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First pregancy/labour too awful to consider a second child

(79 Posts)
spitfire Mon 29-Apr-02 11:14:27

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WideWebWitch Mon 29-Apr-02 11:37:54

Hi spitfire. I too have only the one. I also had pnd, although my ds slept through from 6 weeks, so I was lucky there. But I was thinking about this last night because I *think* I would like another with dp (I'm separated from my ds's father) and if I do I should probably crack on a bit (ds is 4 1/2, I'm 35). However, I am scared of:

* being pregnant again since, for me, it was like having bad pmt for 9 months although, knowing what I do now about other people's experiences, I had it easy.

* Labour: it hurt like hell and I haven't forgotten it *at* all.

* PND: Really wouldn't want to go through that again, although I think I'd recognise it and get help sooner another time.

* Finding it hard to cope with 2. Have recently felt like I've got my life back a bit and ds goes to school soon, so not sure if I can handle the disruption.

So, you're not alone, although my experiences are *nowhere* near as bad as yours were by the sound of it. I think the first time round is probably easier in some ways since you have no idea what to expect (blissful ignorance plus all the reading in the world can't prepare you for the real thing). And now I do know what it's like I have all the fears mentioned above. But I realise that I am being a complete wuss and wanting another will probably win out over all the fear... If only we could have one and dp could do all the above by proxy - I wouldn't hesitate at all

sister Mon 29-Apr-02 11:39:12

It sounds to me that underneath it all you would like another child. I don't think that any two pregnancies are the same but why don't you consider opting for a casearean? I have got friends that have said they wont have any more because they don't want a repeat of their experiences and I think how sad it is. If you really don't want any more then why don't you say ' I don't want any more because it would mean I would not be able to afford the life style I enjoy'. My friend says that and it shuts people up!

tigermoth Mon 29-Apr-02 12:52:49

I've got two children, but it was a hard decision to not stop at one. For all the good reasons I has for wanting another, regret and fear hovered in the background.

www, my son was 4 and a bit when I got pregnant again. I was just tasting some freedom and knew I'd be pulled right back to square one again. It was, and still is, hard at times. You win and lose.

spitfire, I don't know how old you are, but your decision to have, or not have, more children doesn't need to be final if you still have many fertile years ahead. I know quite a few women who have chosen to have big gaps between their children, waiting till the time was right for them. Perhaps now isn't the right time to go ahead with a second pregnancy, but who knows how you'll feel three years down the line. Don't beat yourself up about it.

One of the reasons we decided to go for a second was the realisation that our oldest son would be all on his own when we died. He has no aunts, uncles or cousins. I had him in my mid thirties, so by the time he's 50, it's likely dh and I won't be here. I didn't want to leave him with no family, no one to share his childhood memories of home with. Obviously I have no idea how well my sons will get on as adults, but there's a chance they might. Spitfire, if you have a large extended family, this, IMO, makes it easier to stick at one.

But it doesn't matter what the reason is, if you are happy with the size of you family, don't feel under pressure to have any more children. I am an only child and loved it.

spitfire Mon 29-Apr-02 13:53:47

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Cairistiona Mon 29-Apr-02 14:51:11

Don't feel guilty! We all just do the best we can, and no one can do any better than that.

I am an only child - my mother did not take to pregnancy and birth either - my only comment would be, be careful what you tell your son. As a child I felt very responsible for my mother's unhappiness.

There are good and bad points to being an only child - I have met some people who are fairly crippled with sibling rivalry issues so on the whole I reckon I got a good deal.

