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The Baby Question

The Baby Question

Imagine…

It’s four o’clock in the morning. Your baby has woken up crying its lungs out for the fifth time. Soothing the poor teething creature with a common cold back to sleep seems to take forever. Your migraine had already become severe at dinner, and the lack of sleep is causing it to escalate. You are sure it will carry on into the next day. Every shrill cry is like broken glass in your brain, and every movement makes you feel weak, achy, and nauseous. Your ice packs lay warm, strewn across the floor, and your pot of ginger tea has gone cold. You worry about the fact that you will not be able to work tomorrow.­­­ When the baby is finally back to sleep, the sun begins to peek through the blinds. You can barely move your heavy arms. You sink into the rocking chair and cry.


I would like to become a parent. Selfishly, I want to experience the love and joy they can offer, and also I think I would have much to offer them. But my plate is already very full with trying to take good care of myself, and when I imagine the types of situations that are challenging to parents under the best of circumstances, I balk in fear.

Parenting with pain

I have friends who live with chronic pain and illness who have chosen to have kids, who parent with all the creativity, resilience, and magic of a superhero. Parenting adds many triggers to their lives, and they find ways to cope, survive, and keep getting out of bed in the morning.

I have other friends with chronic pain who have made the definitive choice to not parent: some with sadness, and some without a smidgeon of grief. They have made, or are learning to make peace with the decision, and have prioritized their own physical and mental health over any desire to call a demanding munchkin their own for 24 hours a day. Some of them have wonderful relationships with the children in their life, and some have no desire to forge these connections.

A personal choice

I understand both of these very personal decisions. I would not judge, and better yet would fiercely defend, the rights of a person with disability to make this choice. But making the choice for myself has been a process fraught with longing, hope, grief, doubt, worry, and plenty of late night flip-flopping.

While I’ve been leaning more heavily lately toward becoming a parent, I still have so many questions. How could I possibly manage the process of trying to conceive and then potentially growing a baby if it means I can’t take the many medications that currently help prevent migraine attacks, reduce depression and anxiety, or help manage the pain? And if I become significantly more depressed and prone to frequent panic attacks, how will I cope? I don’t have good answers to these questions. At best, I think I will rally lots of support and find alternative treatments and make it through relatively unscathed. At worst I think I will fall into a scary depression and be unable to function normally for weeks at a time and that this will prevent me from being an effective parent, thus placing an unreasonable burden on my partner.

The adoption option

Experiencing pregnancy and passing on genes are not important to me, so I also frequently entertain the idea of adoption. My body may be more stable with that route, but adoption comes with even greater responsibility. Would preparing for and parenting a child who has experienced trauma be any less challenging than going through a pregnancy?

I know I’m resilient, and I also know trust myself to make the best of whatever path seems right in the coming years. But for me the choice is still anything but clear.

Have you made this decision for yourself? Are you on the fence? What are some of the factors at play?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • mrs.s.overall
    2 months ago

    As I have read the comments to this article, the posts I have read have been from moms of relatively young children. So I thought I would share my experience.

    Before I go on, I want to stress that I love my daughter and am thankful that God blessed us with her.

    Second, we were blessed with help. Granddaddy lived five houses down the street and we lived across the street from her elementary school and walking distance to the others.

    Our daughter is nearly 25 years old. My migraines became chronic just before she turned 3 and I had my first hemiplegic migraine while she was in kindergarten.

    We made the decision, after talking with doctors, to not go ahead with the 2nd baby we had always wanted and planned for. We trusted that it was God’s plan for us to have one versus two.

    Our daughter has a chromosome duplication that puts her on the autism spectrum. Her development is somewhat delayed. My experience with her up through pre-school age is very similar to the other posts. But around the time she turned 5 she figured out that if she screamed at the top of her lungs, and I was the only one home, she could rule the roost.

    As she got older and real homework came into the picture, my saint of a husband had to add that ordeal to his never ending list of duties, as I was in too much pain or too drugged to be of any help. And homework with a child with learning differences is a multi hour struggle night after night.

