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Would you have a second baby if you were me?

29 replies

ShimmyingThroughTheChaos · 27/06/2023 22:17

Name change for this.
About to turn 40. DS about to turn 2. It feels like now or never for a second baby. Motherhood has been a true joy so far and I actually found the baby stage a lot more enriching and interesting than I expected. I would love to expand our family if mother nature is willing to comply. So what's putting me off having another?
Short version: I didn't get an easy baby (colic, appalling sleeper, late walker, fussy eater) long postpartum recovery (pelvic floor took a bashing and lochia was crazy heavy and went on for well over a month) and to top it all off my DH went completely off the rails after a family bereavement when baby was a few weeks old. I know the term nervous breakdown isn't used any more but this is the best description I can come up with. He did the bare minimum with the baby and was in a fog of grief and rage that he is only just emerging from now. Even on good days the emotional atmosphere was like living on the slopes of a volcano that could erupt at any moment. Nothing I said or did seemed to be enough. Things are a lot better now and he is mostly a good dad and is a lot more stable. He says he is up for another baby. But I can't forget the image of the man who screamed at me and punched the mattress in anger when I was up at 3am trying to settle the baby and had said something that set him off. Or the times I cried on the way home from baby classes because I knew I would be coming home to a horrible atmosphere.

I'm swinging between making peace with not brining another human into this shitshow we are only emerging from now, and wanting to have another child to complete the family before it's too late.

Two under two is very much seen as optimal in my circle (and on Mumsnet too, it seems). But there is just no way I could have done it. It would have physically and mentally wrecked me in my situation. Some days I feel so ashamed of it when I see women with bigger families. I love babies and children, so why am I not capable of doing what they have managed to do? I read stories on here all the time of women who have had awful birth and newborn experiences and who have powered on through subsequent pregnancies "to get the baby stage out of the way" or because they are in their late 30s/early 40s. Sometimes I feel selfish that my self preservation instinct has overridden my desire for another child. But on the other hand, I've been focusing on rebuilding my marriage, my body and my career so that I can become financially independent and create the most stable environment for the existing child rather than throwing caution to the wind and getting pregnant again. and some days I feel as though that is the more responsible thing to do, even if it could cost us the chance for another baby.
What would you do?

OP posts:
Inkypot · 27/06/2023 22:22

I think first you need to have a very honest conversation with your husband. Make sure it's not confrontational or accusatory, just tell him the worries you have and why you have them. Make a plan as much as you can for how you will both cope with another baby.
Then go from there.
Two under two is not optimal! I have done two under two and while it's wonderful it's also exhausting, there is no perfect age gap so don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Do what feels right for you and your family 😊

Evanna13 · 27/06/2023 22:25

I would say speak to your husband and if he is happy then go for it. You have had so many difficulties with your first but you got through it.

CordeliaNaismithVorkosigan · 27/06/2023 22:29

I wouldn’t have another. If your DH doesn’t address whatever was going on, you risk being catapulted back to being scared to go home next time he hits a stressful life event. You can’t rely on him to be a partner or parent. Focus on career and financial independence, you may need them.

BHRK · 27/06/2023 22:33

Nothing would stop me having another baby if I wanted one, however I would need a husband who was ready to step up and take on the physical and emotional challenge of two children.
i think you need to have an honest conversation with your husband about how his behaviour scared you and how, although you’re not blaming him, you can’t go through it again.
2 kids is amazing but also hard work, as you know. Do it if you’re both ready

Icedlatteplease · 27/06/2023 22:43

Nope. No way.

Personally I'd assume, if he was punching mattresses, that I'm likely to be a single parent at some point. I'd be doing what I could to make that possibility comfortable. Honestly having done the whole single parent thing with two (the second also turned out to have SN), there's no way of earth I'd choose to bring a second child into a situation that was inherently unstable.

Soooo much easier with one and putting your energy into the child you have

ShimmyingThroughTheChaos · 27/06/2023 22:43

Thanks for the replies @BHRK @CordeliaNaismithVorkosigan @Evanna13 🙏

Things went to a pretty dark place with DH to the extent that I sought counselling (solo) with Relate and even once spoke to a solicitor... The total personality change over an extended period of time was genuinely terrifying. I'm so worried another baby would result in him becoming volatile and difficult again. We've talked about what happened and he is truly sorry but I don't know if he has evolved the coping strategies to deal with a second baby.
I reckon we could wing it if we had a healthy, neurotypical baby but I'm not very confident that DH could cope with, say, autism or downs syndrome. Or twins. Or even dealing with me having a miscarriage. All more statistically likely at my age and while I feel unkind to say it, I think there is a real risk that any one of those eventualities could tip him over the edge. I know I'm catastrophising a bit but it's on my mind from time to time.

