AIBU to think I could manage with a baby?(21 Posts)
I'm quite new around here, but I've had something going around and around in my head for ages and I thought that I might get some good advice if I posted.
My partner and I have been talking LOTS recently about trying for a baby. We're both in our early 30s, own our own home and have a fantastic relationship. The fly in the ointment is my health. I've suffered with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and low grade depression (which is made worse when I have really low energy) for years. I used to work full time in quite high pressure jobs, but burnt out and couldn't continue. I now work from home part time and am able to get by (although don't often feel totally well) with lots of rest.
My question is: AIBU to even think about having a child? I'm so worried about making the decision to have one when I don't really have a concept of what it would be like. It would be so awful to bring a child into a situation where I'm not properly able to cope.
My partner is phenomenally supportive and enthusiastic about the idea of doing everything that he can to help out, but he does have a full time job and wouldn't be around during the day. We don't have any family near by and no close friends as we're new to the area.
I have a feeling that I could massively overthink this and end up not trying, which would be so sad if it was something that we could have actually managed. Obviously the thought of having children itself is fairly terrifying, without the added complications of my crap health, but it's something that we really want.
I'd be really grateful if anyone has any advice. I'm driving myself mad thinking about it!!!
Question one - how do you cope with broken sleep?
I've not had a huge amount of experience of it tbh! In a funny way it doesn't bother me too much as I'm used to being knackered all the time anyway!
Do you need to set it up so that you're coping entirely alone all day? Could your partner take 6 months shared parental leave concurrently with you? Or possibly longer, if you think you would be ready to start work again sooner than six months.
Of course YANBU. Parenting with chronic health conditions is hard, but not impossible. Don't let CFS take this away from you if it's something you really want.
If your partner really wants to make it work then he should find ways to properly support you, not just to 'help' when he can. It is totally possible for you to have children as long as both of you are willing to make sacrifices.
Fwiw I have several chronic medical conditions and have a 6 year old (born before the worst of them) and one who will be 18 months on Saturday. I won't tell you it's not difficult at times and I don't struggle but DH is great and tbh they make my life better rather than worse
How much help could you afford to buy in? With enough money all things are possible!
If you could get a cleaner for 3h 2x a week, and a mothers help for something like 3 or 4 hours each day during the week to ensure you get some sleep, and you buy Cook meals or similar - I don't see why not.
Is there any possibility of moving closer to family so that you would have more of a support network?
If you can afford it I second the recommendation to get a cleaner, even if it's just a couple of hours a week.
Ask your GP to refer you to the Perinatal Mental Health team. They can give expert advice on medication etc. I would seriously recommend some preconception counselling through them too if they offer it.
My main advice to you is that if you are on meds don't stop taking them to get pregnant. There is more evidence to suggest that anxiety and depression have an impact on the unborn child than there are effects on the child from antidepressants. Imperial College London have just finished a study on it.
Go forth and multiply (with expert advice!)
I have a friend with ME and two kids and she copes pretty well, although there are crunch points. As you say, she's used to being knackered which is a good skill. She does what we are all supposed to, and goes to sleep when the kids do, and they all nap together. She doesn't have the energy to work as well and they are lucky to make ends meet anyway - she is very frugal, always has been. The only difference is that her partner's parents live in the same town, and that is a major difference, they give a lot of support.
I would say do it. Life is short. If you want and love your children that goes a long way. If you think you could afford to pay for some help, that would be a very good idea.
I am in the process of being diagnosed with cfs and am a sp to two boys, 5 and 3
I'm not going to lie, it's hard. Feeling utterly done in, being sick with how tired and in pain you are and still having to do stuff is a killer
Mine were born before the diagnosis (only in the last 10 months or so) but honestly I'd have still had them even with the condition
I do feel guilty, it's more CBeebies and less trips out than ideally I'd like but on the whole I think we do ok, they know they are loved
PM me if there's anything specific you'd like to know?
i have anxiety and after my daughter was born several members of my family died over several years.Its been hard but i got up on my own two feet.I am not perfect but i love my daughter.
