Anyone stop at one because of PND?

(20 Posts)
violator Mon 22-Jul-13 21:30:52

Apologies in advance for the long story but I could do with some ears and thoughts.

DS will turn two shortly and the inevitable questions about "having another" are popping up more regularly.
But I really don't think I want another.

I had bad PND after DS was born. It wasn't the kind PND that was sorted quickly with meds and some counselling.
DS was planned, I had a great pregnancy and birth. To cut a long story short I ended up in a psychiatric hospital (amazing care and staff) for six weeks when he was four months old, continued outpatient treatment for four months and am still on antidepressants, although have weaned right down to a small dose and hope to come off them completely in the near future.

Complicating matters, as if they needed more complicating, is the fact that I lost my much loved job when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I was lucky to be rehired by the same firm but with terrible shift work hours. I stuck it out for the remainder of my pregnancy, never dreaming that two years later I'd still be on sick leave.
My husband works in the same industry and his working days are long, in fact I'm sure his being gone for 14 hours a day contributed in no small way to the PND.

The PND and what it did to me, my marriage and my career is still raw. While I am most certainly better, I cannot forget just how bad things got, how for over a year I thought I'd made the biggest mistake of my life. I hated motherhood, hated being so depended upon, hated losing my identity.

I hated my husband's career for taking him away from us for such long periods.
That will not change, he's lucky to have a well paid job in a recession. I want and need to return to work now whatever way I can organise it around my husband's work hours.
DS will start in a nursery two mornings a week soon and I can't wait to reclaim a little time to myself. I love him with every fibre of my being which leads me to wonder, is a sibling really "the biggest gift" I could give him?

I never saw myself with one child but I'm 37 now. Both my mother and sister started menopause before 40 so odds are I have limited time left.
DH would like another baby but he wasn't the one screaming with frustration at breastfeeding with low supply, having panic attacks because of severe sleep deprivation, medicated, hospitalised, terrified, having to rebuild my battered confidence.
I have never been broody since DS was born. Two friends are expecting their second babies and I actually pity them slightly, the mere idea of having a toddler and a newborn makes me feel ill.

What I'm really asking here is, has anyone stopped at one after PND?
When I hear or read about mums with PND wanting another baby I think "WHY? Why would you do that to yourself, how could you possibly want to risk it again?"

stickygotstuck Mon 22-Jul-13 22:52:22

I hear you OP. Sorry to hear you had such a tough time.

To give a simple answer, yes, I think there must be loads of mothers who have stopped at one because of PND - diagnosed or, more likely, undiagnosed. Almost every mother of an only child I know had a rough ride with their pfbs.

I suspect I had PND for the first 3.5 years of DD's life (she's 4.5 yo now). It makes me terribly sad that I wasted/spoiled those first 3.5 years and did not enjoy motherhood as I should have - or rather, as I heard other people did.

And yes, people did ask 'so are you going to have a second', but like you, the mere thought filled me with dread. I know I could not have coped, personally. Going on your last sentence, I suspect you think the same right now (although of course, your stance may change in the future).

Like you, I also thought about a second one every so often because time's is running out due to my age. Still think about it sometimes. But here is something I have learned the hard way and stand by at all times: the greatest gift you could give your son is a happy and healthy mother. A sibling is simply not a substitute for that.

Look after yourself.

InvaderZim Mon 22-Jul-13 23:03:48

I didn't have PND, but have suffered on and off from depression for years.

After a rough 1st year of babyhood, I feel like my life is back on track. I'm not sure my equilibrium would be great with two. My mum had terrible depression and it's made me decide my kid is better off having a sane happy mum than a sibling!

BeaWheesht Mon 22-Jul-13 23:11:31

No I didn't but we have definitely stopped at 2 because of antenatal depression and postnatal depression. Kids are 6 and almost 3 now and I'm not convinced I will ever be like I used to be ie no mental health issues.

I would have loved more kids but I just couldn't put any of us through it again. With ds (6) I had absolutely awful AND bit post natally felt ok ish. With dd I still had AND but nothing like as bad but post natally I felt very very odd, the most 'ill' I would say I've ever felt with depression / anxiety. I felt totally out of control and very anxious but also very detached and just weird and even thinking about that time brings tears to my eyes because I was so bloody terrified.

