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addicted to having babies?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Before I start let me just say I have no problem with big families, so this is not a thread about whether or not it is ok to have a large family. Also please do not turn this thread into a debate about population control.

Ok... I am wondering if there is anyone else out there who is addicted to being pregnant and having babies? I know this can be a great thing for some women and some families-- I have a lot of respect for "quiverful" families and I think the duggars are great (again, please don't turn this into a debate about the duggars! lol). However... I can tell you I am not strong enough/ stable enough to have a large family, yet I already have a large family (7 children) and every time my baby gets a little older.... I just want another one!

I don't understand this desperate desire to have more children when I already have so many. I am not particularly religious so I can't claim "quiverful" status. I just want to be constantly pregnant.

I have gone over and over this in my mind... but can't really reach a conclusion. I used to think it was because being pregnant made me feel special, and I loved the attention I got from my midwives. But my last pregnancy gave me horrendous morning sick for the whole 9 months.... and believe me I did not feel special at all. And my midwives have gone out of business due to insurance expenses.... so my last two were with OBs who were nice enough but didn't give me the love and caring the midwives did. Yet I still want to get pregnant.

I just don't feel right unless I'm pregnant. I can totally identify with Octomom (again, please don't turn this into a debate...) .... if I could get pregnant with multiples I would (not octuplets, but maybe twins).

Is anyone else like this? Is there any way I can snap out of it? I have a many physical, medical, emotional, and practical reasons why i should not have more.... yet I am ready to beg my husband to let me have another child.... help!
post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post
Is there any way I can snap out of it? I have a many physical, medical, emotional, and practical reasons why i should not have more..
Have you tried focusing on the needs of your existing children? I don't mean it in a snarky way at all, just think about what you can do for your 7 kids that you could not do for 8 or 10. My DS1 has really lost out, attention wise, with the birth of DS2.

And what about your personal needs? I love DS2, but the choice to have a second child has meant lots of changes (especially career wise) and sacrifices of things that are important to me. Just a tiny example - a 3-week trip I would really like to take will have to wait until he is 5+ years old.

At some point, you are going to stop having babies (due to money, age, medical reasons, whatever) ... figure out what you want to do then, what your identity will be. What will make you happy then?
post #3 of 24
The pregnancy part didn't really appeal to me, but having babies to care for I found divine. But I knew financially no way was I have a huge family, so we did Foster care, absolute best of both world for us. I only got placed with infants and small toddlers. I got to lavish attention on them and do the mommy thing with 17 babies, over 10 years, and now we are done (I'm done dh was ready to keep going) Now a new baby looks cute and adorable but I don't want it.
Of all those babies, only one stayed forever, Dd, and I'm so glad she did.
post #4 of 24
For me it is the impossibility to provide the same amount of attention and affection to EVERY.SINGLE.CHILD. Both my boys are very affectionate, and if I had more then the two of them to give the amount of affection that they thrive on, I would be in over my head.
post #5 of 24
pregnancy and having a newborn... yeah. I hear you on wanting to stay pregnant (although, by the end I'm always begging for labor), but beyond that the experience of labor and having a baby... I'm so there.

I think for me, part of my issue is not being ready (or interested) in changing my identity from preggo lady/ mama of baby to mom of older kids only. With that shift, I feel like there's more pressure on me to "get on with my life" and get a career, or whatever. It's a definite shift in how people see you and how you view your identity, imo. I think that's why I feel this push to keep getting pregnant/have babies...
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Juvysen View Post
I think for me, part of my issue is not being ready (or interested) in changing my identity from preggo lady/ mama of baby to mom of older kids only. With that shift, I feel like there's more pressure on me to "get on with my life" and get a career, or whatever. It's a definite shift in how people see you and how you view your identity, imo. I think that's why I feel this push to keep getting pregnant/have babies...
I agree with this totally! My youngest is 9 and while my kids still need me, I felt as though I was pressured to do something else with my life. I don't want to, I want to be mom and that's it! I can't imagine my life without a little one to take care of, it's what I enjoy most. That's what made me realize I wanted another on after all this time and after 2 years of trying, we are expecting #4 in August! I don't know how many more are in my future but, I can't ever imagine saying I'm done.
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SleeplessMommy View Post
Have you tried focusing on the needs of your existing children? I don't mean it in a snarky way at all, just think about what you can do for your 7 kids that you could not do for 8 or 10. My DS1 has really lost out, attention wise, with the birth of DS2.

