Should I have a baby?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by pcakes, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. pcakes

    pcakes New Member

    Hello, I've recently been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. I've been waiting to be "well" to have a baby. Now I know I may never be well, but will need to cope with the pain. I've been thinking of having a baby now due possibly never having one since I'm in my 40's. Someone with Fibromyalgia also suggested to have a baby, that it might lift me up. I'm thinking maybe I would love the baby so much my attention would be on the baby, not my pain. Also my fear is if I could possibly have an abnormal baby because of my age and in addition to having this condition. Anyone have any insight on this? Thanks.
  2. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Sorry, dear, but I can't answer this question for you!

    Follow your heart, and I know you will make the best decision for you.

    Regarding your fear of having a baby at your age ... physicians now do a variety of tests on "older" mothers. I think that they suggest these tests to anyone over 35 if they want them. They will watch you closely and can tell very early in your pregnancy if there are any problems.

  3. NancyMystic

    NancyMystic New Member

    I found an interesting article about it by Dr. Charles Lapp
    who is head of the Hunter-Hopkins Center in Charlotte, NC and Clinical Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Duke University.

    Childbearing and CFIDS - Making a Difficult Decision

    Deciding to have children is a central event in many individuals’ lives. Having chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) makes the decision more difficult. Pregnancy and parenthood for individuals with CFIDS can seem daunting, and it is hard to find good information on the risks. Unfortunately, there is very little formal research on pregnancy and CFIDS, so most of what is known is medical opinion rather than documented fact.

    This article aims to provide some general advice, but women who have CFIDS and are thinking about becoming pregnant need to talk through the issues carefully with their partners and with their physicians. Countless couples with CFIDS have successfully borne and reared children. Careful advance planning can help make the experience easier and more enjoyable.

    Deciding whether to get pregnant

    Clinical experience with CFIDS patients who have become pregnant suggests that the majority either stay the same or actually feel somewhat better during their pregnancies. This has been true in my own practice.
    A recent review of medical charts for 27 women who became pregnant while they had CFIDS revealed 25 felt better during pregnancy.

    On the other hand, approximately one-third of CFIDS patients experience a worsening of their original symptoms after giving birth—almost like a bad relapse.

    The reason for this may have to do with the immune system. A similar lessening of symptoms during pregnancy occurs with other autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

    The theory is that the body “turns off” parts of the immune system to prevent the woman’s body from attacking the baby as it would a virus or anything else that is not an original part of itself.

    The improvement may also have something to do with hormones produced during pregnancy. A few physicians have treated CFIDS patients with oxytocin, a hormone that women produce when breast feeding. CFIDS physician Dr. Jay Goldstein reported improvement in about one-fifth of the patients studied.

    CFIDS patients trying to get pregnant should be aware that they might be at higher risk for first-trimester miscarriage, although this is based on clinical experience, not formal research.

    A study published in the September 28, 1998 issue of The American Journal of Medicine did find that a higher percentage of women with CFIDS experienced irregular menstrual cycles, hormone imbalances affecting menstruation and ovarian cysts, which may affect their ability to get pregnant and successfully complete a pregnancy.

    However, in my chart review of CFIDS mothers, I did not find a rate of miscarriages in excess of the expected limits for the general population. Only 4 of the 27 had experienced one or more miscarriages.

    Possible effects on the baby’s health

    The majority of women with CFIDS seem to have normal, healthy children. There have been no formal reports of a child being born with CFIDS.

    However, there is no definitive proof on whether parents can transmit the illness to their babies or whether children can inherit the ability to contract CFIDS later in life.

    The question of whether CFIDS is inheritable is often raised, as the illness does seem to run in some families. Dr. David Bell found that during an outbreak in Lyndonville, N.Y. in 1985, more than 15% of individuals diagnosed had another family member ill with CFIDS as well.

    However, this does not necessarily mean that CFIDS is genetically linked.

    Some physicians and researchers believe that CFIDS is caused by an unidentified infectious agent or triggered by a known virus in patients who have a vulnerable immune system.

    This “vulnerability” could be genetic and inherited, or it could be due to damage to the immune system from various environmental hazards to which the entire family is exposed.

    If the illness is caused by a virus, it could be transmitted to an unborn baby as it travels through the birth canal or to a newborn through breast feeding. The chances of this are low, but if parents-to-be are concerned, they may want to consider bottle feeding rather than breast feeding to help lower the chances of passing on an infectious agent.

    To breastfeed or not is a personal choice that should be based on what is best for the mother and the baby’s health.

