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How do I tell my OH I don't want children?

(117 Posts)
lollydollydrop Fri 10-May-13 14:51:31

Hi all,

I am looking for some advice from others and especially those who have experienced similar to me as I am curious as to the outcome.

Basically, me and OH are just turning 28, been together 4 years and living together 2.5, friends since we met at Uni aged 18. I got pregnant 4 months into our relationship, and ended up having an early abortion as everything was wrong at the time- new relationship, living 200 miles apart at the time at other ends of country, but more importantly I was struggling with bulimia after recovering from anorexia some 4 years previous. The termination was the worst time of my life- and the 1.5 years after that when I became quite depressed and obsessed with baby names..I became very broody perverse enough, and always thought that one day, when the timing was just right we would have a family.

However, fast forward to today, I have a 2 year old nephew and 5 year old niece who I adore, but I do not think I want my own anymore. I just keep thinking about the lifestyle change and what my life would be like either way, and I see more negatives of having children than I do positives? I see myself happier without- I think. In part its to do with wanting to have freedom to do my own thing and earn my own money, I have never been very independant and struggled for money with low paid jobs, but I am due to graduate with a masters in December and I want a new life for myself. One where I can afford to treat myself to a nice moisturizer or theatre ticket when I want/need it, instead of waiting for a birthday to come round or my OH to treat me. I want a career. And I dont want to be an 'older' mum. I will be starting my career at 29 probably, and kids seem incompatible with that.

Also, with my history of eating disorders I cannot cope if I am unable to exercise. Atm I go to the gym 3 times a week, sometimes 4, sometimes 2 depending on uni deadlines. It kills me if I have 3 gym free days in a row- 2 is all I am comfortable with. Please dont tell me I need counselling- had that for 5.5 years with a consultant psychologist and I have reduced exercise from its worst at 5 hours a day, before and after every meal, to 3 times a week. I am ok with that.

But I want be ok at not doing that with children around.

I worked out that, to get my pre preg figure back I could exercize whilst new born was sleeping and should be back in shape within 12 months, but for the 2nd DC I would need the gap to be quite short so that the first will still be taking afternoon naps whilst I exercize in the lounge. See, its very important to me. But what happens when they are at school? They have to be up at 7am to get to school and me work- I cant go gym before then- and after work if I go to the gym by the time I'm home I will have missed out their evening meal and they will be in bed! Plus my relationship will suffer.

I am focusing on the exercise and weight as its so important to me and I cant change. I have had to miss the gym for numerous days lately and its made me wonder how I would cope with kids. I dont know if I could

Has anyone had experience of a. telling your oh you dont actually want children (oh really really wants them) and how did he react? and b. how on earth do you fit formal exercise into a daily routine with children? When I think about the future, all I can see is me being utterly miserable and trapped (oh, and fat to boot). Exercise helps with my mood, and I use it instead of anti-deps. Also with my weight as I now tend to overeat, especially when emotional or stressed.

Realise this is completely selfish and prepared for abuse, also not gone into much detail about OH which I will later, for now I have to shoot but thanks for listening xx

Partridge Fri 10-May-13 21:04:45

Not having children is an absolutely valid choice. However as others have touched upon it seems that exercise addiction has replaced the ed. I say this as someone who has been in residential treatment for an ed.

It is absolutely clouding your judgement on the children issue. I have lived with the fear surrounding addiction/control and it has ruined careers and relationships. I have put my life on hold because of my ed in the past. I am so relieved that I have a wonderful family now and it didn't destroy all my opportunities (although I live with it every day).

I hope you make the right decision eventually before you no longer have the choice and that you can make it free from the tyranny of addiction.

thecook Fri 10-May-13 21:08:20

Hi love

I am 42 and don‘t have kids. Never ever wanted them.

But as a poster said above, your reasons don‘t seem valid to me. I never justified it. If anybody asks (and boy do people ask). I just say I aren't interested. But I love kids. Other peoples that is grin

Theyoniwayisnorthwards Fri 10-May-13 21:20:55

OP at 28 you are over thinking this. Focus on your health and addressing your ED. You are worrying about hypothetical problems raising hypothetical children.

