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This topic is for personal experiences or dilemmas; to debate the ethics of termination, please go here or here.

Nearly 40 and don't know if I want another DC (long, sorry)

(10 Posts)
NanetteNewname Mon 09-Nov-15 09:20:59

(Name changed for this - yep, I'm a coward.) DD is 4 and I've been a SAHM all that time, as we travelled for DH's job. A few times we considered trying for DC2, but each time I realised that I was relieved when there was only 1 pink line on the test strip.

I think I panicked about being about to turn 40 this year. I don't feel broody at all - never have, no idea what that bodily yearning for a child feels like, and I've always had zero maternal instinct, although I love DD. I guess I thought that it was selfish of me to deny DD a sibling, what would happen when DH and I were old, etc etc. DH and I agreed to stop trying not to have a kid and see what happened.

I found out a couple of days ago that I'm pregnant and have felt either panicked or depressed ever since. (I'm frequently useless at knowing what I want anyway, but that's another thread.) After DD was born I felt terrible for ages. We'd moved and I had almost no support, but I kept feeling that I'd made a mistake, that I shouldn't have become a mother, that I was no good at it, that I wasn't sure I loved her. That mostly went after about 18 months, though I still have days where I wonder what I'm doing, and I know I'm not the mother I would want her to have.

I had periods of depression pre-DD, and last week, before this result, I'd been thinking about trying to see a therapist again. Financially that's just not possible if we have another child. We're also highly unlikely to be able to afford to give two kids a decent life - DH's family live abroad and it would be even more expensive to visit them with another person, plus just things like uni fees, school trips, etc.

I'd also been enjoying having some time and mental space to myself again - I'm terrified at the idea of losing myself again, the isolation (we have no family nearby, and I can't bear the idea of the endless round of baby groups again), the loss of bodily boundaries. I know I should have realised all this before I tried to get pregnant, I'm stupid. I understand anyone who wants to tell me that I made my bed and I should lie in it. But when I read these threads there are always posters who say 'I didn't want another but it was OK in the end'. What if you feel like you're already a barely passable mother to your current DC? I don't think I could cope with another.

Sorry, this has turned into a brain dump. Is there anyone who considered or had a termination when it was likely to be their last chance to give DC a sibling?

NanetteNewname Mon 09-Nov-15 15:52:35

Does anyone have any advice?

ovenchips Mon 09-Nov-15 16:05:15

OP I'm sorry you've found yourself unexpectedly pregnant. I read your post and you have given a fairly comprehensive list of 'cons'.

Ultimately no one can make that decision for you - it has to be yours. But the option is there for women to choose if, for whatever reason, (and these are individual to the woman) they do not want to have a child.

Best of luck with whatever you decide. flowers

Onsera3 Mon 09-Nov-15 16:12:00

Maybe you had a bit of postnatal depression with DD? You could probably have some strategies set up in case that happens again. I'm no expert in this area as didn't suffer after birth of DS.

I think how you feel is different each time. After DS was born I felt fine. I had a hard time physically with pelvic floor issues and breastfeeding. I barely left the house for months and it was snowy and cold. But I didn't feel depressed. It felt cosy.

But after birth of my new DD I have felt pretty low and crap. I find using the same CBT strategies and general coping mechanisms that used to get me through regular depression have helped me from slipping into full blown PND.

I don't think you can accurately predict how you will feel after birth. You can get a totally different type of baby and find them much easier/harder to care for.

Also I understand what you're saying about providing things. We have had a similar discussion about which country to live in. DH feels all those things you list mean we should stay in UK. But I feel that moving abroad we will provide less but still give our DC a 'decent' life and provide them with other benefits.

Personally, I'd feel the same way about giving my child a sibling. To the point I was going to adopt if couldn't get pregnant a second time. My siblings are so important to me.

Sorry no real expert advice or personal experience. But I assume whomever you contact when you don't want to go through with a pregnancy is probably quite skilled at offering counselling on this matter to help you decide.

