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Why my mental illness made me decide not to have kids

baby bottleGrowing up, I was kind of on the fence about having kids, but then in college I figured out a plan: Marry by 28, kids by 30.

I am 34 and unmarried and childless.

I have made the decision not to have children. It is a choice. You, too, have a choice and many of you choose to give birth – I am happy for you. You are stronger than I am.

I simply cannot handle all that is required to take care of an infant, a toddler, a child, a teenager. Sometimes I can barely take care of myself.  How can I feed a toddler Gerber’s when I can’t even brush my teeth? How can I deal with the many moods of a teenager while trying to deal with my ever-tumultuous moods? How in the world can I take care of another person?

It isn’t that I don’t like kids – I do. I have many friends and family members with children and I enjoy hanging out with them, playing with them, seeing photos of them on Facebook. But no. I don’t want my own child.

It seems to go against nature really. A woman is supposed to create more human beings, but I am pretty sure there are enough human beings on this planet – many of whom who need good homes – without my adding to the population.

Plus there is the whole pregnancy and postpartum to deal with. If I chose to get pregnant I would stop taking my medications (under supervision). I wouldn’t chance a bit of Saphris entering the placenta. Without medication to maintain stability in my mental illness, it would put both me and the baby at risk, because without meds I am a MESS. And what about afterwards? People with bipolar disorder are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression than those without the illness. Seeing as I deal with depression a lot, I assume I would fall into this postpartum-ly depressed category. Again, how could I care for a child when I cannot care for myself?

I do not regret my decision, as my biological clock ticks on. I can be a good friend and aunt and cousin to the children I know. I can bless their lives as I am able to without the responsibility of a life depending on mine.


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Why my mental illness made me decide not to have kids

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2015). Why my mental illness made me decide not to have kids. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 6, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 Jun 2015
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