How Do I Get over Not Having Another Child?

Updated on April 26, 2012
J.O. asks from Corvallis, OR
17 answers

Hello Mama's! My husband is 47, I will be 44 later this year. We have been trying to have a second child for a few years now with a couple of miscarriages and consultations with reproductive endocrinologists. I'm about ready to give up..time is running out. Our daughter is 4.5yo and I love her dearly. I love being a mom, I loved being pregnant with her and I found birth to be a wonderful experience. I have always wanted two children, that was always our plan. When I think of my future with only one I am brought to tears. I want my daughter to have someone to grow up with. I don't know how to let go of this dream. We held onto her crib and all her baby stuff thinking we would have another. When I think of getting rid of all of that stuff I feel so incredibly sad, I'm beside myself with grief. Adoption is not an option due to my husband's feelings. I look at babies or pregnant women with such profound sadness and longing and sometimes anger it's incredible the emotion I feel.

Has anyone out there been through this? How did you get past it?
Thanks for responding.

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answers from Chicago on

I haven't been through this myself, but a friend of mine has. She had the same feelings as you until her daughter was in second grade. At that time, she made a conscious decision to let go of all of those feelings when she realized was missing out on her daughter's childhood by being so sad about not having another one. She decided to throw her body and soul into raising her one and only daughter. She concentrates on the positives of having an only child. Her daughter is now a happy, very well adjusted, and cherished 10 yr old.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I have a friend, that at about 47 years old, had her 2nd child.
She and her Husband are the same age.
They did it via IVF.
Her pregnancy was fine. Her son was born fine.

Now, they really wanted a 2nd child. She herself was an only child. And she did not want her eldest child to have to be alone or to be an only child like she was. She had great parents and grew up very privileged. But she and her Husband really wanted a 2nd child.

Have you tried IVF?

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answers from Dallas on

I am sorry, I never went through that. I know it must be painful for you.

We have an only child, now 17, by choice. We both felt complete during the pregnancy and now, no regrets whatsoever.

We adore our lifestyle as it is with 1 child. Your child will not be handicapped by being 1 child unless you make her feel that way.

We are able to do more financially with her, include her in things many children do not get to experience, etc.

I know you long for another and who knows, maybe it will still happen, but please don't view having 1 child as something bad. You hear stories about only children and that is all it is... stories.. You'll find just as many unadjusted, spoiled, bratty children in families with multiple children as well.

Best wishes to you.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.,

We have an only child and we also had a difficult time getting pregnant and the childbirth was also challenging. In fact, my doctor told me that I more than likely would have complications if I did have another child. With all of that, we came to terms with one child and to tell you the truth, now I wouldn't have it any other way. But I needed to start focusing on the positives of one child, not the negatives, in order to move my mind forward.

Here are my views on our only child (I've posted this before when similar questions come up):

1. One child is less stressful! My patience is rarely stretched too thin (I'm NOT a very patient person by nature)

2. More funds on hand for outings/vacations -- we LOVE to travel

3. More one on one time with our child

4. No sibling rivalry or fighting

5. More time with my husband at night

6. Easier to focus on one child's homework at night

7. We only have a two bedroom house :)

8. Saving for college will be easier

9. My husband and I never have to "divide and conquer" as I see all of our friends having to do w/ their multiple kids

10. After nursing for 21 months, my boobs are still in pretty good shape. Doing it again? Forgetaboutit!!

11. I have the energy to play with our daughter!

12. Every little thing is special w/ our daughter :)

13. Family is very willing to watch one child while we have our adult time. Two or more? Don't think that would happen.

14. We honestly couldn't afford another child, whethere we were up for it or not

15. For us, one child is easier on our marriage

16. We're the 3 muskateers and a really close family

17. I never have to go through the intensive and sleep-deprivation infancy stage again!

Anyway, I wish you the best. Start your own list of what's great about being the 3 muskateer family and enjoy your future because family life is truly what you make it. Hugs!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Hi Jenn -

I'm so sorry this is bringing you sadness. I work for a national laboratory and only call on OBGYNs/MFM so I hear about this often.

