Should I become a mother

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Women & Girls Should I become a mother

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    • #187122

      I am 31 years old with ADD I want children but I am really scared I won’t be able to cope. I struggle to look after myself and always feel like I’m in a constant struggle to get everything done.I can’t even hold down a full time job. Could anyone other women with ADD give their experience of being a parent and how they cope?

    • #187145

      Hi Caito44
      I am unable to respond regarding experience as a mother with ADHD, but I do want to empathize with you, particularly as this very issue has been of great distress of late. I am 35-years-old and echo your exact sentiments and challenges. I have enormous fears of not being able to cope as a mother, and feel like I have to choose between my life and giving life. Also, my clock is ticking and ticking fast, and I cannot find the answer (also struggling with a partner who has expressed his concern of having children with me for this very reason, which has only led me to more shame and distress). I hope someone will share their experiences here for us both. Please know you are not alone. I’m sending you positive support.
      – Chris

    • #187256

      Thanks for getting back to me. It does feel very lonely.I feel like I can’t really talk to anyone about it except my partner who is also worried like yours not only that I won’t be able to cope but also that we will have a kid with it as well making it doubly harder.

    • #187414

      I’m 38, I have ADHD and two kids–one ASD and one ADHD. Ain’t going to lie, there are challenging days. O struggle a lot with executive function and I sometimes forget to make dinner and I’m a terrible house keeper. I’m still trying to figure out balancing job and family and that’s been hard. But here’s the thing. I’m really awesome at the things that matter. What are those things?

      1) I’m super loving and affectionate
      2) I’m fun
      3) I understand my children’s challenges
      4) I’m deeply empathetic
      5) I’m fun
      6) I find my children interesting so I pay a lot of attention to them…yay hyperfocus!
      7) I’m a really hard worker. I’ve had to be to get this far. And I keep trying no matter how many times I screw up
      8) I’m fun
      9) I’m really good in situations that require flexibility and fast thinking, like kids being hurt or sick, or dealing with hurt feelings, or simply trying to find something to do that doesn’t involve screens
      10) I’m smart, so I have built coping mechanisms into my day that help me parent even when I forget stuff
      11) I’m fun. Seriously, this is so important for kids
      12) I am good at teaching my kids to be independent
      13) I’m good at expressing my feelings to my children, so they know they are loved. And I’m good at making criticism about behaviors and not people, and treating my kids the way I wish people would treat me.
      14) I’m incredibly fun and my kids (ages 12 and 7) love to spend time with me!!!!!!

      Guess what? All those things are related to my ADHD. Yeah, it’s got challenges and I feel overworked and overwhelmed a lot. But I’m hyperactive and inattentive, so I have more energy and flexibility than anyone I know. It makes me creative. It makes me a good mom.

      I do have to admit, I have a supportive partner who accepts my ADHD without judgment (though he finds it exhausting–he’s ASD :). Chris, I’m concerned about your partner situation as you’ve presented it. While I’m positive you’d be a great parent, I’m not so positive your partner wouldn’t criticize any ADHD children you have the way they criticize you. The last thing you want is to raise children with someone who will heap that kind of damage on a young, defenseless spirit. You should be a parent…your partner? Maybe not so much.

      Here is what I think. ADHD is actually a great asset for a parent as long as you accept yourself for who you are and do the work to create a life that works with you, not against you. This is very, very doable. If you’re concerned about your ability to cope, find a coach or an understanding friend who can help you work out how you want your life to look and what changes you can make to get you there.

      The truth is, no matter how prepared you are, parenthood will kick your butt. That’s normal for EVERYONE. And you will figure it out and get through it. The important thing is loving your children so much you’re willing to do what it takes for them to thrive. While it’s impossible to predict what that will look like, I promise you that your ADHD will actually help you more often than it hurts you, whether or not you can see it.

