Postnatal Depression: To have? Or not to have? That is the question…

The last couple of days have seen me thinking about something I never thought I’d think about… Having another baby.  I always swore I was a “one child mum”.  I always preached whilst pregnant that I was most certainly NOT a “natural earth mother” put on this planet to procreate and have an abundance of children.  However, it seems there are many factors impacting me at the moment forcing me to take the topic that little bit more seriously.  I’ll be honest… I don’t want to think about it.  Not at all.  The horror of being pregnant again is frightening in so many ways.  Those feelings of awfulness following our LM’s birth are in themselves enough to see me running in the opposite direction.  But alas, thinking about it I am.

Let me clarify… When I say “thinking about it”, I mean that in a very literal sense.  I am just thinking a lot of thoughts which happen to be focused around being pregnant again and having another baby.  It is NOT to say there is any type of actual decision making going on in my mind as to whether or not that baby will one day become reality.  Does that makes sense?   At the moment I’m surrounded by friends who are either:

  • trying to fall pregnant (with either first or second bub);
  • reassuring me that if I fell pregnant it would be different this time;
  • asking (with no knowledge of my PND battle), “So, when’s number 2 going to be on its way?”;
  • asking (with knowledge of my PND battle), “So, things seem to be getting better… Will you go for number 2?”;
  • telling me my biological clock is ticking, so best make a decision now.

It appears I’m simply being thrown a curve ball with regard to working through issues I perhaps didn’t want to deal with right now.  I’m being made to face my demons and confront head on those reasons for feeling the way I do about having another child.    Okay, so maybe that’s all fair enough.   From what I can make sense of so far, my main thoughts both for and against the idea are as follows:

FOR:

  • I like the idea of our LM having another sibling close to his age as he grows up, particularly when he’s older;
  • BF2 is trying for another baby and it would be nice to share the experience with her again;
  • Maybe this time it would feel “good” to be pregnant;
  • Maybe the labour would be a more “natural” process;
  • Maybe the birth would be much less traumatic for both myself and the babe;
  • Maybe the postnatal period would be different – full of good and positive feelings, enjoying every moment;
  • Maybe my HF and I could enjoy the experience together.

AGAINST:

  • I only ever wanted to have one child and can’t imagine a life with more than one;
  • What if my experience was exactly the same?  Would I be able to cope?  (I don’t think so)  Would I beat myself up about it?  (most probably, yes);
  • I am petrified of going through postnatal depression again;
  • My HF has been through enough, it would not be fair to put him through anything more;
  • Our life is only just getting back to “normal” after 18 months of roller coaster madness;
  • I am too old to have another baby.
  • What if I had a girl?

I always find it helps to clarify your thoughts when you write things down this way.  As is proven here… Do you see what I see?  Look at all those “maybe’s” in the FOR section.  By compiling this list, I get the sense I’m more concerned about making my past experience “right” by going through it all again.  But as you know, the reality could be that my experience would be exactly the same (as I’m also very afraid of).  My innermost need to somehow justify what both the LM and myself went through over the past 18 months, not to mention the impact it had on our family as a whole, would be the only reason I would consider having another child.

Very clearly, I want to make it right – for all of us.  But I can’t.   I want to experience pregnancy and child birth in the “ideal” way I had always envisioned.  Not have as my only reality this traumatic, dark, clouded experience I don’t like to think about.  I want desperately for my HF to experience me at my glowing, pregnant best, singing and dancing about the joys of motherhood every afternoon when he arrives home from work.  I don’t want him left with the memory of how ugly I’ve become.  How difficult and straining the past 18 months have been, and how much he’s had to pick up the loose ends just to keep things together.  But most of all, I want to know myself as a “happy” mum.  I want to know what being a mum feels like when you’re not held down under this constant weight and pressure of postnatal depression.

If I’m really prepared to slap myself in the face with the truth… I want to prove I’m not a failure as both a partner and mother and that I can do it properly!

