Posted by: Anonymous | 2017/06/27

To have children or not?

My fiancee and I are just over a month away from getting married. In a recent pre-marriage session with our priest, we were asked if we were going to have children. Both of us have said we don't want children for a few years now, so I said no. The priest then told us we would not be allowed to get married if we weren't prepared to have children and after a bit of discussion I relented and said yes. A few days later, my fiancee came to me and asked if I would reconsider having children and said he has always just said he doesn't want kids because I didn't want children, but that he really would like to have a child in the future. In a severe moment of weakness, I said fine, we could have a child one day. I have never seen him so excited before and has been asking me questions about what I would name our child one day, where I would like to send it to school; all that stuff. The thing is, the more I think about it, the more I am convinced that having a child is the worst idea ever. I have enough health problems to fill a book: a severe auto-immune disease, problems with my eyes, a family history of severe depression. On his side of the family, he has two brothers who are severely mentally handicapped, and no doctor has ever been able to figure out why. His other two brothers all have kids who are perfectly fine, so ten to one we would draw the unlucky card and have children with the same disabilities as his brothers. The health issues are just the tip of the iceberg for me. I worry about what kind of world my children would live in, with climate change messing up the planet, is it fair to bring a child into the world when there might not be one in 50 years time? I also find our education system a complete joke, and I would have to quit my job to homeschool a child. I love my job, and it brings in most of the income in our household, so we would be living on a shoestring if I didn't work. All of this has been giving me serious anxiety, which is, in turn, making my auto-immune disease flare up terribly. For the last two days, I have been in severe pain and my chest is killing me; it feels like I am having a heart attack. My mother doesn't want grandchildren because she said I was a pain in the bum enough, she doesn't want to see any more of me on this earth, but my dad would be over the moon if I gave him a grandchild. I don't know what do do. I feel like having a child would be wrong, but I don't know if I will win this fight. I don't know what to do now.

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Our expert says:
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- 2017/06/28

For many people this would be a very touchy issue, and it goes well beyond the scope of ordinary psychiatry.  But to me, when a religious leader chooses to impose rules that will be likely to cause psychological and physical harm, he makes it my business.  Some would give precedence to religious tradition and the priest's commands, though I must admit I certainly would not do so.
I understand that some religions seem to have a psychologically weird fixation on fiercely encouraging their members to breed, as though it is morally wrong for someone who is physically capable of producing a child , not to do so, preferably within marriage, as often as possible.  There may be many who would agree with that view. Personally, I consider it immoral in  itself, especially as it ignores the individual human rights of the father and mother, and maybe even more importantly, ignores the human rights of the infant, who may necessarily be born with inevitable serious health problems, and/or into poverty and starvation, to live a short life filled with misery.
I find it hard to understand the position of this dictator-priest, which sounds so absolute.   When he "told us we would not be allowed to get married if we weren't prepared to have children" does that mean that he would always refuse to marry a loving couple if one or both of them had health problems that meant they would be unable to conceive and have a child ?  Does he believe that infertile people should not be allowed to get married in the church ? That doesn't sound very loving or spiritual.
Or does he mean that he refuses to marry couples who might be fertile but who, even for the most excellent reasons, do not wish to have children ? Does he see the purpose of marriage as simply a license to multiply, to generate infants, rather than as an encouragement to loving couples to remain loving through life, and to form a bond within which, if and when they choose, they will be able to be good parents ? 
Your concerns seem sensitive and sensible. Your boyfriend's responses sound a bit immature.  For the sake of your own mental health, and for the sake of the potential physical and mental health of any possible future children,  I'd advise you to see a good lay counsellor / psychologist together, to fully explore all the relevant issues. An expert counsellor without their own prejudices or desires contaminating the availability to you of sound advice.  Maybe you'd benefit from getting expert genetic counselling, if you so wish, as a skilled geneticist ( there may be some linked to your local medical school's pediatrics or gynae departments ) to assess the various factors that worry you, and more realistically assess them, and advise you accordingly.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Kelly | 2017/07/12

I totally agree, I also did not want to have any kids and only had my daughter 11 months ago. We have been married for 7 years and I am now 34. I was really scared of bringing life into this world, I had so many reservations BUT let me tell yo u once she arrived our lives changed in a way that I cannot explain. I now wish we had her sooner, I live for her, I breath for her, she is my world and I wouldn't change her for aNY thing in this world. Their are scans and tests to be done to check your babies health etc, do not think so negatively, you baby will be perfect. I really cannot picture our lives without her and wonder why we waited this long.

Reply to Kelly
Posted by: Childfree by choice | 2017/06/30

You do not need to have children in order to live a full and productive life. Please look into "child-free by choice" and you will discovery a whole world of women who feel exactly the same way as you do. There is nothing wrong with you, there are plenty of us who can think of nothing worse than being tied down by a child (and in saying that, I have nothing against women who DO want children). It is far better not to procreate, than to bring a child into this world only to resent its existence.

Reply to Childfree by choice
Posted by: You wont look back - i promise | 2017/06/28

Wow... I so hear myself in there :-). Hubby and I have been together 11y and married for 6y. For years and years I told him I never want kids. And he eventually accepted that. After our marriage he asked if I would reconsider and I told him no. My sister also has a very special need boy. And I feared that what if ... So I told hubby time and time again. No kids. Non negotiable. Even said to him to leave as he knew what he was getting into. I had all the same concerns you do. I only fell pregnant after 30. And I regret that I didn't fall pregnant earlier. There is a saying "wish i could turn back time so i could love little you longer". I wish I had fell pregnant when we just got married. My little one is only 2 now. But I have absolutely no regrets. Yes it changes your life, but my dear you will not look back. This is the best thing that ever happened to me. You think you love someone. But wait till you hold your own little one. That kind of love brings you together. And to see the little one play with daddy.... no words. I can honestly say I was scared shitless, but I made it. I assure you there is nothing better. Reconsider. Go to baby city and hang around there. See the mommies and daddies... go buy a small baby outfit and keep it in your cupboard and look at it every now and then. It is scary but so worth it. Just breath... Also remember to do things that scares you as that is where you will grow. I was the same. 110% even bit more reluctant but here I am. Wishing I will grow younger as she grows older by the minute. Please dont let fear hold you back. Breath and everything will fall into place.

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