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Would another baby make me happy?

(32 Posts)
Analyticalannie Mon 06-Jun-11 15:19:06

I have 3 children: DS1 16, DD1 14 and DS2 11. We did consider another one but financially we couldn't afford a people carrier. The years went on and I was happy picking them up from school and helping with homework etc.

DH works 7 days a week on the family farm and I have no family within 30 miles. It was really hard but I have loved every minute.

DS2 left primary last June and since then I have been extremely unsettled. I work 1 day a week in my NHS job, this is very stressful with lots of pressure and little if any management support. i do need a change but in this climate it wouldn't be easy.

We are now financially able to afford a 4th child, however I have just turned 42. My GP gently suggested that perhaps it is time to move on and that in 10 years time I might be a Grandma. I am very apprehensive at embarking on a pregnancy at this age and am also worried at the big gap. I have no desperate desire to be pregnant and have a baby, I just want the child we could have had. I think I want to keep the caring cycle going and retain the role I have enjoyed so much.

I do however have a DH who i adore and who will support me whatever i choose and 3 healthy happy kids. I would so appreciate any thoughts.

AMumInScotland Mon 06-Jun-11 15:25:03

Honestly? I think you'd be better to focus on "getting over" the feelings of loss and incompleteness that you've been suffering for the past 11 years. If you have another baby now, you put off those feelings for another few years, but who is to say that will be the end of it? You are seeing one phase of your life end, and you feel unhappy because you have enjoyed it. But why not find something new to take up that place in your life? Find a job you can really care about, or volunteer for something "caring" if that is what you enjoy.

issynoko Mon 06-Jun-11 15:27:22

Hi, it's so hard to answer this sort of question even when it's asked by a close friend. I'm not sure another baby is what you need, because as you know, that baby will grow up and move on as well. You might then be a grandmother but no guarantee about that. You are young (young enough to have another if you do want - I am 41 and pregnant with no.4 so it's not impossible!) but there is a lot of life to live which won't involve caring for a small child even if you do have one now. What exactly is it you miss? Are there other caring jobs /voluntary work you could explore? If you have no desperate desire to be pregnant and have a baby - isn't that your answer? It does sound as though you are feeling unfulfilled and sad now - but life is rich even without children? What else have you always wanted to do? What would you have done if you'd not been able to have children? Give some thought to a whole new experience before trying to get pregnant again - you sound like a lovely family and with a great husband. Look at some new horizons and think about what is really making you unhappy.

quickchat Mon 06-Jun-11 20:22:27

I hate 'end of an era' situations too so I feel for you.

You have came to a point in your life that we all come to over different things at different stages.

You won't go on feeling like this forever you know, you will get over it as life just takes off in another direction with or without you doing anything.

It's great you enjoyed being a mum to young children. Not everyone achieves that. The fact you enjoyed it so much is why your finding it so hard.

Remember they still need you and always will.

I remember being a 14 yr old girl and being a very horrid one to my mum and my mum just drifted away from me. What she didn't know is that I needed her then more than ever.

My mum did say that once you have been a mum you always get pangs of broodiness even in your 60's! She will see a baby in a pram and suddenly remember that feeling of pushing her pram down her street. It doesn't mean she feels sad.
She also said that being a Grandma is even better!

If you had said you really wanted to be PG and have a baby then I may have said nothing but I get the feeling reading your post you are just going through a little down stage in life and it would pass in time.

Analyticalannie Mon 06-Jun-11 21:52:54

Thank you all for your suggestions.

I know that my children will always need me and I also appreciate that as teenagers they need my support and attention more than ever - as a recent Panorama programme confirmed.

I have no wish to keep them as children forever and am looking forward to seeing them go to uni, get married etc. I just wish that we had been in a position to have the family we wanted. Which brings me back to now; when I wonder should we take the plunge and have no.4. My Grandmother had her 3rd child at 44, my Aunt at 43 and my Mother and maternal Grandmother at 40. So it has been commonplace in our family before it became trendy.

However I do agree with you quickchat when you say i am finding it so hard because I loved it so much. I not only loved it, but I feel I was good at it, all three children were awarded grammar school places. My DS1 is currently sitting his GCSEs and is no bother at all. He studies for 10 hours per day and never has to be nagged. Parenting the children has been an absolute joy and i know I am privileged to have had this experience.

When my youngest left the primary I feel i missed the routine of collecting him off the school bus and also the social aspect of picking him up when he attended after school activities. At the grammar they get a 'big bus' home and if they are picked up in town it is just in a carpark. I am quite isolated with no family living near me.