And what about your personal needs? I love DS2, but the choice to have a second child has meant lots of changes (especially career wise) and sacrifices of things that are important to me. Just a tiny example - a 3-week trip I would really like to take will have to wait until he is 5+ years old.

At some point, you are going to stop having babies (due to money, age, medical reasons, whatever) ... figure out what you want to do then, what your identity will be. What will make you happy then?
This, absolutely.

[ETA] I just re-read your original post and I realized that you're already acknowledging that you're not ready or strong enough/stable enough to have another, yet you want another. I'm not going to erase all I already wrote, but I guess in that case my thoughts for you are much more simple: your gut is right, it sounds like if you know you can't handle more but you really want another baby and are on the verge of asking your dh to have another one, something is amiss and you should probably talk to someone to help you unpack what it is. Even looking around the web, have you googled what you call "baby addiction"? That and "obsessed with having babies" might be a starting point.

I commend you for reaching out and asking this question. I think your whole family - especially you and the kids you already have - will be way better off for you giving this serious consideration and trying to understand why you feel this way. Best of luck!

[My original answer] This is not about debating, what I'm about to say is my sincere opinion and is borne out usually by what I see in my work with families: there comes a point - and it's a different point for different couples/parents, but every couple or parent has their point - at which they can no longer meet the key needs of the kids they already have if they have more kids. While I know that in many families as the older kids get older they end up doing a lot of the care and attention for the younger kids and that's how huge families get by.

But you know what? That is not fair to the older kids. Many people I know were those older kids who spent a LOT of their childhoods caring for their siblings. And they turned out to be fine, upstanding wonderful humans. BUT... it was not without a struggle. Struggle for identity, struggle to "regain their youth", struggles with being angry at their parents later in life for feeling like they didn't parent them... several different struggles.

My feeling is that if you have a way to make sure that you as parents are paying attention to, feeding (not just food but love, emotional attention, intellectual attention, and general quality time) and obviously providing the basics (food, clothing, shelter) for ALL of your children enough, then have as many as you can/want to while still doing that.

But in most families the parents just can't/don't after a certain number of kids.

For some families that number is as small as 2. For others it may be 6 or 8. But it boils down to this: the line between "It's simply a personal choice and there's no wrong or right" and "It's selfish and not ok and something to seriously get help with" really boils down to how well your other kids are cared for.

Are they thriving, do they feel really connected to you and your dh and safe and happy and good in the world? Are they doing fine in school? How much time are you really able to spend with each child in a meaningful way?

AND: how much time do they spend not just playing with the other kids but taking care of them, doing their laundry/feeding them/cleaning them/taking them to and from school/babysitting... etc. I have nothing against kids having chores and household responsibilities, but at some point it's not fair to them if they become primary caretakers of their siblings while mom is off in babyblissland and mostly focused on the new baby. And then the next new baby. And then the next one.

It's all about how your other kids are doing, because you have just as much responsibility to care and love and attend to them as you do any future babies.
post #8 of 24
I just took my own advice to you and googled it: this was the first article that came up and it seems to make a lot of sense:

Some women driven to ‘baby addiction’
When moms always want a newborn, even at expense of other children

Today show
By Jacqueline Stenson
MSNBC contributor
msnbc.com contributor
updated 8:39 a.m. ET, Fri., Feb. 13, 2009

While it was once common for American families to have six, seven or even more children, today the sight of such a large brood makes many people stop and ask a seemingly simple question: Why?

Plenty have been asking that ever since the news broke that California mom Nadya Suleman gave birth to octuplets after already having six other young children. And celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Mia Farrow who have large families have long been an endless source of public curiosity and speculation.

There’s not always a simple reason why people create uncommonly large families. Some parents cite religious or cultural reasons for having many children. Some say they just love kids and feel they can provide a big family with a stable, loving home. Some want to help a child in need so they add to their biological families through adoption.

But sometimes the desire to keep having children can be rooted in complex psychological issues dating as far back as one’s childhood. In certain cases, experts say, it can become a compulsion, an obsession or even a “baby addiction.”

While the current book of psychiatric diagnoses, the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” has no entry on baby addiction, mental-health professionals say they see patients, mostly women, who desperately want to keep having newborns, even when they already have several children and aren’t managing their family situation well. That, they say, is a big red flag, no matter what term is used to describe it.

“It can be an addiction,” says Gayle Peterson, a family therapist in the San Francisco area and author of “Making Healthy Families.”

Overwhelmed, but wanting more
Peterson has seen several women in her practice who’ve been overwhelmed with four or five children, including those with special needs. Some of the women were suffering with depression or panic attacks and yet when their youngest child became a toddler, they wanted another baby. These women can be driven to have more children in an effort to make up for some sort of void or loss, usually from their own unhappy childhood, explains Peterson.

“If you’re just having babies to complete something in yourself that never got completed, you really are talking about an addiction,” she says.

Babies — all new and cherubic and completely enthralled with their mothers — can bring profound joy. But when they enter toddlerhood and start developing independence and a mind of their own, some mothers miss the intenseness of the newborn period and want another baby even though that’s not in the best interests of the family, Peterson says.

“Therapy helps women come to grips with the fact that this only complicates their lives, does not heal them,” she says.

“There are many rewards of having children,” says Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a psychiatrist at New York University Medical Center and a spokesperson for the American Psychiatric Association. But “as health professionals, we become concerned with respect to behavior that provides initial pleasure but eventually is spinning out of control.”

No ‘ideal’ family size
To protect the health and well-being of mothers and babies, fertility doctors have set guidelines for how many embryos should be implanted during one round of in vitro fertilization — guidelines that were ignored in Suleman’s case.

But while the average American family has about two children, there’s no single “ideal” family size for everyone, says Varma. Each couple should think through how many children they want and can manage, afford and provide for emotionally.

Rob Shearer, a father of 11 children ranging in age from 10 to 28, says he and his wife didn’t plan on having a large family. But he says things were going well, so they kept expanding.

“We never sat down and said, ‘Let’s have 11 children!’ We had two and enjoyed them, so we had a third,” says Shearer, of Lebanon, Tenn. “We enjoyed three, so we had a fourth.” Two girls were adopted from China.

He says that, like any parent, he feels inadequate and overwhelmed at times, but adds that it's all worth it.

Experts are quick to point out that there are plenty of big, happy families that are not the result of baby addiction. They also emphasize that children in small families can suffer emotional scars, too, from absentee or otherwise poor parents.

Kids need more than money
But having large numbers of children certainly can strain a family’s finances and emotional reserves, Varma says, and that can negatively impact the children. “Are neglect, abuse, emotional disturbances in children more likely in a situation like this? It’s definitely possible.”

Kids in large families — particularly those involving a lot of youngsters close in age — who don’t get enough attention because their mother is depressed or overwhelmed, for instance, may become anxious or depressed themselves, says family psychologist Nadine Kaslow, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta. On the other hand, they may act out to get attention.

“It’s really important when you have children to have resources,” Kaslow says. “Not just financial resources but emotional resources.”

Peterson says some of the most “damaged” children are those in very poor homes and those in very rich ones. Young children, especially, don’t thrive when they are raised by an army of nannies — even fabulous nannies — at the expense of bonding time with their parents, she says. Nannies come and go, which can be devastating to children who spend the majority of their time with these caregivers.

“You can’t have a baby and be a ‘weekend parent’ and expect that your baby won’t have anxiety as they grow,” Peterson says. “It’s not enough.”

As a guiding rule, families need to create “connection over disconnection,” she says.

For couples who endlessly feel that their family isn’t complete, even when it’s getting awfully crowded at home, Kaslow notes that there are other ways to get a “baby fix” — such as baby-sitting or working in a daycare center or volunteering in a church nursery.

“I do think there are people who always want to have a baby around,” she says. “But it’s one thing to love babies and another to keep having babies.”
post #9 of 24
Hi there! I can't believe I have found someone who feels just like me! I really did think I was alone! I have just had my 8th child, who may I add, is as wonderful and amazing as all of my fantastic children are! She is two months old, and already I can feel my mind starting to think maybe we could have just one more? The trouble is I said that before we got pregnant with our last child so really can't use that line again! My husband was all for going for a vasectomy as he really doesn't want anymore children, and I thought towards the end of my 8th pregnancy I would be fine with that, but as the dates gotten closer, I've asked him not to do it on the grounds that I'm not ready to make things so final yet! The thought of not being able to have anymore children if I want to makes me feel just awful! I feel anxious, sick, desperate and just plain terrible! I have tried to understand how I feel and have a variety of reasons why maybe I feel this way...maybe it's because I was an only child and often felt lonely, maybe being pregnant boosts my confidence-although I'm usually concious of how I look by the end so I doubt it-, maybe it's because I've been pregnant for soooo much during my life and had babies around me I don't know what else naturally I should do, maybe I'm scared of the career change and scared of going out into the world on my own two feet, or maybe I feel that when I finally stop having children then I'm admitting I'm getting older and am past that young reproducing stage? These are all my own hang ups that could be responsible for my primal need to have more children and not intended to offend anyone else! I love all my children to absolute bits, they are all so individual and perfect in their own way and no matter what the reason for me having them all, I am grateful that I have them! There are times when I do feel overwhelmed with so many children, but then I'm sure there are parents out there who have two or three kids and feel overwhelmed at times too? I do need to sort something out with my feelings though as if I don't get to the bottom of this and figure out how to deal with it, I can see it will drive a wedge in between my husband and I and I don't want that to happen as he has been more than fair to me! It does make me feel better knowing there is at least one other lady out there that feels like me, so thank you frugalmum! Xxx
post #10 of 24

I love babies and toddlers and even sweet preschoolers.  But the reality is that they grow up and become 10 and 13 and 16 and those are not such fun times for me.    And I can't just keep having babies, even though babies are great, because eventually I will have an older child and teenager and adult child....and on and on.  Forcing yourself to look at the whole person and not just the baby really helps me put my biological urge to get pregnant and have babies, and all my selfish reasons for having babies (that first year is absolute heaven and the next 3 years or so are just soooo much fun).    but i know someone who grew up in a family all about the babies.  Once the last kid got big enough to not be fun anymore mom has another one.  She loved babies.  As for all the older kids....from what i gather , it was pretty much every man for himself.  Things got better for big kids once the babies stopped coming (so maybe the last 3 or 3 kids got a real childhood).  I am not saying big families cannot be done well, but the desire for another *baby* is not a good reason to add another *person* to the family.  Because babies quickly become big kids.  You need to desire to have another someone in the family for the long haul.  Not just another baby.  If you just love holding, snuggling and loving on babies I recommend volunteer work.

post #11 of 24

Yeah... interesting looking at this thread 2 yrs later.  I still LOVE the *IDEA* of having another baby.  And I love the toddler phase, really.  Not loving the older kid phases :-/  You know that saying "everybody wants the puppy, but nobody wants the dog"... I kinda feel like I'm that person :(  I hate that, though.  I love my kids, but it's not really fun for me at these phases (my older two are 6 and 5).  I find myself yearning for the baby phase with all three... and really lamenting that my youngest is nearly potty trained and speaks in full sentences and is nearly weaned, and convinced he's a "big boy".  *sigh*

