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Aged 41 with time running out - why can't I be sure I want/don't want to have a baby?

(56 Posts)
Tara68 Wed 30-Sep-09 17:31:19

Hi

I'm new here so apologies if I've posted in the wrong place or have lots of stupid questions. I just really need to try and rationalise how I feel and talk(hopefully) to woman who've experienced aomething similar.

I'm 41 - happily married 20 years and have a great (if pretty high pressure) job, nice big house in the country and a couple of holidays a year so no money, relationship worries or anything like that.

Since I was a teenager I've been certain I never wanted to be a mum. Now in the last few months I'm thinking about it 24/7. It's not that I've suddenly decided I must have a baby - it's just that I can't think about anything other than pregnancy and birth.
My husband has always supported my decision not to have children but equally would be delighted if I decided I did wan't one.

I feel like I'm going mad and I'm really scared that I'm only questioning this because of my age and the fact that the "choice" may not be there for any longer.

I'm a really logical person so I mentioned this to my GP when I was there on another matter - she went ballistic - said at 41 I shouldn't even be thinking about pregnancy, it was irresponsible, and people like me who put their careers and material possessions first then finally decided at a ridiculously late age they wanted a baby were a drain on the NHS. I'm fit and healthy (in fact fitter than I was at 31) - don't smoke and drink, have never been ill or hospitalised.

The other thing is I'm absolutely terrified at the prospect of giving birth and I know getting information is good but the more I find out the more frightened I am. I've always been afraid. When I was terrified at age 25 I thought I might get past that stage but I'm getting worst. I know it's pathetic but I just can't help it, I'm a grown woman sitting here typing and crying hysterically at the very thought of childbirth. It's so bad I would seriously consider paying someone to have a baby for me if I thought I could but that's not the real world.

I'm really sorry this is a long and pathetic post but I can't talk to anyone about it - I couldn't discuss it with my mum or childless sister and my close friends think I just need to "get a grip" and get on with it as "there's nothing to it" - I just need to talk to people who won't prejudge me and may be able to help.

Thanks

Tara

londonlottie Wed 30-Sep-09 17:53:37

Message withdrawn

lilysam Wed 30-Sep-09 17:56:52

Ignore the GP...my MIL had her 4th at 40 (30 years ago) and a friend of mine ahs just had her 4th at 40!

Good luck

Tambajam Wed 30-Sep-09 17:58:11

Your GP sounds like she has major issues of her own to contend with. Round these here parts (North London) a baby at 41 is extremely common place.

I think you need to spend some money and get yourself some counselling just to focus on this one issue. It may sound self-indulgent but I think it would money spent well. You need to have someone help you guide through all these thoughts and come out of the end of the process with some realizations.

spicemonster Wed 30-Sep-09 18:04:04

I agree with everything Tambajam has said.

But one more thing - get your FSH levels tested (go to a different GP). Basically this is a fairly good yardstick for testing your fertility. You really need to know now what you could be facing if you do decide to try for a baby. Or alternatively, the results could help make your mind up for you. Did for me! Good luck with whatever you decide.

HeadFairy Wed 30-Sep-09 18:13:08

I'd echo the others who say get a new GP, she's not there to judge you. She can dispassionately advice you of the risks, but she can't tell you you are wrong for wanting to even consider having a child at 41.

I'm 39 and pg with number 2. Pregnancy at this age isn't impossibly hard, I think I find it hard being the mother of a toddler and working full time, and possibly I could have coped better with those things when I was 25, but who knows? I don't have a time machine so I can't find out.

So far in this pregnancy everything's been absolutey fine. I've been classed as low risk all the way through.. I did have a nuchal scan at 12 weeks, which is routine over 35 here (plus I had bloods done too) and my Down's risk had gone up 60% in the 2 years since I had ds. Luckily I still got a 1:400 score, so I'm still considered low risk for Downs. I think if I'd come up higher I would have gone for an amnio, so it's worth considering how you'd feel if you discovered your baby had a chromosomal defect.

But that's way off in the future.... I can't tell you whether to have children or not, all I can do is tell you what it's like for me. Yes I don't have much time for myself, which is hard to accept when you've had almost 2 decades of nothing but. Yes I'm pretty tired most of the time, but for me it's worth it. DS is a dream, a cheeky, naughty mischevious little devil some times, but so lovely at others I'll never regret my decision.

And as for waiting so long, well I didn't meet dh until I was 34, but even if I'd met him sooner, I don't think I would have had my children sooner. I loved my 20s and early 30s. I had a ball, travelled loads, frittered away all my money, and now I have a whole load of life experiences behind me I really don't mind that I haven't been out for months, never have time for facials/manicures/shopping and no money for holidays and smart clothes. I've done that, been there and bought the teeshirt.

Portofino Wed 30-Sep-09 18:17:49

I used to feel like you - no strong urges either way. In fact when i was younger I kind of assumed that I would have a family at some point, but i never got really broody. When I got together with DH I was about 32 and he was 11 years older. Things were just coming together with my career and we finally had a lovely lifestyle - out a lot, 2 holidays a year and weekend trips, clothes etc. Due to DHs age I think I put the idea away.

