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Scared - Thinking about having a child

(25 Posts)
laurajay87 Wed 20-Jan-16 15:44:35

Hi everyone,

This is my first post on any forum like this and I don't know who to ask other than my doctor.

My fiancee and I got engaged last year, and have been talking on and off about having a family sometime. We can't do much at the moment because we both work 3 hours away from any support (family/friends) and are stuck in our tenancy until August, so I feel like we can't plan anything for at least another few months.

I have a few fears.

First of all, I'll be 29 this year in May. I hear so many people say fertility declines the older you get, and complications increase. I'm so conscious of my health and that of the would-be child it's stressing me out that I might be 31 until we try.

I am also petrified of pregnancy and childbirth. I have a very low pain threshold and get dizzy/faint at the sight of blood. I also suffered from health anxiety in the past so I'm afraid pregnancy may trigger it.

This doesn't deter me, I want to be a good mum and we decided on just the one kid. But these things are scaring me.

Does anyone have any advice? Thank you.


Artioo2 Wed 20-Jan-16 16:15:44

People say things like that about fertility without really knowing the facts. The difference between 29 and 31 in terms of fertility is negligible - it's only really after 35 that fertility begins to decline, and even then the reduction is small for some time. Looking at my copy of 'Expecting Better' by Emily Oster (she's an economist who analyses lots of aspects of pregnancy based on actual statistics, well worth reading if you're anxious), the chances of getting pregnant are virtually the same between the ages of 20 and 35, then about 90% as likely between 35 and 39. And these figures are based on old (19th Century) statistics, so the likelihood is that with advances in health and medicine, fertility actually reduces more slowly than this.

Arming yourself with the facts like this can be very reassuring for anxiety, I've found.

Talcott2007 Wed 20-Jan-16 16:31:23

I was in similar situation and I can relate to everything you have said - I'm 29 - engaged last May - currently in process of buying a house, currently renting - extended family not local (Not even the same country!) children discussed and very much wanted but every time ended with 'not quite yet' We decided that the most sensible thing was to sort everything with house - it's New Build so won't be ready until end of June then save up a bit more, get married and then start trying for babies when we are 31-32. I also have some underlying health issues (as well as being a total wimp pain-wise) So we had started to consider making an appointment with the Dr's just to make sure that there was nothing we should be worried about by leaving things a little longer because I totally understand the concern about fertility declining with age...

....and then came our surprise! A totally unexpected baby is due in early June! So this has massively thrown all our 'plans' out the window! still going ahead with the house, the wedding will now wait etc.

It's absolutely terrifying and all happening so fast and in the 'wrong' order to what we had imagined but at the same time totally amazing and wonderful and like it's meant to be and we wouldn't actually change a thing! (don't ask me how those two sets of feelings can both be true at the same time!)

Obviously the fact I am now pregnant answers the fertility question for me but it might help your thought process to go an speak to a Dr - they can perhaps put your mind at ease about your fertility concerns and that may help you make the right decision for you both going forwards?

Good Luck with whatever you decide to do!

laurajay87 Wed 20-Jan-16 16:31:49

Thank you so much for your reply.

Do people enjoy being pregnant? I it as uncomfortable as I hear it is? And is childbirth the most painful thing a woman can experience?

laurajay87 Wed 20-Jan-16 16:36:43

Thanks Talcott - that sounds wonderful congratulations smile

We want to buy a house too but leaving our jobs here to go home means finding a new job (for us both) back home. My fiancee was offered a perfect job but this damn tenancy held us back sad we need to start all over so to speak...

We also need to save for a wedding but I don't know how long that will take. I don't want an expensive one. I'm just such an anxious person and the health anxiety I had was crippling to the point where I was constantly bugging my DR with problems I thought I had. When/If I get pregnant I'll be worried about two bodies and not one.

I'm scared I'll blink and suddenly I'll be 31. It's all going so quickly as I get older.

Talcott2007 Wed 20-Jan-16 16:39:40

Can't comment about the birth part (yet) but I hope it's not as bad as some people make it out to be! I can't say I enjoy being pregnant as such but it's not awful - 2nd trimester has been much easier than the 1st so far as I did have a bit of morning sickness and was constantly tired to start with but everyone's pregnancy is different.

laurajay87 Wed 20-Jan-16 16:42:36

Thank you for your advice. I hope everything goes well for you. smile

Artioo2 Wed 20-Jan-16 17:01:23

Everyone's different - some people don't enjoy being pregnant, but I love it. There's likely to be some aches and pains involved, but if you have a generally healthy pregnancy (as is likely) then they're really quite minor in the grand scheme of things.

As for the pain of childbirth, you can choose to manage that very effectively with pain relief if you want to!

brookeberry Wed 20-Jan-16 17:01:43

laura I think you've articulated what a lot of people feel.

First of all you are very lucky to have found your love and you know you want to have a future and family together (I didn't find mine until I was 38!). This is possibly the hardest part smile

As a PP said, fertility is said to decrease after 35. I don't think there is much difference between 29 and 31. (I'm currently 28 weeks pregnant with my first at 42).