If you don't feel able to have another, stop beating yourself up. A happy mother is worth more to your son than a sibling, (I think anyway).

sister Mon 29-Apr-02 15:05:21

I'm sorry if I sounded off hand spitfire. Before we have children we never know what to expect. I was never a cooy cooy person over anyones child. I had children really because I didn't want to miss out.
I love them to bits but sometimes they REALLY annoy me too. It sounds as though you have a lovely child and it is sensible for you to stop their if you don't feel you have anough in you to give to another child.
I have 2 children but I get broody sometimes too. I think it is because I'm now nearer 40 than 30 and I'm coming to terms with the fact that their will be no more. I loved being pregnant and giving birth and I know the mrs sensible inside me says STOP but if my husband said lets have another I'd be in our bed before you could say 'nappies'!

pisces1965 Mon 29-Apr-02 15:12:57

Spitfire - your posting could have come straight from my mind, except that in my case the pregnancy was fine but the following year plus was a nightmare due to illness and PND (too long to go into).

I am sooooo glad someone has had the bottle to post in this vein, because, yes, doesn't everyone seem so dedicated, even when having a bad time. Even my new circle of friends met at antenatal classes really seem to enjoy this new life for themselves, which seems to me like you give up living yourself. I'm not saying they have all had it easy, because they haven't. They are all now on number two, two years on, but seem happy to have given up their lives to children.

I too will only have one, for the reasons you gave, and the ones above. Sometimes I feel desperately guilty because my dd has few relatives, and will be alone, but is this really a good reason to go on to have more children, if it doesn't feel right? I'm not sure.

Thanks for having the bravery to post, its good to hear that I'm not alone.

spitfire Mon 29-Apr-02 15:38:23

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pisces1965 Mon 29-Apr-02 15:50:50

Spitfire - yes, yes, yes, total agreement. I have spent 2 1/2 years thinking that I am not very good at this job - very difficult concept for me since I had a very successful career before dd.

I watch my friends and feel that everything I do is not quite good enough - playing, discipline, buying toys etc, and wonder often whether this has an effect on her behaviour. When I am being rational, I know that she is as good/bad as any other going through the terrible 2s, but it is scary to think that she might sense my feelings.

How old is your child? WWW, I agree with you about thinking you are just getting your life back - I am making an effort to do that, but it is hard.

spitfire Mon 29-Apr-02 16:17:25

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sis Mon 29-Apr-02 17:01:35

Spitfire and pisces1965, just wanted to add that we have also decided not to have anymore children for the same reasons as yourself spitfire. I love ds to bits but the thought of him seeing me have the problems I had when i was pregnant with him and the few months after his birth would be plain unfair on him - he's too lovely to have to see mummy being soooo miserable!

You are definately not alone - and like yourselves, it is easier to come to terms with the decision once you no longer have a choice in the matter. I find that I feel less guilty now that I've convinced myself that I am getting to old to have a baby - although I know many people can and do have babies when they are my age (36yrs) and older and I wish them the very best, but it is not the right thing for my family.

Twink Mon 29-Apr-02 18:35:26

I'm with you too Spitfire, Pisces 1965 and sis. Dh and I were sure we didn't want children but when my clock starting ticking loudly we both agreed we did after all. We love DD to bits but neither of us feel we could cope with the whole baby thing again. I agonise over whether we've done the right thing, our daughter loves babies and I hate to deprive her of the sort of relationship I have with my brother but I can't see that in itself is a good enough reason to have another baby.
Spitfire, your comment about the MTA struck a chord too; I had a demanding job that I was good at, but whenever I needed to learn something new, I was able to go on a course ! All the books in the world don't teach you how to relate to children, I cope OK with DD but find it very hard with her friends and I worry that I've got the only 2 year old adult in the world...
I think deep down I knew I wasn't a natural mother and that's why I put off having a baby but it would have been so nice to have been proved wrong.

Lindy Mon 29-Apr-02 20:23:07

Agree with so much on this thread - I do not feel I am a 'natural' mother at all, sometimes I just find it incredibly BORING - almost ashamed to admit it on Mumsnet when so many are so dedicated - I always try to keep busy with my DS but only this afternoon he was busy playing with his toys and I was desperately trying to read a book whilst 'pretending' to play with him.

