Depression and fatherhood

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My boyfriend has suffered with depression for a long time but lately has had this under control. He's currently not on any medication and we have not seen any issues for a while. We've recently bought a house and the topic of children has come up. I'd love children but my boyfriend is hesitant. He'd be a fantastic dad and loves children however he's unsure whether he wants his own as he doesn't want to pass on his mental health struggles and have to see his child go through the suffering he has.

It isn't necessarily a deal breaker for us however I'd like to get some opinions or experiences about whether people feel it is a good decision to not have children for this reason? I feel he is selling himself short

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  • Posted

    i was in the same situation a while back, i suffer from depression and anxiety, have done for years.  My partner wanted kids, and i really didnt - so i was honest about it and said no i dont.  It could well have broken us up, but id rather that than have a kid i dont want.  Its good that hes being honest, it really is up to you - all i would say is - dont try to change his mind.  You wouldnt want him to do it to you, respect each others wishes.  If you want them and he doesnt youll need to decide between you if you can carry on.  Its a terrible thing to bring a child into the world if its not wanted equally by both parents
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  • Posted


    There is only a slight chance it can be past down the line so to speak, although it may help to discuss this with His GP and He will be able to give you a better idea when it comes mental health issues and genetics.

    Much of depression is inflicted, with the exception on some types that are caused by a drug imbalance in the Brain.and generally this can be treated given time.

    My condition basically, PsA is genetic and comes from both sides of my family, I made an informed choice and we decided we would not have children as my conition was showing at a more intense level.

    Talk to His Doctor and possibly family, the problem with family is they may be protective and that could cause a problem.

    Remember as well mental health treatments are changing and hopefully these problems in the future will be treatable

    Again I would consider all ok, depending on the country you live in before marriage the State may expect couples to have a medical before tying the knot.

    See your GP


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    • Posted

      its not all about passing it down chemically, that fear from someone typically means they dont feel emotionally strong enough to not pass on their behaviours etc to someone else.  Sometimes its just a gut feeling.  Thats something he can choose to work through if HE wants to - he shouldnt be made to feel theres something wrong with him and he should be convinced by others to feel differently.  Its a valid reaon to not have a child, and if thats how he wants it to be for now - that that should be respected.  If not and a child comes along and he realises he was right, and he doesnt want one - then what?  What happens to the child, and what happens to him?
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  • Posted

    Hiya , I am the only one in my family that suffers with depression .

    I have 2 wonderful children and there both got good jobs . Seeing me go threw the depression, has mad there out look different . With me if someone nasty I cry and think about it for days .

    With them there stronger and would deal with it different .

    I had a bad life were I made sure my kids had a good life x

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  • Posted

    Hi Lucy - what an interesting question. It reminds of the Dunedin Study which was launched in New Zealand in 1972. It commenced a life long study of 1037 babies born between April 1972 and March 1973, and has followed their lives for more than 40 years. I believe there is still a 94% participation by those chosen. The purpose of the study was to ascertain the influence of nature and nurture on the developing human. I particualr gene was isolated they called the MAOM gene (I think) which defined psychopathic traits. It was posited that as many as 30 percent of the study participants carried the gene, but the incidence of practising psychopaths in society are about 1 in 25 persons, or a bout 4% of the population. Interestingly, one of the doctors involved in the study was shocked to discover he himself had the psychopathic gene, which he supposed was not "active" as his upbringing had been positive and encouraging. 

    With your husbands' concern, supposing that there is a genetic component involved in depression (It certainly runs in my family), I would suggest that it is not a necessarily a determination of how the child will respond, but rather the nurture and environmental aspect - which includes the parent's awareness of his/her own propensity to depression - is the ground on which a stable, well rounded child can be raised. Also, should there be any incidence of depressive behaviour in your child, you will both be aware of what it is and can effectively treat it while youth is in the picture. Further, I would suggest that with the pace of advancement in medicine, any necessary treatment for depression in the future will be more focused and effective than anything we have today. If you want children and know you can provide a safe, caring environment for them, go for it. 

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