Deciding to be a parent
I’m at the age where it’s time for me and my husband to have a child. I use to think when I was teenager that I wanted 4-6 kids. Now as an adult I see how the world can hurt us, and my mental health plays a HUGE part in making the decision. My Pop and Uncle (fathers side) both committed suicide. My Grandma (mother’s side) battled agoraphobia for most of her adult life. I battle with severe anxiety & depression and avoidant personality disorder. I don’t want to pass all this on to a child. But I also don’t want to let my husband down. He says he doesn’t mind if we don’t have children but I see him noticing babies and kids and smiling. Will I be denying him fatherhood and love. Know it’s a decision we both have to make together but I’m finding I’m leaning towards no more than yes.
So basically what I’m asking is, has anyone else been in a similar situation where they’ve weighed up whether or not to have children based on their mental health?
Thanks for taking the time to read my post. Emmy
Imo, considering your family history I think no more than two children will be quite managable and will more than satisfy your husband.
Sometimes we over think issues and live a life of "what ifs" but being over concerned just takes a little more logic. Whats the saying?
Everything in moderation?
I have a niece who an experienced extreme MH breakdown following her 3rd child which took several years of treatment & support to recover from. She had a history of anxiety but had not sought any treatment but had managed to live a reasonably normal life. She wanted a daughter (Her other children were boys) After seeking advice from her doctors she weaned off the medications she was taking & eventually was stable enough to attempt to get pregnant. Because of her history her doctor arranged for her to be referred to a program were she got extra support & regular checkups both during pregnancy & after birth. Everything went well bot I think for her & her husband knowing what signs to look for & knowing there were professions ready to support her if required helped. The child is now 2. She has had some problems this year but knowing what to do enabled her to get help early before she became very unwell.
The choice of whether or not to have a child is up to you & your husband but I would suggest talking with your doctor prior to getting pregnant & discussing options for extra support in case things go wrong. There are no guarantees in life so even someone with no prior issues could have problems & others at risk can sail through unscathed. My mother was told not to have children due to her medical history & high risk of serious medical problems if not death with the stress of pregnancy & motherhood. She decided to go against the doctors advice & my 2 siblings & I were born. My dad was aware of the risks & did everything he could to help mum to reduce the risks. Mum enjoyed watching not only us but her grandchildren grow up before she died.
Good luck with your decision
I hate being a parent. Sounds awful but it is the truth. I love my kids. But the toll on my health physically and mentally has been and is enormous.
That said... If I could go back and choose again I would do it again. The difference... I would move closer to my family first. My biggest problem is not my mental illness or my autoimmune disease. It is that I have had four years without time to myself. That I've completely lost my sense of self.
My friend told me once it was never meant to be one child one parent... We need a community. We need people we can rely on to help.
In my view kids are a blessing if you have a support network! What is yours like? If you know you have a MI you will need the time and the support and the resources to still make yourself a priority and care for YOU. When a child is in the picture you automatically put them first. So who is going to look after you? I think if you have a solid support network and lots of help having kids will not be as bad as you're worried about.
Would love to hear what you think.
welcome to this forum. I'm a new mum and since becoming a mum i've suffered from PND but if i knew before becoming a mum that i would suffer from depression i would still go ahead and have kid because the reward are far greater even if there are days i'm at my lowest.
As you are already aware that you suffer from depression before getting pregnant talk to your doctor and let her/him know that you and your husband are thinking on having a kid and what support are there for you? Also sit down with your husband and discuss it with him, tell him how you are feeling and if both of you decide to go down that path he will need to support you and let him know there could be day where you will feel at your lowest and those days you will need him more than ever and not to feel bad if you were to say things that you might regret but that you didn't mean to say those things.
if you have the family support let your family know and that you will need all their support, explain them that you and your husband has already made a decision and you don't want any judgment but just support and love.
If you have the support and love of your loves one, you definitely can have kids and enjoy motherhood. Support and love can overcome anything. Sending you hugs and positive energy and hope you and your husband can make this decision together xx
You got everyone going.👍🏻
I think you would make a great mum.
I'm 45 I think, I have three, son 28, daughter 19 and daughter 16
I didn't realise/workout/or was told I have MH until my last daughter was two,this was very common back then.
You are very aware of your mental health,you are extremely intelligent,you sound like you would know your triggers etc. it also sounds like hubby would be very supportive.
As for your child x 2 your doing ok hey.
Totaly up to you, listen to your ❤️
Thank you so much White Knight, Elizabeth, Quercus, Cs2h and Dory for your honest and open responses to my post.
White Knight - I think we’d be happy with just 1. I was one of three sisters and definately not the favourite - that was hard.
Elizabeth - thank you for mentioning your niece and the great support she received from her doctor. Would definately sit down with our GP to put together a plan if we decide to have children. Hope your niece is doing ok, you said she had some problems this year. How lovely to hear of your mother was able to have 3 children even though what the doctors said, and having your fathers support must have given her such strength.
Quercus - your reply doesn’t sound awful at all hun. It’s brave of you to be so honest! I really respect and appreciate your words. And it’s nice to hear you say if given the choice, you’d do it again. May I ask (sorry for my naivety) but what is an autoimmune disease? I’m sorry that you have to battle that alongside your mental illness. Regarding my community, I have a very small family. Husbands family all overseas, have my Dad (saddely my Mum passed 3 years ago) & 2 older sisters. We are all extremely close. And my husband is so supportive. I have 2 very close friends who mean the world to me and are like family. Is that a big enough community? In terms of who will look after me, suppose it has to be me. Need to step up & be an adult and look after myself more as I can’t rely on my community to look after me! That’d be selfish. So perhaps that is what I need to work on. Being a strong version of myself - isn’t that we are all trying to do though. Haha. Not sure I’ll ever get there. Perhaps if I get there that’s when I can say right, we are ready to try for a baby. Sorry I’m rambling.
Cs2h - sorry to hear about your PND, my sister experienced that & it must be so tough. I can’t imagine. But it’s reassuring to read that the joys are greater than the lows. You offer such great advice... speaking with my husband about saying things I may not mean, reaching out and asking my family if they’d help me with this journey. Thank you for the hugs and positive energy I can feel it 🙂
Dory - you’re so kind saying you think I’d make great Mum. I’m slowly starting to understand my triggers so I can look at them & consider how I’d handle having a child with those triggers. One thing my psychiatrist told me today that I must work on is my emotional intelligence, running out space ...
I like long replies... My style too 😊It is great you have a close family and good friends.
Now the hard question... Are they relationships where you could pick up the phone and say 'help' and they would come? That is what I feel is so important. You can be the strongest woman in the world but nothing prepares you for the moment this little human arrives and relies on you for everything! It is really hard to all of a sudden be last priority.
So having people you can rely on to watch bub while you see your doc or psych, get you out of the house, babysit so you can have a date night.... These are really really important to keep you well.
Selfish is OK! Selfish is necessary sometimes. Feeling like you have to be strong and look after everyone and be a martyr is what burns us Mums out 😊. I think you're going to be a great Mum if that is what you decide.
PS I have an autoimmune arthritis so my body attacks my joints. I spose the good side was it forced me to have to rely on hubby and realise how much I needed a support network.