Advanced search

So worried I am going to regret having only one child

(79 Posts)
rivadiva Wed 14-Jan-09 18:56:46

DH and I have DS who is nearly five.

We always thought we would have another but we both found the adjustment to parenthood difficult. Looking back, think I was depressed TBH. Two years past, then three and here we are at four and a bit years and we still haven't gone for number two.

We love DS so much (even though he has a few "issues" and can be very demanding and challenging). Life is pretty good in lots of ways and we are a great little family unit.

However, there is a little voice in my head that won't go away. I can't seem to close the door on having another baby. It's as if because I always thought I would have another and the intention was always there, my brain won't accept that it's not happening IYSWIM.

In my heart of hearts I would like to have another and have always seen myself with a daughter (no guarantees obviously). I always look at families of four and wonder how it feels. I just feel as if I would be more complete somehow.

Obviously, time is not on my side and the age gap with DS would be quite big so not great for him in terms of having a playmate.

The stupid thing is, I don't even like the baby/toddler stage. Found it incredibly hard and dull. In moments of head banging frustration (which all parents have I know), I've even thought parenthood is totally overrated. I'm just not sure if I could go through it again-think I would go insane.

I was even thinking should I adopt. There are so many older children out there who need a loving home (DH wouldn't consider it though).

All these thoughts go round and round in my end. I have talked it through with friends but I just can't seem to take the "plunge" as it were!

Has anyone ever felt like this and had another or not and regretted it? Or have two with a big age gap?

Can anyone help me make sense of this? Or even better-tell me what to do because I am incapable of doing anything. I feel like I am frozen and can't say "no, that part of my life is over" or "yes, let's try for another".

rivadiva Wed 14-Jan-09 19:40:33


thisisyesterday Wed 14-Jan-09 19:43:27

not much help probably but I don't think the age gap shouild put you off.
I know a fair amount of people who have 4-5 year age gaps and it's been just fine!

Gunnerbean Wed 14-Jan-09 19:54:54

In your shoes, I would have another child.

My DH and I have only one child by choice. We were/are completely of the same mind o the issue and are very happy with our choice. Our DS was much planned and much wanted and longed-for but we didn't want more children and agreed on that.

At every stage after my DS was born the mere thought of having another child filled me with dread. The pregnancy, the labour, the overwhelming sense of responsibility and worry they bring, the extra work, the additional calls on my time etc. The love they bring never entered my head becauase my DS was already bringing me as much love and joy as I could ever want and more besides.

All this hammered it home to me that my choice to have only one child was the right one - *for me*. It certainly wouldn't be the right choice for a hell of a lot of people, but it was for me.

What I am trying to say is that I never ever expereinced that little voice telling me to have another, or "guilt tripping" me for want of a better term, about it like you do.

I am very much of the opinion that if you are expereincing this you should listen to your instincts and go for another child.

Yes, the baby will probably never make a peer playmate for your DS but all that will mean is that he will just have a different experience of having a sibling to other children his age who have the standard "two year gap" between them and their siblings.

There are almost 5 years between me and my sister and she paid almost no attention whatsoever to me really until I was on my late teens and the age gap was no longer so noticeable ad we could share more common interests etc. I was an unplanned baby and my mother often says that I really upset my sister's applecart when I came along! Maybe you should mention your plans tentatively to your DS so that when a baby comes he does not feel the same was my sister did.

There is nothing to say that the expereince of having a sibling won't be any less of a rewarding one for yor DS, despite the age gap.

Also, don't forget the old saying that you never regret the things you do in life, only the things you don't do.

I think it's very unlikely that you would ever regret having another child but there is every likelihood that in your current position you would regret not having one...

rivadiva Wed 14-Jan-09 20:22:49

Thank you Gunnerbean.

The point is, I feel exactly the same as you. It brings me out in a cold sweat thinking about being pregnant, breastfeeding, all of it. I don't want to do it!!!