    The normal every day life skills we had started teaching like cleaning up and helping out with chores, became battles that my husband and I were just too exhausted from surviving life with chronic migraine to fight. My husband said it was easier to do it himself, rather than fighting over it.

    As she got into organized sports, I was lucky to make it to a game once a month. At the time she said she understood, but when we hit her teen years, she often brought up how “I was never there for her” normally as she yelled.

    I don’t want it to sound like I think my daughter is horrible, she was a teenager. As she has gotten older our relationship has definitely improved.

    What I am getting at, is that I feel like we were unable to teach her a lot of things that if I’d have been healthy, would have been “no-brainers”. In that I will always be sorry, because it has made life harder for her in the long run.

    Always remember what having children is all about: ultimately raising and equipping the next generation of human beings.

    This child my saintly husband and I raised will be Our Grandchildren’s parent…

  • RPrice
    2 years ago

    The fact that this article popped up on my Facebook today is perfect! I am actually currently working on trying to get pregnant.

    I have wanted kids since I was younger, and I am married to an incredible man. I got diagnosed with chronic migraine 2 months before or wedding 5 years ago. I would say at this point I’ve suffered with migraines for about 16 years.

    I was on 400 mg of Topiramate (not sure of the spelling) daily and Imitrex and a 1000 mg ibuprofen when I had flare ups. When I first started to think about getting pregnant my first hurdle was getting off the meds. This was a huge struggle as I work and coming off my meds meant trying to get through daily migraine life and work.

    We worked with my neurologist to slowly (took more than a year) to get mostly pill free. I still was able to take Excedrine Extra Strength,but that was it.

    We tried naturally when I was almost off the meds and nothing happened. I was not completely surprised as I also suffer from a form of PCOS without the cysts. It was almost a year of trying naturally before we went to see a fertility doctor.

    At this point I was getting extremity worried because I feared all the hormones that I would be on, and hormones are a massive trigger for me.

    Well it is now two and a half years since we started trying to conceive and I’ve been on Fermara a ton. My fertility doctor is trying hard to work with me and my migraines so Clomid was a no go. We are now working towards having IVF done after 6 IUI failures.

    I asked the doctor what the likelihood was that I would get migraines with the twice daily injections I am going to start soon. Without a hesitation she said these will definitely cause migraines.

    These are definitely going to be trying months ahead, but my husband and I really want a child. Just one would be a blessing. I’ve cried more times through this whole process because of the pain, but I’m hoping in the end that it will work out and after a while I can go back to my meds. But for right now the struggle and pain seem worth it.

    I also hope that you find the answer that you are looking for. Whether you have a child, adopt, or decide not to have a child, the decision is yours and no one else’s.

    Thank you for writing this article, I don’t feel so alone reading this.

  • Jennie
    2 years ago

    …….and a ten month old baby. My pregnancy was virtually migraine free until the end (I had 4 attacks during my 36 hour labour) but the migraine including coma and paralysis was almost daily in the first 8 weeks of baby Freya’s life until she and I slept through the nights. My maternal worries about being able to look after my newborn were very real but I somehow got through it. Life with baby has been challenging but also extremely rewarding and I wouldn’t be without her for the world. I guess my advice would be not to worry too much, you’ll find strategies to cope. If you want to be a parent, you can be. You may have to adapt what your critical success factors are. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t fear asking for help.

  • Jennie
    2 years ago

    I’m a 40 year old with hemiplegic migraine

  • asinclair91
    2 years ago

    I have ALWAYS wanted kids, and having migraines didn’t change that. I am a single mom to a wonderful 4-year-old girl, and the way that I put it is: “Having migraines makes being a mom harder, but being a mom makes life with migraines better.” Thankfully, my migraines have been under MUCH better control these past 2 years, thanks to Botox and Subutex. But whenever I do get a migraine that leaves me completely unable to function, she is not old enough to understand and gets really upset when I can’t get out of bed… she will cry and hit the bed and yell at me to get up…thankfully, I have family that comes to help on those days, but I still feel so guilty when I can’t take care of her. She’ll be old enough to understand soon, but I hate that she has to deal with having a chronically sick/in pain mom. I wish so badly that I had the energy to play with her as much as she wants to and match her energy level, but I don’t. I just have to accept that. I hope I didn’t pass on the migraine gene to her, only time will tell. For now, having her has been so worth it.

