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Realised I don't want kids

Community Member

Hello all,

I am not exactly in a position right now to HAVE kids (23, Male), nor does my girlfriend want kids right now (21, female) but I have come to the crushing realisation that I don't want kids. I have always wanted to be a Dad. I love kids (studying to be a teacher) and yet I cannot think of anything worse than having a kid like me. My parents are both super supportive of my mental illness and I adore them for it, but I can't help but think they feel guilty about how I turned out. Clinical depression runs in the family and I have seemingly gotten the brunt of it. I understand that depression and anxiety never really go away, but can be managed with medication and therapy (both of which I am partaking in) but some days I wish it was gone and I was normal. I can't fathom having to put my theoretical child through something like that. Having to think every single day that they are wrong or that everyone is doomed to fail for them. Overthinking every unremarkable thing that ever happens to them until they're a mess. Have their relationships constantly questioned and strained because of overwhelming anxiety.

My girlfriend doesn't suffer from any mental illness (lucky!) so I know that our theoretical child could potentially be fine (barring non-biological factors) but the thought of it has turned me off ever having a biological child.

Thanks for listening to my rambling.


Sasquatchion πŸ™‚

9 Replies 9

Community Champion
Community Champion


this is a personal topic that only you can answer. You are young and one may change your mind or not. I know people whose parents and family have no history of mental illness and parents who ha mental illness but their children don’t.

I think it is good you have written your thoughts down clearly and have gone into detail.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Greetings Sasquatchion from the land of cyber space. Welcome to the forum and thank you for opening up about this sensitive topic. Let me start off by telling you please don't feel guilty about having a mental illness. The illness does not defy you as a person and you have done an amazing thing by taking positive steps to undergo therapy and medication treatments. You say you are not in the position to have children because of factors being your age, genetic depression and anxiety along with feelings of guilt. Beyond blue says 1 million Australian adults have depression, and over 2 million have anxiety. Everyone at some point in their lives experiences depressive episodes, but some can experience it for longer periods and for no reason. You wish you were a "normal" person, there is no such thing as normal. Behind closed doors everyone is experiencing something, you just don't know about it. I am experiencing trouble having children and have to have IVF. I did not want children either. But we can change our minds at anytime. You are a young man, there is alot of time for you to consider children. Your health comes 1st. If your girlfriend does not want to support you, maybe you are with the wrong girl. However she would have experienced depression too, but what makes her different is her ability to cope (resilience). Chronic depression is much harder because you may not have strong coping mechanisums, that is why cognitive behavioural therapy is so effective. CBT helps with the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) its effects on feelings/mood. It works to change your thoughts and behaviour by teaching you to think rationally about common difficulties, helping you to shift negative or unhelpful thought patterns and reactions to a more realistic, positive and problem-solving approach. In return you start to develop resilience. You can read more about depression here: www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression. There is another treatment , it is called Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT), used when no interventions have helped. The results I have seen from this treatment are amazing, you could ask your doctor about this treatment or do some research. This is usually a last resort though. I understand how you will be feeling at this time, you do not need to feel pressure in having children, focus on taking control of your mental health first. Please keep in contact with me, I am here to support you.

Community Member


I think it's positive that you think so deeply on the matter. I also think maybe you're selling yourself short. Yeah having depression is challenging. It's understandable you want to protect others from the experience.

On the flip side there's many strengths & joys to be found in a person who's seen the darkness in life. I can hear that you have a great capacity for love.

Of course it is entirely your choice about having children. You don't need to feel pressure to decide either way especially because you are young. Be kind and patient with yourself.

Community Member

Hi Sasquatchion (cool name by the way)

I'm sorry this is worrying you. Speaking from my own experience of living with the "black dog" for 25 years I believe that even with depression it is possible to live a fulfilling life and make a positive contribution, even if things get dark and hopeless at times. I have two kids in primary school and do worry occasionally how my own mental health will impact them (both genetically and in terms of my own behaviour). However I suspect the love and time you put into your kids will have a much bigger impact on their wellbeing than the genes you pass down.

At 23 you have heaps of time on your side. Have you considered talking to your father or an uncle about how you are feeling? Maybe the perspective of an older man who has had kids could help you. If you don't want to talk to family perhaps a parent or older brother of a friend could be a useful sounding board.