I have thought of fostering, but to be honest i am unsure how well I would cope when they go back. I am also tied because of the farm. I do help my husband but it is on a ad-hoc basis. I have a First so at least i have qualifications. I am just really unsure as to what to do next.

naturalbaby Mon 06-Jun-11 22:36:12

my 3 are still very young but i have a feeling i will always think/want another baby! i chose a job caring for children and will probably go back to that, and am also thinking about fostering. you can get long term foster placements. a lady i used to work with now has grandchildren and a 7yr old foster boy on a long term placement. you can also do a form of respite care where you have the same child one weekend a month for example for a longer period of time.

the thing i have to keep telling myself is i want the birth/newborn/baby bit again, not neccessarily another child. i have to keep trying to imagine myself 10yrs down the line with another child.

trailingspouse Tue 07-Jun-11 00:46:38

I went through the same as you except my DH has always been adamant that he didn't want any more children. What does your DH really want? Would that help you to make a decision?

I'm also thinking of fostering - I know it will be very hard but I really enjoy looking after children and feel I'm quite good at it. I'm hoping that will give me the sense of direction and purpose I feel I'm lacking, while still enabling me to be around for my own dcs (my DH also has a very demanding job so I've been reluctant to take on a "real", i.e. 9-5 type job). Would that be an option for you? Yes it would be really hard when the foster children move on, but it's so worth doing despite that.

Analyticalannie Tue 07-Jun-11 09:13:03

In answer to your question trailingspouse, my DH is quite happy as we are. It doesn't really help in making the decision, as i have done all the running, parenting with the children -- because of his job.

I can certainly emphasise with your lack of direction/ purpose-- that is exactly how I feel. I am worried about having another and that child being on its own. I also question whether it is right to have another just to give me a sense of purpose.

A 9-5 job would be out for me until the kids go off to uni as we live in such a rural location. My DH is just too busy to do the chauffering on a daily basis. In a way I am desperate to sort this out and move along with my life. The magazines are full of celebs having babies in their 40's and as i am very fit and healthy, I think have another and that will sort it out. But is that the right thing to do?

trailingspouse Tue 07-Jun-11 13:06:13

I think that in time, if you don't have another baby, you will be able to move on from this. As I said, it was probably quicker for me to do that because my DH was so against the idea of another child. I'm slightly envious that your DH is so understanding of your needs!

I was desperate for another baby (I also have 3) for years, but now I can honestly say I'm ok as I am. DH and I had many arguments about it - he said I would always want another one and you have to have a last one sometime. And it's true that you shouldn't have another just to give yourself a purpose. I still get broody when I see babies though.

I didn't want to work when mine were little, and was lucky that we could afford that, and since dc1 and dc2 were 3 and 1 we have been living overseas with DH's job, moving every couple of years, so my career options have been non-existent. I'm not sure what's going to happen when the dc's are really off my hands, I will need something other than expat coffee mornings, but that something won't be another baby. I would also worry about the higher risk of problems associated with being older. Good luck whatever you decide.

Analyticalannie Tue 07-Jun-11 14:49:16

Thank you trailingspouse, it is really helpful to talk to someone who 'has come out the other side'. If my DH had a traditional job we could plan weekends away and this would give me something to look forward to. Yes DH is very understanding of my needs. However I have given him loads of support over the years to build the business to where it is now. That's part of the problem-- as I would love to turn the clock back and be financially as settled as we are now.

I have been very happy throughout my life and I guess we all hit stumblingblocks along the way. I am glad I had the children when I was young, however lots of my friends have children just starting primary at this age. I just wish I could be happy how things are and move on.

addressbook Tue 07-Jun-11 17:02:17

Analyticalannie - I was really touched by your posts. I am in a different position to you (sahm to two pre schoolers and in my early thirties) so I am sorry I can't really offer advice.

However I wondered if you could tell me some of the reasons you enjoyed it so much and obviously made such a good job of it?

I think I want a third but I am finding it tough at the moment. Did you ever find it tough and how did you get through those phases?

My friend had her second at 42, so I know it is perfectly possible. How do you think your others would feel about another sibling? There are no easy answers to these questions are there? I can understand your feelings. You sound like you have raised a lovely family smile

Analyticalannie Tue 07-Jun-11 19:37:32

Thank you for your kind comments addressbook.

I have enjoyed every part of raising my children. They eat nearly everything, work hard at school and give me lots of hugs every day (even the 16 year old- especially the 16 year old!). I made a good job of it because i never used physical punishment or allowed any derogatory remarks to be directed at the children or by the children. I tell my children I love them every day and encouraged them to try lots of different activities. I still encourage them to be the best they can be.

