Still want a baby but know that I can't

I had a severe episode of PPP followed by depression when my child was born. It has taken almost three years to get over it but I still find myself wishing that I could have a second child. My partner doesn't fearing that I couldn't cope and I know deep down I would probably struggle but feel defective and sad in the company of happily pregnant friends. I am grateful for my child but feel incomplete and haven't managed to move on from this heaviness. Does anyone else out there understand? Not sure where to go from here; have moved away from mental health services but may need counselling again? Confused..

13 Replies

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  • Hey. Totally get where you are coming from. I'm in a similar position to you. My son is just over 2 and lots of friends are pregnant with 2nd. Jealous! If only they knew how hard it is for us pp mums to consider going thru that hell again. My mum has already decided for me that I should just be happy with the one child to avoid pp but I know I can deal with anything - just don't know if my family can! Was pretty horrendous first time around. I would love another child and yes am shit scared of pp but whatever happens happens i suppose. You have plenty of family support?

  • Hi, I do not have family support on this; I just wish the longing would go away. Thanks for replying

  • How long have you had this feeling?

    I used to feel the same way after I was recovered which took about 18 months. For about 4 months after I really wanted another baby and me and my husband had brief conversations about it but it always ended with the same decision that it was too risky to try plus it wasn't easy to get pregnant in the first place.

    Did you discuss this with any health professionals before?

  • Yes having a second is very scary and only you know if you can't go through that but I'd just like to say that there's a 50% chance you won't get ill again, there's chance of a relapse without kids too, I took the risk and my second is 11 weeks old on Thu. Having an excellent plan in place helped and there's so much can be done to reduce risks but being pregnant brought the whole experience back in my mind but luckily no pp yet.

    Sally

  • Ps. I don't think the longing will go away, it's nature. I think counselling might help though if you decide to not try again as there may be ways for your logical mind to outweigh your instincts possibly. It is also a joint decision with your partner.

    I'd just like to add that not doing all the night feeds helped me not get pp but if you don't have that support, it is more difficult especially with two

    Sally

  • Thanks; I know that it's possible to weather the pp storm but no one can visualise a positive outcome from my family. I am comforted by your kind words - thank you

  • I'm sorry to hear that harmonygirl as can be hard not having family and partner support but if it's something you really want then maybe you need to explore other options. Is your partner definitely not keen? Do you still want to be with him or is it a huge issue between you two?

  • Hi Harmonygirl,

    Further children after pp is such a personal choice and a tricky yet scary thing, no matter what you choose. It can be positive, but can also be really difficult to decide whether the risk is something you want to take. You are not alone in this, it's something that looms over us all to an extent I think - as other replies have already shown. If you haven't come across it already, APP produces some Guides which might be helpful for you. Here is the link: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    The Recovery Guide gives info and tips on how to come through pp, and the High Risk Pregnancy gives some good facts and sources of information and support. They have been written with input of real Mums and families, as well as professionals which may give you further guidance. If nothing else, it shows you are not alone in this situation. The Partners Guide might also help if your family are receptive to finding out more? In my experience, fear can be a very powerful thing and sometimes it is a lack of awareness too, only the memories of the really bad times which can be hard to get past.

    I just wanted to say it is completely natural to share the feelings of longing, I too had this when friends were having their second children. I was almost jealous and it hurt so much at times that everything seemed so easy and straight forward for them. We did take the decision to have another child and had a plan in place, including allowing a longer gap, promoting sleep, rest and having good support in place. I'm sorry to hear that things are not straight-forward with regards to your family. I too had some similar issues but we were lucky that I stayed well after my second and it was completely worth it to complete my family. Equally, having just one child and all the joy they bring is just as valid. Nobody can make the choice for you.

    If you are in the UK, APP also offer a 2nd Opinion Advice Service, which may give you another source of information and support. There is no charge to access it and I found it great to be able to talk to someone who truly understood PP and the choices we were facing. I know others have felt the same, here is the link: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    Whatever you decide, please know that others (including myself!) have been just where you are now and talking about it does help. And that overall, more important than anything, is that this is not your fault, PP is an illness and it can take some time to process. Perhaps you can look into some counselling and this will also assist you with processing and moving forward.

    Wishing you all the very best, take care and be kind to yourself, xx

  • Hi, I was in the same boat as you, had made up our mind to stick to one. But then had counselling which made me much stronger. And I had told my former perinatal psychiatrist that I had decided to not have any more because of the risks (she had been very full of doom and gloom initially) but when I told her that, she totally changed her tune. She said that since she had been putting a plan together with patients, the women hadn't been getting ill (or not for long). So, terrified, I went ahead, got pregnant, and on her advice took drugs (olanzapine for 3 or 4 months) after the birth and was fine. I know I was lucky but I also got a night nanny for the 1st week so I could sleep (expensive but so worth it). And my 2nd son is the biggest blessing ever. So don't rule it out. I was really ill first time like you and then depressed after. And my mental health is great these days (and my no 2 child just turned 3). Also haven't ruled out having a 3rd.

  • ps my family were very concerned about my going ahead and advised me to stick to one. But I also had fabulous 1:1 support on here from another mum once pregnant, who had had PP, and that really helped.

  • Great job opening up about this.

    I think all PPP mama's feel this way. For me it's been 5 years and I am happy with where were at, but it is hard every time I hear someone is pregnant with their 2nd.

    The great thing is you have APP and this forum to discuss and navigate these feelings.

    I hope you continue to feel better and get some resolution.

  • Hi there,so sorry you have had such a severe case of PP.I have a 21mth old and also had PP severely.Where were u treated?General ward or a Mother and Baby Unit?I was treated in both.The general ward I was sectioned in for 28days.It was horrendous.The Mbu was amazing and have helped my recovery so much.We too would like a second child.I have been advised by my Cpn to wait a yr coming off antiosychotics first.Could you ask you doctor with referring you to your local Mental Health Services?I also have a family support worker.We are also challenged financially as I have given up work to care for our son.Just wondered what your financial situation is like?Would your partner consider having another child if you had more support?Just wonders if you waited till your oldest child was at school if that would make it easier?If you could afford it could you consider putting your eldest into after school clubs maybe?If you could afford it you could look at putting your baby into nursery part time to give you the time and space to recover.Also could you see if your partner could get extended leave to help when the babies born?You could make up leave with holiday,paternity,compassionate and unpaid parental leave.Do you have a perinatal service?we do.My Cpn has said to contact them 6 mths before trying for a baby and they would keep me on their books.Also have you considered adopting or even surrogacy?Hope you get the support and guidance you need.Recovering from PP is so hard.You are not alone.Take care.

  • Thank you so much and Thanking everyone who has replied to my post today. I have been through the entire mental health system and after 3 years have clawed my way back to a fragile normality- although still not medication free. I am bipolar and think that another child would probably break me but am uplifted by people's positive experiences and planned support strategies. This forum has been such a positive step towards healing. Thank you all again.

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