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Depressed husband- he wants kids, good idea?(94 Posts)
Hello everyone, I am new on here, and was hoping to get some advice.
So, I am a 26 year old, who has been married to my husband for 5 years, he is 32. He suffers from Chronic Fatigue, and also expreiences bouts of anxiety/depression. He is currently in a low bout just now, after getting a very bad flu type illness. The depression reached its peak last night, when he couldn't sleep, and said this morning he was feeling suicidal through the night.
He went to the doctor today, who said it was the flu making him feel so ill, and when the flu was gone, he would feel better. However, he is now severly depressed, and experiencing anxiety, etc. His Mum has taken him back to her house for a change of scenery, and to help him. He seems unable to shake the depression/anxiety when he is at home with me.
Anyway, before he got ill this time, we had previously discussed perhaps trying for children later this year. He seems to think this will give him something else to focus on, and will give him a routine each day, which he needs.
However, my argument is that I don't want our children to see their Dad being unwell, and speaking of suicide, having to move out to his Mum's/or hospital to get better. I feel like I don't want children to experience that world, but I don't know if I am being selfish. I can envisage, worst case scenario, my Husband being ill, off work, and I'm left to look after Baby and him. Or, he would move out for a while, and I look after Baby on my own.
I feel like I can't/don't want to risk making him worse by having children, and would rather it just be the two of us, so we can deal with his illness without children complicating things.
My question is, am I being selfish by not wanting children, or should I consider having children if he thinks it would help?
Please help, apologies for the long-winded story.
You are young enough to wait a good couple of years until you can see an improvement in his health. I can't see how having a child will improve his state of mind. And when he says he needs a routine, well how does he think a baby will bring that to his life? Not realistic is it.
I think you're right that all the responsibility will be on you ie finances, home, baby. Does he currently work? Do you have family support?
Definitely postpone any decision and he needs to concentrate on getting himself well.
I am in my early thirties and have suffered from bouts of depression for most of my adult life. This year my wife gave birth to our first DS.
My advice to you is that having a baby now will not help your husband in any way. Depression is an illness that needs to be treated by professionals. He isn't going to suddenly snap out of it because he is handed the extra responsibility of being a father - if anything, that is likely to make him much, much worse.
Seriously. I get what your husband means about a routine being helpful, but as I'm presently discovering, a newborn is the opposite of a daily routine. You do what the baby wants and you do it whenever the baby wants it done or you deal with a screaming baby. Couple that with sleep deprivation and I literally cannot think of a worse situation for a depressed person to be in.
Your husband needs to go back to the doctor and ideally you should go with him, to make sure the doctor is properly aware of the severity of the situation. Make sure it gets taken seriously and proper treatment given - antidepressants and a referral to a district mental health nurse/team would probably be appropriate. Don't let the doctor fob you off with just pills, the referral to someone your husband can talk to is at least as important, probably more so.
I went through this type of treatment a couple of years ago after my worst depressive episode. I still take antidepressants and have no plans to stop, I did try stopping and rapidly got worse again. It took the last two years and a lot of baby steps, starting from where my daily goals were things like:
Get out of bed before 11am
Get dressed today
Make myself a cup of tea
... To get to today, where having a child makes sense and is completely manageable for me. Me from two years ago, who considers it a good day if they manage to summon enough motivation to put clothes on, isn't going to cope with a baby.
Your husband needs to show himself some care and attention just now, he'll be a much better dad when he is ready.
Having a baby will not help your husband in any way and should not be used as a method of doing so. Him thinking that it might is incredibly selfish of him. That said lots of people who suffer from depression make good parents. I think however he needs to get more of a grip over his illness for that to be the case. He and you need to be totally sure he can take care of himself before relying on him to take care of someone else. And babies require incredible amounts of care and energy. Any mental health problems he has will be made worse by having a newborn baby because of the lack of sleep, the pressure, the fact that you may very well also find it difficult to maintain a stable mood due to hormones, you may even be very ill from the pregnancy or birth so completely unable to help him and even be very dependant on his help. If you have the choice I would not be considering having a baby with someone who is not managing their illness very well at all at the moment by the sounds of it.