My DH was much keener than I to have a baby (in fact we had deliberately discussed this before marriage & agreed not to have a family) - after 13 years of marriage & at age 42 I did have a baby but would certainly not have another.

Our DS is also likely to be alone in later life in view of our ages but I really don't feel this is a valid reason (for us) to have another one - there is absolutely no guarantee that you will get on with your siblings. I do feel it is essential for only children to have lots of friends and get involved in lots of activties, which is certainly what we do.

Thanks for having the honesty to start this thread!

spitfire Mon 29-Apr-02 20:42:29

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Twink Mon 29-Apr-02 22:19:31

Spitfire, in my case I was pretty convinced that I was not really cut out for motherhood but was surrounded by people who said 'oh yes, you'll make a wonderful mum and he'll be an ace father' without them really understanding how we would react to the stress of being parents and them not recognising our shortcomings.
I guess I just imagined things would fall into place somehow but how wrong I was - for instance DD had bad colic for weeks before I discovered that breastfed babies needed winding - my books had said that bottle-fed babies had a problem with wind but I didn't realise all babies needed winding....

WideWebWitch Mon 29-Apr-02 22:22:15

Spitfire, you're right: I did have an inkling that I wouldn't enjoy parenthood -in fact I was someone who thought she would *never* have children, hated the idea. And then my biological clock started ticking, loudly, at the age of 30 and I (sort of accidentally on purpose) got pregnant. I think the whole thing was a huge shock: I had no idea just how exhausting and debilitating it would be.

And I do think, for all the dedication expressed here, that most parents HATE parenthood at some stage, even those you see who you reckon are coping so well...I remember being very open about this when I'd had ds and getting shocked reactions from childless friends and gasps from friends with children who were stunned at my honesty. (I probably did go on a bit about how b****y awful it was though!) And, yes, a lot of it is BORING IMO!! (read "The Best a Man Can Get" by John O'Farrell, recommend it on this subject)

Once I started talking about it they all admitted that they too, had days of hell on earth. I'm sure that we all love our children but I'm equally sure that they all drive us to distraction sometimes and we wonder, occasionally, what our lives might have been without them.

Interestingly, although I am just getting my life back a bit, like you I realise that I don't have much of a life to get back to! When ds is away (he sees his father every other weekend since we're separated), after a while I'm bored. I do realise that I need to get a life by September (school for ds), although there's a possibility that I'll decide to have another, just maybe, after then. A friend pointed out that I do have a life, it's just a life of being a parent. (yeah right, I said, and that makes up for HUGE loss of earnings, good job, intellectual stimulation, adult company, frivolous interests

And now I have wonderful conversations and times with ds most of the time and just wish I could give birth (well, be given, without giving birth) to a 4 year old. For me, much of the first 2 years were awful and I definitely wasn't the perfect mother that I thought I ought to be.

Tigermoth, I think you said elsewhere that our children deserve happy mothers who are rounded individuals because they do have interests outside their children: I agree and will strive for this!

Sorry to go on for so long, just that there are so many interesting points raised here.

Azzie Tue 30-Apr-02 08:37:56

wickedwaterwitch, you're so right about 4 year olds! My ds is now 4.5 and (when in the right frame of mind) can be such good company! If we go out on our own now we talk about all sorts of things, and I really enjoy my time with him. I've come to the conclusion that, although I dearly love my kids, I'm not really a baby sort of person. I'm now really looking forward to dd coming out of the terrible twos, and seeing what sort of person she'll be at 4. Also, at 4.5 ds sometimes just pulls all the stops out and is really special - at the weekend I did something to my back, and dh was away on business. Ds was brilliant, really helpful, did all the fetching and carrying for me, tidied up and everything.

You're right about the having a life bit too! When dh was in Japan last week he wanted me to e-mail him every day to tell him what was going on. I realised that I had nothing to tell him. Nothing of interest happened to me at all last week - all I did was look after the kids and go to work, whereas bc I used to be out and about all the time.

tigermoth Tue 30-Apr-02 09:55:34

www, re I wish I could give birth to a 4 year old! you hit the nail on the head!

