Husband more excited to start a family than I am(12 Posts)
Not sure how to explain this succinctly, so apologies for the long rambling post.
I've always assumed I would have kids one day.
A few years ago I had a couple of months being intensely broody and it took a bit of effort not to ask my fiancee if we could try for kids straight away. But I recognized it as hormones and knew it would be better to wait until we were slightly more settled.
We're now married and the plan is to start trying for babies in a few months (after our delayed honeymoon). This has always been the plan.
He's very excited and enthusiastic about it all. But as July looms closer I find myself becoming more and more hesitant -unwilling, even.
I have had a period of mental illness in the past that absolutely knocked me for six, and whilst I'm happy and healthy now I do recognize that I am not the most resilient of people. This is how I've always been - fragile and (maybe overly) sensitive is the best and least dramatic way I can think to describe it. Or just generally not very good at dealing with normal everyday life. The normal humdrum minor crises of growing up such as falling out with the popular kid in class, not making the team, failing an exam, changing school, being rejected by a guy, moving house, starting new jobs, not knowing anyone at a party, getting your skirt tuckedin your knickers had always been huge, emotionally crippling events to me (yes, even the knickers).
The thought of going through that whole cycle of growing up again, starting from square 1, really worries me. I feel like I've only just begun to be strong enough to pick myself up after all that. I don't think I can go through it all again with my own kids.
It's taken a lot of work to get myself as relatively sorted and together and well-adjusted as I am now. I found that keeping my home a calm, quiet, organized environment, regular sleep, healthy food and regular exercise (all the standard self care things depression sufferers do) has helped - has become essential - to maintaining my mental well being. And I know these will inevitably be the first things to go with the arrival of kids.
I'm concerned that I won't be able to care for myself to the same degree with a young family. Or older kids. Or teenagers. I feel like I've only just begun to get myself mentally/emotionally together and on a well-adjusted, even keel. Kids means diving in at the deep end and potentially trampling all over that progress.
However I love my husband so, so much. He's a big part of the reason I feel so much better now. And he's so excited about becoming a father and starting a family. I know he'll be as supportive as he can be, but it won't always be enough.
We always planned to have kids, and to start trying for them about now (his parents are older and not in great health and we didn't want to wait much longer so they would still be healthy and active enough to be involved grandparents). So even without my own biological clock starting to run out, waiting another few years to see if my feelings change isn't really a viable option. It doesn't feel fair to him to turn around now and say I've changed my mind.
If I got a burst of broody hormones again, I would happily allow the irrational feelings to carry me through. However, as things stand now, in the cold light of day and with a warm, fuzzy hormone-free head, getting pregnant feels pretty bloody scary. On the other hand I know it would devastate my husband and create a lot of hurt in an otherwise amazing partnership. Literally on our first date he brought up the subject and said he was looking forward to having a family one day.
I'm not saying I wouldn't love any children we might have. I hope I'd be a good mum, I just don't think I'd be able to look after myself probably. Which would inevitably entail also not being able to look after babies and children properly.
Any advice? Over catastrophising is another tendency of mine, but I've tried to look at this as calmly as I can. But maybe I have just got caught in a loop of over-thinking everything. An outside, unbiased opinion would be very much appreciated.
Many thanks in advance.
have you talked to your DH? This is a huge decision, you need to be comfortable with it.
I don't have any firsthand experience of depression or anxiety. However, it sounds to me as though you are remarkably self aware, and that this would help you to know when you needed to ask for extra/help support if you had DC.
Everyone struggles sometimes as a parent. It is hard. And you will come low down your list of priorities for a while. But, as long as you have support around you, and your DH sounds very supportive, you will always have someone looking after you.
Pregnancy is a long time. Maybe try and look at it in bitesized chunks rather than considering all the possible pitfalls of all age groups at once. Unless you were to have hundreds of kids, you would only have to deal with one or couple of stages at a time, not all of them.