The thing with having children is that it is unpredictable, you don't know what kind of mum you'd be or what kind of family you'd have until you do it and every child is different.

After DS1 I got fat and couldn't get much of anything done. After DS2, now 6 months old, I am out running every second evening and am shedding weight quickly.

You don't have to make this decision right now. If your OH wants to discuss it make it clear you aren't ready.

lovelyredwine Fri 10-May-13 21:23:53

It's up to you whether you have children. I am no help with how to tell oh that you may not want them as only you know him well enough to know how to approach things.

I can, however, share my mil's story. She also suffered/suffers from anorexia- was hospitalised at 18. She didn't have periods for so long they said she was infertile. She had fertility treatment and went on to have 3 kids. She is still very slim and toned (size 6-8) at 66. She has always worked full time, and ended up as a single mum when her oldest was 6. She keeps slim and fit by walking- she has 2 dogs and takes them out twice a day for at least 45 minutes! And often over an hour. These walks tend to be a route march so keep her in great shape. When the kids were older and could be left/ were at swimming club/ gymnastics etc she did keep fit classes several evenings a week. She also cycled whenever she could.

In other words, it's doable, but may be easier if you change the sort of exercise you do. You can also buy running buggies and/or strap a baby to your front in a sling whilst walking everywhere.

Ultimately though, there is no rule that you MUST have children. Just don't rule it out because it may be hard to get to the gym. Think of all the options before deciding.

joanofarchitrave Fri 10-May-13 21:36:02

Congratulations on your academic success. How do you tell him? Quickly. If he wants children he needs to know what you are thinking. And you will probably have to tell him quite often - it took me three years to work out that my first husband really meant it when he said he didn't want kids.

ElizaDoLots Fri 10-May-13 21:38:20

I don't think the problem would be combining children with exercise (I think you could manage that with one child) but more about the factors that have caused the anorexia in the first place as these tend to become greatly magnified after childbirth for most women.

gettingeasiernow Fri 10-May-13 21:41:52

It is of course absolutely fine not to want children.
But the reasons you quote for not wanting them don't seem good. I second the post higher up that says you are not over the ED. If you are reasonably happy and functioning, then congratulations and feel proud of yourself for coming this far, it's a great accomplishment. But you sound as if you are willing to sacrifice motherhood for the sake of hanging on to the remnants of the ED. You can aim to make all the pieces of the jigsaw fit if you want to. You are still young enough to have a career, a good salary, and children, if the only thing that jeopardises those multiple aims is a fear of loss of control over body shape/exercising.
But you don't have to, and you don't have to decide yet either, for now you just need to be honest with dp and maybe have some searching discussions about your fear of not exercising and whether you choose to work on that? Good luck.

GettingStrong Fri 10-May-13 21:56:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Viviennemary Fri 10-May-13 22:01:52

You are absolutely entitled not to want children if that is what you have decided. But it is best to be absolutely honest in a serious relationship if your partner wants children. Otherwise it is terribly selfsih and unfair on the other person.

eccentrica Fri 10-May-13 22:29:02

I was suffering from anorexia and bulimia and had a BMI of 16 when I got pregnant unexpectedly (age 29) in 2009. For the first few weeks I was still making myself sick and struggling with the realisation that I was gaining weight. Around 7 weeks I realised that I had to make a choice, either end the obsession with food/weight or have a termination. They are not compatible. you recognised this yourself.

In my case, I decided to continue the pregnancy and my relationship with food has improved beyond belief. I have not made myself sick once since then. I am now a healthy size 12+ with a BMI of 22, and have just got pregnant a second time.

I have to tell you that the way you are thinking about this, like trying to plan what time you can exercise once you've had two children (!!) when you haven't even got pregnant with the first yet, shows that your obsession with your weight and your body is totally out of proportion. There are SO many other things to consider, it's so much bigger and more important than that, and although you gesture to other issues, by the end of your OP it's clear that really it's the stuff about your body which you are obsessed by.