It's very common to fear pregnancy and childbirth. I personally am loving being pregnant because I can't believe that DH and I are making this baby together and I get to carry him and feel him grow. It's a truly unique and finite experience. Yes there are moments of anxiety (mumsnet feedback has helped me enormously). I've had no discomfort or pain so far, and I'm 42! Yes I know the childbirth but will be unbelievably painful, but it's just one day and they say you just want your baby out, and if that's the way it's coming out, then so be it grin

Anxiety about birth is incredibly common and there are a lot of preparations in place. Being pregnant is also quite a long drawn out process and it gives you time to evolve into it (and also time to learn an awful lot).

There is so much support out there for you, for anything that is worrying you. Mumsnet is a good place to start.

goodnightdarthvader1 Wed 20-Jan-16 17:03:25

OP, I was 32 when we conceived, it took 6 months. Your fertility doesn't drop off a cliff at age 30.

I was / am also terrified of pregnancy. I hate needles, hate vomiting, not great with pain.

I've found it surprisingly easy - AND I ended up having to have way more blood tests than the average pregnant women due to volunteering for a pre-eclampsia clinical trial, and then developing anemia.

The thing is, you have reserves you don't realise. You take it a day at a time and you cope. I've had hard days where I've sobbed my heart out on and off all day. I've felt ill and helpless. But then the next day everything seems ok again.

Yes, you do worry about the baby, but as long as you do all the sensible things - only take meds prescribed by your doc, don't drink, don't smoke, limit caffeine, eat as well as you can, keep hydrated - your baby is likely to be fine. And if you have any concerns, the midwives are there to help.

I'm 36+5, and I know I'm lucky in that I've had a fairly straightforward pregnancy. But you may too. Unfortunately it's the luck of the draw. But even if it's hard, you can do it.

MagicDucky Wed 20-Jan-16 17:06:14

I have a very low pain threshold, have been know to faint when nipped!

I actually enjoyed labour. It's wasn't as bad as I had feared, also loved/loving being pregnant ( although I really want a glass of wine hahaa )

Agent160 Wed 20-Jan-16 17:28:35

I can't comment on the birth part yet. But honestly, in my experience pregnancy hasn't been that bad.

90% of the time if it wasn't for the bump I wouldn't know I was pregnant. I don't feel that different. And the other 10% of the time the aches and pains are the same level of discomfort as when I've overdone it at the gym - so I would have been experiencing discomfort anyway, just in different places.

I can sympathise with the health anxiety. I've suffered from that but in a way being pregnant helps - don't know if this will make sense but it's like I 'only' have to worry about one thing! If something is bothering me I don't think 'is it a blood clot or is it a tumour or is it XYZ'. I know its pregnancy related, and there's a lot of information for pregnant women!
Plus I don't feel stupid for asking a midwife/doctor/the Internet about concerns like I sometimes do about non-pregnancy worries.

Hopeful85 Wed 20-Jan-16 17:36:39

For a lot of women the pain worry goes out the window because your maternal instinct kicks in and your only concern is for your unborn child. You'll do literally anything to ensure it's safety.... this coming from someone who is terrified of needles and had Twins her first pregnancy... high risk pregnancies include lots of extra things...but in the end it was for the healthvif my child so I would gave cut off my own arm if need be

Runningupthathill82 Wed 20-Jan-16 17:57:57

I don't enjoy pregnancy, and childbirth was beyond any pain I could've ever imagined. I have a pretty high pain threshold too - I was just unlucky.

That said, I wouldn't change having DS for the world. And I went on to get pregnant again so, even though birth was hideous, I know it's well worth the end result.

Before I had DS my life was great. I had my dream job, a fun and happy existence, lots of close friends, all of that. But life with him in it is immeasurably better.

Don't be scared of pregnancy and birth. It's but a short space of time, in the grand scheme of things. And there are great drugs if birth gets too bad! wink

TattieHowkerz Wed 20-Jan-16 19:10:55

I love being pregnant, didn't have any nausea first pregnancy, and hardly any this time. Towards the end of my first pregnancy my ankles were a bit swollen and my hip ached, but otherwise I felt well throughout. I'm 9 weeks with my second, so far so good..

Labour was very painful. So I got pain relief. There are pros and cons to pain relief, but it is there if you need it, so no need to fear pain excessively.

I'm 38 and had no problems conceiving, got pregnant the second month of trying. I really don't think 31 is anything to worry about.