On the flip side, when I was 27 I adopted by biological niece with only five minutes notice, really. I never had a plan on how many children I would want and never felt the urge to get pregnant. I love being a mom more than anything in the world (she is 18 now) but was so completely fulfilled with one daughter (maybe because of all the drama we had to endure).

I hope you receive some responses about the benefits of only children, there are tons. I know there are a lot of mamas here that can contribute to that.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi Jenn,
I had my son at 39 after several miscarriages...
But we were pretty sure we would stop at O. and we did.
Honestly we have no regrets.
Sometimes life doesn't turn out as we see it in our mind's eye...but usually, it turns out for good reason.
The emotions you're feeling are very similar to grief--normal & natural.
Feel them and work through it.
Sometimes it's hard for us to grasp a different plan, but sometimes "different" turns out to be better!

I love having an only child and he's 9 now, and he really has NEVER expressed a desire for a sibling. This is our normal!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Sweetheart, you are focused on what you don't have, instead of what you do have. The dream of a second (or in some cases, even the first) child is a big one, and well worth dreaming for most women. And the loss of a dream does hurt, and does require grieving, just like any big loss.

I'm in my mid-60's now, and have plenty of experience with lost dreams, large and small. I'm also friends with lots of older women, and ALL of us have suffered tremendously in our individual ways over lost dreams. I know a few women who struggled mightily over never being able to conceive, or not being able to carry a pregnancy to term, or not having as many children as they had hoped.

And the good news is: they were all eventually able to let go of what they couldn't have. They had to, in order to fully embrace what they did have. Some recognized dwelling in loss as mental illness of a sort. Some found alternatives, like adoption, or becoming the "honored aunt" to the children of siblings or close friends, or volunteering to hold babies in hospital nurseries. They were all able to finally let go of the dream that couldn't happen.

And they all report similar discoveries: That shift began when they were able to start taking in the bazillions of blessings that revealed themselves every single day. Moments of love and grace and beauty. In your case, I wonder if really allowing yourself the many joys of raising one healthy child would help you. Every time you notice the ache, immerse yourself in the memory of carrying and giving birth to your daughter, the preciousness of her tiny newness, and, even more important, the whole reality of what she has become, and the myriad ways she continues to change.

I raised one daughter, and we were so happy in so many ways. I was able to give her all my available attention, and whatever resources we had were hers. Even though we were pretty poor most of the time, she LOVED her upbringing, so much so that she wanted to have a daughter so that she could be to her child what I was to her.

She had a son, and so her experience is somewhat different than she expected, but we all adore him and she knows how blessed she is. She's decided to stop with one child, and he's happy not having siblings. Single children have some considerable advantages in life, and are not necessarily lonelier or more spoiled than kids in larger families. So it's not necessary, and not even a good idea, to have kids "for" their siblings.

I know your emotions around this are strong; I hear them in your request. You are allowed to have those feelings for as long as they serve you, but it sounds like they are serving only misery now. And I hope you will be able to hear this: as long as you keep feeding the anger and sense of deprivation you feel, you won't get to anything happier.

Anger like that is, in its own way, a temper tantrum. Hard to hear, but watch those moments, and learn from them. I KNOW it feels like it's happening TO you – I've been there quite a few times myself. But if you start paying attention and asking yourself questions about it, you will gradually discover that you have far more choice than you believe.

Here's one beautiful source of healing for many, many people: visit and watch the videos of people questioning their thoughts. Download the free worksheets that will allow you to try it yourself. Ask those questions and answer them sincerely, and I can almost guarantee, you'll start feeling lighter.

