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I don't think I want another baby. But I feel so guilty about my DD

(61 Posts)
DuchessOfWeaseltown Wed 24-Jun-15 22:01:05

There are many extremely good reasons for us not to try and have another baby.

We would struggle to afford it right now (though that might change in the future).

DH has a disability which he in particular is desperately keen to NOT pass on to a future child; our DD hasn't inherited the disability, it appears, and so there is a huge part of us that thinks we shouldn't try again in case the situation is different next time (Fwiw I have no problem at all with having a child with a disability but DH has his own issues about it and also it would be a big burden on DD if we were to have a child with this disability)

I am not in physically great shape to go through another pregnancy and, at 39, not sure I want to go through it all again at this stage.

And, even if this weren't all the case, I just don't think I want a second child. DD feels 'enough' for me, she is wonderful and I adore her. But I am not the most patient person and though I am very good at dealing with one (high-maintenance!!) child, I think I would struggle with the pressure of adding a second child, with their own demands, into the mix. I fear I would become a very different mum to the (generally) calm and patient mum I currently am to DD (2.5) and would transform into a bad-tempered harpy instead. I know my limits, is what I am really saying, and I think one child is probably that limit.

BUT... DD is just at the age where she is starting to notice other children's brothers and sisters... she has a Spot the Dog book where he has a baby sister and she wants to read it incessantly... when she plays with her dolls they are all 'sisters'... it is making my heart ache for her that I don't think a sibling is something we are going to be able to give her.

It doesn't help that my own mum always wildly idealised the sibling relationship (to the detriment of good friends, as she always thought me and my siblings being there for each other was WAY more important than having good friends; I think possibly down to her own very bad relationship with her sister, sisterhood became something she idealised) so I find it hard to ignore that little voice (my mother's voice!!!) in my head telling me that DD will be lonely, that she will never have someone who has her back at all costs, that she will miss out on the closeness of a sibling relationship.

Part of me knows I'm being silly, I know plenty of people who loathe their siblings or just don't really get on with them, but this is as adults usually. I feel awful that we are choosing not to give DD this special relationship (or at least the opportunity for it). I can't stop thinking how much she would adore a little disciple (she is a bit of a diva!) to hang on her every word and look up to her, and for her to pass on her 'wisdom' (ha!) to a little brother or sister...

I'm idealising it all again, aren't I???

I think it's just that as time ticks by I know that this is going to become a certain decision, and I hadn't anticipated DD being interested in the whole sibling thing. Obviously she hasn't asked for a 'baby sister' or anything yet, but I dread that happening, and more to the point, I dread the thought of her going through life feeling as if she has been denied something that would have enriched it.

fwiw DH and I are both quite fun-loving, messing-about parents so it's not as if she has to live in some sort of Victorian misery and loneliness... we play/interact with her constantly and she is just a total delight. We just love hanging out with her (tantrums notwithstanding!!)

I lurk on this board a lot and the advice on here is so often fantastic that it would be great to get some perspective, one way or the other!!!

ShipShapeAhoy Wed 24-Jun-15 22:10:40

I have a nearly 1 year old dd and since I got pregnant we've planned for her to be an only child. Maybe I'll feel differently when she's older but atm I really don't feel like it is that big a deal. Even if she does turn around and say she wants a brother or sister, she's unlikely to be scarred by not getting one. She'll probably be just as likely to ask for a pet dog or a bike.

I think if you and your husband decide you want another baby, that's great, otherwise the idea of bringing a life into the world just to be a companion to your firstborn, doesn't feel right to me.

Plus, plenty of people don't get on with their siblings, some hate them!

Guyropes Wed 24-Jun-15 22:11:15

There is also the one child family board. I'm sure you'll read some interesting threads on there.

I think there is a huge assumption that hAving siblings is better than not, but you have got lots of reAsons why not. I would concentrate on helping her find friends she reAlly gets on with as she grows older. Has she got cousins?

Zillie77 Wed 24-Jun-15 22:11:40

I have three siblings and four children, but I see nothing wrong with her being an only child. She will probably end up with very close friends as a result, and she will get lots of lovely attention from you two. If she wants a larger family someday she can have a passel of children herself. We felt complete as a family of six, and if you feel complete as three, that's great! I know several people without siblings and they are all happy and accomplished people.

Joysmum Wed 24-Jun-15 22:15:58

I'm an only child and am fine. My dd is an only child and is fine.

There are positives and negatives to everything.

DuchessOfWeaseltown Wed 24-Jun-15 22:18:13

Thanks so much everyone.

yes she has cousins she adores, 2 in particular who are reasonably close in age (2y older and 18 months younger) but unfortunately they don't live that close. she loves it when she sees them though and we try to do a family holiday each summer.

guyrpoes, didn't know about that board!! Thank you! Will have a look.

I hope she does end up with close friends, it's certainly something I'd hugely encourage as my mum actively DIScouraged close friendships and it's taken me many years to learn how to make close friends.