    Breast feeding does provide the baby with an important source of antibodies and cuts down on the work of preparing formula and bottles. However, bottle feeding means that the mother’s medications will not have to be restricted after the baby’s birth and other people can help with the feeding (especially at night) to allow the mother to get more rest.

    Special considerations for pregnancy and delivery

    It is advisable for CFIDS patients to stop most of their over-the-counter and prescription medications before they get pregnant because they may be harmful to the fetus. Some drugs, such as antidepressants and pain medications, need to be tapered off slowly, so talk to a physician first.

    Women with CFIDS who are planning to get pregnant should also stop taking herbal preparations and nutritional supplements (aside from prenatal vitamins or other supplements recommended by their physicians). In most cases, there is just not enough data to show how they will impact the baby.

    An epidural can help conserve a woman’s energy during birth and speed recovery afterwards. Pain relief options should be discussed with the obstetrician or midwife well in advance of the baby’s due date.

    Also keep in mind that PWC mothers may spend a longer time in the hospital following delivery than healthy new mothers. A British survey of 27 women with CFIDS showed that half spent extra time in the hospital after delivery because of their CFIDS symptoms.

    You should discuss this possibility with your doctor during pregnancy so he/she is prepared to advocate for you if your insurance provider denies extra time in the hospital.

    Coping after the baby is born

    Taking care of babies and toddlers requires a considerable amount of emotional and physical energy, and for many women and men with CFIDS, coping with childcare is the largest factor in deciding whether or not to have a baby.

    Having a good support network of par-ents, grandparents, neighbors and friends can help.

    Couples who do not have a network to fall back on may have to hire extra help, which is something to take into consideration early on. Families with tight budgets might want to contact local universities about hiring a nursing or early education student.

    One way to conserve energy is by sitting or lying down to change diapers or feed the baby. Most young babies can only stay awake for about two hours, so anticipating when the baby will be tired and encouraging him or her to sleep will help establish a regular schedule and help new mothers get more rest.

    For additional tips, contact a local support group to find out if there are other parents with CFIDS nearby who would be willing to share their experiences and lessons learned.

  4. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    So sorry but you're the only one who can answer that question. Nancy posted very good information for you.

    Good luck in making your decision. For what it's worth, kids are great but you're never not a mother.

  5. KMD90603

    KMD90603 New Member

    Just a few things to consider. One is that you are considered of advanced age as far as pregnancy is concerned. So, that comes with complications in and of itself. It's something you should certainly discuss with your doctor before making any decisions. They can give you information as far as the possible risks.

    Secondly, while having a baby is a wonderful experience, it will not just make you forget about your pain. You have to consider that you'll be losing ALOT of sleep at night. My son woke up every 2 hours in the beginning, then gradually upped it to every 3-4 hours. Also, after giving birth your hormones go pretty crazy. Many women experience a case of post-partum blues or even depression after the baby comes. So both the loss of sleep and the blues together can have you feeling pretty sick.

    I'm not trying to sway you from having a baby, please don't get me wrong. But I don't think that you should have a baby just to lift you up. Because it's not going to cure you or make you forget about your disease. You'll still have the FM, and on top of it you'll have a helpless baby to take care of.

    I've been toying with the idea of having another baby myself. My husband and I have a 5-year old son. I had been sick when I had him, but I wasn't diagnosed until he was 3. I've actually been sick for about 9 years now, ever since having mono. Anyway, my husband and I have been thinking about trying for #2, but the problem is I'm afraid to bring another child into the world knowing how bad my CFIDS is. I love my son to death, but so much of the past couple of years have been spent with me laying on the couch all day or laying in bed. I've been making more of an effort lately to get him outside and have fun with him, especially because it is summer. My son is definitely my reason for pushing through my disease, but it's also EXTREMELY exhausting being a mom and a wife and having this disease to live with. Because I can't just quit, it's a full time job.

    Gentle hugs,
  6. KelB

    KelB New Member

    I can relate to your position, as I'm in my early 40s with no chance of having a child now - "long term" partners didn't want them with me until after we'd split up (when they'd promise to have a child with me if we got back together. Needless to say, we didn't).

    All I can do is pass on some advice my OT gave me:

    "Don't wait to do something until you're better".

    Don't wait to go shopping, don't wait to go on holiday, don't wait to get married. Don't wait.

    You may never recover and then you'll spend the rest of your life just waiting instead of living. Yes, you're ill. Yes, nobody can guarantee that you'll recover. Yes, if you recover nobody can guarantee that you'll stay well. But if you don't do things just because of the illness, you'll regret so much that you will never have the chance to do again.

