Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Having Children?

Solicitation for advice, thoughts, soundboard (please tell me if I am crazy)
My husband wants to have kids. Before we got married, we had talked about having children. We both wanted children, and possibly to adopt/foster (we both worked with Special Needs students, I still do)
Here’s what’s going around in my head right now:

  1. I am tired. I don’t know if my husband realizes how imbalanced our life is, and how much is on me. I work full time. I pay the bills. I do the paperwork. I take care of him. I manage our debt. I plan our meals. I clean. I cook.

  2. Whenever we talk about family planning, he is excited about being able to be a “stay at home dad” but inside, I feel crushed. I am exhausted now, just taking care of him. I can’t imagine growing a person, then having to leave and keep working, and hope that my husband is stable enough to manage while I’m at work. and I know I would still be responsible for taking care of all the things he doesn’t take into account-- doctor’s appointments, dentists appointments, food every day all day, etc.

  3. I don’t think he will be a good father. I feel a LOT of shame about admitting that. My husband would be an amazing father in a lot of ways. but when he’s symptomatic, he’s not reliable. He’s angry, agitated, irrational, and can’t always use his words. I know it’s not a true “test run,” but seeing how he acted when our dog was a puppy really made me worry. He was short-tempered, resentful, and his symptoms went through the roof (intense anxiety, agitation, agoraphobia, etc)

What do I do?

In my opinion: NO WAY, NO KIDS ether real or adopted, get him another dog or cat or some gold fish…

right! but how/when does this conversation happen?

My husband has cycles where he does better rather than worse-- when his symptoms are controlled, when he’s less depressed. Up until a few months ago, he was even doing well enough that he’d held a job for a more than a year.

Whenever he’s doing ok, he almost completely forgets that he’s sick. He talks and acts like he’s completely fine, and will be for a while. I always want to believe him. How can I not?
But I have to be the asshole who points out that we can’t have kids because he will almost certainly have another episode. at some point. somewhere.

How do these conversations happen? What do I do? What do I say?

I agree that having/adopting children with your husband is probably not a good idea.

In terms of talking to him about this, what I would do would be to keep the focus on my emotions/wants/needs in the conversation. I’d avoid telling him that it is about him/his illness because he is just not going to be able to understand this and it will only drive a wedge between you. And I would apologize for the things you are genuinely able to apologize for (without taking blame for anything that is not your fault).

In your position, I’d say something like, I know that when we got married I said that I really wanted children, but in the past few years, I’ve come to a better understanding of what I can/cannot handle, and although it really distresses me to say this, I don’t see children in our future. I appreciate your offer to be a stay-at-home dad, but even with that extra assistance, I can’t see myself being able to take on the extra responsibilities. I am very sorry to have changed my mind about this very important issue.

I’d also recommend thinking about what you want in life in terms of children. If it was a strong desire of yours, it is a lot to give up for your husband’s illness. And as I recall, you only had 7 months together before he became ill. You could still have children with someone else.

And if it is your husband’s dream to have children (no matter how unrealistic his idea of parenting is), he needs to know that it is no longer on the table for you (I wouldn’t emphasize the “just not with you” part). This frees him, too, if he does not want to stay in a childless marriage.

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IUD or pill, just say ok


Are you, or your husband, or both of you — part of a support group? Maybe if you could set it up to talk to other parents who are raising children and one of the parents has the diagnosis — then they could candidly speak (in person, face to face) about the challenges they face. This could maybe help your husband see what the reality might be like, which he can better assess on one of his better days? Another idea, might be to get him involved in a mentoring program — like Big Brother, or whatever. Give him the chance to spend time with a child one-on-one and play basketball, or attend a ball game, and see how things go. If you don’t have a lot of family support (on his side AND your side), then I think it could well be overwhelming to bring a child into your marriage. Have a look at this video online — one daughter’s experience — search for: Anika Francis, co-author of Love’s All That Makes Sense, shares what it was like to grow up with a mother with schizophrenia. Four years old when her mother was diagnosed (parents split up).
Wishing you all the best.


Get your tubes tied…ASAP…and, blame infertility.

Not everyone needs their own kid!

He is probably playing. He does not want a kid like that! Lol!

We are often delusional…and, like the ‘idea’ of things!

If your relationship does not last…your husband will get some type of custody, too.

Love him and yourself! Stay realistic.

Bring children into your life in other ways. Just as good!!!

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My brother goes through phases like this even though it’s a hypothetical partner or a lament about what could have been etc. He has one gal he dated years ago, who is ‘dying’ because she doesn’t want him to contact her, and how sad it is that they didn’t have this wonder child. Eventually he gets distracted and fixates on one or more of his nieces or nephews, not a great situation either but better than the stress of raising a kid I’m sure.