I have tried mentioning it to DS but he is very non commital. He said the other night though "I don't want a baby brother or sister". It would break my heart to see him feeling jealous or upset.

I know I've said I'm scared I will regret not having another but it also terrifies me that I will spoil everything if we were to go down that road. Everything is so settled now....

AuraofDora Wed 14-Jan-09 20:29:26

you are doing the right thing, thinking it through etc, i too, feel the same as you guys, i love ds but would not and could not go through all the various stages again...some of it was dark days

so, i havent been in your shoes riva, but sometimes if it's not broke, dont fix it..
i didnt plan to have any, ds came and its more than plenty in all ways
maybe if i'd started younger, or richer! it would be different case!

i also agree with gunnerbean, you have to trust your gut in these matters..

sorry not much help i suppose but no one can tell you what to do, but life is too short for regrets

maybe talk it out with your dh see how he feels too about it all, might help you both..

rebelmum72 Wed 14-Jan-09 20:39:26

I don't think I can be of much help, as I - like Gunnerbean - have always been sure that I only want one child.

But I do think that if I could not "close the door on having another baby" then I would be very, very seriously considering it. How does your dh feel about it? Is he also thinking it would be nice to be a family of four, or is he quite happy as you are now? I do think this is something you need to talk about, before it's - as you put it - "too late".

I do want to add that the age gap shouldn't be an issue - sometimes siblings close in age do not get on at all, or on the other hand, as is the case with my sister and myself, I am six years older than her and yet we have always been very close. It was actually lovely to have very clearly defined "big sis" and "little sis" roles :-)

I'm sure I haven't been much help, but maybe someone else will come along with more words of wisdom :-)

bodiddly Wed 14-Jan-09 20:43:31

rivadiva I could've written your op down to the whole not enjoying the baby/toddler stage. The only real difference is ds is nearly 4. Dp and I are both getting on a bit so we have to make up our minds sooner rather than later. We thought we had decided to give it a go (though I would be concerned our relationship could get past the bickering etc we went through last time) but then we now have fresh money concerns. We seem to go round and round in circles.

breakfastfairy Wed 14-Jan-09 21:04:30

hi Rivadiva

I am so exactly where you are at the moment. I have a dd who is 5 and a half, I am 45 and just cannot put the thought of another child out of my head. Every month when I ovulate I feel guilty that Im not having another one, and yet the thought of pregnancy, baby blues (I had depression) struggling with lack of sleep and of course now the fear of the risk having a baby at my age. I had resigned myself and felt quite happy to have the one a few months back but almost every other day Im questioning it. I have really no more time to question anymore and would be lucky to conceive at all were we to try. Its hard isnt it to take the plunge, I too go round in circles, not sure if our relationship can take another baby let alone my sanity !

bodiddly Wed 14-Jan-09 21:11:12

sounds like there are a few of us with the same dilemma!

rivadiva Wed 14-Jan-09 21:23:56

DH feels exactly the same as me. He sometimes like the thought of another one but really likes our life now and knows it would get turned upside down if a baby came along.

He sometimes says "It's up to you, whatever you want to do". I don't think that's fair though and have told him that. It should be a joint decision. Also, I worry that if I said, "ok, let's have another" and we had a hard time he would blame me in some way.

Hi bodiddly and breakfast fairy! We also had the bickering and not getting on. It put a severe strain on our relationship. DS was hard work but it wasn't his fault, it was the way we both reacted to the stress. I felt very down for a long, long time. I only felt myself again when DS was about three. I'm not sure I can go there again.

Breakfastfairy, I have the same thoughts as you too every month. I try to imagine how I would feel if my period didn't arrive and it is a mixture of happiness and terror in equal measure!