Unlike the people saying "you can exercise and have children", I am telling you that having a child is not compatible with having an eating disorder. Because it's not right to be so obsessed with something else, it is simply impossible to give your children the attention they need if you're constantly beating yourself up about not having exercised or about having eaten a biscuit six hours ago.

You are still young (although the people saying it's fine to wait until you're late 30s before starting to think of conceiving are out of step with biological reality) and I seriously think you need to address your obsession with exercise before you consider getting pregnant.

lollydollydrop Sat 11-May-13 01:04:02

Thank you everyone for your helpful replies- and so quick too! Sorry I didnt mean to disappear, and I appreciate the opinions/advice. I will attempt to fill in the blanks as my original post was a bit rushed and so maybe comes across as a little immature and somewhat incomplete. Many of you made comments which hit the nail on the head.

It would probably help to know more about what has happened in the past, to understand the present and maybe future.

* The early termination* was such an awful, difficult time, and by no means an easy decision- I actually changed my mind and came away from the clinic when I was booked in for it, I couldn't go through will it. It felt amazing driving away with OH thinking that we had 'escaped' and were going to have a happy ending after all. Then I was sick in the car (I had TERRIBLE 'morning' sickness) and the gravity/reality of the situation hit me. I ended up back in the clinic a few days later when I realised that the reason I walked out first time wasnt really because I wanted a child, it was just because I didnt want to have to go through the procedure. My family (well, my mother) made it clear that they thought the idea of me having a baby was ridiculous. My mum was positively furious at me for getting pregnant- but I was 24!!!!!! It was a conversation/argument with her after the first visit to the clinic that prompted me to return- she made me feel like children would be a big mistake for me at the time, told me how hard it is etc etc and I just felt that i wasn't strong enough to go through it without her support. My OH's family bit their tongue as they are very polite, but I was completely embarrassed and mortified at a family dinner when I realised OH had told them all. His sister had a then 1.5year old daughter, and they let me and OH take her out in her pram to 'see what it was like'. At that time, it was scary!

So I ended up having the termination at 7 weeks, and it took me a looong time to get over it- I actually barely saw my mum afterwards because part of me felt angry at her, and my OH has always 'blamed' her for my changing my mind and going back to the clinic. True be told, it took me one and a half years to properly forgive her and become close to her again. Rightly or wrongly. The termination messed me up a bit, and I actually ended up going to a medium for a psychic reading and tarot reading a year later- half way through she asked me 'Did you have a mis-carriage or a termination at about 7-9 weeks? Because I can see a baby girl here, she's fine and your grandparents are looking after her'. Whether anyone else believes or not, this gave me some comfort. I also swore that I would never EVER go through a termination again, but this meant that I would only get pregnant when I was absolutely sure it was right and the right time. Our families reactions werent how I envisioned them. I felt ashamed. I want it to be such a joyous occasion, I want everyone to be crying with happiness!!! I feel like I would rather wait a bit 'too long' so that when it happens, both us and everyone we hold dear with also be longing for it to happen. I cant tell you how awful it is to tell your mum you are pregnant and to have the reaction I had. She said some truly awful things to me. I have forgotten them now but my OH said something about threatening to dis-own me (one time when she phoned me and was ranting about it, I put her on loud speaker so my OH could hear her horrible attitude and why I was sobbing my heart out). I think I have since discovered why my mum acted in this way- I was an unplanned pregnant. She had me when she was 31, but actually, she had decided she didnt want children, and I was an accident. 9 months later she got pregnant again, and then after her 2nd DC got pregnant a final time- but ended it with an abortion herself. I asked her a few weeks ago whether she regretted having children, or something along those lines, as I was trying to understand the pro's and con's, and she said 'Well, it wouldn't have ruined my life if I didnt have them'. I think I have taken that to mean she wouldn't have me if she had her time again. That makes me very sad.

Anyway, I vowed after my termination to do everything right for next time- if there was one- and also it sounds corny but I wanted to better myself (not referring to my ED specifically) out of respect for the memory of my unborn DC. Otherwise, I may aswell have had her. I need to make the life for the child i do have better than the life I would have been able to provide 4 years ago. If that makes sense.