Much of his need for a sense of progeny seems wrapped up in making up for his failure of a life. I’ve had people say I would be a good dad, some know about my illness some don’t. There are many ways to get similar nuturing experiences without an extremely stressful life long commitment. I suggest bringing more people into the conversation so it’s not just you saying no.


@CanadianDaughter thank you so much for your caring response, and welcome to the forums!
Neither myself nor my husband are currently part of a support group. For him, he self-isolates. He has perhaps 1 or 2 friends, and they text occasionally, but getting him to socialize is a challenge.
For me, I have every intention of joining a NAMI group at some point, but I have very little free time, especially during the school year (I am a teacher)

Before his most recent episode, my husband was also working in a classroom as a paraprofessional. He is truly talented in working with young people, especially young people with disabilities.He is often told by coworkers and people who don’t know his diagnosis, that he will be a great father.

When he was working, I was genuinely hopeful that both of our jobs would organically stand in for our own family. Yes, I wanted kids, but working in my classroom is extremely fulfilling for me.

However, his latest episode has been his worst in a really long time. He’s out of work on disability leave at the moment. I am starting to confront the fact that he might not be able to maintain a job. I understand where this is really difficult, but he’s fixated on the idea that if he can’t work, at least he could be a great stay-at-home dad. I’m worried that if I initiate a conversation about the reality of our situation, and how it does not seem in concert with us being parents, that he will blame me for “making the decision” without him.

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It’s heartbreaking. The positives are that your work is very rewarding and gives you the opportunity to work with young people and make a difference in their lives. The co-workers mean well, but sadly their encouragement is not helping. Unfortunately, Schizophrenia has a genetic component, and having biological children would put your husband at risk of passing it on if not for the immediate generation, but down the line. Not to mention, the struggle of balancing your husband’s illness while raising a child, even if you adopted. You could potentially speak to a professional about fostering, with the disclosure of your husband’s diagnosis, and the understanding that the child would have to be pulled from your home if things got bad, for their own protection. That still might be too much pressure on you, since you are balancing everything at the moment. If your husband is okay on his own for an evening, then I would encourage you to get out and join a support group, for your own mental health. Or even join a yoga class with a girl friend. Something that nurtures your well being.

Have you looked into LEAP? I’m going to try this with my mother.

“Motivational interviewing is an interaction where the provider or family member gets the patient to articulate his own goals and his role in changing what he sees as the problem.

Using LEAP and motivational interviewing are techniques that could help when you remember a person will agree to take medication, even though he doesn’t think he’s sick, if he can see that doing so provides relief from what he’s articulated is the problem.“

Sending hugs,

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Good idea but they live in an RV… Fostering and adoption will never fly…

what? we don’t live in an RV…where did I say that?

LOL, I confused with another lady on this forum… sorry LOL

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:rofl: :rofl: :laughing:

What happens if he decides he doesn’t want to continue being a stay-at-home dad? Would there be a backup plan if you wanted to keep working?
I think you are right to be concerned about having a child. I was, when I was married to my Sz husband. I knew he was too unstable for children He couldn’t hold a job.

Like you,I was worn out from working full-time and caring for him. We left it up to chance if we would get pregnant, but I did nothing to encourage it. Lucily, we did not have children together.

That said, if having a family is important to you, you should end the marriage and find another mate. It sounds cruel, but years from now, it’s possible you will regret not having done so.


Perhaps you both could seek counseling. You can share your concerns with him and yet reassure him about the things about him that are positives. Personally, I would be concerned about the significantly elevated risk of having a child with this illness. If there is one in your area, I highly recommend you take the no cost NAMI Family to Family Class when it is offered. It includes an entire module on Communications as well as other aspects of this illness that would have relevance to this topic.

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I understand your indecision over this very important matter. I think that you answered your own question yourself as you posted it. That is your own quote above.

Wanting children and being able to really raise them properly are two different things. You already have your hands full as you described in the original post.

I suggest you look at the simple finances of what it will cost to add a child to your family: can YOU afford to pay the extra expenses from pregnancy through age 18 for the child? It sounds like you want to stay married, but it is wearing you down to be his caregiver. If you add in the realities of financial stress increasing at least $10k per year if not more for a child, is it even a real possibility that you should get pregnant?

Image result for what does raising a child cost

Raising a child costs $233,610. … Adding a child represents a major financial stress: The cost of raising a child today is $233,610 – excluding the cost of college – for a middle-income family, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.Feb 26, 2018


Raising a child: How much does it cost to raise a kid from birth …



It seems that you have spent a lot of time thinking about this and already know what is best for you and your situation. I have read some really good suggests for how to have this talk with your husband and don’t envy you your position. Remember to be true to yourself and honest with what your own needs and desires are. Even if they don’t match with your husbands.
Take care


My heart is heavy reading these posts. Your husband is very luck to have you. You have every right to be true to yourself. I ended up a single mom due to an unrealistic partner.