      You’re both good enough. Yeah, there will be bad days. Many of those bad days will be brought on by all the people who come out of the woodwork to judge your parenting for no reason. Being a mom is like being a hater magnet…you have to grow a thick skin. But you will survive. And eventually, you’ll thrive. Our ADHD makes us warriors. And if we forget that sometimes…well, that’s just ADHD.

      Be encouraged. You have everything you need.


    • #187495

      You nca do it mother, already being concern of is already a sign that you care so much

    • #187596

      Thanks for the responses it is quite a lonely thing I fI feel like there is literally no where to discuss this except these forums!

    • #187767

      It’s 3:20am and I’ve been hyperfocused on this website for much longer than I care to admit, and now I’m crying. Lol I’m 28, and I want kids so badly, but I get so scared. I’m also single because I feel like I’m never gonna find the right person for the same reason. But that’s a different story…
      Lol Thanks for that beautifully written reply, Kelly. I think I really needed that.

    • #193825
      Anna Martin

      People are much more than psychiatric labels, and my mom is a fantastic person all around. That said, certain aspects of her personality are very ADHD-linked. People with ADHD can be very focused on the present, making them emotionally open and spontaneous. I never lacked for love, and we always had many people around. Like many women with ADHD, she’s sort of verbally hyperactive. She’s constantly talking, which is actually suitable for intellectual development, especially in the first few years of life.

      However, that same focus on the present often lends itself to many emotional ups and downs, disorganization, unpredictability, and sometimes impulsivity and bad decision making. Our house was crazy, in funny ways, in silly ways, and complicated ways. We could never find anything. Seriously, we were constantly losing things – keys, remote controls, scissors. The parents would occasionally try to make a solemn declaration, “the scissors will be in this kitchen drawer from now on.” But it never lasted more than a couple of days. Nothing stayed in the same place between the ADHD mom and the ADHD kids. That said, I wouldn’t trade my mother for the world. Even though she has many bad habits (people with ADHD are more likely to smoke, overeat, etc.), she is also in excellent health, and I think it’s because she doesn’t worry unnecessarily. She values social connections above all things.

    • #193952

      Hello! I joined this site just a few minutes ago! I’m currently awaiting diagnosis of autism / ADHD / both / neither and got married recently. My autistic husband would like children and I’m also wondering how I’d cope as a parent. I’m not sure about my husband’s practical skills but I know that he would make a loving parent. I seem to meet many criteria for both autism and ADHD and my nephew has a diagnosis of autism so we could well have a neurodiverse biological child if we manage to procreate. I’m also thinking that adopting or fostering a neurodiverse child would be fab as we’d have empathy as well as being super fun parents! For a long time I’ve felt distressed about and ashamed of my “shortcomings” but now I’m working on self-acceptance and getting to know my neurodiverse super powers. I also struggle to keep jobs, maintain relationships, keep home clean and tidy etc.

    • #193953

      Hot tip in the parenting department for ASD parents. Use decibel reducing earplugs, like the ones people use for concerts or riding motorcycles. You can still hear your baby when they need you, but it takes the sensory edge off.

      Also, I’m not ASD and I’m very sensitive to body language and tone of voice. It didn’t matter. I still couldn’t tell what my baby wanted 90% of the time. You just learn to run down the list and check everything. Mr husband is ASD, and he’s a great dad, if not always a sensitive one 😊.

    • #193965

      I’m in my late 30s and have pretty much ruled out having children. Life feels overwhelming enough without them. I struggle to get enough sleep, can’t hold down a full time job, and when I do get sporadic work I don’t have enough energy to focus on multiple other responsibilities. I also love having lots of time for hobbies and don’t want to sacrifice that for kid activities. I also tend to get annoyed when I’m around children, and am worried I’d snap at them in irritation before I can even think about it. Fortunately, I don’t have any maternal urges and have been able to find partners that also don’t care about having children.

