The dreaded question : The question I... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis
2,611 members1,860 posts

The dreaded question


The question I find hard to answer is "are u going to have anymore kids" of corsue for me and my husband we have discussed this question quite a few times and come to agree that it's not right for us. But I tell people no and their reply is usually why and then I feel like I have to explain my self and the pp is brought to the surface again. Any one else feel like this?

13 Replies

HI betty2014,

Thanks for posting - what you write is important, and something that will resonate with many on here I'm sure.

I agree, it's a hard question. Me and my partner have probably more or less decided that we won't have anymore children. It's a difficult decision isn't it, and quite a painful one I found?

I have to say though that I have coped with PP by talking very openly about it to anyone and everyone - but I am very lucky. I have an amazing understanding workplace, very accepting friends and family etc - and I know not everyone is so lucky. I also generally deal with any issues / problems by talking about them, pre-PP I was like that, and I know not everyone is like that also. I found that talking has helped me to come to terms with the PP, and not feel ashamed of it somehow. This forum has helped the most with that.

But I agree, it's a really difficult question, and one I've been asked, and the answer is a painful one, and not easy to say, and the decision not easy to come to terms with... I am sure you will get many replies saying something similar.

My wife and I had always wanted more than one child but following pp we decided against it, after many a late night discussion!

Like you, we'd get the same reply from people who didn't know what we'd been through and in some instances we were open about pp, in others we'd just say that we were happy with the one.

Would we have still liked more, absolutely, but having been through hell we'd come out the other side, not only with a beautiful child but also with my wife intact and didn't want to risk that again, it was too raw and we didn't want to risk anything more.

I think looking back and having more information and APP, it's fair to say we may have come to a different decision, as I think you can prepare and ensure that support is put in place and there's no doubt we'd know the first tell tale signs.

We still occassionally discuss the decision we made and there is a sadness there, however, we only have to look at what we've got and we're still happy.


Hi Betty!

I found myself in similar conversations at playgroups etc shortly after coming out of hospital, 4 years ago now. I felt that, with people I didn't know well or for long, it was absolutely fine just to be a bit formal about my replies to those sorts of questions-- standoffish, even! After all, it is nobody else's business and you are not obliged to put out any more info than you're comfortable with. I came up with a form of words that responded to "are you going to have anymore kids?": "Well we're certainly discussing it, but I was Very Seriously Unwell after the last one, so it's *complicated*."

Worked for me!

J x

Depends who I'm talking to as to how I reply to that question, and let's face it a lot of the time it is just general discussion, or getting to know people in playtime/playground/school etc.

My multiple choice options for reply are:

(A) Two's enough for us,

(B) I get really sick after I have my babies, so we won't go there again. If only my husband could have the baby!

(C) Unfortunately no more for us, as I had postpartum psychosis after both my kids.

Describing it as 'sickness', makes it much easier to make sense of for both parties in the conversation. The same way if you suffered from complications in pregnancy, or had dodgy kidneys, or had a chronic illness.

But I am definitely more comfortable having those conversations now that my kids are 6 and 2, rather than when it was still raw and painful.

Yes!!!! I have this conversation with my psychologist all the time. I come from a large family and always thought we would have 3/4 kids. PP struck and a hard first year of infancy thus we are happy with 1. Somehow others can not understand this and it has been a really hard conversation for me. Especially when complete strangers ask "Is he your only"? It brings PP back to the surface for me as well. It is really hard and i always want to say something snarky. My mother is constantly asking and saying "oh it could be so controlled the 2nd time". I don't think people would ask if they truly understood the Hell that is PP.

Love this group! Thank you for posting! Hope you feel a little better just knowing others have similar struggles.

I told everyone I wasn't having a second and I nearly believed it myself. I didn't get rid of everything you need for a baby though...

One of my friends phoned me up one day and said "I'm pregnant!" I was full of happiness and congratulations but got of the phone and broke down in tears.

I decided then that I was obviously kidding myself but it still took another 12 months of discussion and consideration (with my husband) to come to a decision. I took my husband through hell with my PP.

I hated being asked if I was having another but I genuinely think people are making conversation rather than prying.