April2013 Wed 20-Jan-16 19:26:07

We hardly have any support nearby and manage fine just the 2 of us so I wouldn't worry too much about that as a prerequisite - obviously would be good to be closer to support but I don't think it is a huge deal, it also can be an advantage to have space if you want it. I absolutely hate being pregnant but it is totally manageable with some help from your partner and only temporary, a good excuse to watch lots of tv smile, the birth you can decide to have an epidural and there are loads of other pain relief options. I faint a lot so with blood tests you can ask to lay down which seems to help, after a few blood tests i got better at it, I understand it is V scary at first though. When I went on a tour of the labour ward I freaked out but then after finding out about birth through antenatal classes was able to feel less scared. Our living situation has changed 3 times in the last 3 years since having a baby and although stressful for us our son has loved the moving and learnt a lot about packing boxes, drills, ladders etc so I don't think it matters so long as you have a place to call home. I think if you want to crack on with TTC you might find it liberating to step into a new TTC phase rather than waiting and stressing about biological clock, I don't think perfect planning always works so well so you may as well throw caution to the wind and start on folic acid and vit d. Having said all that I totally was the same as you, I think it is totally normal to feel as you do but the desire to have a family overrides, plus it is liberating to be free of contraception and fun to be having sex every 2 days smile the birth surprised me because doing it yourself seemed a lot less scary than watching one born every minute, it all feels risky and scary and strange in general but I think eventually you get used to that a bit and learn how to manage it and the thought of a baby plus deciding on a name etc keeps you going. Excuse my ramble! Good luck!

BelfastSmile Wed 20-Jan-16 19:31:39

I was scared of being pregnant and giving birth, and have a very low pain threshold, but it was absolutely fine. I talked to the midwife about it at my booking in appointment and was referred to the ante-natal mental health team, who gave me lots of support. I actually really quite enjoyed pregnancy, other than feeling a bit off color for a few weeks near the start (I have a horrendous fear of vomiting, so I was worried that that would be triggered, but it was OK). Birth itself was also fine, and very calm. I had an epidural, so the pain went away, and by the time DS was born I was very relaxed!

I would say to keep an open mind about the birth, and consider all the options - pain relief, midwife-led etc. Be prepared to change your mind on the day, and you'll be ok.

MissBattleaxe Wed 20-Jan-16 19:37:14

When I went into labour I was so excited about meeting my baby that I genuinely didn't care how much it hurt. Besides which pain relief is good and there are various choices you can try. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt, mark you, just saying the excitement drowned it out.

OwlinaTree Wed 20-Jan-16 19:59:46

Thing is it's an unknown for you, it's fine to be anxious. It's a big decision. But it sounds like you have a really good relationship, you are both on the same page, and you've thought it through.

Who knows whether it will take ages to concieve or not, no one knows till they start to try. But you are not old enough to really worry I don't think at 31.

Pregnancy is an interesting state to be in, as said up thread, some people love it, others not so much. Lots of people have more than one child which I always think means it can't be that bad!

LittleLionMansMummy Thu 21-Jan-16 08:35:18

I loved being pregnant. It only really got a bit more uncomfortable right at the end when I had a bit of heartburn and didn't sleep brilliantly because I was peeing every five minutes! Other than that I loved it and largely carried on as normal. We'd had fertility problems though so I had a deep rooted fear I'd never have children and promised myself that if I ever got pregnant I'd never whinge about it! I gave birth at 32 absolutely fine, no problems - straightforward and dare I say I even enjoyed it?! Thinking of having another but I'm nearly 37 now so would expect it to be more difficult. Most agree that the difference between ttc at 29 and 35 is very small but more significant decrease in fertility after 35.

Colabottle10 Thu 21-Jan-16 08:38:02

I'm 36, DH 40. We decided to try last September and I was pregnant in November, so for some, fertility doesn't just suddenly become non existent.

In terms of pregnancy, I'm going to go against the majority here. I hate it. I'm 9+2 and for the last 5 weeks I've had horrendous all day nausea and sickness. Spent weeks in bed throwing up and am on various medications just to try and function normally. I feel like I've been lied to, that pregnancy is wonderful and glorious when in reality it's been ducking horrendous.

Then of course I get the 'well you'll feel better by the second trimester' but believe me, that seems an awfully long way off.

Don't underestimate the effect pregnancy has on your body and be prepared to be taking time off work, and not leaving the house for days on end. Not being able to go into your own kitchen for fear of gagging over every smell.

LittleLionMansMummy Thu 21-Jan-16 08:39:29

I should say that my fertility issues were down to pcos which I'd obviously always had but had been pretty much dormant until I was taking more notice of my periods. It would have been there at any age.

schokolade Thu 21-Jan-16 12:17:44

For me the birth pain was manageable, but it is true that every birth is different. Pregnancy I found much harder than I expected. Sickness etc in the early weeks meant I had to take time off work, and it was as if I had become a mother, and DH was not yet a dad (even though he was as supportive as possible, all the "weight" of the baby was on me). So it was lonely. My point is, if you CAN be near your support network in that time, it is well worth the wait imo.

ChicaMomma Thu 21-Jan-16 12:21:14

Laura, you are so young! I conceived my first (at first attempt) at 37, and now pregnant with my second at 39 (also first attempt).

I really enjoy being pregnant to be honest- although the last month is very tough, granted. To get around my fear of childbirth i listened to hypnobirthing tracks- helped immensely.

There'll never be a 'right' time to have a baby, so just go with your gut. But dont do it because you think you are getting old!!

ChicaMomma Thu 21-Jan-16 12:24:09

PA- agree with April2013- onsite help is not a prerequisite. My mum lives 3 hours away and hubby's mum is quite old and not a huge amount of help- it doesnt really matter, although it would be nice to have my mum closer for sure! But our own little family unit provides all the help and support the baby (and incoming sibling!) need.

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