Passing on ED to DC/My relationship with food To be honest I understand the concerns, but insinuations of passing on eating problems to a child anger me, as I am so so good with what I eat and extremely proud of myself. I would be able to set an excellent example for any children. I am an unfussy eater, and will try anything. I eat balanced, home cooked meals and ensure that I always eat three square meals a day, I never skip breakfast and am flexible in what I eat, I don't count calories or measure anything, I have snacks in-between meals if I am hungry, indulge my sweet tooth with a pudding if I fancy, organise packed lunches, treat myself at the weekend and dont feel guilty, join in with a bacon and egg sarnie just because its a lazy saturday morning and generally enjoy food, life and the 80:20 rule. I am more worried about my OH passing on unhealthy food habits- he Never ever eats breakfast (unless it bacon sandwiches at the weekend), and he is extremely faddy with food- for example he doesnt like eating anything the colour green, certain foods cant touch on the plate, other foods have to be all mashed up together (like mash and beans), jacket potatoes have to be sliced a certain way else he freaks out and he eats very very few fruit and vegetables, also not a very varied diet generally he would happily eat chicken/bacon/sweetcorn/cheese for every meal, if not the rest of his life!!! When he is difficult at the dinner table I do get annoyed, especially given my history as I think we should support each other to eat well, but also I am furious if he thinks he could carry on like that- as if kids arent fussy enough!!!!! I used to check the calorie content of everything, record it, restrict calories, ensure calories burned were more than calories consumed, never finished a meal vs bought food for binges, only bought diet food, purged etc etc. None of that now, you would never know I had any problem with food. I love food. My only issue with food arises when I am stressed out doing uni work at my desk, I do tend to get hungry and reach for the sweet/carby things. I also have a love/hate relationship with Christmas as it can feel like a free rein to binge- but i know this is a difficult time for many sufferers and recovered, and tend not to buy all the extra Christmassy food for our house- theres only two of us and I would prob end up eating it all, I have a bigger appetite than my OH. I just save all the nut and choc tins for my mums!

I would hope that I could pass on the importance of being fit, healthy and active to my kids, as too many children live sedentary life styles so I would encourage participation in sports with friends, swimming and bike rides with the family etc. Hopefully they will see their mum as being active and able to kick a ball round with them, and see the benefits for themselves (compared to my OH, who has never been in a gym and had one personal training session in a park last year and was sick into a bush). I am acutely aware of the possibility of passing on issues though- and especially to a daughter so that IS something that I would work on. I feel that every year that passes I have changed a lot and made great progress, I am happy with where I am at and do not feel the need to change or reduce exercising. I think 3 times a week is reasonable. I used to do quadruple what I do now!!

Omg I am tired and in bed OH just turned up g2g!!!xxx

Partridge Sat 11-May-13 06:36:13

The termination stuff is tough for you and I think it is admirable that you are thinking so carefully about not making a similar mistake.

However I'm afraid the denial, anger and control are palpable in the rest if your post. The amount of energy you are putting into justifying the ed/ exercise addiction is totally disproportionate. As is your outrage that people think it is an issue.

I was in various group therapy for years with people who sounded exactly like you in the grip of addiction.

I am sorry that isn't what you want to hear but I really think you need to not think about kids til you have sorted this out. You simply won't have the emotional space for very demanding little children if you are so in the grip of the other stuff. hmm

50shadesofmeh Sat 11-May-13 07:06:40

Nothing wrong at all with not wanting kids, but sounds like you do want them but feel that you can't because of your eating disorder.
Career and body image are all things women having children worry about, but your decision making sounds like its clouded by the desire to exercise etc.
I've had 3 kids and had an eating disorder in my teens, I used to worry constantly about how I would lose my baby weight but once I had my kids it didn't seem to matter , I still find time to exercise and eat well and I'd be lying if l said my body was the same but it just isn't on my radar as much as it used to be.

50shadesofmeh Sat 11-May-13 07:07:46

I agree sort the exercise problem out before kids also .