All the best brother

Community Member

Absolutely same. I think if you search Yana8216 my threads come up as I faced the same dilemma.

Just want to reassure you I am sooooo relieved I did not have kids. I am female and decided at age 31 that I did not want to have children for reasons very similar to yours. I am now 37 and have no regrets about my decision. I still do not want to have my own children, ever.

I am open to the idea of fostering or adopting in future. I am NOT OK with creating a new person who may suffer.

I am so pleased you are considering the welfare of your offspring, and choosing the best for them.


Community Member

Hello there Sasquatchion

I am at the other end of the age spectrum to you but I could so relate to what you are saying. With depression we so quickly jump ahead of ourselves .. cross bridges before we get to them as my Dad would say... ... Here's the thing I got from your post... helped me understand myself a tad more.. but importantly here's the thing I got for you... If you don't have kids make sure it's for the right reason not because of depression... you understand the journey ... and if a child did have this condition.. wow.. you would 'get it'... my parents didn't understand it and there wasn't the support/understanding around in my time.

The son of a friend of mine was in the same place as you .. a beautiful, sensitive young man .. wasn't going to pass it on to a child .. he now has a daughter who he cherishes. That may not be your journey... regardless ... nice talking with you

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Sasquatchion

You're such an incredibly thoughtful sensitive person, already considering the feelings and challenges of a child you (at a deeper level) wish to have in the future. You are beautiful.

If you've a good imagination, I'll trigger it by leading you to imagine you and your partner having a child in 5 years time. In 5 years time, things are a little different. You understand yourself better - your thoughts and thought processing, your chemistry (how it works best) and your nature (your ability to sense what brings you down and what raises your spirits). Can you imagine the next 5 years as 'a research period'?

While research can prove inspiring and mind altering, it can also prove to be depressing at times, something to be prepared for. In recalling my years in depression, a lot of it was depressing. The amount of meds that didn't work, the psych who made no obvious difference in the way of personal enlightenment, the number of people I was led to who told me I may need to face the possibility I could be in a depression for the rest of my life, the impact self medicating (alcohol) had on my chemistry and perspective, the lack of information out there for a highly sensitive person (an HSP) who can feel so much and the list goes on.

Sometimes it's the research that exists outside the square which proves to be the most inspiring and mind altering. Whether your research takes you in the direction of better understanding the world of epigenetics (which dictates 'We're not doomed through our genes'), the world of neuroplasticity (which dictates the mind is incredibly flexible in the way it holds the potential to process things) or the world of what's perfectly natural (we're designed to feel or sense so much), it's all outside of mainstream study or research.

As a mum to an 18yo gal and 16yo guy, there may be days where I imagine my kids are somewhat 'cursed' by my genes (dictating the possibility of depression), yet there are days where we feel blessed through the great sensitivity the 3 of us share. We're easily sensing the suppressive, oppressive and depressing nature of living in a city with the 2nd highest number of lock down days on the planet. It's surreal, living in Melbourne, mind altering. You can feel what's not natural, on so many levels. The up side, we can sense what we need and therefor raise each other to fulfilling those needs.

While one task is to raise our child, another is to be raised by that child, often through challenge.

Community Member

Thank you all for the kind words. Sorry I haven't replied, but I was taking some time away from the online space for a while. You have all made me feel a little more open to the possibilities and, as you say, I have plenty of time to think about it.

We shall see what the future holds! Thank you all.


I understand your logic and in some ways applaud you for it, but don't sell yourself short just yet. Think of all your positives you could pass on to a child and how resilient you must be. There's not many people who are born to be parents it is learnt skill. If you decide to be a parent later on talking to a counsellor before conceiving and maintaining that relationship for a a few months after rather child is born. There are great courses through relationship Australia. Having a good relationship with your GP and at the time the local child and family health centre can support you through this.

Even though I have just spouted all that info above , Im having similiar concerns to you, even being aware of all the supports above but in a different way. Im 39, and only for the last few years I've had depression and anxiety type symptoms. I've always wanted to be a mum but remain single. I do worry about going down the single mum route due to having depression and anxiety and wether bringing a child into that situation is fair. I do know that I'd be a great parent in reality, but it is a fear that stands in the way.

Wait a few years and time will tell.