  • LClare
    2 years ago

    asinclair91 what you’re describing, is the same reaction my almost-4 year old daughter has when my migraines get really bad. I’ve just had to wean off triptans to try a new preventative treatment and after a couple of weeks of being in bed most of the time, with friends and family looking after her everyday, she was so angry with me it was heartbreaking.
    When she was smaller, she just took my being like i am for granted – the Mother Sylvanian in her dolls house was ALWAYS in bed and she would always give me cloths to put on my head even if i didnt need a wet cloth or icepack, she just thought the cloth lived on my forehead – now she’s reached the age where she asks “why are you always sick?” or “are you sick today Mummy?”
    The most heartbreaking thing is when she tries to kiss me better and doesn’t understand when her treatment doesn’t completely work.
    I have daily migraines and will also never have all the energy she wants, but i remind myself i’m a great mum despite that. I give her all the energy I can and all the love in the world.
    Anna – as far as the choice to have child, I had my migraines under control when i decided to have a baby and didn’t ever consider they would get as bad as they did after I had her. When she was three months old they came back and never left.
    It’s been extremely hard; when you need to put yourself first, but can’t, its difficult. But my daughter is by far and away the best thing ever. Her awesomeness fills my life with joy even when i’m struggling through endless pain, nausea and exhaustion.
    There’s no way I could have more than one, but I accepted that much more easily than i thought i would – one is more than enough work and more than enough wonderful.
    If you decide to go ahead and have a baby you should mine the collective experience of migraine.com members for tips and strategies.

  • barb
    2 years ago

    You have perfect timing! I just turned 38, and am in a long-term relationship with someone I could imagine having kids with. I’ve been worrying about these things too, passing on faulty DNA, etc…Thanks for writing this article. I can’t wait toread the comments!

  • Anna Eidt author
    2 years ago

    Sincere thanks to everyone who has shared their stories here. It is beyond helpful to hear about your experiences. A good life can be had in so many different ways, and I’m impressed with how so many of you have made peace with your circumstances to live the best life you can with migraine, and without judging the choices of others. If I do have a child, you can expect subsequent posts along the lines of “OH NO, HOW DO I DO THIS!?” <3

  • dizzyblonde
    2 years ago

    After years of agonizing about this subject, I decided with my husband that it was now or never because of my age. I didn’t really think it would happen,but 2 months later I got a positive pregnancy result. However, we lost the baby at about 9 weeks. Then a few months later I had another miscarriage. At that point I found out some things about my chromosomes that would make the likelihood of having a healthy pregnancy impossible. So that answered that question.

    But then I had to check out adoption because I had so few years left when parenthood was an option. I just wanted to be able to make the choice and the biological choice was gone.

    I would say the adoption home study was the worst part of the ordeal. It took one year to complete and had to be renewed every year. There were days we wanted to give up. After 3 years of trying to adopt, we finally got our baby girl.

    I do think it was worth it. Its not easy. Although she looked healthy at birth, she has been developmentally behind most of her life. She has been in an all day preschool where her teachers are working with her individually for a few years now. That’s how I cope on the really bad days. I don’t have to feel bad having her there because she needs extra help I can’t give her.

  • dhaines
    2 years ago

    I’ve had chronic migraine now for almost 9 years. I have gone through two pregnancies. My son is almost 4 and my baby turns 1 this month. It’s not easy to say the least but I can not imagine life without them. They are what gets me out of bed and keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. Some days all I can do is just be with them but then the days I have a low to moderate pain level I make up for it. I think my pain makes me a better parent. My son is so compassionate and caring. There have been weeks that all we can do is lay on the floor playing while waiting for my husband to get home and take over. Every day with them is a blessing.