Maybe… Maybe… Maybe…

I want… I want… I want…

But honestly, what about making the most of what I have right now?   It seems I’m letting that little question slip right through the cracks by focusing too much on the past, and thinking I can change it with the future.  I need to take a good, hard look at myself.  Take a step back… take a deep breath… and live THIS life.  Not the “ideal” life I somehow feel I’ve missed out on.  But for anyone who’s suffered from postnatal depression knows, it’s definitely easier said than done.  The positive for me at this time, I guess, is that being aware of what’s happening deep, down beneath all those crazy thoughts is (I hope!) 80% of the battle won.

Thanks so much as always for reading my babbling thoughts and continued efforts to sort them out… I appreciate it more than you know!  This has been a huge off-loading of information, so do hope it all makes sense for you in one way or another.

Until next time, take care.

TSM  xx

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10 thoughts on “Postnatal Depression: To have? Or not to have? That is the question…

  1. I completely get it. I had severe PND with DD & went on to have another baby. The pregnancy & postnatal period were very challenging & tested me to the core but I’m so glad I had another baby – to give my daughter a sibling & to now allow my PND Demon to dictate how I should live my life. If you’re interested – I started a FB group called ‘having a baby after your PPMD’. If you would like to be added, just DM on Twitter (@notjustaboutwee), send me a FB friend request or message me at http://www.notjustaboutwee.com.

  2. Leah says:

    I am in exactly the same position, but if you do try again, don’t
    start with expectations that it will be all sunshine and roses
    like you planned, because it may not be…

    • Thanks, Leah… I don’t think I would ever go into having another baby with those expectations (more, I was just using those thoughts as the comparison to my actual experience this time). My actual experience of child birth has definitely set me up for the reality of what it can be like… How are you going with your decision? Are you willing to try again? x

  3. One who knows... says:

    It’s a long and hard road. It probably won’t be the same the second time around, but like you said, you don’t know that. I had PND with both kids. With my first I had it from the moment he was born. But I learned to love and now I love him in a way that is in someway different and stronger because of it. My second I got PND about 4 months in. The love again was different, it was just there, just as strong, but just there, not worked for. But, having been through the first time, I knew the signs, I knew what was wrong and I got help quickly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, get medication, do whatever it takes. But also, don’t be afraid to just say no. If it’s what you want, it’s the right thing for you. After the first time of things being so dark I was petrified of the second time around. I think some people are born mothers, the rest of us have to learn it and work at it. I know I have to work at it every day. I love both my kids and would do anything for them, but being a mother is not “natural” to me. But would I change it? No. I just know each day is another chance to work at it. Do what is right for you. My heart is with you on your journey. I understand it, I feel it, I know it. xxx

  4. Laura says:

    I feel like you just took a trip into my head and then wrote a post about it. I’ve been thinking about having another baby in exactly the same way as you described. Literally thinking. Not at all acting or even talking about acting on that thinking.

    And a lot of my reasoning for and against is the same. I really wonder what it would be like to enjoy a baby. I sort of feel sorry for myself that I haven’t been able to experience that. I’m an only child and actually always wanted (and planned on having) two kids. So a big part of me would like another go at it.

    Then again, another big part of me is terrified that I would get postpartum (really my main issue is) anxiety again. I’m still very much working on it and it’s still really hard. But that first month of onset was unbearable. I just can’t do that again.

    Oh sigh.

    • Oh, Laura… I always feel like we have so much in common! I often feel the same when I’m reading your posts… Can be quite surreal! I think I definitely feel sorry for myself, but also know deep down that is not the right reason to have another baby. It’s tough, isn’t it? The horror of going through it all again is so difficult… It might be different, but it might not. We know more now though, we are much more aware of our limitations… Does that help us get through it more easily? I don’t know what the answer is. xx

  5. If you decide to have another, there are so many of us in the online PPD community who are ready to support you through this journey. Hugs to you while you make this decision.

    • Thank you so, so much for your comment… I honestly can’t say how much I appreciate your support. This is the one thing (as I mentioned above) that I know to be different if a next time were ever to occur. Becoming a part of this wonderful community of like-minded mothers has been an absolutely saving grace. xx

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