Wobbling about decision to stick with one child - help!(26 Posts)
Having happily declared to all and sundry every since I left the hospital with baby number one that nothing on earth could persuade me to have another one, I'm suddenly - out of the blue - having a wobble!
I know there are lots of practical and emotional reasons to stick to my guns, but for some inexplicable reason I keep thinking about having another one.
I'm 35, my DD is 5 years old, we're a happy family (after a pretty dark first 18 months - no sleep, awful experience breastfeeding, mild PND, seemingly endless illnesses, me being hopeless as a SAHM). I have a great job I enjoy, I have hobbies, I can go out when I like, I can sleep when I like (ish - DD still not a brilliant sleeper) and all is well with the world.
So WHY WHY WHY am I suddenly considering ruining all of this by diving back into sleep deprivation, nappies, feeding and weaning? Not to mention the fact we have a house, car and life that suits 3 of us. Plus, I've given away all the baby stuff as obviously I was never going to need it again!
Please can you either persuade me out of it (which I'm trying to do myself) or tell me some wonderful stories about baby 2 being totally different, more relaxed, easier and just a general dream (part of it I think is the fact that I didn't really enjoy being a mum to a baby first time round and feel like it might be different this time, but I'm probably being extremely naive..)
Any thoughts / advice / stern words would be hugely appreciated!
Does your DH want another? Your post is all about what you feel/want!
I was very similar to you - I hated being at home with a baby when my DD was born. I felt that I massively regretted having her and thought I had ruined my life. I cried every time my DH went to work for months and months. People said it would get better at 6 weeks, 12 weeks etc...it didn't really get better for me until I was back at work and had a break from her and could be me again. Roll on 5 years and I adore her; she is fabulous and my life would be awful without her - I feel ashamed and upset when I look back on how I felt, although I know it is more common that people say.
My DH and I were adamant we would never have another and that 1 was enough, however we started questioning this when DD was 3.5 and a joy to be with. In December 2014 we decided to stop using contraception and let fate decide as we didn't want to regret not having a second child, but weren't certain we wanted another; 9 months later our DD2 was born just short of DD1 turning 5 (took over 2 years and a miscarriage to conceive DD1 so we both assumed it probably wouldn't happen!).
DD2 is a very different child from DD1- much easier, so laid back and happy almost all of the time. It's not glorious all of the time of course (far from it!) - we've had a lot of sleepless nights and then had to deal with a 5 year old wanting to play running races/obstacle courses etc when we just wanted to go to bed and sleep for 5 hours! I miss the freedom I had before having DD2 (she is bf and doesn't take a bottle so has to be with me all the time), but I know that will come again in a couple of years. And that is the big difference - having done it once you know that all the phases end, whether good or bad, they will sleep eventually and you will get a semblance of your old life back. She is nearly 6 months old and the time has flown by this time. I am definitely not a baby person and although she is lovely, she is pretty dull -I do wish she was 12 months older some days as I find toddlers and children much more interesting. I then berate myself for wishing her life away!
Ultimately, I can't say whether you should add another to your family and could never guarantee that you wouldn't feel the same way as last time. I can only share my story.
Thanks lovelyredwine for sharing your story. You sound just like me - definitely not a baby person. Agree they're much more interesting from 1ish. I totally relate to what you say about the joy of getting to know and love your first child leading to thoughts about a second. It's also good to hear your experience was very different second time round, although I would definitely feel anxious about losing my freedom again, as really struggled with that last time round.
ChessieFL you make a fair point - I did notice I hadn't mentioned DH when I re-read my post! This is because he's just totally lovely and supportive either way. He wasn't as adamant as me about sticking with one, but could see the advantages and didn't want to see me go through all the pain and anxiety again if I didn't want to. Now I'm wobbling he's happy to reconsider but has the same practical concerns as me. One important point to note though is he is much more of a baby person than me, and if we could find a way for him to do most of the parental leave and then go part-time instead of me, that could work..!
Any other experiences people would like to share?
Thanks again - feel a bit funny talking to real life friends because I feel like such a hypocrite!!
I found it incredibly hard when I had my first DC. Similar to you I had mild PND, really struggled with breastfeeding (lasted three weeks), and he woke every 20 minutes throughout the night for a while. I found it horrific and didn't enjoy him at all until I went back to work. We'd always known we'd wanted two children and I think part of the horror was thinking we're going to have to go through this nightmare again if we have another.