I have a history of MH issues.. I struggles with Agraphobia for years prior to having Ds..
I can only say from my experience my MH has improved dramatically.. Mainly because I can't lie in bed depressed I have to get up for my child, If my DS has an appointment, we have to go out.. Everythig is geared towards moving away from everything I embraced from my MH issues.. Now I can't lie in, get cabin fever when stuck in due to the weather.. People who know me well say he is the best thing that ever happened to me..
However I did desperately want to be a good mum.
I also think when you have been very ill you have a fear of going back...
Omg I am in the exact same situation! Sorry I have no advice to give but will be watching this to see others advice. We got married in March and the plan was always to start trying after the honeymoon but I spoke to my DH on the honeymoon and told him about my anxiety over it and he suggested I carry on with the pill for three more months and discuss it over that time and then see how I feel then. I know I want to have a family with him and we are in a perfect position for it now but I can't help but feel anxious! I also have a history of mental health problems which definitely don't help. I think that my age doesn't help. I'm 23 so I feel I'm still in that weird place between being a kid and an adult. This is the reason I joined mumsnet. Was hoping that reading about real women raising children will help, and it seems to be working!
I also recommend you talk to your DH, especially as you describe him as so supportive.
Altering your timetable for children might be a good idea discussing. I know you have said about DH's parents, but you need to have children when it's right for the two of you, not other people. That said, if you are waiting for the 'right' time, it probably won't happen as there will always be DIY/extra savings needed etc.
Also, having children is a massive and life-altering decision. It's daunting for anyone making that choice to finally go for it, so it may be this you are feeling particularly as you say you have always felt you wanted them. It's the reason why I'm very grateful now my DD was a happy accident a good 6mo before we were 'planning' on starting TTC. I was dreading that day we were going to have to sit down and have that big grown up chat about binning the contraception and going for it. It was a scary enough conversation even with DC2 (who's currently cooking)!
As Solasum has said, you sound very aware of your MH and this should help you spot any potential problems early. Being a parent is exhausting, and you do lose a bit of yourself for a while initially, but you are so busy in those early days you may not even notice. With a lovely DH you will be fine though, because he'll recognise you need time alone to be you (and hopefully you'd reciprocate it).
Sickrose, if you are only 23 and not sure about kids just yet, why not wait 3 years, not just 3 months to see how you feel? Your twenties are the perfect time to enjoy being free and to have fun doing stuff just the two of you. Don't miss out on all of that. If you still feel like a kid, why not enjoy being an adult before settling down to being a mum?
Unfortunately my DH is disabled so I would prefer to have children while he is still able to run around after them. As he gets older his physical capabilities will decrease. It's a strange thing, and I don't know if it's the same for you Jesse but it's not the thought of having children that scares me. I know I want them and there's a lot of aspects that I'm excited about! It's taking that huge step of stopping the contraception and officially 'trying'. It just causes a bit of anxiety. And then I'll be having a bad day with my mental health and I would worry about everything. What if something is wrong with me and I can't get pregnant, what if I get pregnant and something goes wrong, what if I have a child but don't love them, what if I'm a terrible mum. And then it starts getting deeper like what if I choose the wrong school or what if I discipline too harshly or lightly. It all sounds crazy to me while I'm writing it on a nice sunny Sunday but I guess that's mental health for you! And I can't help but feel guilty because DH doesn't have these worries, he's so certain we're going to be great parents and that we'll have happy children. And I know he will be so supportive through it all, as he always has been when I've gone through periods of struggling! It's just hard to shake those darker thoughts.
Sorry this has been such a ramble. All these thoughts have been spinning round and it's the first time I've let them all out at once.
I don't think your life would have to change as drastically as what you might think, the first few months are a but crazy and you don't get as much sleep but when you get past that its easier. I still go out with my friends, work out ds just comes to classes with me sometimes, ds goes to bed and we watch all the stuff we like and chill out, I make time to keep my house looking nice because I get stressed when its messy I found babies are not messy since you take care of them if you clean up behind yourself then its not bad, ds is 4 and knows to bring dishes to the sink, clothes to the basket and helps bring his toys back to his room at night ive always got him to do it so its second nature.
