Post # 1
So, I’m not actually ttc right now, we’re newly married and have a lot we want to do as a couple first. We definitely want a family at some point, that point just isn’t right now.
Lately I’ve been having problems with depressing and anxiety (lost my job and such), so I’ve been seeing my internist’s RN, and she’s been doing some small adjusts which have been helping, but I’m not quite out of my rought patch yet.
The doc has established that my type of depression is genetic, which means I’ve had it from a rather young age, and will continue to have it until I die. No matter how awesome my life is, my brain simply can’t make the right chemicals on it’s own. This also means that I can easily pass it down to any children I have.
She asked if I was planning on having children now that I’m married, and I told her sometime in the future, yes. She got a really worried look on her face and looked at her assistant, who is also female, and I felt like I was being left out of the loop on something. “I’m…worried about you getting pregnant. You need to have a long talk with some doctors and your husband before you decide to do that.” I asked why? As far as I know I’m pretty healthy.
Turns out, not only can I pass it on to my kids, but I’m also a huge candidate for post-partum psychosis. It’s like post-partum depression, but a lot more dangerous for both me and the hypothetical baby.
This absolutely broke my heart. She basically told me I wasn’t mentally stable enough to have a child. I want children very much and some point, and being told I could be at risk of harming them because of something I can’t, or never will be able to control kills me inside.
Has anyone else been through this? Do you think it would be irresponsible of me to have children? What should I do?
Post # 3
I’m really sorry for hearing that I hope it all works out!
Post # 4
Well sometimes the medical world can be a bit cold, but they are usually well intentioned.
Assuming this is true ( I am not educated on genetic depression), yes it is something to take very seriously , but if you have a fabulous support network and are wiling to work with doctors before, during and after your pregnancy I don’t see why not! I firmly believe You can do anything if you truly want it!
Post # 5
I’m sorry to hear you got this kind of news but I think this is a “knowledge is power” situation. I don’t mean to sound cold but I think I’d prefer to know if I could potentially have issues than jump into it unknowingly. Now if you choose to go ahead anyway you’ll know what to monitor in yourself and possibly your child. Or you can choose whether you want to risk it at all.
Post # 6
I’m so sorry.
Many women with depression do have children. If you have time you should read through dooce.com, Heather went through PPD with her first daughter to the point that she was hospitalized. Obviously your doctor and you will know best what you and your husband can handle but I think it’s good to get informed as much as possible.
ETA: Sorry, I just noticed that PPD and post-partum psychosis are not the same.. still, dooce is a great read since she talks so openly about her depression.
Post # 7
I think what they are saying is that they want you to enter into the decision to have babies fully informed and with the tools necessary to stay mentally stable. I have stuggled with mental issues, and I can tell you that with the right training in using different self management tools you can maintain stability. It is a lot of work but totally worth it. Especially if you have a husband to help you maintain your routine and mental excercises. You can do it, just do it with your doctor and take care of yourself.
Post # 8
I can’t really tell from your post how severe your depression and anxiety are, nor whether either of your parents have it as well? (Which would help give you an idea of how “genetic” it is, I guess is what I’m saying, plus what it’s like to grow up in a house with a parent suffering from depression.)
I don’t think you should assume this means you can’t have children. I think it means you need to do your research, to make sure your own mental health is nice and strong before you TTC, that your Darling Husband needs to fully understand things, etc. Lots of people get terrible PND with absolutely no history of depression or other issues, so really there is no way to tell how you will react or cope with parenthood. There are lots of things – good and bad – we can pass on to our children. Perhaps none of us with heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes in our families should be having children? Where would we draw the line?
Good luck, that must have been hard news to hear but like one of the PPs said, knowledge is power and this just gives you more reason to look after yourself and enjoy this stage of your marriage before you start the TTC journey. Good luck!
Post # 9
Have you thought about getting a second opinion from a mental health professional? I understand she is an internist not a psychiatrist/neurologist/geneticist, right? I’m not an expert in the medical field by any means, but I wonder if she is the right person to pre-diagnose you with post-partum psychosis. To err is human, and doctors are people, too.
Post # 10
I totall agree with @AprilJo2011: If having children is something that you and Darling Husband want I would most definitely get a second opinion. Even if you are at risk for post-partum psychosis, I am quite sure that there are therapies, medications, and coping methods that would make it very possible to have a child. Plus, if you know that the depression that you suffer from is genetic, you could be vigilant with your children to ensure that they seek attention at the first signs of depression.
Please don’t give up hope of having a family based on one medical professionals opinion!