50shadesofmeh Sat 11-May-13 07:10:10

I'm sorry to hear your family were so judgemental about your pregnancy sad

eccentrica Sat 11-May-13 08:36:19

Sorry but planning the age gap between two future children so you can get in exercise around nap times is not healthy,rational or proportionate.

Anything could happen. You could have a child with additional needs, making them sedentary, you could have twins, you could have fertility issues, or on bed rest for weeks, you could end up a single mum, there are literally thousands of more important issues than when you will exercise.

Advising you how you could incorporate exercise into your future imagined routine is enabling your obsession.

Before i had my daughter I too was obsessed with my body and weight. Now I really am not very interested- I'd say it's about number 50 in my list of stuff I think about.

Until you are prepared to get it in proportion, you are not psychologically in a position to have kids.

EHoneybadger Sat 11-May-13 10:27:32

I am getting mixed messages from your postings. There seems to be a bit if you that would love to be a mum but it sounds like you are scared if getting it wrong.

Please excuse me if I have got that wrong. There is nothing wrong with not wanting children and they definitely do change your life forever and are bloody hard work but they are so worth it.

For what it's worth I think it sounds like you would be a fab mum if you decided that was what you wanted. You are over thinking though and stressing yourself out.

I definitely think you need to have an honest conversation with your OH though to at least make him aware there is a possibility you will never feel ready to have children.

Hope it all works out for you. x

lollydollydrop Sat 11-May-13 11:18:32

Thank you for the nice message, I realise my second post was somewhat contradictory- and cut off half way through! I sort if wanted to lead up to the present day and paint a picture.

I think I know I would be a great mum; I am creative, fun, caring, and insightful, and when we go to visit my niece and nephew, it's me they run straight to with outstretched arms squealing, not their blood uncle! I am fair with them, can diffuse conflict, challenge their learning, encourage imaginative and creative play and have took it upon myself to the their champion of literacy and as such buy them endless books smile I've wiped their bums, bathed them and had the privilege of being 'chosen' to do bed-time and tuck them in. I love being an Auntie. And I have always wanted to be a mum.

However, what got me thinking about whether or not I want this to happen wasn't actually anything to do with exercize, not really. That was definately my concern when I posted my message, and so clearly came across, but I have more general concerns I wish to air.

I feel like, in the past 6 months or so, parenthood has gotten a bad press. In particular, I seem to have read lots of new stories lately suggesting that being a mother isnt all its cracked up to be, many regret it, etc etc. The comments on these stories tend to rein-force that view point, and I am wondering how much I have romanticized motherhood from childhood days of playing 'mum' with dolls, my fantasies etc, and how different this is from the reality.

Of course, I am not stupid, and dont have rose tinted specs when it comes to this issue- I know from my niece and nephew how utterly relentless and shattering it is. I come away from a day with them completely worn out! And thats just a day! And we are both so grateful for a nice lay in the next day! So whilst I love them, I am not jealous of my SIL and although some visits make me more broody, mostly I am just so grateful for my life at the moment. It does also make me wonder though about having them older, as I imagine you get a whole lot more tired?! Also, I have witnessed what having children has done to their relationship.. by no means am I saying it is worse it is probably stronger, however little things that we (my OH and I) take for granted are brought into sharp focus when we spend time with his family. For example, my SIL and BIL get excited when they get to go to Asda just the two of them as MIL is looking after the kids..say it feels like a 'date'(!). And when I was on buggy duty when their first born was smaller, they walked hand in hand sighing saying that it was lovely to have the chance of holding hands together, as they rarely got to do that anymore. I remember being slightly shocked and a bit sad for them. But I suppose this is reality?

So back to the point about the media portrayl of motherhood. Not even that actually, its mothers themselves saying that either its bloody hard work, or to the worst extreme they wish they hadnt had kids. This admission got me on the search for forums/discussions etc online regarding the topic, as I sought out views from people who either had children and regretted it, or conversely did not have children and regretted it. I sought to understand which decision would be hardest to live with, should I make the 'wrong' choice.