When it does come though I am relieved and dissappointed at the same time!

bodiddly Wed 14-Jan-09 21:29:02

We haven't been trying as I feel we need to make a conscious decision as ds wasn't planned! I do feel a second child would complete our family and would love a sibling for my ds. If only we didn't have to go through it all to get it, hey?

bodiddly Wed 14-Jan-09 21:30:00

Just realised that sounds really ungrateful as there are plenty of people out there desperate for healthy children ... its just a tricky decision to make. Dp and I aren't the most pro-active when decisions like this are concerned and run the risk of just drifting along until it is no longer possible!

LynetteScavo Wed 14-Jan-09 21:38:01

rivadiva - I was thinking about why people tend to want more than one child when I was driving a long in the car today. I decided it must be an inate thing for a couple to want to produce 2 (or more) children, to make sure the human race continues, wheather it is actually the best thing to do for thier life style or not.

I had an only for nearly 5 years. I always knew I wanted more children (DH didn't) and have gone on to have two more, but I can't help looking back with fondness to the time when we only had one. Everything was so afordable, and easy incomparison to having more chldren.

Maybe the grass is always greener. hmm

For me diciding to have a baby is like jumping of a high board into the pool; if you think about it too much you will never jump. To do the dive you just have to throw your self off into the deep end.

This is one of those things that no one else can give you the answer to, not even your DH, and you sem fortunate enough to have a DH who knows this.

The only thing I can sugest is to try for a baby, and if you become PG at the first atempt, then so be it, if you don't get pg, and it doesn't feel right trying, then give thanks for you DS, and get on with the life you all have.

LynetteScavo Wed 14-Jan-09 21:39:56

Reading your post I just wanted to reply "Just stick with one"., but thought that might sound awful coming from a mum of 3. blush

breakfastfairy Wed 14-Jan-09 21:50:12


Yes ! I do that every month too, terrified in case Im pregnant and then disappointed when Im not (though not trying). I dont know if there is an answer to this perhaps I shall carry on like this till it really is too late ! Its also compounded for me as I have had antidepressants for two years which have really helped and I would have to be stopped if I became pregnant which is a fear for me too. Yes its all about fear isnt it ?!
I always think Ill think about it for next month and decide then. Aaarrgghhh ! at 45 I cannot afford to prevaricate, perhaps I just need someone to tell me what to do which of course is impossible. My dd is very happy very sociable and very popular at school gets invited to most parties and generally has a good time, but at home I feel its sometimes just a bit too quiet !

breakfastfairy Wed 14-Jan-09 21:52:22

Hey I know

lets decide for each other and take the plunge together !! ha ha grin

bodiddly Wed 14-Jan-09 21:55:25

my huge concern (if i were ever brave enough to actually go for it and try properly) is money! I know it would be a nightmare but I am not sure if I am using that as yet another excuse or whether it would be irresponsible to go ahead when I know we can't afford it. I feel like I want "closure" so I can decide once and for all whether to go for it and if not then to move on and sell all of ds' old toys, clothes etc.

bodiddly Wed 14-Jan-09 21:56:15

breakfastfairy we could be the conception for undecided second time parents thread!

rivadiva Wed 14-Jan-09 22:28:18

Thanks Lynette!

Yes, we have thought about it too much and others have told us this!

If I had felt more mentally stable(!) when DS was younger I think it would have easier to go for it. I kept leaving it though, thinking we'll be ready in a few months and here we are nearly five years down the line!

Now that DS is older, we have a nice, calm household (I like calm!) and yes, it is nice that we can afford to spend money on ourselves and DS and we aren't overstretched. But then there is more to life and all that......

Off to bed now but hope to continue this??

Thanks everyonesmile.

MakemineaGandT Wed 14-Jan-09 22:34:49

hmm.....I think you've perhaps thought about it too much. Try to erase all the pros/cons from your mind and have a moment of clear feeling - what does your heart say?

For what it's worth I don't think there are many people who regret having another child, but there are probably quite a few who regret not going for it....

