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Had anyone else decided not to have a second DC primarily to avoid the strain on their relationship?

(20 Posts)
Whatatotalmess Mon 02-May-16 08:08:29

DH and I went through a very difficult patch after DC1 was born. Partly this was due to the usual issues of competitive sleep deprivation and isolation etc, and partly due to other family-related issues which have now been resolved with the help of a counsellor.

However, we can feel ourselves starting to snipe at each other again and I just can't go back to that awful time when I wasn't sure whether we would be ok. He is a very good man and I love him very much. I don't think I can risk putting us under that sort of strain again - we got "stretched" a bit the first time around and I am afraid that it would take less to break us this time. I am drsperately sad at the thought of not having a second DC. Has anyone else made the same decision? Is it perhaps not that unusual?

GoblinLittleOwl Mon 02-May-16 08:23:19

Have you considered the effect of a difficult marriage on an only child? (personal experience). I had a second child for precisely that reason, and am glad that I did, for their sakes.

Aussiebean Mon 02-May-16 08:26:21

I am guessing (hoping) that having a second would be easier as you have more of an idea of what is happening and what works and what doesn't.

Have you thought about booking a session with a counsellor so you can talk about it?

Thumbcat Mon 02-May-16 08:30:12

It's one of the many reasons why I didn't want a second child, but I was always very happy just to have one child.

Needmorewine Mon 02-May-16 08:30:13

We haven't had a second yet (DD is 3) and no plans to in the near future. Wanting to avoid further strain on our relationship (yy to competitive tiredness!!) is definitely part of the reasoning behind this. We have a lovely happy life the three of us and contrary to what lots of people seem to think I'm not sure a DC2 would make us any happier. So it's not the only reason (career, money, no bloodiness at all on my part) but definitely a factor. Do you have to decide now, or could you wait a few years?

Needmorewine Mon 02-May-16 08:30:51

Bloodiness ?! Broodiness !!

RNBrie Mon 02-May-16 08:32:49

We had a terrible time after dd1 was born, there were a few times I thought our relationship was at risk, we argued a lot (usually at 2am which is never a good idea!). We found the book How To Babyproof Your Marriage really helpful.

When dd2 came along we had none of the same issues, fundamentally she was a much easier baby but we had also learned to work together rather than against each other and knew how and when each other needed support.

I guess only you and your dh can decide if it's a good idea and if the relationship is now strong enough to cope. A session or two with a counsellor is a good idea if you can still access it.

Claraoswald36 Mon 02-May-16 09:25:42

I pushed for dc2 after growing up in a fractured marriage. We split when I was pg with dd2 but my dds have each other and I'm so relieved dd1 isn't alone

UpsiLondoes Mon 02-May-16 09:29:49

I'm struggling to understand why someone would purposefully bring another child into a bad marriage to ease tension. So instead of one child being subject to the difficulties of the relationship, it's better that both children do? I don't think you divide by half to 50/50, but multiply from 100 to 200%

summerainbow Mon 02-May-16 10:19:33

You could face marriage strain from all sorts of things and and if you don't think your marriage can take strain you need to more sessions with a councillor one or two fix nothing just paper over the cracks.

gasman Mon 02-May-16 10:44:26

I can totally understand why people have a second child. I am one of three.

My parents relationship was pretty awful and as adults we are having a torrid time with my DM and then a raft of our DGP dying with the remaining adults failing to behave very responsibly.

One saving grace is that we have each other to bounce ideas and thoughts off, we mostly mange to present a united front and out crazy relatives are easier to manage simply because there are three of us....

I have a friend who is dealing with her Mother' dementia. She is an only and it it hard going. If she didn't have a brilliant partner she would be really stuck in a way that my siblings and I aren't because we have each other.

Don't get me wrong we have our moments and over the years have had some epic callings out but now When we really need each other we have each other.

Whatatotalmess Mon 02-May-16 15:21:35

Thank you for all of the responses. Needmorewine, DD is 2.5 so we could wait a bit longer but I'm 35 so there may come a time over the next few years when my age may become an issue.

Even if other posters did carry on to have more DC, was the impact on your relationship a factor in your decision making process? And if so, did your relationship take a hit the second time around also?

Isetan Mon 02-May-16 16:33:08

Children are not the only strain on a marriage and you can't avoid them all, isn't it smarter to figure out what it is about your personalities/ beliefs/ communication styles that brought you to the brink last time.

SortingStuffStill Mon 02-May-16 16:38:15

I deeply regret my relationship but could never regret my kids. Our second was/is easy and brought much joy to an overall doomed marriage, can't imagine only one dc now

Poppledopple Mon 02-May-16 16:42:46

What does your DH think? Have you discussed it? Does he see it the same way? Have you thought how it might be better this time? I do think think that you are in a tricky position in that if you continue to be sad that you did not have a second - this might grow into contempt and put a strain on your marriage in another way?

orangeistheonlyfruit Mon 02-May-16 16:52:50

It won't be the same as the first time around. Even with all the goings on your marriage did ultimately survive the first child. It is hard, but my DD2 was easy in comparison to the first and we realised this was the last child we were having, so got so much more joy out of it. The other side is I can't imagine my DD1 without her DD2 - they adore each other and I can take happiness in that I gave my DD's a sister who they would never ever want to be without.

annandale Mon 02-May-16 16:55:41

Me, I suppose. I didn't think I could do it again and stay married. I really value my relationship and tbh value a stable home for ds.
Dh is a great dad now, within limits - his mental health diagnosis makes being with people quite tricky. So if he went round to the shop for milk, he might be ok, or he might need 30 minutes or so to relax and recover. That's when he's well - if he's ill he won't be able to go out at all. At home he can do much more, but eg struggles with noise, or sudden changes of plan, or mess. You can imagine how well things went when ds was small.

He was in fact working when ds was little, going from car to sole office with minimal interaction. However, this was so stressful that he spent every other weekend in bed. He says he felt lonely but ignores I think that I had a baby and then a child to care for. I coped by getting out of the house as much as possible with ds.

Tbh I do regret not having a second for dss sake, and sometimes wish I had just gone ahead. Then I think back again to the state of our lives and think it was the right choice.

It sounds as if investing in some couples therapy would be well worth it.

Whatatotalmess Mon 02-May-16 17:56:58

We discussed it at some length last night after we had had an argument yesterday about each of us feeling that the other had more free time. It is the only thing that we really argue about these days and it's not an everyday occurrence or anything. However, I have no sense of whether this is something that all parents of small children argue about or whether it is a problem which is taking on greater significance for us than for most families.

Both of us are very sad at the prospect of not having another, I think, but for both of us our priority is protecting the family and the marriage we have now. If the cost of that is not having a second child then I think we would both reluctantly accept that. I guess I just wondered whether there were others who felt the same way.

kinkytoes Mon 02-May-16 18:03:59

We had no such worries but just had our second and it's testing us like nothing else. However I'm confident we both will come through it eventually and together rather than apart. At the end of the day we love each other (and our children) very much.

annandale Mon 02-May-16 18:54:15

Lol sounds like the same argument every couple has! I do know more than one couple who split when their second was about 2 so it's worth trying to improve communication beforehand - and getting medical help if depression suggested etc.

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