  • katsgotfangs
    2 years ago

    I am currently trying to conceive with my husband and it scares me to no end. I am worried about the pregnancy, about hurting my unborn child with medications, about handling my responsibilities with kids on top of that. I’ve always wanted kids. I wish I had the foresight to get pregnant earlier in my life. As I get older my chronic pain and migraine, etc etc etc seems to get worse and worse. I’ve always wanted a lot of kids, 3-5, but with the illness I can’t imagine having more then 3.

    I’m so frightened to start this journey but also excited. I know i’ll need a lot of help. I know it’ll be a hard road (although every other person tells me my migraines will magically go away once I’ve gone through pregnancy- I call bullshit), but it’s something i’ve always wanted. And the amazing women i’ve gotten to know, through the internet and in person, manage to rock being parents and juggling their chronic illnesses. I have had such supportive encouragement from these women and that makes me feel like I can do it.

    Until the insomnia kicks in and I lay in bed thinking what a terrible mother i’ll be! Which is totally not true, I rock with kids, I have my niece come stay with me often because my sister is a single mother, and she loves her Aunta and the time she spends with me. So for me, it’s never been a question of if, only when and how. I worry about all the things normal parents worry about- what legacy are we leaving our kids, will they run in the street, what if they are born with something wrong. I also think about what I may pass down to them. The Fibromyalgia and migraines are bad enough but seeing my kids in that kind of pain, I just can’t imagine. I always think that they can learn from my experience, that i’ll be in more of a place to help them if they have these issues. But I guess we can’t know until it all happens.

    I’ve thought about adoption as well. I’m not sure it would work for my husband, we’ve talked about fostering before and I just don’t think it’s something he would be into. But if it comes down to it and my first pregnancy is terrible it’s a topic to be revisited.

  • dhaines
    2 years ago

    My migraines significantly improved during pregnancy because of hormones. However, the bad news is once those hormones return to normal the pain does too. I know CM sufferes who have had no migraine pain during their pregnancies.

  • Josephine79
    2 years ago

    Hi Anna,
    My story: I’ve had very bad migraines for 20 years (5 each month) when we decided at last that we would try to make a baby. First I had to stop with all the preventatives (Depakine and Topamax). Before getting pregnant, I found a doctor in Sweden who had done research regarding the medication I take when I have an attack (Relpax) and the influence it has if it’s taken during pregnancy. So the first trimester of my pregnancy I took Relpax during migraine attacks. After the first trimester I didn’t get ANY migraines anymore! NONE! I couldn’t believe it: best time of my life…Had a great delivery also and then after a week the migraines started again.
    Since then, they became more frequent. Up to 5 times a month again. I have the most easy child in the world. Always slept through the night and never cried (only when hungry during the day). My boy is perfect 🙂
    I would do it all over again, but every situation is different and nobody reacts the same to a pregnancy.
    But now I’m facing the same question you are in regard to the second baby: I don’t know if it’s wise to start the whole process again. Now. I’m having more migraines (2 a week) and I can’t work anymore. My husband is the best in the world, he helps with everything and he would really like a second child (our son is 4 years old now), but I don’t know if we should travel that road.
    I wish you all the luck and wisdom.