ClementFreudsGreatestAdmirer Wed 14-Jan-09 23:00:44

I could have written your post in 2002. Except that my ds was then 3 - but even that gap meant i would be at least 2 years 'behind' my contempories in producing a second. The thought filled my mind constantly. I was terrified of being pg again, and of coping with two, and of changing the status quo, and yet i felt it was wrong not to provide a sibling. that sounds so cold.... i was pretty depressed. i also wanted any further child to be a girl and (of course) healthy.

Anyway. We decided to go for it, and i spent a sleepless night shaking and totally regretting the decision, and the next morning i went to the gp sobbing and begged for the morning after pill. he gave it me, but also suggested counselling, of which i had 6 sessions. Her theme seemed to be 'feel the fear and do it anyway'.

A few months later, and i felt brave enough to go for it again. we had sex a few days into my cycle, as a warm up wink but the next evening i had the terrors again and shook and cried and told my dh - i'm really sorry, i just can't do it.

10 days later, i realised i was pg. Physically it was just obvious. I couldn't bear to do a test, too frightened, so i just waited, and when no period came, went to the gp, who didn't ask for any confirmation. odd. anyway, by about 3 months i'd stopped shaking with fear and by about 5 months i was really excited. i had my dd (yay - down to the early cycle conception followed by no subsequent sex, i reckon) and needless to say, i have always been hugely grateful that, despite my best efforts, she sneaked through the net of my anxiety. Her presence has improved our family life no end, maybe because there's less focus on ds, and if one is pissing you off the other is usually being adorable. the 4 year age gap is neither here nor there. it is what it is.

So in summary, i did it, never felt happy about it until it was too late to change my mind, and i'm glad i did. Does that help?

breakfastfairy Thu 15-Jan-09 13:45:03


your story is an inspiration. I have not got as far as you in that we use condoms and at point of decision always give in to fear and use one ( hpoe thats not too much information !) Last night suggested to dh that we dont use contraception and he was a bit shocked I suppose he hasnt had time to think like I have he said he hadnt givin it any thought and needed to think about it .. yikes not much time to think so I suggested that I have made my mind up and want another one.... now it feels a bit confrontational... I think I will say nothing for a few days a see what his reaction is later, he needs time to process this latest information .. My heart definitly wants a sibling for my dd perhaps I am doing to have to put my fears aside re recurrent anxiety and dpression/relationship x

Gunnerbean Thu 15-Jan-09 16:44:45

Hi again Rivadiva

You said:

Now that DS is older, we have a nice, calm household (I like calm!) and yes, it is nice that we can afford to spend money on ourselves and DS and we aren't overstretched. But then there is more to life and all that......

You say there is more to life than that, well, I’m in the position you are right now (i.e. in that we too only have one child) and I don’t get that feeling. I feel like "life can't get much better than this!"

The very fact that you have said “But then there is more to life and all that” tells me that you do think there is something more and are not really content with your lot.

I think you are a classic example of a person who will deep down always regret not having another child if you don’t – although I think you will always make a good job of not showing it.

I can guarantee that once you have another child you will not regret it.

The thing you really have to consider here is not so much whether to have another child or not, but rather do you think you can live with the fact that once it is too late to have another child you will possibly always regret that you didn’t have one? It may blight your life and lead you to feel that something is missing from your life (and your DS’s life too).

I think people who genuinely don’t want to have another child – like me – don’t have these feelings. I have never had them.

Your instincts are telling you to go for it. I think you need to listen to them because if you don’t I think deep down you will always regret it, no matter how much of a brave face you put on it. The window of opportunity for you to decide is short and I think you need to make a choice to jump one way or the other soon and I think you should definitely jump in the direction of having another baby because deep down it’s what you truly want.

goingslowlyroundthebend Thu 15-Jan-09 16:53:42

Rivadiva, I am so the same. The nagging thought never goes away but for us it is a complex process. I can't just stop the pill and go for it due to other meds. They all have to be changed then physically settle before going for it which is quite a leap and too easy to talk ourselves out of it again but the clocks keep ticking.

Also the thought of those dark days again – god no!

But still I keep seeing us with another one.

Biology is such a bitch!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: