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Older mum trying to come to terms with having an only

(25 Posts)
MayBlossom Tue 30-Dec-08 16:22:35

I had DD at the age of 39 and love her to bits. Given my age I just assumed she would be an only, I was so grateful to have her and was so busy looking after her etc that the thought of having any more didn't occur to me. DD is now 19 months, I am 41 (nearly 42) and I have been hit by overwhelming broodiness. I live in an area where older mums are not so common so most of the mums at toddler groups are younger and have gone on to have other babies or are pregnant again so I don't know anyone else locally with an only. DD was naturally conceived and, apart from bad morning sickness, my pregnancy was physically OK. I did some research on pregnancy over 40 and wished I hadn't - the miscarriage rate in particular I find very scary and having an OK first pregnancy doesn't seem to make any difference. I find myself very torn between trying for another and running the risk of heartbreak or accepting DD will be an only and moving on. I'm really quite down about it all and then feel guilty about being down as I am lucky to have DD. Anyone else been in this situation?

fishie Tue 30-Dec-08 16:29:15

it seems fairly likely i will be smile

ds is 3.6 and no sign of any siblings and no contraception since 2003... i'm 40 in a couple fo weeks. i did feel really awful last winter, but i seem to have got over it. the idea of only having one doesn't seem impossible, unthinkable, the way that being childless definitely was.

sparklyxmasfairy Tue 30-Dec-08 16:35:54

this has been on my mind lately
I will be 40 in a few short weeks, my dd is 3yrs old and I always thought I would have more, but I have a history of miscarriage pre and post dd so despite heartbreak it would not be new iyswim, I do worry about genetic abnormalities and all that it implies for us for a future child and for dd.

but at present one of my main concerns is that it took me ages to feel 'whole' again after PND, circumstances are different now but I fear that darkness again.

and yet I am finding it hard to let go of the idea of trying just one more time

no help I know

Littlefish Tue 30-Dec-08 16:36:25

I've been struggling with this one as well. Dd is 4 and I'm 40. We have major fertility issues, so realistically, I know that she will be an only child. However, that hasn't stopped me hoping, wishing and dreaming the last 4 years away.

I've come to a sort of decision now that I need to put the wishing and hoping behind me. The more time I spend hoping for a new baby, the more it distracts me from the wonderful, gorgeous miracle child I have in front of me. It stops me enjoying all the wonderful thing about having a 4 year old, because I'm too busy hankering after a new baby.

Does that make sense?

Gunnerbean Tue 30-Dec-08 16:41:21

If you badly want another child and time has not run out for you (which theoretically it hasn't until you hit the menopause and stop ovulating!) then I say go for it! If you conceived naturally last time, who is to say you won't again? Have you tried?

As for all that reading up on pergnancy over 40, life is too short for what ifs.

Go ahead and follow your dream. Who knows, this time next year you could be nursing another little one in your arms.

Oh, and if you're looking for another cliche - how about "nothing good comes easily".

Go for it and good luck!!

mloo Tue 30-Dec-08 16:41:29

MayBlossom -- are you a person who prefers certainty or someone who likes surprises and to take risks?

It seems to me like the OP is full of "What If?"s, -- none of which might come true. Yes pregnancy is a journey and usually not a very easy one. But for me personally, not knowing what is going to happen is one of the things that makes life stimulating and worth living. Other people are happiest with feeling more in control. I think the answer to your dilemna lies in figuring out which kind of person you are.

MayBlossom Tue 30-Dec-08 17:07:02

Thanks for all your replies. I really identify with some of the comments, particularly Littlefish - I feel that the more time I am spending brooding on this issue the less time I am spending enjoying the DD I have. Mloo and Gunnerbean are right in that life is too short for what ifs and I need to take risks. Since having DD I have become far more risk averse as she could be affected by something negative. The need to feel in control is spot on Mloo; DD was born by em cs under GA, there were problems with the GA which were nearly fatal (I am difficult to intubate apparently) and have caused my biggest "what if" to be the possible need for further surgery under GA(eg D&C or another em cs)

FrostytheSurfmum Tue 30-Dec-08 17:08:38

I went through a really broody phase, but it did pass. I found the older dd got the more I enjoyed her, and I found that being able to work part-time, have some time to myself (when she was at pre-school, now school) and be a mum really did give me the best of all worlds, so I didn't really want to go back to having a tiny baby again.

Have a look at some of the threads on here from the over 40's. It isn't all doom and gloom you know! Plenty of people are still having children in their 40's with no problems. I had dd when I was 41 and it didn't even occur to me that it was old, no-one around me, including the professionals, even remarked on it, (Oh hang on MIL did grin) and although I did have 2 mcs, during my broody phase I definitely would have gone for it had we decided to.

racingsnake Tue 30-Dec-08 18:21:36

I agree with those who say don't waste your dd's childhood wishing. My dd is 2 and I think I have wasted a lot of time wishing instead of enjoying her and thinking 'next time I will do this or that'. Luckily I have realized before it is too late!