OP posts:
Katela18 · 27/06/2023 22:44

Echoing PP. I wouldn't do anything without a very open conversation with DH about what you went through and your concerns should you have another.

I actually had a similar experience with DD1 who was born 8 weeks pre term, just before lockdown. The pressure of a long NICU stay, then coming home in lockdown, being furloughed, loss of 2 family members turned my husband angry and resentful. The first year was miserable and I was walking on eggshells.

DS is now a year and it has been a whole different ball park. DH does as much parenting as me, shares the house work, ensures I get me time and is so bonded and committed to our children. But we spent months and months discussing what had happened, how I felt, how he felt, what would be different this time etc etc but I even considered going for another.

We really had to lay everything on the table and decide where to go from there.

Wishing you the best x

Lentilweaver · 27/06/2023 22:45

I wouldn't. Sorry.

ShimmyingThroughTheChaos · 27/06/2023 22:46

@Icedlatteplease just saw your post and honestly you have really spoken to some of my worries.... DH has so many excellent qualities which outweigh the bad times but the things I described have planted a seed of doubt in my mind.

OP posts:
Icedlatteplease · 27/06/2023 22:49

Oh and coming from the other end (mine are now teens) the idea of two under two being optimal is really flawed.

Your body doesn't really have enough time to recover between pregnancies (I think they was research that backed that up too). And the two close together so they are at the stage really only works if everything goes to plan. It is better from a career perspective but I think that is the only positive that is certain.

Icedlatteplease · 27/06/2023 23:03

Just to add Coming to terms with having had your last child is never easy however many you have. I always thought I would have 3. At 2 I knew I was done and realistically 3 would be impossible. I had a real wobble when the kids were early years of primary and was in what looked at the time like a steady new relationship. Came off contraception and was so very very sad when I realised the contraceptiveI was on meant there was likely to be at least a 6 month delay. Initially it was all i thought about and sMonth on month I was devastated my period didn't return . By 6 months I was over it. So glad there was that delay now because it would have been a disaster.

It's nothing to do with what other women can and can't do. That really isn't a measure of success.

You have to work out what's important to you. To me it was making sure there was enough of myself left to put into the children I already had whilst raising the in seriously sub optimal circumstances.

billy1966 · 27/06/2023 23:22

Good advice from @Icedlatteplease

OP, you sound like an amazing woman to have come through such a horrific period of being abused by your husband and yet you have positive memories of the babys early days.

I absolutely wouldn't have another baby with him.

Your husband is not to be trusted ever IMO and you would be far wiser to focus on the healthy baby you have, securing your career and finances so that should he decide to have another breakdown and starts abusing you again, you can kick him out.

So many people lose people they love, so many do so suddenly, yet they don't need to terrorise their partner who has recently given birth.

You are trying to rebuild you marriage, best of luck with that, but protect yourself and your child first by creating security for yourself.

Having a second child with a man capable of treating you so badly post partum, is not something to ever risk again.

Wishing you well.

Girliefriendlikespuppies · 27/06/2023 23:25

I think if you want two children then yes go for it but I would be assuming that I'd be raising them on my own as your dh sounds unstable.

cassiatwenty · 27/06/2023 23:30

I wouldn't have another baby with him. Sorry.

MeinKraft · 27/06/2023 23:37

'Sometimes I feel selfish that my self preservation instinct has overridden my desire for another child.'

We all do this. To be a good mum you have to put yourself first as in, doing what you need to do to keep going. Can't look after your kids if you're lying in a puddle on the floor.

I don't know what the answer is for you but I struggled after my first and I found my second baby very healing. You don't seem to mention really wanting another baby though - do you really want another child or are you worried you're letting your child down if they stay as an only?