As it turns out DC2 was much easier, probably partly because we felt as though we knew what we were doing a bit more, partly because we were already used to not having the complete freedom you have before children, and partly because she did actually sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time. Although she's actually harder work now she's older
I did go through quite a broody phase when DC2 was about 3 or 4, but i knew logistically and financially it wouldn't really work.
Sorry that probably doesn't help you at all does it! I guess if you want a second child but are worried about the baby phase it does pass very quickly, and I found going from 1 to 2 much easier than going from 0 to 1.
Definitely looked at shared parental leave. I believe it was only rolled out last year. I am pretty sure your DH could take up to 50 weeks of your mat leave, letting you get back to work earlier. DP has taken the last 6 weeks of my mat leave as shared parental leave.
Thanks iwouldgoouttonight - any and all experiences are helpful! Just trying to get my thoughts straight in my own head. Seriously considering setting up an Excel spreadsheet to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages. Wish it wasn't so hard. I don't want to have to choose between family and career, but I am worried about the extra costs, stress and childcare logistics of having two...
Ooh, shared parental leave sounds interesting. Does anyone know how it works financially, e.g. Would DH be entitled to occupational (pa)maternity pay, or just statutory? Our workplaces have quite different schemes - mine is better - so unsure how sharing would work..
I was also rather traumatised by the upheaval of my life by having DC1, had PND and only started feeling like myself again once I went back to work when he was 1. We'd always said we'd have two and I was dreading going through the the newborn phase again. It was actually much easier in a way with DD, we were a lot more relaxed and knew that all phases would pass, whereas with DS, having never experienced it before, had visions of never sleeping / going out / brushing my hair ever again!
It can be difficult having two, but there was just over 2.5 years between my two so I had a tantrumming toddler at the same time as a newborn to deal with, at least your DD would be a good lot older and able to understand more.
I also went back to work when DD was 8 months old, I knew from DS that a year was too long for me.
Oh and shared parental leave........it will depend on your DHs company policy. Some companies have given the same rights as maternity but some are only offering ShPP, which is the same as SMP. It's still pretty new so a lot of employers may not have fully decided on their policy yet or had to deal with a request for it yet.
redwine are you me?!
even down to drinking red wine tonight
dd2 is a much easier baby, not perfect but so much more pleasurable to spend time with then dd1 was at this age (5 months) but l really believe this is down to having a bit more of a clue with dd2. Poor dd1!
I wanted same sex siblings so I'm delighted to have dd2 and absolutely feel as though my family is complete, even though l had said dd1 would probably be an only.
I think if you're thinking about it then deep down, somewhere that has had plenty of sleep (!), you would like dc2.
I struggled with my first but went ahead with a second anyway because I have siblings as does dh so we never imagined just having one.
Again I struggled with my second but it was easier because I knew it wouldn't be forever. So when things were hard and I was getting no sleep and felt like I was going mad, I never regretted it for a split second.
I had Dd1 when I was 15 it was a shock but I got on with it and brought her up myself.
I met DH when I was 28 he also had dc's from a previous relationship. We both agreed no more dc's.
Got married at 32 Dd1 was 17 at the time and I was so looking forward to my FREEDOM and reliving my lost youth.
At 38 I found out I was pregnant I was actually more shocked than the first time. Dd2 is the best thing that could have happened to us.
I do believe what's for you won't go by you.
I have always wanted two. Dd1 was a Velcro baby had to be attached to me all the time or screamed. We also discovered she had a dairy allergy and reflux so her early days and my memories are filled with a screaming, violently puking baby.
Dd2 much more chilled. We picked up on the allergies more quickly as we knew what to look for.
Both children mean the world to me and I wouldn't be without them.
However, I had not anticipated what two year long maternity leaves in four years would do to my career. It is a job now not a career. I wouldn't cope with promotion at the moment. Too much going on at home. Too much time spent away from work. I feel I'm constantly playing catch- up. Also Child care expenses alone are over eleven hundred a month.
I had no idea that having two kids in this respect would be much tougher than just one.