Post # 11
- Wedding: November 2011 - Palma Sola Botanical Park
I’m no doctor, and don’t have experience with this myself. However, one of my very good friends bordered on PPP after the birth of her first child. She was put on Xanax temporarily. Then, when she became pregnant with her second child, her doctor started her on mild antidepressants in her second trimester, which she took straight through breastfeeding (I’m not sure if she’s still on them today). She said it was a completely different experience, and while she feels badly that she couldn’t be as present when she was pregnant with/caring for her son, her eyes are wide open with her daughter and she didn’t have any PPD or PPP.
All that to say, there are plenty of members of the medical community who are well-versed in treating and monitoring female patients with genetic chemical and mood disorders. Perhaps it’s a matter of getting a second opinion, like others have suggested.
Post # 12
I’m sorry, but that is bull. People who have depression have babies every single day! There is no way of knowing that a) you will be depressed your entire life or b) that you will have PPD or PPP. NONE. You can be at risk for it, but there are no absolutes. I want to hug you right through the screen. I think what she told you is completely irresonsible and alarmist at best. You need to discuss with an OBGYN in a pre TTC appointment your history with depression and mention you are concerned how that will affect a pregnancy. There are depression medications you CAN take during pregnancy. Look, I have never been depressed but PPD hit me like a ton of bricks. I could not function… I was a hot mess. Does that mean I should never have anymore? No it means that I need medication post partum and to stay on top of my mental health.
Please do not let what one doctor tell you scare you. You can have a child even if you are suffering with depression. It is not a big deal- just something to monitor and stay on top of.
Post # 13
@Spinder: First off, (((HUGS))). That’s a really tough thing to hear, especially from a medical professional that you trust.
I am in the medical profession (but not an MD) but more importantly, I had/have depression and anxiety. It runs all throughout my family – Mom, Dad, siblings, etc. I’ve never once been told that my “version” of depression is genetic. There are links between genetics and depression, but I don’t agree with what your MD has said to you, and especially the manner in which she said it to you. I feel it was really irresponsible for her to use that tone. Plus, unless she did any sort of genetics testing behind your back, there is no way she can deem the depression “genetic”. That’s what there are specialists for.
If I were you, I’d get a second opinion, as other posters have mentioned. Does having depression put you at a higher risk for PPD? Yes. Does everyone with PPD have a prior history of depression? No way. Does having depression mean that you’ll end up with post-partum psychosis? Absolutely not, especially if you’re in the proper treatment for your depression before you are pregnant and have your child. A combination of therapy and medication, as well as exercise and diet modifications, has shown to be very successful in treating many types of mental illness, including severe depression.
Pregnancy and post-partum are very trying times in a woman’s life, and I, for one, am grateful that I have my therapist on my side throughout my pregnancy. I do not require medication at this time, although I did a few years ago. Put your mind at ease, get a second opinion, and get yourself into a comfortable treatment regimen to prepare yourself wholly for pregnancy and beyond. You’ll be a great mama some day – there’s no reason why you can’t be!
Post # 14
It doesn’t sound like she’s trying to scare you, just prepare you and make sure you talk to your doctor and take precautions before, during, and after pregnancy.
Post # 15
I think you need to speak with a mental healht professional, not a family practice doctor.
Depression runs in my family and I have bipolar disorder and no one has ever told me anything like this. Not even after I got pregnant. You need to speak with a specialist before you let her words get to you.
Post # 16
Holy crap, your doc sounds like she has a crappy bedside manner. Yes, you should be educated on your risks involved with pregnancy, absolutely. But in no way, shape, or form should your doctor give you a fearful look, which is what it sounds like she did. Imagine if she was telling you that you have cancer and she was giving you that same worried look – how would you feel about your odds of survival? She needs to work on her “game face,” i.e. try not to look at a patient like they’re doomed when you’re giving them bad news.
Okay, so aside from that, she also does not KNOW for sure that this will be an issue for you. PPD and PPP are indeed scary situations to find yourself in, but they are TREATABLE. Jesus, the way she delivered this information to you, you’d think it was going to kill you to have a kid. Not at all. With your history of depression and anxiety issues, she just needs to be extra vigilant, and have you and your family be extra vigilant as well, so that you can catch and treat any issues before they get out of control.
I’m sorry, I’m just really worked up over this because I struggle with depression issues, too. I’ve been doubting having children because I’m worried I’ll pass this on to them (which no doubt has crossed your mind, too). I wouldn’t need someone else putting extra fears into my head and telling me how I shouldn’t have kids due to risks of PPD or PPP. I am so mad at your doctor!