My2pence2day · 27/06/2023 23:43

I wouldn't.
As PP said, talk and get agreement with your husband. Sadly, I'd draw some sort of roster so you have something is writing to go back to. I would also ask myself if I was willing to risk being a solo parent with two babies, and also the risk you have no idea what your baby will be like ie they might be a nightmare baby that cries all the time and never sleeps. What's the worst case scenario and will you cope?

Lentilweaver · 27/06/2023 23:58

If you are 40, the chances of you having a SN baby are higher, as you say. Sorry again.:(

Thistlelass · 28/06/2023 05:06

CordeliaNaismithVorkosigan · 27/06/2023 22:29

I wouldn’t have another. If your DH doesn’t address whatever was going on, you risk being catapulted back to being scared to go home next time he hits a stressful life event. You can’t rely on him to be a partner or parent. Focus on career and financial independence, you may need them.

For heavens sake! The man was un grief and despair. What's too address? This is what can happen in life. Not everything can be picture perfect and nor should it be.

Sceptre86 · 28/06/2023 07:09

In your situation, absolutely not. 2 under 2 is hard if you get another child who doesn't sleep. You will need help or support from somewhere and considering your partner wasn't hands on when your first was little due to grief it will all come as new to him. Your eldest will still be a baby themselves. The way he treated you when you were st your most vulnerable is sad.

CordeliaNaismithVorkosigan · 28/06/2023 07:24

@Thistlelass , lots of people are bereaved, but not everyone ends up punching mattresses and screaming in the middle of the night. Who knows why he reacted quite so violently, but as you rightly say life isn’t picture perfect - other bereavements or stressful events will happen. A new baby would be stressful in itself. I think there’s an awful lot to be said for protecting yourself and the child you already have and not risking another baby, given the history. (I say this as a parent of an only, now a teenager - in my case I just knew I wouldn’t cope with more than one.)

ShimmyingThroughTheChaos · 28/06/2023 09:41

@Icedlatteplease thanks for sharing your experience 🙏yeah the thought of a baby being one's (potentially) last is a hard thing to process. I'm glad you are at peace with your decision now you are on the other side.

So the UN and the WHO actually advise that it's best to wait until your child at least 2 before TTC:
I actually thought that this was a pretty well known and accepted fact that female bodies benefit from a bit more recovery time but based on my social circle this isn't something people talk about and there's an element of peer pressure to crack on and have babies quickly. I mean, obviously it is none of my business how others plan their families and it is really not for me to judge, but I do think it's useful medical info for women to factor into decisions about their fertility. I only know the UN/WHO stuff because I did my own research.

I do agree with your point about it only working with 2 under 2 if things go to plan. Most families I know who had babies in quick succession weren't dealing with other big life events that I am aware of such as deaths, illnesses, obviousmental health issues, job changes etc and most had average to easy babies.

Key Practice: Spacing between pregnancies

Healthy for you and your baby

OP posts:
ShimmyingThroughTheChaos · 28/06/2023 09:46

@Katela18 my goodness sounds like you had a really, really horrendous time with so many awful things happening all at once. I hope you and your little one are ok now.
And that's really great that you and your DH are talking things through - that shows a lot of grace and maturity.
Living at close quarters with a man who is constantly angry and resentful can be absolutely crushing though and in my case it is taking time to heal from. Wishing you all the best too X

OP posts:
Katela18 · 28/06/2023 09:50

Absolutely, and you are so right to take whatever time you need to heal and decide what is right for you!

I think seeing your husband behave in such a way can be altering, it changes the way you view them and I suppose so much of the decision comes down to whether you feel you can trust him to do better next time!

It's really not an easy decision to make Flowers

SleepingStandingUp · 28/06/2023 09:54

Your daughter is 2. When you talk about not powering through and just having more babies, you make it sound like she's 22. I couldn't have a baby within 3 years of my first one. He spent 18 months in and out of hospital. It was traumatic and trauma takes time to recover from. You too have had a traumatic experience. Getting pregnant in that storm would have been highly irresponsible and probably would have cost you far more than a 3 year age gap.

Tal kto DH, if he's not had counselling discuss him getting some, just to reassure you both it won't trigger anything. Make sure if anything changes financially you can pack a bag and leave

Beyond that, go for it. There's 4.5 years between my boys, never my ideal but life isn't and they love each other.

heartofglass23 · 28/06/2023 10:05

What you have described is domestic violence.

Don't expose a child to this not now not another in the future.

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