It amazes me how many people think it's ok to ask this question, even relative strangers! It's such a personal thing. I spent several years saying "probably not" and feeling obliged to explain my reasons. An acquaintance asked me last week and was mortified when I answered that we are trying but I had an ectopic in May. I have quite a few friends who, due to various complications, can't, don't want to, or have been told to wait. What about the woman who's had catastrophic tearing during the birth, what does she say? I don't think people think it through when they ask.

Thank u all for replying. It's such a hard question and I know most people are just trying to make small talk but jododo u are right, what do u say if u can't have kids due to tearing. It's such a personal question but I wonder if it would be so big of a question if we hadn't had pp


My response is no, just dogs from now on! They assume it's because you don't want to go through the pain of child birth again and then you get the "oh you'll forget the pain". " oh it's not fair just to have one". Depending on who the person is depends on if I say why or not.


This is a great post and such a common question. I agree about the small talk thing, tho people would never ask in other life situations, sometimes people think having a baby is somehow something that you can discuss with people who don't know you, let alone that we had a serious illness afterwards that we felt lucky to have got through...

In my case, my response was always a "who knows, we're happy as we are for now" in the early days. Then approaching the 2 yr gap (which must be great if you can do it, I was nowhere near ready), my answers got a bit more technical almost, that I'd had a serious illness and had to leave a longer gap for medical reasons. That seemed to shut some people up (!!) And I was pretty honest with most replies. But it depends on the situation and how well I knew people or vice versa. I think we'd always known we'd like 2 kids but it was a hard decision that took a while and isn't right for everyone. We got good info, advice, support etc and APP played a big part in that.

Not having more kids is in the end no one else's business but our own. It wouldn't be questioned if it was a more physical illness but sadly there's still a way to go with awareness and understanding. Thanks for asking the question and everyone sharing experiences. Xx


Such a hard question to answer! I'm quite open about it these days - many of my friends know we've been trying, unsuccessfully thus far. They also know I suffered badly with PP back in 2012 but to be honest I would go through it again to have another, knowing now that it is temporary and treatable. X

I dnt agree. I have been off meds whole preg and am fine. Even if you stay on med the risk of anything serious happening to foetus is quite low. Doctors and care has vastly improved in recent yrs. I am goin bak on lithium straight after delivery and a new med : Quetiapine which i have heard is v gd esp to get rest which is vital. Epidural will help labour pains which i feel was a major trigger for PPP. At the end of the day you have to ask was the relapse worth it. For me even though it was severe lasted two months (high) i would not wish this away and not have my daughter. I knw depression lasts longer / suicide risk but vast majority do get beta. With proper planning it can even be avoided in many cases and with new meds or combinations of meds. You can even stay at mother baby unit pre post delivery to get sufficient rest if you wud like to.


I guess everyone has their own experiences and the decision is a really personal one for each lady - no two people are the same. I too would not want to be without both of my children and having had no recurrence of the awful illness which is PP after my 2nd, I feel like any worry and doubts, which we were determined to overcome, were completely worthwhile.

When everything was turned upside down with PP, I suppose in some ways it was hardest for my husband and others who didn't have the illness as something which was temporary - I always think that no matter how horrid things were, they were a temporary state of being for me, and I got better. But I wouldn't have like to have been my husband and living through it all to be honest.

It was so scary that the brave decision in some ways was really his, knowing the risk of another episode of PP was pretty high. Of course I experienced it all too and was scared of becoming ill again and so I guess for some people it is just too much of a risk. I think I've said before, but in some ways it was a great exercise in risk minimisation and planning (not what a pregnancy should ideally be, but it worked I suppose!) We didn't have to make the decision on meds through pregnancy, although taking an antipsychotic on delivery was a no-brainer for us, we had to do it to give ourselves the fighting chance of no PP. With a gap of 4 years between my children, in my experience not much had changed or improved in my local services. In fact the MBU I'd been in after my 1st has closed!

It's good to know that MBUs can be accessible for an admission, although this wasn't something I was able to access or have as a possibility due to a lack of units near me, and the only way I may have got there was if I'd been acutely unwell again. I don't like to think about it really, and am not planning more children now. I've had my really bad luck in getting PP 1st time and then my good luck in not the 2nd time, so I feel like that's fine. I really hope that access to these fantastic units, and more specialist perinatal services, becomes more equitable in the future.


You may also like...