    If I found a partner whom I loved and with whom I wanted a child - hang CFS, I'd have the child tomorrow. But I wouldn't have the child because it might lift me up or take my attention away from my CFS. I'd have it because I've desperately wanted a child for many years. Yes, life would be harder than if I didn't have CFS, but think of the regrets.

    Check your motivation - a child should be brought into the world in love, not with the hope that it can do something for us. But ultimately, if you want and need a child and you can offer a loving home, that's what counts.

    This is my very personal viewpoint.
  7. karinaxx

    karinaxx New Member

    i have a son with cfids and myself cfids.
    there is very strong evidence that you can pass it on to your child.
    a very high procentage of parents who have FM or cfids,have kids which develope cfids or fm.
    i tell you , it is bad to be a parent with cfids. but to have cfids and your kid has it too, is an absolut nightmare!
    and even if your kid will be alright, you need endless energy to raise a kid and with cfids you dont have it.
    you take also the risk to make yourself worse, because getting a baby is taking a big toll on a sick body.
    no way i recomend it, even if you realy want a kid.
    sorry , but strongly no!
  8. sjogrens

    sjogrens New Member

    I don't blame you for wanting a baby, I think everyone does sooner or later. You will probably feel the

    same with a baby as you do now. I'm not trying to sound rude but the baby probably wont take the attention off the
    pain. I think it would be worth it if your husband or

    parents are for sure going to help. You will need help. I was thinking because of the risk of having a baby after 40 and all why don't you adopt and older child. Like 4 or 5.

    Then they are starting school, they would understand if you need to relax a while. They also like to help mommy at that age. Then there is no midnight

    feedings, babyproofing, running after toddlers every second etc. I have five kids. Three of my own and 2 step children. I had my last baby at 31 and it wiped me out.

    Then I inherited 2 more kids. I had 5 kids under 7 when I married to my second husband. The youngest kid was 1. I know you probably want your own baby and I don't blame you. I

    think you should, but you will probably feel the same. Good Luck. I hope you feel good. I'm not the best writer so please don't think I was trying to rude or anything I

    was just giving different points of view.
    bye bye, Lisa
    P.S. I was adopted and I am very happy with my life. I love my parents and brother.
  9. mrstyedawg

    mrstyedawg Member

    Hi pcakes,

    I can't answer that question for you, but I can tell you my story. I became ill with CFS when I was 19 years. At that time, I could still function about 50% of what I was before my illness. When I was 24 I had my first child. I actually felt much better during my pregnancy. Then three years later, I had another child, again, I felt better during my pregnancy.

    My son is now 17 and my daughter is 14. I am 41 years old now. Raising my kids was and is a joy. I functioned much better when they were small so it was not as hard as it is now. My health has declined steadily over the years. There is no way, at my age and my health, that I could start all over again and raise small children. My kids are mostly self sufficient now, but it is still very hard doing just the necessary things for them. Once you have kids, they are your whole life.

    I get very sad thinking about the grandchildren I hope to have one day. I am afraid that I will not be able to enjoy them or even be able to hold them.

    I am not trying to disuade you from having kids, but for myself, I not only have to deal with CFS but other health conditions that come with someone getting older.

    Ask yourself if you would be able to give a child 100% of yourself and if you can't would it be fair to him/her to bring them into this world. Kids are wonderful but raising them is the hardest job in this world.

    I am sure that once you think everthing through you will make the right decision. Whatever that is I wish you the very best of luck.


  10. pcakes

    pcakes New Member

    Thank you all for your time and words of concern and care. Thank you for sharing from your own experience and from your heart. It was very touching to me. My main reason for having a baby is not to have a baby to lift me up. No, not at all! I finally married at age 37. A wonderful man, better than my wildest dreams. I've always wanted to have children, even adopt. But I have a yearning to have a child with my husband who loves kids maybe even more than me. It breaks my heart to think of never having his baby. However, as one of you said, I need to make sure my higher power, believes this is a wise choice for us. My husband is fine either way. I just have this aching in my heart to have a baby. Every day I think about it. It actually drives me crazy. If God would say, "no, don't do this!", it would just be over and I could heal from the loss, but I hear nothing. Time is ticking and I am scared. I know I just need to be patient to find peace in what I should do. Has any of the ProHealth products helped with the pain and tiredness? That was my hope to be able to cope with raising a child.
  11. fabricaholic

    fabricaholic New Member

    I have been living with a 1 yr old for the past 6 months and sometimes it's all I can do to be in the same room with him. (I love my grandson more than life itself don't get me wrong) but I am 42 and with cfs and fm raising a child is even harder than you can imagine. when yor body is screaming in pain and the baby is screaming ( for whatever reason) you have to override all your bodies systems and do what the baby needs and by the end of the day sometimes all I can do is sit and cry because i hurt so bad.

    so do one thing......please please think about the demands of both: the baby and your body before you decide what you will do.