People make it sound like having kids means no time and a messy house and I know some people do live like that, I couldn't so I put effort into doing things my way you are already doing that by the sounds of things.
You do need to do what's right for you but please don't let horror stories scare you if it's what you do want if kids were so horrendous no one would have one never mind more.
I've experienced this from the perspective of the partner of someone with mental health issues. My DH suffers with depression and anxiety and I have to accept that this is just a part of him. It has meant that he wasn't ready for children when I was. The waiting for him was difficult, as my friends were having babies and he wasn't certain that he would ever be ready. It is important for both of you to want to get pregnant. You might get pregnant really quickly and have to adjust suddenly or it might take a while, which is also hard.
I'm still pregnant, so can't give any advice on coping after the baby arrives, but we are viewing it as an exciting adventure into the unknown! The baby will have a blend of both personalities, plus other unguessable traits, so hopefully won't have all the same issues you felt in childhood. And the parenting won't fall exclusively on you - your DP, extended family and friends will all want to help.
I had PTSD, Anxiety and depression before having DS1. For me mental health issues improved significantly after I had DS1. The first year was tough (and I was alone/no partner) but after that I felt happier than I ever felt. I think I look after him better than I ever looked after me! Which in turn made me better at looking after myself. I was very determined to be a good mother too.
Having children made me feel more relaxed about the world in general. Also gave me a reason to carry on most days.
Also I agree that with other posters, having kids doesn't mean you give things up. For me life just got more rich and nuanced after having children. After having DS1 I went back to uni graduated with a 1st (something I never thought I would do), got more organised, made better friends, got career sorted, fell in love with my current long term DP and now pregnant with DS2. I feel having children gave me more focus too.
Of course I am tired sometimes, and never 100% free of my own struggles but I would never go back to it just being me, dealing with my own issues trapped in my own head. Children bought me out into the world!
Obviously this is just my experience and this is only a decision you can make for yourself.
Good luck with your decisions xxx
Dear Jesse, I read your post and it could have been written by me. Like you I struggled at school with mental health, it is possible that I had some form of autism, and I was nearly sent to a special school.
Now I am 34 I am happily married with a home and a decent job. A normal life, but things no one thought I would ever achieve. I am still not right however and sometimes still struggle to cope with every day frustrations of life. I get anxiety rather than depression, and have extremely negative beliefs about myself stemming from childhood.
Like you it was my husband who really wanted children, and like you I love him so much I want to give them him. Plus my parents, who have no other grandchildren. Having found love I am happy and finally feel safe, but I know that having a child would mean I will be anxious for the rest of my life.
It took a while for me to really want this - but he put no pressure on me - and here I am 13 weeks pregnant. I have times of doubt, but I know this is what I want and we will make this work.
Other posters have told you that your self-awareness will be an advantage bringing up a child as it will allow you to spot problems and to understand how your child is feeling. That is exactly what people in RL have told me.
May I ask how old you are? That may have a bearing on how long you feel you can wait. I understand about your husband's parents, it's the same for us with both sets of parents in their 60s, with one grandad with a bad back and another who struggles to walk. Even that makes me feel negative and angry that our child won't have the perfect experience.
I understand your fears that you will struggle to look after your child as a result of your own MH. An ex of mine once told me that, which made me even more reluctant to have a child.
If you need any support from someone feeling the same things, just let me know
Oh and SickRose I have all those worries you described too! But like Solasum said, breaking it down into chunks really helps. Even taking one or two days at a time has helped me during my pregnancy.
I like the positive outlook from Lumpish , hopefully it could be the same for us, taking us out of our own heads to focus on our child, whilst encouraging us to stay strong so we can be strong for them.
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