Mental Health and having children

I always say that I have known since I was 16 that I didn’t want children. I think I said it so often that I started to believe it. It’s not true. If I read back through old journals there are lists of baby names up until my early twenties. At that point I think I knew deep down that I wasn’t going to have children but I didn’t really know why. A part of me had this feeling that I wasn’t physically able to. It wasn’t until years later that I made the decision not to have children. That has stayed with me; I believe that I shouldn’t.

There are what I consider to be valid reasons for this; other people may disagree.

  1. I am not currently mentally stable enough to have children. In fact I haven’t been stable enough since I turned 17
  2. Do I have the right to bring a child into this world knowing that while I may be stable, I may one day fall back into a depressive episode. Knowing that one day I may turn back to self harm. Knowing that one day I may again decide that suicide is my best option
  3. How would I ever explain it to any children I may bear? What would I say to my child when he/she ran their fingers over the scars covering my body and asked “mummy, did you get hurt?”
  4. I have crappy genes. My depression is in part thanks to a family history of depression on both sides of the family. I refuse to be the one responsible for another life destroyed by this crappy illness
  5. Er, the being pregnant, getting fat, giving birth, breast feeding, nappy changes, projectile vomitting and then the teenage years. Urgh, no thanks, not for me!

This is just how I see it. Maybe one day I will change my mind, who knows. I certainly don’t mean to infer that anyone suffering from mental illness shouldn’t have children; I am just explaining my reasons for choosing not to.

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