  12. mrstyedawg

    mrstyedawg Member

    I know how you feel about wanting a baby with your husband. I have been married for 4 years to a wonderful man (my second marriage, his first) and it breaks my heart not being able to give him a child. I have two from my first marriage. (I was married to their father for 14 years. 14 years of misery I might add.) I know that he would love to have a baby, but he knew when we married that I could not give him one. He is OK with this.

    To me, having a good solid loving relationship with my husband is more important than having a child with him. Children grow up and move away. I was blessed to have had my children in my 20's. It sounds like you have a great guy, so enjoy him!!!!

  13. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member


    Welcome to the group. My opinion is 'NO' since you might only beginning to know what it is like to have FM/CFS since you have been 'recently' diagnosed.

  14. mlrarr

    mlrarr New Member

    My last baby I had I was 39. When im pregnate I feel great. I sleep better, dont take any meds. I dont know why. I have had this dd for 13 years now and have had 3 more kids ( I have 7 in all). I would have more if my house could grow. The only problem is after they are born when youy have to deal with all the emotional, psychial stuff. Then they grow up and become teenagers from hell LOL. They have all this great energy and you have none.

    Take care
  15. lovethesun

    lovethesun New Member

    if you love children as much as I do ,you'll regret it forever if you don't.You have a healthy husband to help you take care of the baby.My husband helped in every facet of my son's life.He is now 16.Doctors know nowadays if anything is wrong.Linda
  16. Windytalker

    Windytalker Member

    Since you're newly diagnosed, I'd recommend you do some thorough research first. Some studies show a link between Chronic Fatigue and heart problems. And, at your age, even without the CFS/FM, pregnancies can be chancy.

    I'm not saying don't have a baby...weight the recent research, then see what kind of answer your body gives you.

    I had problems getting pregnant and do understand that desire to have your own children...and it be your husband's as well. Oddly enough, I now know my difficulties getting pregnant are one of the symptoms of FM.
  17. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member


    Well, you certainly are the opposite of my post. You know, I believe you. You are focused and of one mind. With that kind of determination you can do it.

  18. butterfly99

    butterfly99 New Member

    Hello conflicted spirit

    I have had FM for 15 or so years. I am now 41, I have been pregnant 2 times and miscarried both. The pregnantcys were not planned. I was on birth controle... figures. Really ask yourself if a pregnancy is what you really want. you know you want a child in your life but do u really want to go through it yourself. I knew no matter what shape I am in I had to be real about it and know I couldnt do it myself. I was very sad that I would not see my husbands face looking back at me but my woderful husband said to me you already know what I look like there are children who you will look at and see us both in them with all the love we have to share. he needs me to be physically strong to share my love and energy. what good am I if I feel terrible, no fun no energy I dont want to raise a child in that enviornment not fair. There are so many children who are not wanted one of them could be yours and he or she will be wanted, loved and u will be able to play and laugh, laugh, laugh what more could a child want. May you find peace in you very hard decision and may children bless your life in oneway or another. Be happy and strong
  19. PVLady

    PVLady New Member

    I have had fibro for years. I met my current husband when I was 40. We did want a baby and I went to a fertility doctor. It did not work and I am not sure I could have handled a pregnancy, or raising a baby.

    I was so sick at the time. I would have had to have a full time nanny. Yes, you always have a higher risk of abnormalities when you are older but so many women are having babies later now.

    They can do testing early on and tell you if something is wrong, however how many people would terminate the pregnancy?

    I look back now and wonder if I should have tried harder to have a baby. I have my "furbabies" now....

    LISALOO New Member

    I've wanted them since i was a kid, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and it was always, a mom.

    Now I ask myself, is it fair, no. I can't be selfish. I can't take care of myself 100%, it'snot fair to a child. Also, they're finding this may be genetic, is it fair to them, no. I can't handle this, so I would be heartbroken for a child to handle this.

    Can I handle working full-time, no, and a baby is 4 full time jobs!
    [This Message was Edited on 07/21/2006]

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