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Should I have children?


#1

Hi everyone,

I’ve never done anything like this before or discussed this topic except with my partner and just thought this forum may be the best place for advice. My mother suffers with schizophrenia, as does my older brother. I myself am not schizophrenic but I would say I am definitely an anxious person. I’m 25 and my partner and I have recently started discussing starting our own family. I am so worried about having children even though I am so broody and love babies. I’m first of all worried that if I was to become too “stressed” as a new Mum I could developed schizophrenia which would be devastating for my partner and child. But also scared my child may be at risk of being schizophrenic. I would never wish this condition on anyone and would feel so responsible should they develope it.

I suppose I wondered if anyone here was in a similar situation to myself? What are your thought on having children if the condition runs in your family?

Thanks in advance!


#2

We are in our early 40s and have chosen not to have children for similar reasons to the ones you are thinking about. It doesn’t seem fair to me to have children knowing that there is a high probability that they will at least have some mental health issues and also that we cannot be fully fit parents to give them the best chance of a good life due to the various issues that we have. While I am sad that we will have no children due to situations that we did not create, I am happy to know that we will not create broken people because of this.

At age 25 there was no outward sign of any abnormality in our case, however in hindsight if we connect the dots it is there, just very subtle and impossible to detect other than with hindsight.


#3

It is 100% up to you whether to have children and to have them or not have them for any reason.

http://schizophrenia.com/prev1.htm is a link about preventing schizophrenia, inheritance, and other risk factors.


#4

This is a very tough question that only you and your husband can answer. There is mental illness on both sides of the family and it looks like my daughter inherited the genes for mi. Had I been more informed and mature I think I would have decided not to have children.

Having said that I have two daughters who have not inherited the genes. The fact that I have one daughter who’s suffered so much with mental illness and will to the end of her life it would be cruel and selfish of me to knowingly having children.

Of course none of us know with 100% certainty the brain health of our children so I’ve forgiven myself for not knowing. I know I sound confused and I am but it’s a very good question you pose that none of us can really answer. Who among us would give up any of our children. I love each one of my daughters and that will never change.


#5

Omg thank you so much for sharing this with the group.
I too hav this weighing on my mind & my boyfriends mind. Lately, its been part of more active conversations since we r now talking about future plans & children.
I been researching it since ive become more aware of loving someone with scz & i do want more children (i hav 14yr old son from a different man).
My boyfriend has expressed concerns on passing it to a child & in a way sacrificing me & any children we hav to “torments”- He does deeply want children, but him with scz, his mom, & grandmother with scz makes him feel hopeless. His brother & niece hav not shown scz traits and i do not hav any known scz in any of my family.
Honesty im at the point with all this is, i want children with this man, he will b amazing father, medical technology will b able to identify if our child carries the trait to help us better prepare for it and be more proactive with our children & educating them on scz since their father has it. And… besides all the prep/planning put it all in God’s hands.
This open forum is awesome & some wonderful people with real life feedback to share.

Thank u again, i too will b learning about this from ur post.


#6

Adopt?

This may be the best option for you and your child💕

I was not willing to have children w my sz ex. He was too psychotic early in our marriage, and the percentage of passing it on was too high for me to be comfortable with.

If things had worked out differently, I would have opted to adopt.


#7

I recommend you read up on what science is saying can lower risk of schizophrenia / mental illness in children:

http://schizophrenia.com/prev1.htm

Also - watch these short videos on “Adverse Childhood Events - ACEs” - which are likely the stressful events that help push people towards mental illness:

and

and

and

and


#9

Wow, thank you all so much for these replies! I will definitely be watching all of those videos on child developement. Thank you!


#10

I have schizophrenia, its been 25 yrs since my diagnosis. I put my family through a living hell. I would NOT EVER think to bring a child into this world with my specific risk factors of inheritance. I am now a 49 year old woman. Happy and very content and at peace with my life.

Yes, i get lonely. (wishing i could have had children) But NEVER would I take a risk or a chance my CHILD could have been inheriting my disease. Its torment, torture. its not right to bring a child when you KNOW the risks. Its just not right.

By some miracle my mind cleared. Yes I lost YEARS of my life. Friends gone. Boyfriends that left because of my erratic behavior. But that’s not the worst. It was watching my VERY loving and amazing Parents stand and FIGHT me. World War III could not begin to describe the battles that raged in my mind (and in my parents home). My sister and brother were devastated by my lost sanity.

They would cry sometimes. I had NO idea why. (I simply was that lost) locked deep within my own tormented mind. Sounds crazy. I thought 'they" were trying to harm me. Wow.

Anyway, My point it this.