    • #193967

      Excellent tip about headphones. I have them for my husband as he makes noises, I guess his self-stimulating behaviour, and I’m sensitive to noise and I don’t like it! 🙂 I’m currently waiting for a diagnosis but regardless of the outcome hoping to find lots of strategies to help me cope with relationships, work etc and feel a bit more confident in my abilities and potential so that the things I feel are struggles and frustrations now are just part of life and no big deal 🙂

    • #196785

      I too have ADHD with a strong emotional disregulation component. I was only diagnosed in this year of my life, and I’m 38. I have 4 children ranging in age from 12 to 17, one of which is diagnosed with ADHD, but the other three have components of it and are likely on the high-functioning end of the spectrum.

      I am so thankful to be a mom! I know I wouldn’t be as successful as I am without my accommodating, loving, kind, nonjudgmental husband (who is also a great dad). A supportive spouse is so important! But children make a person grow and stretch to become more generous, more kind, less selfish, and less self-centred, and I know my husband and I are much better people than when our first was born.

      We’ve had to make accommodations for my ADHD shortcomings. We’ve chosen to live on my husband’s income so that I can handle the demands of family life and the demands of my shaky mental health. I’ve held small part-time jobs in the past but they’ve always ended up being temporary, necessary for getting us over financial humps. I don’t volunteer for groups or activities and we don’t let our kids participate in every group, sport, skill, or activity because a healthy mom is more important for raising well-rounded humans than extra activities are.

      I know I could never handle a full time job, even if I didn’t have kids, but a full time job is much different than parenting. A job, no matter how much you enjoy it, is a means to an end. A family is work too, but it’s motivated by love and fulfilling relationships, and the demands are constantly changing. There’s no time to get bored and even when life is overwhelming you won’t be a failure in your children’s eyes because no one can give to them or love them like you can.

      I don’t know your situation, and only you can decide if you want to go down that road, but I wanted to share my own experiences. In my low times I’ve thought that I should not have been a mother, but when I come out of that low, I realize that my children have made me a better person and that I am contributing something priceless to the world through my beloved, healthy, functioning children.

      I hope that helps somewhat.

    • #196791

      ADHD-without-the-H but with some impulsivity here, 40, with OCD-without-the-C husband and an adorable but possibly proto-ADHD 2-year-old. (She’s a late talker, and the speech therapist says she’s also inconsistent with shared attention and eye contact.) How does it work?
      1) Supportive husband, helps that he’s also neurodiverse but in a different and largely complementary way, much like the ADHD-ASD couple on this thread. In fact, my first serious boyfriend was ASD, but not dad material and not willing to move for my career, so didn’t work out in the long term.
      2) Making the decision “backwards” – instead of wanting kids, I eliminated my previous reasons for not wanting one, such as fear of postpartum depression, concern over lack of domestic support through daycare/nanny/non-sexist and non-workaholic husband (in Covid lockdowns I have often had to make do with only the third one but it’s enough), concern with whether I could raise a disabled kid ok, concern with excessive direct criticism of my choices. As I relaxed about these things as my ducks got in a row, I was ready to take the chance.
      3) Self-assurance with regard to life choices. I know that if I didn’t have the guts – or really, the sense of deep need to maintain my sanity – to actually follow popular advice to do what I love and marry whom I love, I couldn’t have pulled off this good enough (except in my RSD moments) life and would likely have comorbidities.
      4) Sanity management, aka treatment. Last October, when I realized I probably hadn’t outgrown my ADHD or been misdiagnosed, I started behavioral techniques to organize myself, restarted therapy regularly with my husband’s trusty therapist who also has ADHD, and got stress toys and a vibrating timer watch to help me better manage my time use, sense of past and future (by default my past feels irrelevant unless further proof I currently suck and my future either distant or bleak and all-too-soon), and emotions.

      If you can create these kinds of conditions in your life while still able to conceive or willing to adopt, great. If not, find other ways to engage with youth and feel no shame about not having kids. One in 5 people don’t, including my menopausal best friend. She enjoys her single life and her friends’ kids.

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