People tell me that the broodiness does pass when your dd is a bit older and her friends already have their siblings.

In my personal experience, two close friends have just given birth in the last week. I was devastated and felt very sorry for myself when I heard they were pregnant; now that I have seen the babies I don't feel anything in particular. DD is not very interested either - just wants to play with her friends. You may find that others with small babies is less awful than you expect.

You could always drop into the special venue for those with one child (although all others are welcome to visit, chat, drink champagne and ogle the gardener discuss the merits of various actors.)

BoccaDellaVerita Tue 30-Dec-08 21:01:00

I was in a similar situation, except that we knew my pregnancy would be my first and last and so there was never any question of a second baby. I did have a wibble when my friends from ante-natal group and playgroup started to get pregnant again, but - apologies if this sounds Pollyanna-ish - I have found that what really helps (in the words of Bing Crosby) is to accentuate the positive. If our IVF had failed, we would have remained childless. Instead, we have one delightful daughter. She's now at school, I work part-time so get opportunities to gossip at the school gate and have some life of my own. We do work quite hard at making sure she isn't lonely; fortunately she is gregarious and so enjoys ballet, Brownies and other group activities. (We've also noticed that 'family' tickets for the theatre mean that tickets for 2 adults plus two children cost the same as tickets for 2+1, so we can afford to be generous in inviting a friend to come with us).

racingsnake and others who made the same point are right: don't waste time fretting about what hasn't happened for you (or hasn't happened yet). Enjoy your daughter and your family life now.

And please all drop into the tea room, where we often chat about these things. I'm just going now to put some champagne on ice .....

Acinonyx Thu 01-Jan-09 16:30:12

I was 43 when I had dd via IVF. I'd had one m/c from a previous cycle and one neg fozen-embryo IVF (8 years ttc in all). I knew it was very unlikely that we could have another but we still did another cycle (after another frozebn-embryo transfer) when I was 45 (only because, ironically we are male factor and my fertility is actually especially good - even so, IVF at 45 means being 'happy' to take your money out on the lawn and burn it...). I think we needed to know we had tried.

Dd is now 3.5 and I do struggle with being anable to have another child despite being very thankful for the child I have. I was an only myself. There is a blance to be struck between moving on and denial. It's important to be positive - but I also find it helps to wallow occaisionally and be 'allowed' to be sad about this.

I do understand your reservations about the risks over 40 and other risks because I too have found I am very much more risk averse since dd's birth. I was much more concerned about a negative outcome when we were ttc no 2 than I was with no 1 - because of the impact it might have on dd and our care of her. I also had a difficult birth and didn't realkly fully recover for about a year. I seriously worried about how I would cope with a toddler and a baby.

Other people vary between being astonished that I have a 3 yr-old at my age
and not understanding how impossile it is for us to have another.

MayBlossom Thu 01-Jan-09 16:52:25

Thanks for the reply, Acinonyx. I was also an only myself so have personal experience of the positives and negatives of this which can sometimes make it even harder. I also find it quite difficult now at the toddler groups etc we attend as all the other mums are younger and have gone on to have or are having another so talk is invariably about the problems etc of coping with more than one and even if I try and change the conversation we get back to this. Understandable really but I am starting to feel a little left out as I don't know anyone else local in RL with only the one even though elsewhere in the country where older parents are more numerous it would appear to be more common.

Acinonyx Thu 01-Jan-09 17:04:34

Yes, all my younger mummy friends now have 2-3 kids - apart from 2 with babies who will definitely ttc no 2. We are not on the same page anymore, which I miss, and i can see that playdates between the parents of 2 dc might be more worthwhile than with an only. I'm quite proficient in discussing the trials of handling 2-4 dcs - I'm so outnumbered I've just had to go with it. The reverse is not true though. Talking about the sadness of having only one makes others uncomfortable so I try not to mention it.

I didn't find being an only all that positive an experience which doesn't help but at least we can learn from our own experience and hope to counter some of the negatives. I can see that we will need to guard against being too invloved in dd's life.

Littlefish Thu 01-Jan-09 17:32:03

What a difficult situation MayBlossom. I'm very lucky in that 4 close friends each have only one child. There are a number of reasons amongst them - one is through choice, one because of unexplained secondary infertility, one because of infertility and one because of health reasons. It does help to be able to discuss with other people who understand.

Is there an NCT branch nearby? In my experience, the NCT tends to attract slightly older parents.

Sawyer64 Thu 01-Jan-09 17:43:09

I had DS at 31 yrs old,then got divorced.Felt sure DS was going to be an only,although I had always longed for more.