I was taken aback by the strength and volume of opinions on the subject- but particularly the number of women who expressed regret at having children. I do admire their honesty (though never to their children) and think women should be more honest with each other on the topic. I do think that some women are not completely honest with themselves and harbouring secret regrets, although of course I appreciate that others (in fact, most I imagine) truely view motherhood as the best thing to have happened to them, they wouldn't change it for the world, the love for their little one is like nothing else etc etc and all the other cliches that are re-gurgitated. I sought a little more honesty than that. Or perhaps, a little more of a balanced viewpoint! Highs and lows. I know it is extremely taboo to ever say that you regret your children (or even think it) and I think if any child, or adult for that matter, thought that their parents felt this way... well, the damage doesnt bear thinking about. However, conversations between women need to be more honest about the possibility of this regret. And also the impact upon your relationship. I read one survey whereby it was found that the majority (if not all, I dont remember the figures) of married couples dip in happiness/life satisfaction levels after their first born arrives, with happiness levels only recovering once they leave home! I know there are massive highs associated with children, but there are also an awful lot of shitty bits (no pun intended there), and it was suggested that overall people's well-being actually suffers from having children, on average, etc etc with caveats.

As I get older, I also become more cynical pragmatic and I think that you should only bring children into the world if they are going to contribute something to the world/society. I dont believe in breeding for the sake of breeding, we live in an over populated world whereby more human beings isn't necessary, it's actually pretty detrimental on environmental levels. So having many (I'm talking 16 and up kind of numbers) children in my controversial mind is actually quite irresponsible, regardless of whether you are living off the state or not. I admit I love that program, and imagine it would be a completely unique way of life having a massive family, but it is a little on the indulgent side. Controversial. When having a conversation with my SIL about having/not having children I let her know that my OH's best friend and partner do not want any children (neither have for years) and she said 'I cant understand that, isn't it natural to want to pass your genes on etc'. I think this line of reasoning for having a child is utterly ridiculous!!! I understand somewhat the logic (I am a Psychologist) but really, the world will not die out of humans just because you decided to re-frain from producing!

Which brings me to another point.. It seems in my research that actually, the decision to not have children is becoming more and more popular. I am not referring to infertility here, which is absolutely horrific for anyone to go through and I feel for them- but the conscious decision. I wonder whether its becoming a more 'intelligent' decision to not have children.. I don't know.

All this leads me to believe that if/when I have children, I will raise them to be good and decent people who have a lot of love in their hearts, and are ambitious and bright. I do think that this world is in a crisis compared to when I was a child- and raising a child in this day and age is so different from then that it makes me a little uneasy- and what we need is more people who good upbringings who want to better it in some way. Else what is the point? This sounds completely awful- I had one shocking thought a couple of months ago whereby I mused 'Ok, so i could have a baby and raise him/her and provide for them, give them a good childhood, but then what's the point? Its fine to raise that child, but there should be a good 'outcome' at the end- they should have a 'point' to them'. I cannot believe I actually thought this. I must have been in a straaange mood that day!!!!

There was once a time when I didnt think I was physically capable of having children, I thought the anorexia had rendered me infertile as my periods disappeared for 3.5 years, even when I was recovered, eating well and a healthy weight. I became involved with a man 8 years my senior, who categorically did NOT want children, and resigned myself to the fact that I couldnt have them. In fact, I actually told myself I didnt want them, to help me cope with the situation. I felt saddened when, after a lovely post meal with the man in question, we wandered round a park on a summers day and there were children playing which made me coo and smile. His response was one of dry cynicism, such was his personality and sense of humour. Several weeks later the unimaginable happened and I got my period back. I still remember it to this day; I phoned my Dad when I was still on the loo in sobs of tears to tell him!! I got my period! It meant I didnt HAVE to be childless- now I had a choice! I ended the relationship with the man shortly after.

I could go on and on, but need to start revising for an exam next week, I am very much behind! This has been quite cathartic, although I do intend to respond to individual posts and suggestions! Jeez, now I realise how I have always been thousands of words over the limit in my essays this year... ramble ramble!!! ;)

lollydollydrop Sat 11-May-13 11:19:43

There are typos in my posts from my stupid key board keys, and my stupid brain. Sorry!