What does your DH think?

Laura280486 Mon 09-Nov-15 16:16:01


I think you need to tell your other half how you feel.
I've been in this situation and it was the worst time ever. It's ultimately your decision, it's your body. Everyone's circumstances are different but from what you're saying, it's a lot of how I felt also.

If you need to talk then pm me. Best of luck either way xx

timelytess Mon 09-Nov-15 16:21:45

Does anyone have any advice
Get some counselling - good to see you're chasing up your therapist. Some counselling specifically re termination and its possible after effects (or lack of, to be fair)from people who know, and some for yourself generally.
If you decide to go ahead with the pregnancy, plan now for afterwards. Get your counsellor in place, and set up the practical support you're going to need. You might have to pay for it, but your need is great. Give yourself the best chance possible of avoiding greater distress.
You can make plans re uni fees etc later.
You question your suitability and skills as a mother. 'Good enough' is fine. Is your DD fed, clean, entertained? Do you care what happens to her? That's ok then.

Thurlow Mon 09-Nov-15 16:26:39

It's ok to feel that you're not ready, it really is.

Your OP to me reads that you thought maybe it would be the right thing to do to have a sibling for your DD, but you didn't really think about what it would be like to be pregnant again, to have another baby again. Which is understandable - when that little idea hits, you don't always think everything through in a rational way.

You're not stupid, and you've not made a bed that you have to lie in.

In my experience, having been in a somewhat similar position, your gut feeling will tell you an awful lot. The immediate reaction when you see that line on the test is often a very honest reaction.

No one can tell you what to do - though I know life would seem so much easier if someone could! - but know that whatever decision you make will be the right decision, and you don't need to justify it to anyone.

Keep talking to your DH and take some time to think through the realities of going through with this pregnancy and not going through with it. If you have just tested positive, you have time. Imagine life in a year's time, three years time if you continue with the pregnancy; and then if you don't.

Good luck.

NanetteNewname Mon 09-Nov-15 20:46:44

Thanks so much for all your replies, it's really helpful to get other people's perspectives, and just to hear people say that I'm not a selfish monster for considering this. I have spoken with DH about it and he's told me that whatever is best for me is the most important thing in this, but that of course it has to be my decision.

I don't have a counsellor or therapist at the moment - last time I saw someone was over 6 years ago and I lived in another city then. If I did go ahead with the pregnancy then I doubt I'd be able to afford to see anyone privately, and I know the NHS is massively overstretched so I'd be wary of relying on that. I have made an appointment with the local sexual health people to see about a referral for a termination, and they offer the chance to speak to someone before going through with it.

Thurlow, I didn't really feel any emotions when I saw the test result, but I did start trembling really hard and getting short of breath. Like I said before, I'm useless at knowing what I want or being in touch with my feelings at the best of times (trying to meditate is always a massive failure!) but all I seem to be feeling at the moment is 'nononononono'. I don't feel any yearning when I see small babies or toddlers (never have) and the idea of a sibling for DD is very abstract - not something I feel strongly I need to do, more 'well, this is what everyone on MN seems to think parents of onlies should do, so maybe it is selfish of me not to give her company/help for when we're old and decrepit'.

ovenchips Mon 09-Nov-15 23:10:48

Ach, it feels selfish to have an only. It feels like you need to cut yourself in half to share yourself if you have two. That feeling intensifies if you have more than two. So stop beating yourself up about thatsmile

The perfect sized family is completely individual. I think it's also important to know your own limits and listen to your instincts on that matter. Good to hear your DH saying just what you'd want him to. Hope you find your appt helpful.

AKAmyself Tue 17-Nov-15 20:39:52

Op, I have been in your shoes. It is terrifying to be pregnant and not sure whether you want to be... Especially when you're a mother already. It doesn't make you a bad person and you do have choices - talk to your partner. Try to get counselling. Be kind to yourself.

If you need more specific advice - there's lots of really helpful ladies on here to support you

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