July 09, 2006

Two Reasons

I have chosen not to have children, mostly for the reason that I simply don't want them. But I also have medical issues to consider. I have OCD - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I'm on medication for it and with the medication I am able to function normally. Without the medication, daily living is difficult as I am bogged down with the little details.

As a result, if I became pregnant, there would be concerns about my going off the medication during pregnancy, birth defects in the baby and the inevitable concern of hereditary disease of passing along the OCD. It would be extremely difficult for me to function without my medication, yet most likely the doctor would want me going off it so as not to harm the baby.

This is an issue to consider. If I had wanted children, I would have needed to take this into consideration. Fortunately, my mind was already made up, but there are others who must wrestle with this issue. Mental illness can be a factor in the decision whether or not to have children. Too many people don't take the time to consider this.

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Robin said...

I too worry about some of my genes like depression and ADD. I had a really tough time emotionally for many many years and I also have had really troublesome weight problems. I know that doesn't matter to some but I personally don't want to pass those things down, I'd feel horribly guilty.

Great post!

Elise said...


I understand having a medical reason for being CF. Yours is indeed very serious and it's wonderful you've been able to work it through.

I am a borderline Type 2 diabetic (I have hyperinsulinemia, or insulin levels which are too high, in conjunction with the fact that my body somehow doesn't respond well to the insulin my pancreas sends out) with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition which has, as one of its many effects, infertility (although generally easily-treated infertility, according to the docs. I'll never know!!!). I also have only one functioning kidney. All of these issues kind of interact with each other, but would likely do so even more during a pregnancy, and not in a positive way (I won't go into the details unless somebody's actually curious!). Suffice it to say that it would be risky for me and for the pregnancy too.

So for me, the medical front is another in a list of reasons to be CF. The fact that I'm a teacher who works with and loves high school-aged kids (but not young kids) is also on the list; I love kids but "wouldn't dream of having one installed in my home", as I like to say. The environmental impact of bringing another Westerner into this world is also a biggie, for me. When most people think about overpopulation, they think about an impoverished African family with too many kids to feed...but the planetary impact, in terms of resources used, of a Western couple stopping at two kids is the rough equivalent of an East Indian couple calling it a day at 10, or an African couple throwing in the towel at twice that amount. Finally, to quote my first-ever CF pal: It should suffice to say "I just don't wanna". My lifestyle (reading, art films, sleeping in when possible, travel, listening to and playing jazz (and other relatively demanding styles of music), gardening, reading, ethnic foods? There's not a lot in there for kids to like --- particularly young kids. I'll stick to "Auntie", thanks.


ChrisR said...

"It should suffice to say "I just don't wanna"."

Elise, wouldn't it be nice if that's all we ever had to say?

Maybe next time you could say 'I've got a note from the doctor'?

Teri said...

Twiga -- You are so brave to share this intimate part of your life. The seemingly innocent question "Do you have children?' is such bad form and so many people ask it, mostly because they just want to talk about their kids.

Tip for parents and non-parents alike: Ask an open-ended question instead, such as "What are you doing with yourself?" or "What do you do for fun?" Not one that garners a "yes" or "no" response.

This is an example of how quickly that conversation can go wrong for you as a childfree woman if you are not prepared. The conversation can get too personal, too quickly.

Thinking your options through as you have is so smart. You have to put your own health first, else how can you care for anyone else? Selfish? Maybe, and for all the right reasons (which are nobody else's business)!