 

I'm standing at this point in my life that kind of feels like "well, now what?"

post #12 of 24
LROM, please edit your post so that it falls within MDC's copyright guidelines. Feel free to include a link to the original story so that folks can read the whole thing. smile.gif
post #13 of 24

It is ok that you do not think big kids are fun.  I don't.  who says it has to be?  It is freaking hard work. Something can be good, worthwhile, fulfilling, profitable (in a real way, not a monetary way) without being fun.  We can love our children intensely without finding the day to dayness of it fun.  I thought everything about the baby and toddler phase was fun.  i have always thought they are missing the mark when they try to scare teen girls out of getting pregnant by telling them babies are hard work and no fun.  (seriously?  who would believe that) or even expensive.  They really need to talk to them about 6-12 year olds.  because that is where the rubber hits the road and this parenting stuff becomes more work and less fun.

post #14 of 24

YES.  Exactly!

 

Doesn't help that we're sort of expecting to homeschool.  I'm sort of stuck in this netherworld of not liking being with my kids constantly, but it's probably the best plan for our family.  Blahhhh.
 

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mosaic View Post

LROM, please edit your post so that it falls within MDC's copyright guidelines. Feel free to include a link to the original story so that folks can read the whole thing. smile.gif

 

 

That post is from 3/10, and LROM hasn't posted on mothering in months and months.

 

There is something really odd going on with really old threads being resurrected lately.

post #16 of 24

Part of it is that the boards have become so inactive that people are reading and not realizing how quickly you get to old posts. 

post #17 of 24

Yeah, they definitely don't seem as active as they were a couple years ago.  I used to be able to spend all day on here.

post #18 of 24

I struggle with ambivalence about another baby. I have a 20yr old from my first marriage, wanted more kids but had accepted that it wasn't going to happen, then met my husband and we have a nine, seven and five year old. Said we were done but I could not make it permanet. Now we have an eight month old and I got fixed, but some days I regret it. 

 

For me though, I do love the kid phase, I don't actually enjoy the baby stage, I can't wait for them to walk and talk, I only go through the baby stage because it's the only way to get to the kid stage! 

 

I think if I could be a stay at home mom I wouldn't hesitate to have more and neither would dh, but now that he's the sahd and I am a wohm, we are both too tired, lol! That and I am 43, I think about how old I will be when my youngest is grown.

 

Anyway, I feel like I could raise more, but can't do the pregnancy/newborn thing again. We have considered adoption.

post #19 of 24

Just because a post is old, doesnt mean it is no longer relevant or not about something very interesting. I think the OPs point is worth considering. There is something so magical, profound, and irreplacable, abut having a new baby-'fresh from the divine'-to quote an article on mothering, and now i cant remember who said that first....

 

And a baby is always at the expense of other siblings to some degree, a baby is at the expense of the parents.... but also brings so much richness that its worth it. At what point  to stop? Thats ultimatetly a question about family size. Personally,im happy with 3, but sometimes i feel sad that  i will neve rhave another baby. At the same time, my baby is only 5 mths old and im exhausted! See? Crazy right?

 

Also, it goes without saying that the needs of other siblings should be considered. Taking care of childrens needs is the nature of parenting.

post #20 of 24

Actually, i dont think that wanting a baby just so you can have another 'baby'' without considering who the baby will become is a good idea. For me at least, its always been about considering the family as a whole, and part of the excitement about a baby is meeting a new person, and getting to know them as they grow.

 

Im interested to know why others have said they dont like the older kid stage. I love all stages ive experienced so far. Mine are 5mths, 4 and almost 7. The only thing i dont like about the older kid  scenario is being a slave to the school schedule,...not a problem if you are homeschooling

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