  • Michela
    2 years ago

    Hi, I’m 37 years old and suffer from chromic migraine since I was 14 (I’m Italian, sorry for my imperfect English)… and I gave birth to my son just 45 days ago. I was completely scared before becoming pregnant as I did not know how to manage pain without triptans or heavy FANS, paracetamol is absolutly useless for me and my attacks go on for 3 or 4 days with very severe pain and strong nausea. Well, I wasn’t brave enough to decide to not have children, and after 2 months I was pregnant. And I was veeery scared! This is my experience and I believe that positive states of mind can help a lot, so I want to write it: during my very first month of pregnancy I went on having migraine and I took many triptans in 20 days… as I still didn’t know to have a new life beginning inside me! After the test and starting from my second month of pregnancy I started having just one severe attack (3 days long) every month!!! This was amazing for me ’cause I normally have migraine about 20 days/month. Yes, each time it was so hard to suffer for 3 endless days and night without any medical treatment that could help, and with a lot of vomit too, but I considered to be lucky cause it could be worse… just one attack for month was a great deal!!! 😉 Unluckly I had migraine during labor and this was terrible.
    Now I am breastfeeding and I am more worried abot how to manage pain without any farmacologic pain relief, necause I notice that my attacks are more frequent… but still less thsn before pregnancy. My son is not sleeping at all at night so it’s very hard to manage breastfeeding and parental “sweetness” when I suffer from the strongest pain and a very strong nausea (I can’t drink even a drop of water!)… At present I am wondering on how I will be able to go to work in 2 months with such a problem but I really want to go on breastfeeding as long as possible… And I think this is so unfair!!!
    Now I’m going to conclude with the concept I want to convey most: until 2 months ago I wasn’t even sure to want a baby (to be honest I did not love children a lot and was not attracted by the idea to have a newborn), now I am wondering how I could live for 37 years without my son! Maternity is the most unbelieveble, amazing, unique emotion I ever experienced, it gives you an incredible strenght and make you feel like you can di everything for your baby… even face migraine without any help!!! I do not want to make someone feel like this is the only choice, I perfectly undestand who wants not to have children, but if something deep in your heart tells you that you’d love to try to become mather, just remember that there are people that understand your fear and that pregnancy change your body, so that it is highly probable that you could be really better for 9 months, and then you’ll love your baby so much that this feeling wll give you an incredible power… if you believe that you can do it!! Think positive!!! If you live with chronic pain, you know you can do everything if you want!!! Best wishes, Michela

  • Birth Doula
    2 years ago

    Hi, Michela! I agree with Wimidwife: there are many medications that are compatible with breastfeeding. A reliable resource is _Medications and Mothers’ Milk by Thomas Hale. It is available through Amazon and is updated about every two years ago. You might also want to contact La Leche League. I am certain there are accredited Leaders in Italy, although they may not be near you. I’m not sure if it’s allowed to post internet links so I won’t, but LLL is an International ORGanization, if that gives you any help. 😉

    My migraines did not start until my children were school age. I had a complicated migraine while driving when they were 9 and almost 6. Fortunately I had slowed down to turn when I could not move my right side and could not complete the turn (hand wouldn’t let go of the steering wheel) and I hit the car that was stopped at the intersection. That was 28 years ago. The worst part is that both my children have inherited the tendency for migraines. My son’s were so severe and frequent when he was an adolescent that he had to repeat 8th grade. At 34, he has 1–2/year. My daughter is 37 now and in the last couple of years has had migraines associated with ovulation. She has 2 month old twins, and I haven’t heard her mention them during her pregnancy or since the babies were born. I’m hopeful that they will remain quiet as long as she is nursing, if not longer. I had hoped that menopause would provide relief from what evolved into chronic migraines (25+days/month) but 15 years into it, the only thing that has helped significantly has been Botox injections. I am glad that my husband and I did not have to consider my health when we began to think about having children. Parenting was certainly more difficult as the migraines became worse. Name a family event and I have missed it. I wish you all the best as you weigh all the factors and come to the best decision for you.

  • Wimidwife
    2 years ago

    Michaela, please consult a lactation specialist. You can take many more medications than you think while breastfeeding. Often a doctor will say not to take it because they don’t know if it’s safe,, but when you look it up it is.

    Edie
    Certified Professional Midwife
    Almost 40 years of migraines

  • milneskie
    2 years ago

    I went ahead and had four children (not all at once!). I had a level 3-5 migraine throughout about 80% of my last pregnancy. I was always a little worse during pregnancy, but I am one of those people who loves being pregnant, and that helps with everything! Having a young child is the closest I’ve ever come to feeling “normal” if that makes sense. Everyone is struggling somewhat as a new parent, so I suppose that I fit right in. I found that I thrived with the demands of parenting. It’s much more rewarding to drag yourself to a mother-child event with a migraine than it is to drag yourself to just get out of bed with a migraine. I had to live life because of my children. I struggle with depression, and my doctors would prepare to up my meds post-delivery, yet I was always at my best postpartum. My children have always been very healthy, which means that most of my sick days can be used for migraines. I’m sure that I would not have had four if that were not the case (there is a ten year age gap between the oldest and the youngest). For me, having children defined me as more than a “migraineur”. It’s been my way of rebelling against the influence that migraine has in my life. I completely understand why others choose not to have children. In my case however, I believe that being a mother may have saved my life.

