Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 998485

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Should I have a baby?

Posted by PhoenixGirl on October 1, 2011, at 19:00:41

I'm 33, and all of the sudden I'm being overwhelmed by a strong maternal instinct. I have a lifelong history of depression, anxiety, and OCD. My mother is severely bipolar, and my sister has depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. Some of my less immediate relatives have psychiatric issues, too. It seems that there probably is a genetic aspect going on, and I fear that if I ever have a child, that child will suffer just as brutally as I have.
Add to this that my energy is low and I have to take psychiatric medications or I will sink into a severe depression. These meds could harm a baby.
Can I be a good parent if I have ongoing psychiatric issues?
Also add on top of this that I do not currently have a partner who wants children. In a few months, I'll have to quit my torturous job for the sake of my mental health, and my boyfriend will support me financially until I can find a better job. I love my boyfriend, but he's a little distant, I guess. I need more affection from him. I wish we could get married and have a baby!
AND my fertility clock will start winding down soon. Help!


Re: Should I have a baby?

Posted by Solstice on October 1, 2011, at 21:36:55

In reply to Should I have a baby?, posted by PhoenixGirl on October 1, 2011, at 19:00:41

Hi Phoenixgirl...

Babies..children..teens.. they are powerfully demanding at every stage - just in different ways. You probably want to give it very careful consideration. Unfortunately, it's really hard, until you have one, to really appreciate how persistently demanding parenting is. Along with the inherent joys, parenting will add a good measure of stress into your life. Parenting is a lot of work when you have a partner. I am a single parent - and I can tell you that it ore than doubles when you don't have a partner to share it with - or if you have a partner who is problematic.

If you don't have nieces or nephews you could have stay with you for extended periods (like during the summer), ou might be able to give yourself a chance to get a feel for it by finding an underprivileged child to develop a relationship with. The need to nurture can also be addressed through having a pet.

I think the biggest thing to understand is that adding a child to the kind of stressors going on for you at this time would likely not be the wonderful experience you dream of for you.. or for the child.



Re: Should I have a baby? PhoenixGirl

Posted by floatingbridge on October 1, 2011, at 22:05:54

In reply to Should I have a baby?, posted by PhoenixGirl on October 1, 2011, at 19:00:41

PG, there isn't really a 'should' it to my mind. What I mean is, what other ways can you frame the questions that will help you decide?

Having a child and depression has been very difficult for me, though I admit he pushes me to do my very best (which always seems to fall short, but I discuss this in therapy). Bluntly, I have often thought that being a depressed mother can be, at times, a special kind of hell. But maybe depression is not as big an issue for you.

The stress is astronomical. No one could have told me.

I think I am still recovering from the stress of sleep deprivation alone. He's seven, and I still sleep vigilantly, like a cat. Before pregnancy, I slept like a rock and needed it.

Then again, I love him more than any other person. That poses it's own difficulties. Because, wow, that places the stakes pretty darn high. And as previously mentioned, the stress of child-rearing is already high even for the more care-free amongst us.


Re: Should I have a baby? PhoenixGirl

Posted by Dinah on October 2, 2011, at 1:20:14

In reply to Should I have a baby?, posted by PhoenixGirl on October 1, 2011, at 19:00:41

Once you're a mother, your wishes and desires come second to the welfare of the child. I remember thinking, as part of my postpartum depression, that I really didn't matter anymore. The baby mattered. But for all the distortions brought on by depression, there was a core of truth in that.

The decision whether to have a baby or not is the first decision of a mother. Do you have the emotional and financial resources to care for a baby? Do you have a strong relationship with a partner who is committed and wants to have a child, and one who you want to be the father of your children? If not, do you have a support system (such as family) to make up for that lack? Because no two ways about it. Having a child is not the fantasy we dream about. It isn't having a little creature who will love us forever. It's hard and demanding and draining. And your child will not always be loving towards you. Not even when very young. My son was the most wonderful child in the world, but I couldn't have managed without a very supportive husband. I'm not stable enough under stress.

As the first act of a mother, do you think you can act on behalf of your child's welfare and not your desires? Are you able to give the child what children need?


Re: Should I have a baby?

Posted by torrid on October 2, 2011, at 20:17:45

In reply to Re: Should I have a baby? PhoenixGirl, posted by Dinah on October 2, 2011, at 1:20:14

It's a labor of love, you are can't imagine how much you can love another human being until you have a child. It gives purpose to life. I didn't the fathers support or the finacial resources or even family support. My son had a birth defect that required many surgerys and we had many hearships and my mental health was negatively affected by the stress, but not from my son. It was poverty and the many failed operations that broke me down. I had an overwelming desire to have my son and I would do it all again.

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