'Please think long and hard before you get pregnant if you or your mate has schizophrenia"

Thank You,


#11

Im also going to review these provided materials from you.
Thank you!
I think going forward with our relationship i am also going to ask if my boyfriend with scz if he would allow me to be include sometimes on his dr. appointments & i definitely would want us to make sure we get medical opinions whn we do start taking steps towards having children.


#12

I have a friend with bipolar who has two children, one now adult and one still at elementary school. They had a difficult patch a few years ago but she is very close to her older daughter now and a good mother to her younger one. (Her younger child is by her second husband and her first daughter also gets on better with him than with her own father.) I have another friend with very severe schizophrenia but she brought it under control after two years with medication and now has two children. She also works and is a splendid mother to her kids. My son brought his sz under control after two years of regular medication (shots) and his sz is undetectable if you are not told about it. His behavior is normal in every way. I hope he will get married and have kids. The one thing I can say about all the people I know who have sz or bp and live perfectly normal lives is that they take their meds and they never drink alcohol or touch any kind of street drug. They also get a lot of family support (maybe because everyone appreciates that they are trying to help themselves) and they are integrated into society. Also, nobody in their families drinks or takes drugs around them - no booze in the house, for example, and none when they go out. I think a lot of families are not willing to make that sacrifice for those they care for but as I see it, it works.


#13

Thank you so much for sharing. Those are tremendous stories and I appreciate this posts positive contribution.


#14

I appreciate every single member here more than you know. I wish my husband were on here but he doesn’t use computers. Can you believe it? He’s still in the Stone Age but he sure is a blessing with my son. He actually talks and converses with him and anyone who will listen.


#15

This may be an unpopular post, but I want to eventually be a dad. I think I would be a great dad, and I’d be sensitive of what to notice, what to look for, what to avoid, and also how important positive socializing is to their mental health. And which foods (like salmon) help reduce brain damage, etc.


#16

I’m happy to hear you want to be a dad.


#17

To me, this is a ‘proceed with caution’ scenario rather than a ‘do not proceed’. Things can be managed as long as:

  1. Your partner knows this is a risk and is ready to manage it if need be, and knows what to look for.
  2. If you feel you are ‘high risk’ perhaps have regular mental health support in the difficult first year of the child, and your partner agreed to help with night waking etc too to stop you become too exhausted.
  3. Maybe you and your partner both agree to some kind of legal mechanism in writing in advance that if either of you ever become mentally unwell the custody of the child automatically moves to the other one. This would allow whoever was well to protect the child from whoever was unwell, whilst also caring for the unwell person. It would enable them to care for both parties rather than perhaps have to try to divorce the unwell person to get custody even whilst they still loved them.

Whether or not your child suffers depends on multiple factors. By ensuring the above you can ensure a stable early childhood for them, which may hopefully reduce their risk even if you do become unwell.

I hope you decide to have children and manage it responsibly. If you do, happy baby making!


#18

I think it would be crazy to have a child w a schizophrenic. It is a chronic mental illness and it can get worse It would be like having a baby fathered by someone in chronic liver or kidney disease where you might end up taking them to doctor / hospital and see an earlier death with this person.

I know it’s not easy but fools rush in Iwent to a genetic counselor. A psychiatrist , before I had my kids. I have brothers w schizophrenia. My oldest son developed it in his late 20’s and lives w me at age 40.

It’s not easy. I remember the desire to have a family etc and all the stuff that goes with it. If God could give me that choice again w my current awareness I probably would have had none or one.

We don’t have those choices in a retrospective fashion.

I am not schizo but having grown up w 3 affected brothers it is a chaotic home life with much stress.

Wouldn’t you figure I went into health care because I was the same problem solver.
There are parts of my life that are just plain sacrifice and not much fun

Your young. It’s easy to be starry eyed. Be cautious. Get your education and career done first is my best advice. See a genetic counselor.

It’s a crap shoot.
God bless.

TM.


#19

I did not want to have children and knew at a young age. I tried to get my tubes tied due to having taken birth control for 15 years and having concerns about heart issues. My OB lowered the hormone dose. Unfortunately due to a series or poor choices plus birth control failure I became unexpectedly immediately pregnant. I love my daughter completely and have devoted myself to her but I have wished every single day I had not gotten pregnant. Now with rampant signs of SCZ that feeling is worse. If you are concerned listen to that voice of reason, it’s telling you something vitally important.


#20

Yep. I’m in the same boat. I decided when I was a teenager that I would never have children. That was 30 years ago.


#21

I choose to have a child with my fiancé who has paranoid sz. He is such a wonderful man and honestly an amazing father. I would not have changed my decision but through research I hope that if my child develops it I will know how to help and cope with it. He is the first in his fam with it but mental illness is in both of our families. I will be there for both of them no matter the outcome.