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I really don’t want children. Had I said this 10 years ago, I’d have been met with contorted faces and sympathetic whimpers from every woman in the room.
But in 2017? Not so much.
The general feeling among women seems to be one of understanding.
Who can afford to raise a child in this economy anyway?
With the political state of affairs, who would want to?
I saw a quote recently that read, ‘You’re only as happy as your least happy child’.
That one really stings doesn’t it?
Putting all financial and practical reasons aside, there is one other reason why I don’t want to have kids – my mental illness.
I’m not a danger to anyone in a direct sense, but I know my triggers and the stress of pregnancy alone seems like something that could send me spiralling into another relapse.
I take a daily dose of Mirtazapine – a drug used to treat depression – and have done for four years.
I did some research to see if I could continue to take my life-giving little pill during pregnancy and was met with a list of possible side effects for mother and baby.
I know how it feels to try to function without anti-depressants for a few days, and I’m just not ready to risk revisiting that black hole for nine months.
I’m not judging anyone who does, I’m just scared that I personally wouldn’t be able to cope.
When I read through the list of the common psychiatric disorders found during pregnancy, I saw that I’m predisposed to more than a few of them.
Depression, panic disorder, general anxiety disorder and eating disorders have all played their part in making me a somewhat troubled individual.
Even if pregnancy is problem-free, the women most at risk of developing post-natal depression are those with a previous history of depression.
So pregnancy seems tough, and post-natal depression sounds quite likely in my scenario.
What about in the future, when my beautiful child is fully grown and his or her early years are but a distant memory?
Well unfortunately mental illness runs in my family, on both sides.
Research has shown that people with parents or siblings who have depression are up to three times more likely to have the condition.
It might sound dramatic, but the fear of bringing a child into the world who has a significant chance of inheriting my mental illness is a real consideration for me.
Is it something that I should be losing sleep over? Maybe not. But try telling that to someone with anxiety.
Fiona Thomas for Metro
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