  • jamdr
    2 years ago

    My “babies” are 27 and 21 — my migraines did not factor in to the choice to have children. I inherited it from my dad, and my daughter has unfortunately inherited it from me.

    As far as taking care of babies/young toddlers, breastfeeding was my salvation because I could just tuck them in beside me and they could have all of their comfort and nutritional needs taken care of. Breastfeeding also helped to stabilize my hormones, which have always played a major part in my migraine attacks. The release of “feel good” hormones while nursing was also a bonus, whether I had a migraine or not!

    It makes me sad when I think of my young children having to learn about how to behave etc when I was having a migraine — which would often last for days. At one point, I was only migraine-free for a couple of days a month. Thankfully, my spouse was quite supportive when he was at home; they actually learned a lot from it. The kids are now both healthcare professionals, and in really healthy relationships 🙂

    Over our lives with children, we have had many, many challenges thrown at us that we never could have imagined…life’s just like that. With support, of whatever kind, we were able to get through it all. Kids will just not have childhoods that will be free from stresses, and it would be harmful if they did because they will one day be independent adults.

    If I had an addiction, or a fatal genetic illness I would hesitate, but I am so thankful to have been blessed with our children, and they are happy to be alive, and in our loving family.

  • MaddieG
    2 years ago

    My migraines became chronic when I was pregnant. Prior to having my daughter, I averaged 3-4 migrane days a month… when I was pregnant with her, I had maybe 20 migraine free days during the entire pregnancy. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Will I do it again? Hell no. Since having her I still struggle with migraines, having them 80% of the time. I work full time and am a single mother (by choice) so it frequently ends up on me to do everything. I am lucky to have a lot of support from my friends and family. When it gets bad, my mom will step in and entertain her for awhile so I can get some rest. She can go play with grandpa for a bit.

    Some babies sleep through the night at 3 weeks. (Mine was 16 months… but whatever. I just took naps with her.) you don’t know what will happen. And i used earplugs when she was too loud for my migraines to handle. I would still hear her softly. You will find ways to manage.

    The most heartbreaking moment of her short little life is when she crawled into the bed with me, as I cowered in the dark with ice packs on my head, offering me a new one, carrying one for herself, telling me she had a headache too.

    She didn’t, she just wanted mom.

    Yes. It’s hard. Yes. Sometimes it sucks.

    But it is also the most amazing important wonderful thing I have ever done. It has given me more reason to fight migraines and find a treatment that works. She is my light. My hope.

    On bad days we watch movies and read books. On better days we go on “adventures” to the beach or a fair or the Zoo. I no longer worry about “what if I get a migraine.” I plan and look forward for those wonderful times when I don’t! I try to make those memorable for her. Most importantly, she is loved. More than anything, she is loved.

  • jenna_rae
    2 years ago

    This article brought tears to my eyes. It’s such a real question. I chose to become a mother 3 years ago, I made that choice because the depression I was in for wanting a baby so bad outweighed the pain of my migraines. I unfortunately have very difficult pregnancies, my migraines skyrocket and are out of control. I get 8-20 a week. It was very because there is very little to take and it all doesn’t really help. I saw a neurologist, a chiropractor, and my OB and I heard the same thing “there’s nothing to do until after the baby is born” as much as it was a terrible 9 months, it was totally worth it! As soon as my son was born my migraines went back to normal (1 every 3 months) and when I was nursing I could take medication. I also have a very supportive family so whenever I get one now they will take my son so I can take my medicine and sleep. After a lot of consideration and difficult discussions my husband and I chose to have another child. It was a very hard decision for me, I didn’t want to neglect my son and I was scared of the pain. I am currently pregnant and my migraines are back, but not as bad and not as many. I am constantly telling myself that I am almost half way done and that it is all temporary.