Your daughter needs a happy mother. She needs to know she's "enough" for you, or she'll enter her adult years with her own unexplained and unappeasable hungers. She needs to see how you approach life's disappointments, and blessings, so she can learn how it's done. Think about what you want for her, and take yourself in hand. Your life can truly be happier than what you're feeling now, but you have to want that, and allow that, or it will take much longer.

I truly wish you the best.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Not every sibling is a blessing and friend to your older child.
My younger sister was a sheer nightmare to grow up with.
Just do a mental mind flip and thank your stars your daughter won't have to live with the torture of fighting, hair pulling, and bickering.
My sister was the biggest mistake of my Moms life and she's STILL causing my Mom heart aches (my sister is 48, my Mom is 76).
You can mope around over this, or you can find the silver lining and see the bright side.
There's a lot to be said for concentrating your efforts, attention and resources on one child.
Just be open to the positives.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Sometimes you just need to recognize the gift that you do have. It took me a long time to start getting rid of my daughters stuff.

This past January I finally made the decison to do it (my daughter is 4 1/4 so a lot of it we have not touched in years). My husband is turning 54 this year, and I just turned 43. In January, we just accepted that it was not going to happen. Our daughter was enough, we love her and did not want her to pick up on the fact wanted another so badly (did not want her to think she was not enough) and she was gettin gold enough to understand what we were talking about.

I will say a prayer for your family.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

I understand how your husband feels-as in I know people feel that way. My good friend is going through this. She can't get pregnant (even with one!) and she wants to adopt. He doesn't, feeling only his genetics would create a worthy human I guess. It's hard to sympathize with people who so badly want to raise kids and have a family, but then not really that badly- so to speak.

As an adopted person who was a joy to my parents and still am, now providing grand kids and cousins to our entire large extended family where we are every bit as much a part of the family as everyone else, I feel bad for people who opt against that future in favor of the "shared DNA or nothing" approach. If YOU really want to adopt, I would work on that angle with your husband. It's not 100% his call and you deserve a fair argument. Some of the greatest people I know are adopted. They're not inferior beings. My daughter's best friend in Tae Kwon Do is Chinese and her family is big, awesome and happy. She's such a cool, loving girl, and her parents are doing all the stuff parents do, which was their dream all along. Our area has TONS of foster and adopted kids, so lots of families we know have not one, but several adopted kids. The website (I often browse) will rip your heart out with the sweet kids who need homes. Our other friend adopted an African Orphan through her church's missionary program. I intend to adopt two kids (locally) one day if I can manage it even though I am blessed with three. I just feel I need to pay it forward for the good life I was given.

If you can be happy with just one child, then that is great, you should look for support to move on to accepting that. You will have an awesome life with just one child, and you will be more blessed than many. But that doesn't HAVE to be thrust upon you with no recourse. That's not fair either. Blessings to you, may your husband reconsider one day.

And if you seriously don't want to consider adoption, and you do just want to "get past the grief", then blessings to you in that area as well. The feelings will pass, and you will have a wonderful life with your daughter. There will be lots of perks to having time and money for just one child-most of my closest friends have only one child, and LOVE it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Instead of adoption, can you guys consider being foster parents - there are LOTS of kids that need a temporary or permanent home - even infants. I sometimes think I want another and then realize right now is not a good time/place in our lives and think - foster care would be a good solution for us when we are ready for another. They too just need a loving structured home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

If your husband doesn't want another child I would assume foster care is out too. No adoption so the only thing I can think of the fill your arms is baby sitting an infant. I know that isn't being pregnant or your own child but just holding a baby and feeding it and being there for the child all day may help tremendously. I know I would always have a child if I could but it doesn't work that way and so I have so enjoyed babysitting grandchildren during the week full time right now and sometimes for some of the others just whenever need be but taking care of little babies is such a joy it may help you...and it may not. I'm sorry for your sorrow over this but you can find play dates for your little girl and for you just find a baby to hold.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