Yes there were hard times. My husband had to work really hard when they were younger to stabilize our business and I was on my own a lot of the time - 7 days/week. I always gave them time and took time to listen to them every day. I try never to shout - you don't set a good example if you behave in that way. Behave as you would like them to behave and always keep lines of communication open. We go to church - it gives them a moral code and a spiritual dimension to their lives. I cook all my own meals - no ready meals. They got used to vegetables from an early age, as I never used jars.

I have asked them about another sibling and first of all they asked, "Are we not enough for you?" My daughter is very keen and the boys just said, "Whatever makes you happy, mum". I know it is possible because of all the members of my family who have had a baby in their 40's - seemingly without trying! I also know that in ten years time the gap may not seem so big. My younger brother was 20 when I had DS1 and they get on fab. My brother loves to come down and play football and cricket with the three of them. If we had the fourth they would all have the same parents so that wouldn't be an issue. I am however worried about the child being on its own, but then with the recession they may all be living with us for years to come. And then of course there is my age!

I am just very unsure and I really want to make up my mind and move on. Sometimes I think we should give it a go - it may not happen or I could have a mc. But at least we would have had the courage to try and that may provide my answer.

If my husband had a different job we could be looking forward to going away for weekends together - but unfortunately we only get one week away /year and that takes organisation on the scale of a royal wedding to pull off!

minipie Tue 07-Jun-11 19:58:58

Just a quick thought: it sounds like you would make a really good "mentor" figure - have you thought about being a HomeStart volunteer? Or perhaps helping children learn to read in local schools or taking on some other role connected with schools/children? This might give you the "parenting" type experience you are wishing for, whilst also using your skills.

Of course, if what you really want is another child, then this will not achieve that. But if really what you're looking for is a use for your skills, it might.

Analyticalannie Tue 07-Jun-11 21:59:13

That is certainly something to think about, thank you for the suggestion.

mollycuddles Tue 07-Jun-11 22:10:09

Two things occur to me - you describe your kids as ds1, dd1 and ds2 which does suggest you don't feel finished otherwise she would just be dd! Iyswim.

And we have a big age gap - I have ds of 13, dd1 of 10 and dd2 of just turned 1. It's absolutely lovely. Know the gap isn't as big as yours but we may well have a fourth so gap from oldest to youngest could be similar. Families work things out and get on with it IMO.

minipie Wed 08-Jun-11 12:14:10

Glad to be of help smile. it might not be right for you, but worth exploring.

Analyticalannie Thu 09-Jun-11 19:32:18

mollycuddles: I just want to thank you for suggesting that I don't feel finished. This really resonates with me as I didn't get to sit my A-levels due to illness; I never got to leave school properly.

I think the same feelings are present again; I feel that we didn't get to complete our family due to circumstances. This site is as good as theraphy!

But is this a good enough reason to go ahead and have another one at the age of 42???

PinkEmily Thu 09-Jun-11 22:50:09

You sound like a lovely caring nurturing person and I think if you feel that you're family isn't complete and it's clear from your post that it is another child you want, and not just the pregnancy/baby part - they are two lovely reasons to go ahead, especially with a supportive family.

I felt the same after my DD started school at 4, and the feelings have stayed with me for years. I did all I could to try and move on, I even had a total career change to work with pre-schoolers.

but in the end we did have another baby, she's 8 months old now and my 2 DD's are 11 and 13. I'm 39. It's been rewarding for all of us, the older two love having a baby sister. I did worry briefly that she would grow up alone, but as DH pointed out, she isn't alone, she has company all the time and as she gets older it may just take a bit more effort to have friends back to play etc.

I used to visualise my family in years to come, Christmasses and get togethers etc and knew I would be happier with a bigger family. I can't really explain it, but I feel that sense of completeness now. A big gap isn't everyones ideal, but it's working for us.

Analyticalannie Fri 10-Jun-11 20:07:17

PinkEmily: Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I am sooo glad you now feel complete.

Posting on Mumsnet has been very cathartic for me. I remember feeling bereft when my third child went to nursery. The same feelings resurfaced last June. I have kept the feelings down until now - last chance saloon. As my GP stated, 'It's O.K. when you can do it'. An important point for all of us to remember!

If I could be assured a healthy baby I would go ahead, however I am worried about my age. I even looked into adopting, however I was advised that this rarely worked as the adopted child feels as if they are treated differently from the birth child.

