sorry to hear of your mc. That must have been awful. It's heartening that you eventually were able to feel happy and grateful for the way things worked out for you. Now I'm 47 I'm so reluctant to take any chances and so DS will be an only.. but it doesn't necessarily mean he'll be lonely as we try to fill his life with colour and friends!

snarfblatt Mon 01-Apr-19 16:25:03

That's lovely to hear, @AlexaShutUp - thanks for sharing.

Thinking about it, I guess when I imagine two children I'm thinking more of the early years and then the adult years and not necessarily the bits in between (from age 9/10 into the teen years). Certainly with two siblings of my own, including one who was fairly off the rails, I do sometimes wonder if I'd have been happier as an only child when I was a teenager in particular, and possibly closer to my parents as a result. In reality, I became more like a carer (especially given the ten years' age difference between me and the youngest) and a confidante (and mediator) during my parents' separation.

I'm sorry you went through the mc but so glad you're happy later down the line, it sounds like you're truly happy.

trestletable Sat 27-Apr-19 07:47:46

I'm struggling with this at the moment. Couldn't face having any more for a long time then changed mind and tried ( not very hard) and now too old and regret not trying earlier and thinking it now won't happen

No answers I'm afraid other than to say I'm an only and happy, if my dc stays an only I'm sure will be happy

It's very hard when you feel a door is closing or closed. In a way I think I will feel better when it really is too late because then I can just move on

At the moment the constant what if is exhausting

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