I am simply not a toddler person, though I have to say my second son (2.5) is, so far, tons easier than my first was. Of course I love them whatever their age, but from 4/5 years things improve no end. And by the time they are 6/7 - oh the joy!. You can laugh at the same things, you no longer have to simplify your vocabulary when you talk to them, you don't have to watch them like a hawk most of the time, they've grown out of toddler style tantrums, they get around under their own steam, even when they are tired. You can reason with them and learn new things together.

Even when I was a child, I was so pleased to be 7 years old. 7/8 were some of my best years. Still a child, still (mostly) innocent, but not so demanding and dependent as a younger child. I can vividly remember my mother relaxing and treating me as more as like friend.

Two of my friends have only children of my oldest son's age (7). They are so enjoying this time -and, without wishing their lives away, so glad the toddler stage has ended for them.

spitfire Tue 30-Apr-02 10:12:46

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Tillysmummy Tue 30-Apr-02 10:21:29

Hi Spitfire

I know what you mean about the NCT and my DH and I felt that they didn't cover nearly enough about how you feel when you have the baby, the upheaval, shock, etc etc and how to cope with everyday tasks and life in general, also you tend to forget all the things they teach you when you're in the midst of agonising pain But on the other hand they are just there to prepare you for childbirth so I guess we can't expect them to digress from that ? You're right they don't tell you all the really nasty things but at the same time, there is nothing I don't think that can prepare you for the lifestyle shock that a baby bring and the crazed feeling of sleep deprivation.
I remember the sheer enormity of being entirely responsible for this defenseless little thing frightened the hell out of me.
But I wouldn't change it for the world

spitfire Tue 30-Apr-02 10:32:39

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Tillysmummy Tue 30-Apr-02 10:38:32

I know and in my case, they would show piccys of the first 8 weeks with baby crying, mummy crying, baby crying, mummy crying !!

My dh used to get home from work and not know which one of us to pick up first !!

aloha Tue 30-Apr-02 10:47:19

What an interesting and honest thread. I do love being a mum - though I have my absolutely awful days too, but I think there is just too much guilt about. I LOVE the days he goes to his childminder and I work at home (or play with my new toy, mumsnet) and I can flick through the paper, get a cup of coffee, do the garden or just relax for, ooh, minutes at a time. I was watching that Edwardian House programme, and saw how the mums then never saw their children except for an hour or so in the evening - I bet they never had a twinge of guilt, and the modern little boy seemed to love it too! I also heard on R4 a sort of memoir of an Edwardian childhood with the writer recalling having stories read to her in the evening - just about only contact with mother - and recalling it really fondly. I thought, just goes to show, you don't need to sacrifice every moment of the day for a happy bub. I've read lots of research that says that only childen are actually the most likely to be really successful in life too, so certainly no need for guilt there. In fact, they'll probably be keeping you in your old age..!

jessi Tue 30-Apr-02 10:48:18

I had the total opposite experience of the NCT classes! Our woman was SO into talking about all the hard facts, that we as a group used to get quite depressed about it all and switch off during the bits about PND, episiotomies, sore boobs etc. We were an optimistic bunch, all determind to have natural drug-free labours,we all packed our labour bags with homeopathic stuff and socks with tennis balls in for massaging lower backs in labour! Of the 7 couples, only one managed a natural labour, most of us had episiotomies or tears and we were all deeply shocked at how much it hurt! Still, we had no gripes with our NCT woman.. she DID warn us! With regards to horrible first labours putting you off a second one, I used to feel this way too. However, time is a great healer and now, 2 years on I have laid those ghosts to rest and am now hoping to get pregnant again soon and have another go. I feel I know so much more now and don't have those rose-tinted spectacles on anymore, so I reckon I could cope second time around.

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