When I was 35 and DH 46, I got PG by accident. We were totally shocked. Obviously having a baby changed our lives in lots of ways. Nights out became rare. We swapped city trips and exotic hols for 2 weeks in a mobile home near the sea - kids club and pool became the prime consideration rather than exciting nightlife. Your money is no longer your own.

DD however is the BEST thing that ever happened to me! I think DH would say the same. I have changed totally. I'm not bothered about material things in the same way. DD's excitement and enthusiasm for life makes up for not having the cash 100 times over. I DID find it very hard to adjust though.

I can't really offer any practical advice though. I realise that it could be harder for you to conceive now though certainly not impossible. Could you leave it in the hands of the Gods? Que sera sera?

sarah293 Wed 30-Sep-09 18:18:44

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spicemonster Wed 30-Sep-09 18:20:20

Oh sorry - meant to add that I had my first child at 42 and it was all fine. I'd have been furious with my GP if mine had said anything like that to me - mine wished me luck and was (and still is) very supportive.

HeadFairy Wed 30-Sep-09 18:38:35

forgot to say I can't comment on the birth thing as ds was born by planned cs as he was breech. I kind of secretly prayed for it at the time, but I can echo what Riven said... come 38...39...40....41 weeks you don't care any more just want it out! I'm already getting there at 27 weeks, even though I haven't delivered a baby myself yet, I'm much less worried about that part. If I'm lucky it'll be 12-24 hours of pain which sounds a lot when you don't have children, but when you know that the real challenges start afterwards then that's a mere blip in time. The weeks of bfing endlessly, getting no sleep, worrying about absolutely every sniffle and checking the temperature of your baby's room 300 times a night are much harder work.

I'm not putting you off am I?

Portofino Wed 30-Sep-09 18:39:48

Riven grin - you're quite right about that!

Tara68 Wed 30-Sep-09 18:42:56

Londonlottie, Tambajam, Lilysam,Headfairy and spicemonster,riven and portofino - thanks' for not telling me to pull myself together and grow up - This is blowing my mind right now and I really do feel pathetic and whiny

Riven - yes I do tend to over analyze - I'm a project manager my profession and everything in my work (and my life to date) has been planned, organised and monitored to the nth degree and I'm in complete control of it - I can't handle not being in control of myself now.

Portofino - I have thought about ditching the pill and seeing what happens - I guess I would just have to handle it then but I need to be sure I could cope first.

I've ordered an FSH testing kit off the web - guess that'sa good starting point - I'm not ready to go back to my GP yet and ask to see someone else - it's a smallish rural practice and I'm worried I may then be branded as neurotic and no other GP would want to take me on

madmissy Wed 30-Sep-09 18:45:22

41 is that it!? go for it!
your gp is awful! ditch her!

good luck with whatever you choose!

IdrisTheDragon Wed 30-Sep-09 18:50:16

I have a friend who had her first child at 41 and second at 43 and all was fine smile.

And Riven is right - they do come out one way or another.

londonlottie Wed 30-Sep-09 18:53:12

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HeadFairy Wed 30-Sep-09 18:53:58

Tara, if you're a control freak, you may want to sit down and think how you'd feel when you are totally out of control of things. Babies are notoriously hard to control, forget everything the baby gurus tell you. You cannot schedule a baby. You have to think if that's going to be the hardest thing for you to deal with, how you'd cope, if at all. It freaked me out quite a bit in the early months, but I actually quite like embracing the chaos now. DS wanders around a bit feral, grubby and generally causing chaos, and I just bimble around the edges. There's a reason why most parents are late for everything, and usually covered in puke

Portofino Wed 30-Sep-09 19:10:23

Your organisational skills would be put to good use though! I have endless bits of paper from school re swimming lessons and parents evenings, training days etc. There are parties, dance class, Rainbows, DH travelling, my meetings etc. Everything has to be written in the BOOK, or I swear i would go mad! grin

Agree with HeadFairy though. If you're used to running your own busy life, babies can be one hell of a shock! I remember when dd was born getting in a big panic that i would never be able to DO anything ever again! The sheer weight of responsibility for this tiny thing hit me like a ten tonne block! No-one prepared me for that!

Of course, you adapt. wink It's bloody hard work to start with but gets much more fun later.

thaliablogs Wed 30-Sep-09 19:33:57

While I second everyone's POV that of course you are not too old, the stark fact is that you may be. And while your GP was horrifically out of order, there is a grain of truth in what she said. Your fertility will be lower than it has been at any previous point since puberty, and you simply don't have much time, so you need to get on with it if you do want to try to have children who are biologically related to you. If you don't mind about that, the donor egg option or adoption will remain possibilities for a while longer. The fact you are fit and healthy has no bearing on your fertility, although it will make a pregnancy lower risk and delivery easier.

