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Has anyone made the decision to not have children due to their mental illness?

Community Member

I am in a stable and loving marriage and am getting to the age where the window for having children is very small.

I suffer with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, OCD and depression and it has been present for much of my adult life. I am medicated and see a psychologist regularly.

I have never been the type of person that needed to be a Mum more if it happened great if not then it’s not meant to be.

As I get older my struggle with my mental health has been the driving factor in making the decision to remain childless. This life is not easy and even though a part of me thinks I would be a good Mum, I would never forgive myself if my child inherited my illnesses. I know firsthand it just makes things so much harder in an already difficult world.

Even though I haven’t come to this decision lightly at times it still makes me sad with many intrusive thoughts about my relationship, loneliness, guilt and shame.

It is hard to see friends with their families particulary at this time of the year and not feel some regret. I don’t discuss this topic with others as it is difficult for them to understand.  

Just wanting to know if there is anyone who is experiencing similar or may have also made the decision to not have children due to their own health. Thanks for taking the time to read this far.

3 Replies 3

Community Member

I'm not sure if you really want to have children, but if you do, having genetically related children doesn't have to be your only option. You could adopt or foster children, if you really wanted to. 

I decided as a teenager to not have kids. I never saw myself as someone who would be a parent. I guess if I'm honest, it's a combination of things: there are so many children who already don't have a home. I honestly can't afford to raise a child with the price of everything now and it's also for environmental reasons. My health physically has also changed over time and my sibling has also had lots of health issues. I'm also a single-income and don't own a motor vehicle. Raising a child would be very difficult and would rest solely on me. It's not possible. 

Community Member

I'm only early twenties, but yeah. I also have OCD and historically quite severe depression/GAD/panic disorder, I'm no longer medicated (I have been on every medication at some point in the last 6/7 years, even antipsychotics because they thought I was having delusions, and have spent too many weeks in hospital). It took years from my life and there are so many factors that have scared me off biological children. I fear I may have inherited some of this from my biological father - lord knows he never should have had kids.


There's the genetic factor, also the fear that hormones changing could trigger some sort of depressive or OCD relapse. If I were to become as severe as I once was, I couldn't trust myself to care for another human. I agree with the sentiment in many ways, I also feel like I could be a great mother, in recent times and better mental health I know I have so much love and compassion and patience to give. It becomes a fantasy sometimes, but I also know that the various health changes and risks associated with pregnancy would drive me up the wall and I'm not ready for that kind of trigger, and may never be. 

I also have autoimmune conditions and I would have constant fear of passing something on. My mother also only started showing symptoms for her autoimmune condition after her last pregnancy with me, and there's a strong link with autoimmune flare and the post-natal period.


In a perfect world I'd be able to adopt when I'm older, when I'm financially (I often wonder if anyone I know will ever be able to afford children) and mentally/emotionally able to (whatever that means). I like older kids, and the idea of an ever growing family makes me tear up in a good way. Deep down, I struggle to trust myself with young children, both from the triggers stand point and the irreparable-psychological-damage stand point.


Don't resent yourself for this decision. I respect people who choose not to have kids, either for their health or just because they don't want to - both are commendable in my books. And if you do decide to have children, it's commendable to have put such thorough consideration into it.

Community Champion
Community Champion


Thanks for starting this topic. When I fell pregnant many years ago, I was in denial about my mental health and always wanted a baby. 

I think people make their decisions based on how they feel. 
Thanks again for your post.