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Is this unreasonable/reasonable?

Hi all

I have suffered with depression for 15 years now. I have been diagnosed with atypical Autism and Bi-Polar type 2. My wife has a history of suffering from anxiety and depression.  I am very concerned that if we were to have a child that they would be extremely likely/be much more predisposed to having similar problems. Is that a fair assumption to make? 

I know that at our lowest, we both have great trouble looking after ourselves let alone another human being and even when I am stable I feel that it would be hard on my mental state.

Is it reasonable to not want children for this reasons and is it selfish to "deny" my wife the opportunity of being a Mum (even though she knows how I feel and married me anyway)?

Any thoughts/opinions would be gratefully received.

Thanks

J

Re: Is this unreasonable/reasonable?

  • Hi Jbien, the thing that stand out to me the most in your letter is wher
    jbien said:
    Hi all

    I have suffered with depression for 15 years now. I have been diagnosed with atypical Autism and Bi-Polar type 2. My wife has a history of suffering from anxiety and depression.  I am very concerned that if we were to have a child that they would be extremely likely/be much more predisposed to having similar problems. Is that a fair assumption to make? 

    I know that at our lowest, we both have great trouble looking after ourselves let alone another human being and even when I am stable I feel that it would be hard on my mental state.

    Is it reasonable to not want children for this reasons and is it selfish to "deny" my wife the opportunity of being a Mum (even though she knows how I feel and married me anyway)?

    Any thoughts/opinions would be gratefully received.

    Thanks

    J

    Hi @Jbien, the bolded really stood out to me in your post.  Not to state the obvious, but children need to be taken care of...including receiving attention and playtime...24/7, whether it is a bad day/week or not.  Children can certainly bring a lot of joy into a household, but they can also bring a lot of extra stress.

    Are you and/or your wife seeing a therapist(s) to manage these diseases?  I would think a therapist could be in the best position to give you all advice on this.  And/or do either of you belong to a support group?  Perhaps talking to other parents who have similar conditions would help you "see" what the day-to-day challenges are and let you all better explore if children are a good option.

    I can really empathize.  Although I personally have never had a desire to have a child, I certainly realize that this is a powerful and strong need for many women.  However, at the end of the day, choosing to bring a child into the world is the biggest responsibility a person will take on in their life.  That child needs to be brought into a loving and positive environment, otherwise it is selfish and not fair to the child.  Don't get me wrong, no parents are perfect and we all make mistakes.  But you and your wife need to take a long and conservative/harsh look at if this is truly something the two of you can handle.   

  • Hi Jbein,

    I'm sorry to hear that you and your wife have to have this struggle. Have you both sat down and expressed these concerns to her? Does she share the same concerns? If not, please take this issue very gently with your wife. A lot of women grow up/are raised thinking they are going to be a mom someday, this might be really hard for her to take. Make sure that she understands that neither of you did anything wrong, this is just the way you were born. I don't know your wife so I don't know her opinion, but she might feel responsible or might have anger that she can't have a child for a reason out of her control. If she's not talking to someone, she might want to start to sort out those feelings as a separate issue.

    As PP said, talk to your therapist, but also your MD as there may be physical problems with her pregnancy (I'm not a MD, but I think pregnancy can greatly enhance depression.) I'd go with PP's advice about talking to a support group or some other couples with similar medical history to see what they did. Were they advised against having children and/or did they choose not too? If not, how did that effect them once the child was born? A therapist or MD might be able to show her the risks involved and help her make a more informed decision if she should have a child or not.


    My heart breaks for both of you since a lot of people want to have children.  I personally have no desire to have children, I myself worry I might suffer from post pardum (sp) if I were to have a child, but that's a decision I've made. As I mentioned, please go easy with your wife, this is very hard for her. You're doing the right thing to think this through.
  • Thank you both for taking time to respond. You both have great advice which I will definitely take on board.

    Joe
  • I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. You are being very mature and responsible.

    I knew a woman who suffered from severe schizoaffective disorder. She was unable to work because of her illness, yet she was adamant that she wanted to have a child. I thought she was being selfish because people who cannot look after themselves cannot possibly be good parents. Part of taking care of ourselves is being able to work in order to take care of our needs. 

    Her doctor told her to stop taking her medication because of the risk to her fetus but she became VERY ill once she did that. So now her baby has a high chance of being born with congenital diseases because she cannot come off of her meds. She is almost guaranteed to suffer from post partum psychosis as well. None of this is fair to her unborn child. 

    I'm telling you this story to show that having a child isn't always a smart choice when there serious medical conditions to consider. At least you have the sense to stop and think before making a decision that could hurt you, your wife and your hypothetical children. 
  • dutchgirl76dutchgirl76
    100 Love Its 100 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    edited February 2015
    I think none for us hit the nail on the head for what I was trying to say. I grew up with a friend who's mother suffered from severe depression. At one point after her parents divorced she was forced to live with her dad because of her mom's struggles. I have another friend who struggled with bi-polar and was removed from college during a bad episode. As PP said, your unborn child doesn't need to struggle through this, nor is it fair to your wife to make her add extra stress that could exasperate her issues. Again just go easy on these points, she didn't do anything to cause this and it sounds like there's nothing she can do to make it better. It sounds like you're really supportive, I hope she knows that.

    Have your wife talk to her MD about the risks of being on medicine while pregnant (if she can) and what that does to her child. If she has to go off of them, what does that do to your wife while pregnant? Is post pardum a big concern for her based on her medical history? Ask the doctor those kinds of questions, reasonable questions. Again that may help her see if this is the right decision for her. If you take anything I would ask the doctor the risks to the child if you're using the medicine while trying to conceive I imagine there could be risks from your end too that should be thought out should you decide to have a child.
  • Jbien,

    I think Short+Sassy hit the nail on the head with that one. If you're not in a position to take care of yourself, it's going to be extremely difficult to care for a little one. It's a really delicate situation, though. While I certainly don't think that your feelings are unreasonable, in any way, it's also worth considering that your wife's feelings may not be unreasonable either. Or, maybe they are, sometimes feelings aren't reasonable, despite how much you want it to be. 

    As DutchGirl said, the prospect of being a mother is deeeeeeply ingraned into women from a very young age. For a great many women, it's something that's not even a question, just a certainty and expectation, that at some point: babies. I've struggled with that myself, even when your intellectual self says that babies are a TERRIBLE idea right now (or ever, depending on circumstance), there's still something there that draws the attention to every little one you pass on the street, and makes every pampers commercial bring tears to your eyes. I suppose it's partly biological, but I think it's probably mostly something that our culture promotes in little girls. Either way, it can be hard not to let the emotion overrule the senses when it comes to babies. My thought on it is that your feelings are entirely valid, responsible, and prudent, but that given the circumstance, you'll probably just have to be very understanding when she's grieving the absence of children in your home. 
  • I am childfree due to medical and emotional issues. I know that I am making the right choice and I married a man who also did not want kids. He has had a vasectomy so that door is permanently shut. 

    I still have urges to have a child when I see my friends with their babies or hear others talk about what a joyous event it is to have a kid. When I have those urges, I realize that the wish to have a child is ingrained and biological, despite strong intellectual reasoning not to reproduce. 

    Your reasons are completely reasonable and rational. Unfortunately, the decision to have kids is not a purely rational choice. 

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