The fear of labour is completely normal, btw, and can either be overcome or you can have a c-section if it turns out to be a real phobia. This should not be a reason not to have children.

I wish you luck with whatever you end up doing.

Liskey Wed 30-Sep-09 19:38:28

Hi Tara - You sound in a very similar postion to me as I tend to over analyse things too and tend to focus on the worries about children (and a sort of similar job).

I and DH did decide to try for children and I had a mmc at 34 and am now 25 weeks pregnant with our first baby.

I did talk to someone when I was first pregnant, as the responsibility hit home and when I'd talked everything through - She told me how happy I sounded - worried about the future sure but basically happy and I did have to agree with her. When I looked into the future I did want to have a child despite it also scaring me. Do try and speak to someone impartial - and Good Luck

Tara68 Wed 30-Sep-09 19:48:18

LondonLottie - I've done a bit of research into what kind of treatment etc I could get privately - happy to pay for it however I'm in Scotland and as far as I can find out there seems to be very little in the way of private services (I am part of a private healthcare scheme through work but they weren't much help even when I was willing to fund it). It would appear there isn't a single place in Scotland where you can give birth privately (I'm thinking in comparison to places like the Portland in London)

Headfairy/Portofino - that's one of my worries - I'm so used to controlling things I'm not sure how I would handle it. I've watched close friends struggle to cope and thought maybe they just needed to be more organised but I have a niggling doubt it's not that simple.

I also need to be sure it's not just another thing on my big life checklist - I always had an idea in my mind of what I wanted to have/achieve and I've pretty much got it/done them all. I just wonder if subconsiously it's just another box on my checklist.

I'm normally fairly reserved and play my cards close to my chest so nobody knows what I'm thinking or feeling - maybe that's also been a part of my problem. At least I know that I'm not bothering anyone here - if they aren't interested they don't have to read the post but it does feel better just to talk about it. (I think I'll quite though while I'm having a more rational moment

Tara68 Wed 30-Sep-09 19:49:12

LondonLottie - I've done a bit of research into what kind of treatment etc I could get privately - happy to pay for it however I'm in Scotland and as far as I can find out there seems to be very little in the way of private services (I am part of a private healthcare scheme through work but they weren't much help even when I was willing to fund it). It would appear there isn't a single place in Scotland where you can give birth privately (I'm thinking in comparison to places like the Portland in London)

Headfairy/Portofino - that's one of my worries - I'm so used to controlling things I'm not sure how I would handle it. I've watched close friends struggle to cope and thought maybe they just needed to be more organised but I have a niggling doubt it's not that simple.

I also need to be sure it's not just another thing on my big life checklist - I always had an idea in my mind of what I wanted to have/achieve and I've pretty much got it/done them all. I just wonder if subconsiously it's just another box on my checklist.

I'm normally fairly reserved and play my cards close to my chest so nobody knows what I'm thinking or feeling - maybe that's also been a part of my problem. At least I know that I'm not bothering anyone here - if they aren't interested they don't have to read the post but it does feel better just to talk about it. (I think I'll quit though while I'm having a more rational moment

sazlocks Wed 30-Sep-09 19:50:48

Hi Tara - well done for speaking out and getting this down on (virtual) paper. I agree with the others that suggest you change your GP. No matter where you live you have the right to change your practice or GP without giving a reason.
FWIW I am 37 and pregnant with my second DC and round these parts am regarded as somewhat of a spring chicken from a maternity point of view.
I share some personality and lifestyle traits with you but have to say that since having my DS I am a lot more chilled and accepting that to a degree there is little control I can have over the irrational ( and very adorable!) world of toddlerdom. I think that speaking to someone impartial may help. I analysed and over analysed about having children for a while but having done it I realise that much of that analysis was for little benefit. One thing I do know is that having children is incredibly grounding and really forces you to live in the moment.
So I am rambling now - you sound like you have a really supportive partner, good luck with whatever you decide to do.

sazlocks Wed 30-Sep-09 19:52:05

oh and one more thing I was a bit/lot freaked out by the whole birth thing so did a hypnobirthing course with my DH - it helped enormously.

HeadFairy Wed 30-Sep-09 19:55:22

Tara, the control thing is quite important I feel. Most of us cope with most things... but if you feel you couldnt' cope with something so unpredictable as a baby it's going to be very very hard.

Mind you, having said that, my sister is a total control freak, she's a journo, quite highly placed, works in live tv, super stressed environment and the uber control freak and she's survived 2 dds.. of course, her oldest dd's 4th birthday party had a running order she insisted on sticking to... I loved watching her try and tell 4 year olds they couldn't play another game of musical statues because it was 3.35pm and it was time for pass the parcel!

opinionatedmother Wed 30-Sep-09 20:18:37

you have been thinking about this non-stop? if you didn't want a baby, i don't think you would be doing that.

time to leap before you look, methinks.

I agree your GP showed the sensitivity yu expect from her profession (ie, bugger all!)

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