Met DH (to be)in 2002,married in 18mths,and at age 39 yrs conceived DD1 2 mths later.

Had a "blighted Ovum" in 2005,but in 2006 had DD2 aged 42 yrs!

I'd say Go for it! Yes the statistics are against as will some people be,but I think unless you try you'll never know.My Ex MIL had her last child at 46/47 yrs!

Some people are still quite fertile after 40 yrs.

Horton Thu 01-Jan-09 18:01:34

I had my daughter when I was 37. She's 2.3 and I am 40 and although I'd love another I can't see it happening. We've been trying since she was born!

We'll keep trying, though, and hope for luck. Hope it works out for you too. I can't see any reason why you shouldn't have another. My mum had her (perfectly healthy) last baby at 46. She's now at university.

Sawyer64 Thu 01-Jan-09 18:29:28

I have a theory, that alot of my friends have conceived very quickly after coming off the Pill,those that took longer or struggled werent on the pill or hadn't gone back on it.

It appears ,at least in our cases that being on the pill seemed to "organise" our cycles better.I have a couple of friends that have gone down the Clomid route,and feel the Pill might have had a similar effect,in that they "ovulated" the next month,and then conceived.

Probably rubbish,but the theory works for us....?hmm

tvfriend Thu 01-Jan-09 18:40:27

I concieved DD at 37 after a year and a half of trying. Then with no trying at all, DC (still inside!) conceived at 38 and I would def consider having another after this one. Where I live LOADS of people have babies in late 30's and 40s. No doctors, MWs, HV etc think it is remotely unusual. Friends have had them up till 45.
I think if you really want another just go for it. Miscarriages and other peoblems can happen at any age and yes, statistically, the older you are the more likely it is but I don't think that should stop you. Good luck in whatever you decide.

TWINSETinapeartree Thu 01-Jan-09 18:45:16

I only have one and was happy with that for years, dd is now 7 and I am 33. I would love to have another as would dp. But we need to work on our relationship ( we are having counselling) and get our finances sorted.

We have agreed that a child will be the end point of this process but I have real fears that the second child will not appear. I would also like another 2 as if I have another child in say two years they will be like a second only child.

It is utterly heartbreaking, am trying to enjoy what I have though rather than pining after what might be.

KatieMorag Thu 01-Jan-09 18:49:22

may - i TTC just after my 40th birthday and had a baby a year later. then i concerived again when that baby was 9 months old, so had another baby at 43. both term and both bouncing with health

there are lots of mums in their 40s arouund, even if they are not in your toddler group!

if you and your Dh want another you shoudl go for it. is your only health worry your problem with GA? I'm sure your medical team coudl find a way around that eg having an epidural so you coudl have a Cs if necess? Surely once they knwo you have this problem then they can accomdate it?

catweazle Thu 01-Jan-09 18:58:15

I had my DD at 43. I had 2 mmc before having her but all 3 pgs happened within 12 months and all with little or no TTC. I read all the scary mc stuff then found another website that said it's only a huge problem after 45.

Although I have 4 other dcs they were 15- 21 when she was born so she will effectively grow up as an only. After an experience of "a set" of 4 dcs it does worry me. We have talked about trying for another but I'm not convinced I've got the energy. It feels like tempting fate too much esp as I'm not convinced either of us actually wants another child, so it would only be for DD. Not only that my cycle has been weird in the last 6 months so it could be too late for us.

RebeccaX Fri 02-Jan-09 06:22:48

Having just one child is only an issue if you make it one.

fondant4000 Fri 02-Jan-09 07:38:54

I had dd1 at 40 and dd2 at 43. DD1 was after 4 years of trying and 5 mcs - dd2 was conceived naturally, immediately, and no mcs.

You just can't tell what will happen...

KatieMorag Fri 02-Jan-09 19:56:48

Thats a bit harsh rebeccaX. of course lots of mums are happy with one. some are still broody after 2, 3 or even 6. you cant just talk yourself out of wanting another baby if that's how you feel. just because its not possible/ pratical for many reasons doesn't stop you longing or dreaming.

but I do agree with the posters who say you shouldn't feel pressurised into it by others - its a decision for the couple themselves

bandanna Thu 08-Jan-09 15:45:43

I couldn't agree more KatieMorag. I enjoy every second I have with my 6 year old daughter, I wish I could stop the clock. I know we are incredibly lucky and can see lots of great advantages to her being an only one but it doesn't stop me from feeling horribly broody, randomly devastated when I hear someone is pregnant and irrationally sensitive to the odd "only child" comment thrown my way. Since I fell pregnant for the second time I thought we would be a family of four and of DD as a lovely big sister but the pregnancy was ectopic and we haven't been successful since. I am now 40 and with DD's age I need to accept us as a family of three and hope I won't always feel I want more than we have and feel guilty that I want more then her.

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