Anxiety Disorder-Should I have a baby? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 9 Old 12-19-2008, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi. This is my first post.

I'm seriously considering having a baby now at 34, although I was opposed to it up until now. There are a few hits against me, namely, my boyfriend of 8 years, and I not making a lot of money. But the main one is that I have a severe anxiety disorder.

The anxiety has always revolved around something bad happening to my younger sister or my parents. I've been taking zoloft for about 14 years, which keeps my symptoms at bay, as long as there is no stress in my life. I imagine having a baby would cause the anxiety to worsen to the point where I would not be able to handle motherhood.

Is there anyone reading this with an anxiety disorder that got BETTER after having kids?
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#2 of 9 Old 12-19-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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I will say this. I too have pretty bad health anxiety and generalized anxiety- ever since I was a child I have worried about something happening to my parents.

When you have kids you worry about them too. For me, I guess its worse than the average person. I have convinced myself my daughter has had diabetes, cancer, lead poisoning...its tough. I have struggled through unmedicated thus far.

Do I wish I never had children? Heck no! If you want a baby have one, don't let your anxiety stop you. They are the best things in the world.
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#3 of 9 Old 12-19-2008, 05:57 PM
 
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: Welcome to MDC!

There are measures you can take to control your anxiety, as you already know. Not necessarily drugs either! I can't say my anxiety improved after having kids. I can say that I wouldn't trade them though.
Good luck whatever you decide.

 
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#4 of 9 Old 12-19-2008, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your responses!

Aside from cognitive therapy, which I've tried, is there anything else that helps your anxiety around your kids?

I'm picturing myself worrying uncontrollably about my child every time it leaves the house. For some reason kidnapping and simply "disappearing" have always been my main fears, as irrational as they are. How do you deal with this?
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#5 of 9 Old 12-19-2008, 10:19 PM
 
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I have anxiety and have to agree that you should not let it stop you from having kids. Anxiety sucks but it can be managed, be it with therapy or meds or both. I think the key is to get the help you need and not give up. I found that CBT and psychodynamic therapy did wonders for my anxiety. My anxiety completely goes away and then comes back every so often. Its never as bad as it was before I started therapy. In fact, I have learned to somewhat embrace it because it led me to therapy and I am learning a whole lot about myself. I also worry about my kids but I am learning that just because I worry about something doesn't mean that it is likely to happen. If you want to have kids then have kids. Don't let the anxiety be what stops you. It doesn't deserve to have that much power.
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#6 of 9 Old 12-20-2008, 04:06 PM
 
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Check out acceptance-commitment therapy! It was life-changing for me (sounds cheesy, but it's true). www.contextualpsychology.org

Basically, you learn to work *with* your mind, instead of against it. It uses components of CBT, but also lots of eastern concepts. I think there's a thread about it a few pages back.

Surprisingly, I'm more relaxed as a parent than I ever thought I'd be. It's kind of strange, actually. I didn't do the therapy until DS was 2 or so, so I can't attribute everything to the therapy (plus I've been on Zoloft forever - was able to reduce dose by 1/3 with the therapy, though!).
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#7 of 9 Old 12-21-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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I have always been a worrier. I attribute it in part to genetics (if it's not one thing, it's your mother, lol), in part to growing up as an only child of older parents and always worrying about if they'd be around (my mum was 40 when I was born, and my dad 57).

Once I had my kids, my anxiety did get worse. When my eldest was 2 and youngest was 6 months I came down with an acute case of gastritis that I was totally convinced was stomach cancer. It turned out to be a temporary (albeit painful) thing that was caused by be taking too many ibuprofen on an empty (or caffeine filled) stomach for a bum shoulder caused by the wonky way I nursed in bed. I went into a 2 week episode of unbearable anxiety over that, and no one could convince me that I would see my kids grow up.

That episode wasn't surprising, particularly given that I hadn't really dealt with my issues. Plus, I'd had a number of other very big life stressors hit me one after the other in the years just before having my kids, continuing up until now. It got to the point where it did evolve into depression on top of the anxiety a few times.

Right now I am taking Lexapro (still fiddling with the dose however- I'm better than I was but not quite my old self yet) and working with an excellent therapist. I see hope, lots of it. Having my kids is the best thing I have ever done, in so many ways, and if anything, they have saved me and constantly encouraged me to have a reason to deal with all of this.

And I have to second perl's suggestion of ACT therapy. My therapist works a lot with mindfulness and we have been working through a workbook together. It's a very radical mindshift in some ways- I had a very hard time just with the idea of "accepting" anxiety. Why on earth would I want to accept pain? I hate pain! I personally prefer the word acknowledgement- realizing that the pain is there and working along side of it, *despite its presence*, really does take a lot of the fuel of anxiety away.

This is the book, btw, I'm referring to. I don't know if it's what perl is referring to, but there are a few books out there now on mindfulness and MBCT:

http://www.amazon.com/Mindfulness-Ac...9876602&sr=8-4

Anyhow, to echo what everyone else has said, anxiety CAN be managed. It does not have to stop you from achieving your life goals, including having children.

Keep us posted, k?

Happy mumma to Mr. S (7) and Ms. D (9) .
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#8 of 9 Old 12-21-2008, 01:29 PM
 
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I too have anxiety disorders (GAD and panic/anxiety attacks). Having children definitely brought some of my neuroticism to the forefront, but I'm still glad I had children. It's been a huge wake up call to revise my expectations, standards and negative thinking. I still battle with it often, like almost daily, but I still think life is worth living for my children and I'm glad we had both of them.

Good luck. CBT and meds help me some. Also talking to others about my worries.


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#9 of 9 Old 12-22-2008, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the recommendations and encouragement. I will definitely check out acceptance/commitment therapy.

Like everyone, all I want is to avoid pain in my future, and avoid hurting potential children. And anxiety is a very painful experience. I've had the hypochondria experience too, that Dipmama talked about.

I doubt anyone on this site would say they regret having kids though, for any reason ;-)
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