Spero Sat 11-May-13 11:28:01

All I can say is that having children, like everything else in life, is what you make it.

There are no guarantees, you might have a wonderful baby who sleeps through the night, you might end up with a seriously ill or disabled child who turns your life upside down.

You might regret it, you might not.

My mum says if she has her time again she wouldn't have children. That is not a nice thing to hear but who knows, had she gone down that route she wouldn't just be feeling a different set of frustrations and regrets.

I do think there is a lot of competitive martyrdom that goes on with parenting. You honestly don't have to lose yourself for five years or more, becoming a slave to every child's whim. Yes, you have to put them first when they need it, but this isn't incompatible with having a life and/or outside interests.

Every choice in life comes with its upsides and downsides. There is nothing that we take which doesn't have a price.

The danger with over thinking is you become paralysed with indecision and do nothing at all. Time moves on and then it does become too late for real.

All I can advise is that you are as honest as you can be with both yourself and your partner about what you both really want out of tis time on earth together.

ToothGah Sat 11-May-13 11:50:22

Just a thought.

When you're, say, 45 or 50 years old and someone asks you why you chose not to have children, what will you say to them? (People do ask, my friend is 51 and hasn't had children).

Because from what you've said here, you're putting your need to exercise directly in front of having children.

Will you feel differently by the time you're in your 50s? Will you look back and realise not having time to exercise simply wasn't a rational reason not to have children?

You may look back and think it was the right thing - that being able to exercise was so important to you that you made the right decision. But equally, you may well look back with regret at that decision.

I know you say you love food and you have no issues with it now, but it does sound like you've transferred those feelings you had about food to exercise (and I say that as someone who has experience of ED).

Of course, it is totally your choice whether to have kids or not. But your DP needs to be aware of that decision asap.

This struck a chord with me - like I say, I have experience of ED myself: Sorry but planning the age gap between two future children so you can get in exercise around nap times is not healthy,rational or proportionate.

lollydollydrop Sat 11-May-13 11:51:38

Hi Spero,

That is very true about being paralysed with indecision! I often get into this situation, I am a natural worrier, always have been, and a very analytical thinker and it has up-sides and down-sides. Mostly up I think. I have learnt to do things when they are right for ME, not for anyone else. e.g. My OH and I started our relationship living 200 miles apart, and he wanted and wanted me to move from my home town to be with him, he would not move to me, but I was happy where I was, and needed to test how I felt about the relationship first. I moved after 1.5 years, and it was the right time for us personally. We stayed in the SouthEast for almost 2 years and now we are back in the North for a year, before back in the South for 2, then back in the North to buy a house!!!

I also only learnt how to drive when I was 26. Living and working in Manchester City Centre, I never needed to drive. To keep my parents happy I tried once when I was 22, before I was mentally ready or wanted to. It failed. Catastrophically- panic attacks, the lot, and I HATED driving. Then I learnt when I felt the time was right, and loved it. I have done the same with University; I always knew I wanted to go back and do a Masters, but I was so frightened because it was during my degree that I became ill with anorexia in my 2nd year. I lost a relationship due to it (interestingly, my OH's best friend- the three of us were very close from the first night of Freshers and all through the 1st and 2nd year. My now OH fell in for me which I didnt realise at the time, but I fell in love with his best friend. I lost that relationship and my female best friend due to the illness). I also had to take a year out to get 'treatment' but when I returned to finish my 3rd year, all my old friends had graduated and I was now chronically bulimic. I hated final year and never wanted to go back. I worked for 4-5 years and became stronger mentally and physically stopped bad habits such as weighing myself/measuring my body. I also cut down on the gym drastically- but in my own time, when I was ready, at my own pace- to the point where I knew I could cope with the demands of a very intense masters course. I am very proud of where I am today and how far I have come, and rightly so. I am un-recognisable to what I once was, and completely happy with who I am. My diet is better now than it was even prior to developing an ED, and as for exercise, I have been a regular gym goer for 11 years (years before over-exercizing became an issue) so obviously that is a big part of me and I would never want to stop exercising, I'm just finding a healthy amount. For me personally, 3x a week is a healthy amount.