  • amandaotaylor
    2 years ago

    I faced the same question myself. I noted that I only had maybe one good week a month where I could function. I also had experience childhood abuse at a very young age and just never wanted to place a child in a position where I could not take care of them.

    I gave myself a goal. If I could go at least one year without a migraine or fibro episode I would consider it. It never happened. I always thought I would want kids but honestly knowing I can barely take care of myself really helped me make that decision.

    My husband and I decided that if later on in life we feel any regrets we would like to become foster parents. Again, that would only be if I was healthy enough to do so.

    All this to say I fully understand the pain and thought that has to go into a decision like this. I was lucky my husband was very much on board with whatever I wanted and we live a happy and fulfilled life.

    I hope the same for you 🙂

  • ndw6888
    2 years ago

    Oh no! Excuse the you’re/your typo!

  • ndw6888
    2 years ago

    Your response is really jelpful for me. My husband and I have talked about it again and again. In the beginning he said he wanted whatever I thought I could handle. Now after two years with migraines 99% of the time, allodynia, central nervous sensitization, inner ear damage, and too many ER visits, he’s too scared I wouldn’t really make it through a pregnancy, let alone birth

    I don’t know how to feel. I have said for years thst I don’t want kids and up until recently, I’ve agreed with my husband’s reasoning but now I wonder if we’re being selfish or if I am doing something “wrong” by not being a mother.

    You’re approach to the question gives me a much needed possibility for reasonable boundaries. It is not probable that I would be migraine free for an extended period of time, but I want to mull over a similar “guideline” to give me space from the guilt and mixed emotions I’ve had lately. Thank you.

  • Momkrissyb
    2 years ago

    I found that the pregnancy hormones actually “subbed” in for my inability to use medication.
    I had 3 pregnancies and had very little stress, anxiety, depression issues.
    After delivery my doc put me on my meds and it helped a lot!!
    NOTE: after reading others comments, remember each person, pregnancy, migraine are different.

  • Adele
    2 years ago

    I was diagnosed with migraine aged 10 – I am now a senior. They are ten times more frequent now. I had one child and when thoughtless people have said to me over the years ‘only one’ I couldn’t explain to them that going through one pregnancy without my meds was difficult enough Going through another with a toddler was unthinkable at the time. I often regret that decision, and I if I had to make the choice now I’d go for it. BUt, it all depends on your personal circumstances – I was in a strange country without a proper support system, although friends and in-laws sort of understood. IF my parents/siblings were nearby it would have been a different story.

  • texotexere
    2 years ago

    I’ve been struggling with this as well. I’ve pretty much decided that at the very least I don’t want biological children. I’m a third generation chronic migraineur and there have been times when I resented the heck out of my mother for putting me through this. I never want that for a child. I’m pretty ambivalent about having kids in general, so if I ever marry, if it was important to them, I’d find another way to have them. Otherwise I would probably never have any. I like kids, but I have a bunch of kids I can be the crazy aunt for without having the responsibility and that’s enough for me.

  • deanna
    2 years ago

    I had migraines before for I could communicate that I was in pain.
    My dad had migraines, my grandmother and her sisters and even my great grand father had them.
    I decided not to pass them on. The memory of being in so much pain as a child with no help or hope, well I just couldn’t even think of risking it, having a child for me was never an option.
    As an adult in my my late 20s my migraines went chronic, now in my 40s and still chronic for me it was the right choice.

    That being said not every child of a suffer will get migraines and new advances are being made with the CGRP drugs so there is hope!

    Having a baby while coping with migraine is a very personal choice, I don’t feel there is a right or wrong answer.
    I’ve not for a single day regretted my choice, I’m in too much pain to take proper care of a child in the same pain.
    By the time I was 35 my partner passed away so our child would have had a sick mother, a dead father and maybe migraines themselves!

  • Ali A.
    2 years ago

    I’m not married but often do think about pregnancy paired with my chronic migraines. Aside from being concerned about parenting with this condition, my bigger fear resides in not being able to take the meds I heavily rely on each week. I know the hormonal changes of pregnancy can reduce the frequency of migraine in some women, but what happens if it doesn’t? What happens if they get worse? You spend 9 months in complete agony with no relief? I genuinely don’t know how that works.