I don't think it would be a good idea for the foreseeable future, at least until he has a period of stability.
Leave him at his Mum's house - he appears to feel safe there and relinquish any responsibilities he has to you. It is possible that he is man-child.
Don't be a cunt.
Christ no, it's a terrible idea. Babies are pure chaos and sleep deprivation.
If your DH has an incorrect dx and has other conditions that are genetic, you may become a carer to a child with similar health issues too.
I've suffered from severe depression on and off over the years. Having a baby led to another episode due to the sleep dep and the fact that becoming a parent is completely overwhelming.
Things are fine now but I'm pretty resourceful and highly functioning generally, which helped I think.
No way would I consider a baby in your circumstances. I absolutely hated DS seeing me with MH issues and felt like I had massively let him down. Feeling suicidal and trying to look after a baby is up there as one of the most difficult experiences of my life.
Another one saying absolutely not. If your dh needs to go back to his dm for rest and to recover throwing a dc into that will only mean everything will be left up to you.
I'm currently up with dd2 just because she isn't tired . The sleep deprivation can be seriously depressing for someone without a history of depression let alone with.
To have children now you would need to be prepared to carry a huge amount of the burden yourself, be in a very strong place with your relationship and have a good support network around you.
A good friend of mine had a baby at the same time as me and her partner suffers from depression. I am always overwhelmed by the strength she has shown in having to do the vast, vast majority of the work of having a newborn, whilst being supportive of him and not allowing herself to become resentful. Personally I think what she has got through is tougher than being a single parent.
It is not at all selfish not to feel like you want to put yourself through that. And whilst it is of course legitimate for your husband to have a strong desire to have children, what is selfish is wanting to do so because he thinks it'll help his illness - not only does that seem ehighly unlikely (more likely the reverse), it is also an extremely bad motivation to bring a child into the world.
Agree with cockasidalmaniac and also agree with telling that poster to not be a cunt
Definitely not. He couldn't cope and it would be likely to destroy your relationship. He wouldn't be able to look after a child as he cant look after himself. You would have two people to look after. Illness or not he sounds very hard work.
This is the last situation a child needs to be brought into. So much wrong here.
I would say DON'T DO IT.
Having babies is utterly exhausting - and he will leave all the work to you.
Sadly, if I was in your shoes, I would separate from him. He sounds way too much like hard work for my liking.
Sadly, if I was in your shoes, I would separate from him. He sounds way too much like hard work for my liking.
This gives me a sadface. I truly hope that no loved ones you care about ever suffer from depression, because someone with your level of empathy would be no use to them.
Just picking up on the fact he's gone to his mum (fine in itself) and feels he can't recover around you (not so fine..,)
That strikes me as interesting. Can you tell us more about that?
Never have a baby as a means of making things better, by the way. They're wonderful but my god they're hard work.
Solid relationship first, then baby.
The depression per se isn't a deal breaker - I suffer myself and so do many other perfectly good parents. It's more the idea he has of a baby being a magic cure all, and this odd thing about not recovering around you
He sounds way too much like hard work for my liking
I wouldn't give anyone a hard time saying this, I guess at least you are being honest, however, if my SIL had taken that view, my DBro would never have had a wonderful fulfilling life and a marriage spanning 20 years had she not stuck by him through his MH challenges and come out the other side, to become a fine contributing member of society.
Agreed you need to be prepared to take the ups and downs of MH - but equating someone to being "hard work" is pretty dehumanising IMHO
I concur with pps who say that having a child to give something to focus on and have a routine, is just NOT the right reason to have a child.