I am hoping that in a similar way I will 'know' when/if its the right time to have a baby and start a family, and not give in the peer pressure or family opinions. I can only hope that it wont be when its 'too late' for me, if I do decide thats what I want. And I think probably I will decide that. I would like to be persuaded to that view anyway

springykitsch Sat 11-May-13 12:03:04

Have you been to OA? Overeaters Anonymous. I'm sure you've heard of it (though don't know why it's called over eaters anonymous, as it's for anyone with an eating disorder, or anyone with a fucked up relationship with food).

I say this because it's clear you've had 5.5 years of therapy, because you know how to explore the minutiae of every situation! You could probably do with being in a group context where you are 1. with people who have the exact-same addiction (and therefore won't let you kid yourself) and 2. you will be addressing the addiction - starting with that you have it and admitting you are powerless over it ie it is out of control.

You justify eg your food (and your partner's food - in detail) and your exercising but I don't buy it: imo it looks like classic denial. Sorry if that gets your goat.

It may seem crass to say that it is no wonder you have tried to disappear when your mother didn't want you. She sounds pretty fucked up tbf. Anyway, I'm sure you've explored that to death in therapy - now it's time to address your addiction in an environment that doesn't give you acres of space but cracks on with the central issue. ie, OA

Of course you should tell your partner you don't want children. He has to make an informed choice and you can't hope it'll go away.

lollydollydrop Sat 11-May-13 12:05:16

Everyojne has focused on the exercise, but that isn't the only reason for not wanting children, which you will see if you read my post carefully enough.

It's also about the freedom more generally, and the lifestyle.

In my working life I have always struggled for money, for several reasons. Low paid part time job in the North, yet living in the city centre meant money was an issue. Then when I moved to the South, slightly better job, but the house we were renting completely ate up my salary. I think 80% of my salary went on rent and bills. It made me more ambitious to want a better paid job and be able to fend for myself. In the North, my Dad would help me out/bail my overdraft if I got into difficulties, and in the South I had to rely on OH to treat me. I dont want to rely on anyone else!!!! But he insisted we split the bills 50:50 despite him earning 20k more than me a year (don't start me on this point, I will fume!) which essentially meant I had no spare money and all our leisure money had to come from him. This is not healthy.

So now I hope to earn a better living for myself and my future, and possibly family. I would like to rely on myself for a change, and be able to pay my parents back. I never wanted for anything when I was a child. Now I havent had a foreign holiday for 4 years as I cant afford one, but really feel like I need one, I guess I didnt realise how lucky I was at the time, I thought a holiday a year was normal(?) but it isnt in my relationship, and I want it to be. I cant make it happen at the moment on my wage, and OH would rather go camping in the UK which I cant really stand. Having an interesting career I deserve instead of dead end admin jobs will fulfil me intellectually and financially enable me the things I feel I have missed. Re-fraining from having children is just an extension of this. Also two of our couple friends have elected not to have children, and I admit I fear both being jealous of them if we do have them, and not being able to join in with their lifestyle. Sorry if that is selfish and taboo.

BearsInMotion Sat 11-May-13 12:16:24

I know this will sound patronising BUT when I was your age I didn't want children. Never had. I have a career, am very independent, always earnt my own money and had no desire to have children. Also I'm disabled and although that wouldn't prevent children it would mean I wouldn't be able to live my life exactly as I wanted to. Met DP when I was 30, children were never discussed. When I was 35 I suddenly realised I did want a family, and I wanted one with DP. I had a good career, I could work it around my children. DC1 is currently having a nap and we are planning DC2!

So, yes, you should discuss your thoughts with your DP, but even from your own posts you haven't made up your mind. You sound very strong, it doesn't sound like you will be persuaded against your will, but you'll know when the time is right. But sound out with DP what he'd think if it didn't happen, let him know you're worried and why, it's unfair to do otherwise.

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