The Idea Of Pregnancy And Children Freaks Me Out!

Before I go into why I currently feel that way, some background would probably be helpful.

I grew, and am still growing, up in a large family. I have six other siblings, and only one of them is older than me. As for the other five, I have had to help my parents with them since I was only eight years old. I think most people could understand asking an eight year old to pick up after themselves and become more autonomous as a way to help in the home. That's not what my parents did. Since I was that age, I have spent hours at a stretch watching my siblings for them. When I was younger, even though I did not understand what it was at the time, I suffered from panic attacks and general anxiety due to having this responsibility shoved onto me. I learned to stress eat as a coping mechanism, so I also become obese between the ages of 9 and 14. My anxiety and weight turned into a social death spiral where I became more and more depressed until I tried to kill myself when I was 15. However, now I have learned to cope with my anxiety and depression, I got myself to a normal weight, and I can now manage it. However, the experience has left me with a deep resentment not only towards my parents, but also towards the idea of having my own children.

Saying that, I feel extraordinarily conflicted about having children when I am older. On the one hand, I like the idea of having children with someone I love, I think I would be an excellent mother, and, so far as I can tell from psychological studies, I would likely be happier in the long run. On the other hand, I dislike losing some of the freedom I would have in adulthood, having set-backs in my future career, gaining weight again (and the social stigmatization attached to it), having post-partum depression, and dealing with the anxiety that results from fluctuating hormones. I also have a general anxiety about pregnancy and children that factors into my evaluation of it.

My boyfriend would like to have children when he's older, and, even if I'm not still with him, most guys want to have children. I feel like not wanting to have children will leave me alone and isolated when I'm older, and I would feel horrible depriving someone in a relationship with me of children they would like to have.
ConspicuousCathy ConspicuousCathy
May 21, 2012