It just sort of feels as if I am letting her down in some way which is totally illogical but is really gnawing at me. I worry that even if she is enough for us, we will not be enough for her. That she will somehow resent us for this later in life.

I know some only children who as adults say it was a great thing and some who say they were always sad about not having a sibling, so I never know if I believe the theory that you can't miss something you never had!

Thenapoleonofcrime Wed 24-Jun-15 22:19:28

I just think you have to know what's best for you as a family and not feel guilty at all. My children sometimes asked for a baby brother when they were smaller, they don't now and would probably be horrified if I had another one! If they see you react to it, it can become a thing. And, it's not a crime to want a sister or a brother, but it doesn't mean your parents have to give you one! I know several families with one child and I think it can work really well, so have the size of family you want and if your dd says anything, just say 'oh yes that would have been nice, wouldn't it' and move on.

DuchessOfWeaseltown Wed 24-Jun-15 22:24:05

Oh wow napoloen that is great advice - my DD is v sensitive and she would definitely notice if I reacted in a particularly strong way to the question... you're right that it is better to just move on... the more I have thought about it this past year I have felt SO much more relaxed (until now!!) as I let myself begin to accept that we will probably not try again, the pressure (external and internal) to have the 'perfect' 2 kid family was so strong that it was just feeling so much better to have realised I might not want/be able to have that.

upaladderagain Wed 24-Jun-15 22:25:02

We loved our DD as much as you love yours, and like you thought the greatest gift we could give her would be a brother or sister to share her life. BUT the stress of dealing with 2 children is more than twice dealing with one iyswim, and I struggled to cope. Though we love both DD and DS equally, their relation was never as close as we would have hoped, and now in their mid-20s is no better. You cannot make people, even siblings, love each other, so there are no guarantees. If you, your DH and your child are happy, leave well alone.

27inmyhead Wed 24-Jun-15 22:28:37

I know lots of women who have only one child. Especially those who had them later in life. It is the norm in my circles.

cornflakegirl Wed 24-Jun-15 22:28:45

What if you had another child, and then they wanted a younger sibling too? My DS2 would like us to have another baby, but it's not happening!

Tantrummum Wed 24-Jun-15 22:30:54

I have two but after having my second became exactly the bad tempered harpy you fear becoming. My 2nd was also way way harder work than my first and had health issues and the strain nearly broke my marriage. My first suffered a lot the first few years as I had so little time or energy leftover.
I will never regret having 2 and i really hope they will have the relationship you are maybe idealising in future, but I wanted to write to say your fears are certainly not unfounded.

DuchessOfWeaseltown Wed 24-Jun-15 22:32:47

upaladder, sorry to hear that. And it is good advice. My best friend for example has always hated (literally) her younger sister, and the feeling is mutual. THey spent their childhood warring and competing for their parents' attention/affection and now as adults only meet at family events where they quarrel.

Now obviously there are many wonderful sibling relationships but I know that the opposite can also be true. There is no guarantee as you say, one way or the other.

And yes, it does feel v much to me as if 1 child is my limit for general day-to-day stresses and strains... dear God if I had another one just like DD I would be on my knees, the emotional energy is overwhelming. But of course then I think about times further in the future when DD is grown up and I think maybe I'm being silly to focus so much on the toddler/young child end of it, when it would be too much for me.

Thank you so much all for advice, it really is good to be able to air this worry as there is almost nobody I can talk to about this in RL (one of the side effects of having a mother who thought friendship wasn't important... oh, and though I love my own sister, we aren't close (!) enough to talk about these things!!)

DuchessOfWeaseltown Wed 24-Jun-15 22:35:40

Tantrummum - what a name!! - I can totally see how having 2 could break you, it would certainly break me, I feel, right now on the days when DD is being an absolute nightmare at least I can focus my attention on dealing with her and only her - staying strong in the face of tantrums, keeping calm and firm when she refuses to put on her shoes for the millionth time, etc etc. I am the sort of person who needs SOME sort of emotional order to survive and the thought of the potential mayhem of 2 children is just overwhelming to me.

cornflake - hadn't thought of that!!!!

bigbumbrunette Wed 24-Jun-15 22:36:25

I have two Dds, 9 years apart. I was 24 when I had my eldest so had time on my side a bit more to delay the option of another. I'm now (almost) 36 with a 2 year old and I'm done. No more children for me. That's not to say I don't think it'd be lovely for the smallest to be a big sister and I do struggle with the idea that that's it. No more pregnancy (despite being really bad at it) and no more newborns.
What I'm trying to say is that whatever your choice about how many children you have, you might never feel like you've had you last.

theblairbitchproject Wed 24-Jun-15 22:38:22

Positive and negatives whatever you choose.

I have a sibling and we can't stand each other. We have absolutely nothing in common- we are polite to each other but that is it. So don't immediately assume that by giving your DD a sibling that will perfect. Because it won't be necessarily- a lot of my friends growing up didn't see eye to eye with their siblings and still don't now. Sure i'm still only young and people tell us we will grow closer- but it won't happen. We are completely different people with completely different outlooks on life.