Sorry I've rambled and I hope you don't mind me answering because I've already got 2. I don't know if I would hve had a second dc had my POST natal depression been as bad first time round, because, although the AND was awful beyond words there was always an end in sight iyswim?

violator Tue 23-Jul-13 19:25:00

Thanks for all your replies, much appreciated.
I'd guessed that there are mums of one who decided against having more after PND, but I haven't met any in real life or online. Maybe I was super unlucky to have such a severe PND experience, there's different levels of it I suppose.
I definitely agree that a healthy, happy mum is more important than a sibling for my DS. He's such a joy but I find him hard work, perhaps it's his age and that he's such a spirited, energetic boy. Just cannot imagine coping with another, I collapse into bed early every night!

I'm off to read more threads in here to see how to handle the questions and nosiness about only children!

MorrisZapp Tue 23-Jul-13 19:32:12

I had brutal pnd and I'm definitely stopping at one. To be honest though, I only wanted one anyway and DP feels the same way.

The way I see it, you should only have babies you really, really want. I get a bit frustrated with OPs on here listing all the horrors of motherhood and all the ways in which their life is now improving, followed by 'would it be ok just to have the one, do you think?'.

I'm like HELL YES, why would you even consider another? I don't mean you OP, and I'm sorry for what you've been through, its hideous isn't it.

But what kind of culture have we created where women who hated having a baby and can't wait to go back to work have to ask for permission not to have any more? It worries me.

jimijack Tue 23-Jul-13 19:35:32

In short yes in answer to your opening question.
My Ds was 5,at school and FINALLY sleeping through the night.
I had successfully weaned off antidepressants.

Actually we have struggled to get Ds2, its taken 5 years & 5 miscarriages.

Have to say, hand on heart, he is wonderful, 7 months in I feel great, no pnd symptoms at all. I would recognize them immediately and would get early help.

It's all ok here after great worry & anxiety about it happening again.

Sheshelob Tue 23-Jul-13 19:58:10

I'n so sorry you've been through so much, OP.

I didn't have PND but I don't have any yearning for a second. The early days were hard after a horror delivery, and the utter shell shock at my life changing paradigmatically. I really struggled to balance my career with my DS when I went back to work. I think I've got the hang of it now (he is 20 months old), and I don't want to upset that balance. My husband would ideally like another bit he respects the fact that it is my body that has to go through it.

It is sad that there is a presumption that having one child is somehow inadequate. It feels outdated, as if once the baby dam has broken we should somehow be expected to keep churning them out. I just don't buy it. It's clear among my friends who really takes to motherhood as a way of life and who doesn't. I guess I didn't, at least not to the exclusion of everything else.

You sound like you know how you feel. It is the right thing for you, and no-one else's business.

valiumredhead Tue 23-Jul-13 20:05:53

Yes, me. I was hospitalised for 8 months after ds and was so poorly there's is no way I could possibly go through that again. It wouldn't be fair on ds to have to cope without me either, so we stopped at one. I've been sad about it but ultimately I know it was the right decision.

12 years on I had a pregnancy scare and I was terrified but it confirmed the fact that I could never go through it again.

Saying all that, ds is the light of my life,I can't imagine life without himsmile x

valiumredhead Tue 23-Jul-13 20:16:10

Oh and tbh 12 years on Dh and I are only just really processing the effect me being so ill had on our family. Its been a tough slog but its brought us together.

violator Tue 23-Jul-13 20:39:26

MorrisZapp I agree, there's such societal pressure to produce more than one child. I actually think it's easier to "defend" staying child free than produce one and one only in terms of questions and expectations.

Sheshelob, completely feel the same way. Perhaps it's selfish of me to want to regain some of the life I had, I'd even like to return to education and retrain, and that is just not compatible with more children. I'm certainly not a natural mother (whatever that is!) I love my son so much but need more than being a mother.

Valiumredhead I'm so sorry you had such a terrible time. It's just horrific isn't it? My marriage has taken such a battering. We were together 7 years before we married, DS arrived one year later and everything fell apart. We're like two lodgers in the same house. Things will get better and we are committed to each other but deep down I don't think our marriage would survive another baby.