Seeing the girls together makes all that insignificant to me but it is hard. In an ideal world, childcare costs would be less and DH would have taken some of the leave but I wanted to do it this way. It is just difficult trying to be Super mum and career woman, whilst trying to still have time for hobbies and seeing friends. I know it will get easier as the kids get older though and are not quite so dependent on mummy.
Only wanted one and that hasn't changed, DD nearly 3.5 now.
Husband and I are in total agreement which is obviously really helpful. We are happy as we are, we feel complete as a family of 3.
But. If you think you want another, then you probably do and probably should if you can!
Maybe this isn't helpful. But I can tell you now that I have a 4 and 2 year old that it is so much easier to have two than an only child. They play together ! There is always a vibe of play and fun and they seem so happy to have each other.
When we go on holiday or to see family I never have to worry now about whether there will be someone for dc1 to play with.
My whole experience with baby 2 was unbelievably more easy and relaxed. It just is all so much simpler the second time and sleep wise never as stressful because you know it's a phase.
And I say all this as someone who truly hated maternity leave..I cried with boredom and loneliness. But I love my children and I love there being two of them
The baby bit is so fleeting and feels even more so the second time as you know that it all passes quickly. Think longer term and don't make a decision based on sleep and the baby stuff as that is a tiny tiny fleeting aspect of parenthood.
Thanks all for your advice - I really appreciate it
Paddingtonthebear we also feel complete as a family of 3 and haven't given it a second thought until now. Not sure what's changed. DangerMouth, I think the problem is I have had plenty of sleep, so am feeling well rested and resilient. However, I know I'm a total monster when sleep deprived and really don't want to go back there. But there's a little voice in my head (bolstered by lovely positive comments from many of you) that it will be different this time, because I'll know it's not forever. And also know all the loveliness to come, when they're 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 etc.
Have just had long chat with DH about it and he said he's never ruled it out, but we need to take some time to think about the practicalities / realities. Handily, two friends are due to have their second babies imminently, so think I'll wait and chat to them after a few weeks before rushing in to anything. Plus, have two weddings this summer and want to wear non-maternity clothes and drink , so definitely going to give it a few months
I wouldn't talk to anyone a few weeks in after having a child - honestly what would you have said a few weeks in?
Believeitornot I see what you mean, but I want the truth, not a sugar-coated version! Plus, these are both sensible, level-headed second-timers, who are going into it with their eyes open - fully expecting the baby bit to be an ordeal to be got through. I'd like to hear from them about how they feel second time round. I know they'll both be alarmingly honest about whether they think they made the right decision. Although maybe I'll wait until a few months in, to give them time to recover from the shock
Yes that's what I mean - 4 years in I have a different view a few weeks in. Although one thing I've never wavered on is I'm never doing it again after 2. 2 is plenty 😂😂😂😂😂
I'm not a baby person but I found DS2 easier than DS1. He was probably actually more demanding but I was more experienced and therefore relaxed. I was also determined that he wouldn't disrupt DS1s activities etc so he just fitted in, whereas with your first everything revolves much more around them. The other difference was that I did not breastfeed, other than the first feed, after having such a bad experience first time round, this meant I was able to enjoy his first months much more.
I had a five year gap between my dd and ds, they don't really play together as such, it varies according to what stage they are both at, but a 10 yr boy has very different priorities to a 15 yr girl. You would prob have a bigger gap, and it can be tricky trying to negotiate teen worries with preteen needs. Not saying its bad, but different from the closer sibling families.
Breastfeeding ruined our first few months of parenthood to, so it's good to hear you had a more positive experience with bottle feeding. Last time I persevered with breastfeeding despite repeated bouts of mastitis and general agony, and I'm convinced the trauma delayed bonding with DD, which in turn made me feel terribly guilty and I then over-compensated by responding to her every snuffle - which is probably why she was such a needy baby and terrible sleeper! I'm more frightened about the thought of breastfeeding again than labour - it really was the worst experience of my life!
Same for me Obsidian, I used to dread DS1 waking up as I knew it would mean another horrendous feeding session! DS2 is 14 now and no less bright or healthy than DS1, he has no allergies and is hardly ever ill (all stuff I worried about) and bottle feeding meant I could take turns with my (then) DH and wasn't as exhausted.
Why do you want a second child? You are giving hundreds of reasons for not wanting one, but NO reasons FOR wanting one (aside from "having a wobble").
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