I was devastated when I was too ill to sit my A-levels, especially as I never got to complete school. No leaving dinner or parties. Those same feelings have resurfaced 24 years later.

However I know we are lucky to have three great kids, who are no bother. I am also fortunate to have two sons and in a farming community that is held in high regard, even in 2011! I am also privileged to have my beautiful daughter, so i have lots to be thankful for.

If I could just a find a way to feel complete.....

mrsgboring Fri 10-Jun-11 20:38:40

I am struggling with similar feelings Analyticalannie, only my children are younger and so am I, but nevertheless it would seem I have had my last child as DH is adamant we can't do it again sad. He is right, as it's been a real ordeal getting through three pregnancies - as well as DD, DS2 had worrying health problesm in utero, though he is thankfully absolutely fine now.

I have had three children, a DD and two DSs but sadly my DD (who was first) was stillborn at full term, so for me I am never going to have a complete family, even if I had been able to have another child. (And like you it is another child I want. I have virtually no broodiness around babies, )

It is so hard but I think so many people have this sadness and wish for more children. As I'm sure you know better than me, at 42 you do have every chance of having a healthy baby but your risk of losing the pregnancy is quite a bit higher and then whatever you do you will never get that feeling of completeness you are longing for. It will be gone forever, and while that's so very sad, it's something that many people live with and do get over.

I am so happy with my DSs. I will miss my DD for ever, and I will miss not having a DD and not having three children for ever too, but I can live with that and be happy.

What has helped me a lot to come to terms with no more babies is (and it sounds very shallow) focusing a little bit on me and spending money on the house since this is our last toddler to trash it.

Personally I think you should try to focus on dealing with these feelings of incompleteness and looking to the future, rather than trying to go through it all again with another child.

Analyticalannie Fri 10-Jun-11 22:05:54

mrsgboring: Thank you for your perspective -- it is comforting to know that someone else understands my wish to have another child and not the baby.

You could be right (DH agrees with you) that I need to focus on the feelings of incompleteness.

mrsgboring Fri 10-Jun-11 22:24:17

Sorry I look back on my previous post and it's pretty garbled. I didn't mean to be so abrupt at the end.

I have to say I also think, yes I do feel like I am just getting good at it, and that I have all that energy and love to give over again, but what if having a last child was the one to break me? i.e. what if by the end of final DC's childhood I loved them dearly but was utterly sick of the whole thing and longing to be done with it? (FWIW that does seem to be my own parents' attitude to the whole thing sad)

Is there any part of the farm business you could develop as your own thing? Or would that not be possible/not satisfying to you?

addressbook Fri 10-Jun-11 23:03:22

I say there are so many children born into dysfucntional, unloving homes that any child born into love and nurture is wonderful (I myself grew up in a dysfunctional and abusive family).

I know it isn't that simple and I am sentimental. I took aboard your advice analyticalannie and I have really enjoyed my children the last couple of days. There is so much negativity and under-appreciation of good mothering, I felt your story was inspirational. Maybe you could channel that wisdom and counsel parents somehow?

Anyway life is short. It is the people we have loved, touched and nurtured that give us a sense of humanity. Nothing else - money, posessions whatever.

Go for it I say

Analyticalannie Sat 11-Jun-11 14:35:57

addressbook: You are spot on when you say money and possessions aren't important. I grew up in a working-class household. During the recession in the 80's, my father was unemployed for 4 years. Money was extremely tight - we were however lavished with love and attention by our father. I can play football, tennis, badminton, darts, pool, snooker and cards, thanks to my father.

I do however clearly remember my geography teacher asking the class how many cars we owned. I was the only child in the class to put their hand up when he asked did anyone not have a car. But experiences addressbook go on to make us who we are. I learnt a salutory lesson, never to judge people by their possessions and to treat everyone with dignity and courtesy. When my children were born I always thought of them as 'little people': you don't strike another person, be verbally abusive or disrespect them in any way. Children deserve exactly the same respect as adults and they will repay it a million times over. Your own life experiences will enrich your life and the lives of those around you.

Thank you for your advice, I however, still have to acknowledge that I don't really want to be pregnant at the age of 42. I also do not feel broody towards babies - I just want to get rid of that feeling of not getting to complete the family!

Analyticalannie Sat 11-Jun-11 14:39:33

mrsboring: Thank you for the suggestion regarding the farm. You must be psychic as I thought about that yesterday. It is something I could look into. I do help my husband in lots of ways, but I could look into developing my own enterprise.

Don't worry you weren't abrupt.

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