Plus- would you really want to be in a position where you have a child and still feel like you didn't "want it"? I'm sure you will feel much guilt then than you do now.

meandjulio Wed 24-Jun-15 22:39:49

I'm not hugely helpful because it is a big regret to me for ds's sake that we have not had another child - he idealises the sibling relationship too, and I know for sure that for years and years and years every birthday cake wish was for a sibling (probably a brother tbh). He's 11 now and it's not so much of an issue overall but it is something I feel guilty that we never did for him. He has cousins close in age and a great group of very close friends (about to move to secondary so not sure how long that will last sad) and sometimes says 'x is just like a brother' but tbh - they are not.

But... there were good, good reasons why we did not have another child. DH was so ill for so long when he was small and has a strong genetic component to his illness. Finances and lack of space were a small part of it, tiny in the scheme of things but a discouragement nonetheless. And I just plain didn't want one... after about 18 years of being broody it was amazing that it just stopped. I don't know how many people have another child PURELY for the first one's sake... surely there must be some desire there in the parents as a rule, if it's a choice?

You have good reasons and life is not perfect, you don't get everything you want. It's not a 'lesson' any of us wants to teach our children in this way but it is a lesson nonetheless.

Velociraptor Wed 24-Jun-15 22:41:45

I suspect your DD would rather have chilled out parents than a sibling. I only have one DS, and I feel similar to you that if I had another one I would find it tough, and not manage to be as patient. My DS is 7 now, and has asked for a sibling, although he has also asked for a dog, a lizard, a cat, a duck, a hamster, etc etc. I think he probably wants the sibling about as much as all the animals he has asked for. He is certainly a very happy child, who appreciates the good things about the life he has, so I am not too concerned he will grow up feeling he is lacking anything important.

venusandmars Wed 24-Jun-15 22:47:11

You have to do what is right (emotionally and intellectually) for YOU - both of you, you and your dp/dh. You are the adults and you are responsible for the long term happiness and security of your family, and for your own physical and emotional health. Your dd may want a sibling, or a rabbit or a dog or a pony. Or they may read Enid Blyton and want to go to Mallory Towers. But only you can decide whether that is reasonable.

Me? I wanted an older brother. However by the time I was able to articulate my wish it was already too late grin

DorisLessingsCat Wed 24-Jun-15 22:47:27

I love my one-child family. DD wanted a sibling until she started school and met kids who spent the whole time complaining about their little brothers and sisters.

milkmilklemonade12 Wed 24-Jun-15 22:47:56

I have 1 DS and he is staying as an only! Even if he begged me; I could not do it. To give a child a sibling for them to play with, is in my mind rather a lot of pressure to put on both of them that they'll get along as they grow up.

We get along as a family, we enjoy our lives together, im very much of the POV that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

FlossyMcTrumpetson Wed 24-Jun-15 22:48:23

I'm in a similar-ish position to you. I have one 2.5 yeAr old daughter.
I'm seriously considering fostering or adopting a younger child as it's an affordable way to give her a younger sibling that doesn't involve the impossible task of me being pregnant again. Might be something you could consider?

DuchessOfWeaseltown Wed 24-Jun-15 23:03:23

Thank you so much everyone. Wise advice on here as always.
Venusandmars you have said it all really.
And yes I imagine DD would rather have chilled out happy parents than a sibling. If it's a choice. Which I'm pretty sure it would be.
Not to keep harking back to my own mother but she was a stressed out harridan our entire childhoods, obsessed with getting her 'brood' out of the door on time and smartly dressed, constantly angry with us about not toeing her line etc. Would I swap my siblings for a calmer, more silly and loving/adoring mum in my childhood? Yes I think I would.

geekymommy Thu 25-Jun-15 03:23:14

You, as an adult, have surely experienced a situation where you really wanted something, but then when you got it, it turned out to not be like you thought it would, right? I suspect something like that has happened to most adults in the world. There's no guarantee that having a sibling would be like your DD imagines it would. She doesn't have some special psychic insight into what having a sibling would be like. (If you have some evidence that she is psychic, would she be willing to undergo a test in the form of sending me Saturday's winning Powerball lottery numbers before the drawing? I'll give you a 20% cut.)

You are an adult. You have a better chance of having a realistic idea of what a second child might mean for your family than your DD, as a child, does. Of course, there's no guarantee that you aren't wrong, either. There generally isn't, when you're predicting the future.

Isetan Thu 25-Jun-15 04:56:20

I won the lottery with DD and in the brief moment I thought about having another, I realised what I really wanted was another exactly like her. If 'Children for Dummies' came with an actual child, it would be DD, as she would make any parent (me included) look amazing.

We should have children to fit our current circumstances and not some future ideal (which has no guarantee of materialising). I am now a single parent and I would have survived having two but I don't want just to survive parenthood, I want to carry on doing what I have done with DD, which is revel in it.

Your reasons against trying for another are perfectly valid and in my opinion, very sensible.

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