I found after such hardship although it was hard on me i started to find new strength to keep me going to help our family.
if you choose this you may find it hard but in time through perseverance things get easier as you get the hang of things
do any family of yours have babys helping them look after their babys may give you a insight
I have fatigue-related problem from chronic illness. I think the advice so far on this thread has been very good.. and yes, YABU .
IME, the exhaustion which comes from sleep deprivation is very different from usual autoimmune/over-exertion/depression type fatigue. You will be bonded to your baby in a way that programmes your body to override its usual limitations, and you will love you child so much that you will manage it too.
My only caution would be - how is your relationship with your DH? I have relied so heavily on mine, and it does put a lot of stress onto the relationship.
Sounds promising. How are finances - could you afford some help? Au pair? Even that mn shocker, a night nanny for a while?
I have cfs and I'm 22 weeks pregnant :-). We decided we didn't want to let my illness take another thing from me, yes it's going to be hard at first but I have lots of support and will get through it.
The pregnancy hormones are incredible, I've not felt this well in years. A lot of women with cfs find they have relief of their symptoms with the hormones, I'm hoping it will stay at bay whilst the hormones are still with me when baby is a newborn :-) we can hope anyway haha. Good luck if you need a chat I'm here X
I can't thank you all enough for your kind answers! I'm so troubled by the idea of making the wrong decision for selfish reasons - it's so lovely to have other people's views!
To answer some questions:
We can't move any closer to family unfortunately. Some live abroad and others a good few hours away. My partner's job is fantastic and we need to stay here for it.
I have made the assumption that I won't be working at all once the baby arrived, so shared parental leave wouldn't be possible.
Outside help is a great idea, although unfortunately we couldn't afford more than a couple of hours a week. I'm sure even that would help though, and I appreciate how lucky we are that its a possibility at all.
My relationship with my OH is fantastic, and he honestly couldn't be more supportive. I know that many many people say that having a child is a huge stresser and puts strain on a relationship, so I feel like maybe I'm naive to think that we'd be ok, but I think we might be!
Thank you so much for your offers to DM. I might well do that!
You all sound like you're doing a fantastic job - quite the inspiration!!
Oh, and I should have said - some really fantastic advice given. Thank you so much!
Haven't rtft but I just want to say that I also have a chronic health condition that makes me tired and means I'm in pain a lot of the time. When DD was born, we had periods of several months when she woke every hour screaming due to teething. At times, I've felt like I waded through grey fog all day due to sleep deprivation. It was very tough.
BUT. Big but. Like you, I also have a very supportive and capable DH. And DD started sleeping OK after a year. And there is nothing on this earth that gives me more joy or fulfillment in life than being her mother. You probably have coping mechanisms and living with your condition is your 'normal'. It's the same when you have a child. You find ways.
All the best!
I have ME and two kids, got pregnant with them after developing ME. It's not unreasonable to want kids at all. It's very hard work though, especially if you become more severe. You also get lots of guilt over the things you can't do with or for your children.
Support is really important, any friends that would be able to help if no family around? We moved a few years back to the town my parents are in and it was a very good thing too as I've got worse and can't do school runs often.
Talk to gp about any medication you are on as some are a bad idea in pregnancy. Pregnancy often had little effect on ME, some feel worse, in the first and third trimesters especially, but quite a lot feel improved, and this can carry on after birth and while breastfeeding.
I certainly don't regret having my two, though it has been hard on me and on them too at times.
You might want to look at Facebook group ME/CFS Parents.
If you're in Scotland, there's a charity called Homestart, which offers help to any parents with children under 5 who need a bit of help. It's absolutely fantastic, but I don't know if there is Homestart, or an equivalent, in the rest of the UK. The volunteers are all parents themselves and it could be something as simple as taking the baby out for a couple of hours once or twice a week to let you rest. And it's free.
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