  • epa3030
    2 years ago

    I chose to become a parent over fifteen years ago. I have a beautiful daughter! Sure. It wasn’t always easy. I have had good years and bad years with pain. However, I would never reconsider. Having a daughter has been my best decision. I lucked out and did not have any migraines during my pregnancy. I had heard hormonal migrainers can many times be pain free during their nine months! Geesh. If I could just be pregnant my entire life! My hubby has always been wonderful. Over the years he has taken the reins if I needed to go to bed in the dark and with a cold pack on my head for several hours. There were a few years where I felt like I was taking sick days for my toddler and sick days for my headaches. I missed lots of work. The last few years have been better but I still get migraines. I have always worried about my daughter and genes. The risks are always higher if your mother has migraines. Migraines run deep in my family. I’m blessed to say my daughter is okay for now. No migraines hit her with puberty and she rarely ever gets a mild headache. Having a daughter was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life!

  • Katie M. Golden moderator
    2 years ago

    Anna, you’re honesty is remarkable and can help others to have these tough discussions
    I’m in the no kid camp, which is the right decision for me, but not for everyone. I’m the best aunt and having those munchkins in my life means the world to me.

  • Anna Eidt author
    2 years ago

    <3

  • Mr FBP
    2 years ago

    On adoption. i don’t know about the US process, but in the UK it is very challenging and testing. I have birth children and an adopted child, I joined a an adoptive dads support group, and as a social worker I did the training on on adoption assessment. The process is designed to test parents almost to destruction to ensure they are fit for the challenges. Adopted children often come with a bundle of issues that a birth children don’t, and the the adoption process looks at the potential parents ability to cope with these (parenting plus is the term used a lot). The dads I met with were resilient guys (they couldn’t have survived the process otherwise), but all had considered stopping at some point during the assessment.

    The issues you discuss in the article are about parenting a baby/toddler. This is uppermost in our minds when starting out as parents, but it only lasts about two years. With a good support network it can be managed, In the longer term, there is 11+ years of education to deal with, which requires a different type of support, but schooling is seen as socially important so there are lots of systems out there to support working parents, I just don’t know what you have locally.

  • Anna Eidt author
    2 years ago

    Thanks for your input. The adoption process is pretty intense in Canada too. Definitely something to consider. I have a couple of friends who have done it, and the process sometimes felt invasive and all-consuming for them. But very much worth it.

    Great point about parenting kids for the REST of their childhood and the rest of of their lives… I don’t worry as much about parenting them once they are school-aged. I personally feel that once I can sleep through the night on a regular basis I’ll be able to manage. School and daycare will be a blessing 🙂

  • Luna
    2 years ago

    How much does the fact that the migraine gene can be passed on weigh in considering a pregnancy?

    I’m asking the question to anyone thinking about having a family. This is something I always wonder when people mention that they want to have children. How much does this factor weigh in your decision? This is an honest question with out any judging or agenda attached to it.

  • dhaines
    2 years ago

    I have 4 children. I had the first two when I was in my twenties before I had migraines. Both of those children suffer from migraines. It breaks my heart that I passed that down to them.

  • milneskie
    2 years ago

    Honestly, the genetics issue never occurred to me before having children. Perhaps that’s because no one in my family has had migraines before me (that I’m aware of). The good news is that only one of my four children suffers from migraines, and meds work well for her. Like me, hers started in adolescence and they don’t affect her life the way that mine do. I did feel awful when my son had a couple of migraines as a child, but thankfully he’s never had any since.

  • Anna Eidt author
    2 years ago

    Luna, this is an important consideration for me too. The women in my family have all dealt with migraine at some point. I think it would be so tough to watch my own kid deal with migraine, and I do worry about that.

    One thing that comforts me is that I have access to good care and treatments, and I hope that with all my experience and connections that I would be able to prevent my kid’s migraines from becoming frequent/severe.

    But I guess it’s also a reality that my future kids could deal with any number of health challenges.

    This is a tough question, but a good one!

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