Maybe a better way of focusing this situation is to get your DH motivated towards a longer term plan of action to address his MH challenges, as this in itself may give him hope for the future. Even that gives me concerns, hell let's face it MH is hardly a lifestyle choice, it isn't something you can necessarily "choose" to get better from, but I do know from my DBro that having hope for the future, plus love and support, plays a major role in that complex medical situation
Children are people, separate entities.
They are not a solution, a means to an end, a therapeutic 'routine', a cure or fix, a source of inspiration. They are people, little people with big, big needs. They are hard work. Yes, your DH is too, but poor guy, he's not well. It's not something he can easily manage. I have huge amounts of respect for you OP.
Having children is not the answer right now.
What do you want OP, do you want a baby? Take him & his wants out of the picture for a sec & think about what you want. A baby is not a cure & you shouldn't have one because of your husband's condition if you know that you don't really want a child yet.
Who decides that he's not recovering with you btw, is it you, him or his mother? The dynamic between the 3 of you sounds a bit odd to be honest...
Hell no. And I know it's an unpopular opinion here but I'd be seriously reconsidering the relationship. Why did you get married at 21?
I would wait, you have time on your side.
My partner has mental health issues, episodes of psychosis bought on by stress and lack of sleep, which leads to depressive episodes. We have a young child, he got ill when I was pregnant, nearly became ill again when our child was a few months old and sunk into depression. It is hard having a baby, harder still if your partner is ill and you have to look after them too. There are feelings of guilt, anger and resentment that all have to be dealt with. I found strength which I never knew I had, but really if you can avoid this do, it's no fun at all!
Fortunately my partner is well now, having a child has changed his priorities and for him this is a positive thing. However this wasn't the case when our child was younger and we were sleep deprived, and this is a very individual thing, you just don't know how your partner will truly find parenthood until it's experienced and even then it will probably be up and down.
So wait, he should concentrate on getting well and know that there is plenty of time to have children in the future.
There is a poster on Mn at the moment who keeps posting about wanting a baby, essentially as a 'cure' for her anxiety and MH problems, and everyone has kindly but firmly pointed out that this is nonsense. Children deserve to be born because they are wanted, not as some kind of instrumental 'object to live for' or 'provider of a routine' or 'focus of the day', and your husband is being very naïve indeed if he thinks that a baby is a cure for anything.
No one will have forewarned the baby he or she is supposed to be an infant Mother Teresa of Calcutta , and he/she will proceed to wake up at midnight, 2 am 3.30 am, 5 am, and get up at 6 am for the day, and many of the other kinds of sleep-depriving madnesses babies do. Your DH needs to imagine looking after a baby 24/7 and potentially feeling worse than he does now because of the sleep deprivation
and the mind-numbing experience that is baby groups. Does he still want a child - crucially - that he will have to parent, no matter how he feels?
And you need to think about your own MH. Women's MH often becomes problematic in pregnancy and after childbirth. I had been a balanced and mentally-healthy person all through life in general and pregnancy, but developed post-natal psychosis - full-blown hallucinations etc etc. You will not be able to cope in such circumstances without a coping partner who doesn't retreat to his mother's at the first dip. My baby would have risked being taken into care had my DH not been capable of looking after us both.
I'd also echo other posters in asking why he can't recover around you, why he needs his mother? If you have a baby together, he can't drop everything for a trip to mummy's house.
I have lived with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for approx. 25 years. I recovered to an certain extent 15 years ago and am now able to live a reasonable quality of life but I do have to manage myself day to day. As part of this management I've had to accept that being a parent is not something that I'm going to be able to manage. Inevitably the stress of raising children would make things difficult for my health and the greater burden would fall on my partner and I would find that very difficult.
It's a personal decision though and I have several female friends with CFS who have decided to have a child. They have had very supportive partners and families around them.
I don't see how the 'routine' of children is going to help someone with CFS. Does your partner have much experience of children or of just how hard physically it can be to have a baby in the house?
Also, I was just wondering if you have a good sense of whether your partners depression is a result of the CFS or if it is a separate mental health issue?
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