HI Jen,
There was a time when I thought I was only going to have one child, due to difficulties with my husband that lead me to believe that we were going to divorce right away and because I only intended to have children with from the same father.
Anyway, when I realized I was having an only child I had a good cry, and I mean GOOD CRY, then I told myself that just because I hated being an only child, it didn’t mean my son would hate it also and that I wasn’t going to let my fears be his fears and that I was going to help him make long lasting relationships with family and friends. After that, I felt at peace and was able to let go and let God.
I hope you feel the peace that you need.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I've been completely in your shoes. I had my first at 40 and really, really wanted a 2nd. At 42 I tried again through my fertility clinic (getting pregnant the first time was so easy through them). 5 IUIs and 1 IVF later, no go. I was willing to go through a second round of IVF, but was rejected by the state grant program the second time and knew I couldn't afford the entire cost (my medical insurance does not cover IVF at all). My doctor assured me with my health that I would probably easily conceive using donor eggs, but I was not interested going that route. Soooo, I finally had to face the facts and give it up. I'm 46 now and there's no way it's going to happen. Once I made that decision, I began donating away all the baby stuff I'd been saving. It was really tough. Two other women I know quite well went through this same heart-wrenching process.

Now I've made my peace with it and it's OK. Honestly, I'm not sure that physically and financially I could have handled a second. Ironically, my son wants an OLDER brother, no interest in a younger sibling. Sorry, can't help him there! All jokes aside, though, he seems to be fine not having a sibling. I arrange tons of playdates for him and many of these kids are singletons too. I know it's going to work out fine, but I wanted to let you know I completely understand where you're coming from.

You could consider donor eggs. It was not for me, but your chances of conception go way up with donor eggs.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I'm sorry. I haven't been through it but I have a friend/neighbor who I get the sense wanted another child. We're not close enough for me to outright ask. But from the comments she's made... Anyway, I look at her and honestly think how blessed she is bc she just has such a sweet, beautiful daughter. Remember that more isn't necessarily better. My BIL and BOTH SIL's have caused my parents-in-law so much grief that never seems to end. I'm not sure if you have neices or nephews but you can expand your daughter's family that way. Our neighbor really makes an effort with her extended family. Cousins can end up closer than siblings. I know plenty of people who can't stand their siblings... Or another neighbor has an only child and just makes a huge effort in the neighborhood. One of my daughters calls her her 2nd mom. I know it's not the same and it's hard so like someone said, have a good cry or 5 and then make the decision to focus on the positive. You likely really are blessed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I've been struggling with this. hubby and I finally decided to go for a third kid, and I'm not having any luck. In fact, I haven't even been ovulating.

I was getting very sad when I saw pregnant women, etc. but then it hit me a few weeks ago: all the things we can do without this extra child. I'm focusing on what we do have, and on all the fabulous things we can do as a household with one less child. I am also going to go get myself a dog!

I worry about the regret, and about always feeling an emptiness, but I know that my current family can fill that hole, if I let them.



answers from New York on

I am totally going through this right now! I am 36 and my husband is 35. Our dd will be 4 in August (she was conveived through invitro). Last year, we tried three separate times unsuccesfully to transfer the remainder of our embryos. Now, we are faced with the decision whether to spend the apx $15,000 it will cost to do this again, obviously with NO guarantees, and whether we want to go through what we went through last year. Frankly, I'm not sure if my heart can take it. But, like you, when I think of making this decision "final" and giving away my daughter's things, I get so incredibly sad!! What to do?? My husband wants us to go for it, but that is alot of money to us and I just don't know if I am up for this challenge. We always wanted two kids and I just feel so bad leaving my daughter an only child. I know in my heart she won't know the difference, but I know what it is like to grow up with siblings (and so does my husband) and we wanted that for her! My heart goes out to you...I honestly know exactly how you feel. I would say maybe try a different doctor for a fresh opinion and make a decision based on what that doctor says. If they haven't found a medical reason for your problem conceiving, maybe just keep trying the old fashioned way and see what happens. Don't give up hope if this is what you really still want! Hugs!

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