Mental Health Disorders and Reproducing

Should people with mental health disorders reproduce?  Obviously, this has to be decided on a case by case basis, and I can only answer based on my own thoughts and experiences.  For me, I have always thought that answer should be a big, fat NO.

Growing up I never really wanted kids.  Sometimes I would get the urge to have a baby, but never a kid.  So, I guess that made my “should I have a baby?” answer of NO a lot easier.  But, things change, people change, and our circumstances definitely change.  Now that I am turning 35 this year, that question is nagging in the back of my head a lot more often.

I am happily married to a wonderful, caring man who I know would make a great father.  When we first started dating he was on board with my “no kids” plan.  Back then he also said that he would never get married, so that’s just another example of people growing and changing.

My husband is not pressuring me really, but even him mentioning it a few times has me really pondering this decision.  What kind of wife am I to deprive him of his own children?  What kind of woman am I to not want to do the most natural thing for us to do?  I know that’s a very archaic way of thinking, but those are the kinds of thoughts that have been running through my mind.

mental health disorders and having babies

Mental Health Disorders and Having Babies

Okay, so what if I decided, yes, I do want a little tike running around that shares the DNA of myself and the person that I love more than anything?  The nail in the coffin is the fact that I have a whole slew of mental health disorders.  Several diagnosed… and several assumed.  Not only do I worry about passing along those dreaded genes to my offspring, but also… what if I hate my baby?

Now, if I ask my friends this question, they say “no one hates their baby… your maternal instinct kicks in…” and several other simple answers.  But, I do not trust myself and I know for a fact this doesn’t always happen.  My mother hated me.  (Not looking for pity here… this is true and she admits it.)  I don’t blame her because this was due to her own mental health disorders, but she wanted nothing to do with me as an infant and I knew it.

Long story short, I was raised by my Grandparents and was showered with love and attention.  My point is, in the battle of nature vs. nurture in my situation, nature clearly won.  I am alarmingly like my mother even though she didn’t raise me.  Why would I want to roll the dice with repeating history?

My husband is freakishly “normal” and has no understanding when it comes to mental health disorders.  I try not to burden him with mine, but he knows that I struggle.  He counts on his superior genes to trump mine in the DNA war, but I am still so scared.  A few of my family members have also bred with mentally healthy people and their kids are a little iffy.  (LOL  – that’s not funny, but hopefully you get what I mean.)

Part of me thinks that having a child would be good for me.  It would give me something to healthily obsess about, but then that’s just selfish, isn’t it?  Ugh, I wish life just came with instructions!  Don’t we all?!

I would love to hear thoughts on this topic.  What do you think about people with mental health disorders reproducing?


  1. Really great post delving into a topic that is definitely worth talking about.. yet rarely is! I do believe it is a case by case decision. You are proactive about helping yourself both professionally and personally, sounds like you have all the tools needed to successfully be a mom if you choose. Being so self-aware (as you clearly are) serves as a huge advantage. It means you are aware and care enough to consider how life would be for your child… all natural mommy instincts! It’s likely those who are *not so aware* that may end up in a situation that isn’t so lucky.

    • Jennifer says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Dawn. I never thought of my over-thinking to be a mommy instinct, but that’s a great way to look at it. 🙂

  2. I think that knowledge and awareness is important so that people are able to make informed decisions.I also have friends that don’t want children and they are happy. I have other friends that have adopted. I don’t think that a child has to be biological to be your own – adoption is a great option for many people.

    • Jennifer says:

      Yes, adoption is a great option for sure. At first we were happily not wanting children. Kinda wish we could just go back to that and then maybe adopt wayyy down the line!

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