MorrisZapp Tue 23-Jul-13 20:46:15

There is no way my relationship would survive another baby. Or my career. The words 'no brainer' are never far from mind smile

valiumredhead Tue 23-Jul-13 20:57:16

OP, we were together 10 years before ds and I honestly believe if we hadn't been then we would have split up.

Counselling helps x

valiumredhead Tue 23-Jul-13 21:08:55

Personally I stayed feeling a lot better once ds started nursery and I got some free time,I found 2 very very trying.

valiumredhead Tue 23-Jul-13 21:09:05

Started

AddictedtoCrunchies Tue 23-Jul-13 22:29:52

By the time I felt able to consider another, DS was 4 and at school. He was independent and our lives were all calm and so I decided not to.

A very small part of me would like to try it again to almost prove to myself that I can actually cope. But I'm not prepared to take the risk just in case I can't..

It was part of the reason, yes - I've always said that I would probably have had a second if I'd had an easy ride of pregnancy, birth and babyhood, OR if I'd had a real urge to have another baby. Of course I don't know if I really would have done, but as it was it was a perfect storm of finding the prospect terrifying, and not actually wanting to do it.

I had a lot of guilt and concern for DD that I am very good at telling other people they shouldn't feel, but wasn't so good at taking my own advice. smile But realising I was agonising over something that was NOT going to happen helped, as did the passing of time (DD is 9 and I'm 41, that ship has sailed).

armsandtheman Thu 25-Jul-13 11:11:15

I didn't have PND, but we are content and happy at the moment and I'm terrified a second would ruin our lovely little bubble. I'm not saying it's never hard work, but when it is we can focus on the problem and plan without ever feeling guilty about neglecting another child.

Dr Susan Newman has written a book about how to bring up an only child and the benefits of being an only child (as well as blasting the old stereotypes). I read this when I feel guilty (although there's a pretty good summary on links from here www.susannewmanphd.com/?p=30

My favourite piece of advice from her is parent like you've got 3, so you all have a bit of space and you don't jump to every command, so relax, have a cup of tea and turn Baby TV on for 15 mins! Happy parent = happy child!

DancingLady Mon 29-Jul-13 16:27:53

OP, your story sounds very similar to mine. Severe PND, had a breakdown when DD was 6 weeks old. A month in a mother and baby unit at a psych hospital, a year of counselling and I'm only now coming off my anti-depressants (DD is 3). DH and I are still together but at times it's been very, very tough.

My experience has hugely affected my and DH's decision not to have another child. Like another poster mentioned, sometimes I want to have another baby just to prove I can cope, but I don't want to risk NOT coping. It wouldn't be fair on my amazing DD to see her mother so ill again. One of the consolations of having PND when she was so tiny is that she'll have no memories of it...

So sorry you had a really rough time. The "biggest gift" you can give your child is a happy, healthy, loving mother, not a sibling.

x

kalidasa Mon 29-Jul-13 17:22:35

Interesting thread. I am still struggling with PND though over the worst (DS is 8 months old, I am now "moderately" rather than "severely" depressed). Mine was related quite closely to my nightmare of a pregnancy I think, apparently I have signs of PTSD related to the pregnancy (repeated hospital admissions, months in bed etc) and I have not yet fully recovered physically. I went back to work early which helped for me.

DH and I have recently started discussing this issue as neither of us originally wanted to stop at one (in fact when I was younger I wanted lots and lots). I think we will definitely stop at two but probably will go for one more in due course. To be honest now that we have almost made that decision I quite want to do it fairly soon and get it over with - 'it' being mostly the pregnancy (almost guaranteed to be similarly awful), but also the early days which I really loathed. I still don't really enjoy anything much though about being a parent so I think I've got a way to go.

I think a bit of me is also just so sad about not enjoying all the early days with a baby which I had always thought would be so lovely. So partly I suppose I'd be hoping for a better experience. But I find it really hard to decide about the gap.

A big issue for me I think is the sheer biological/hormonal imperative. Even though I am so scared of being pregnant again that I (literally) have nightmares about it, at a sheer physical/biological level I really feel the urge. Especially around ovulation! I find that conflict between the biological urge and my own self-interest in practical and emotional terms quite hard to deal with.

OP - have you discussed the practicalities with your OH? What would you do differently a second time? Could he work less for a while or could you arrange extra help (either family or paid for)?

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