Might Having Children Fill the Void I Feel?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. I have notice a sudden change in myself and I am very concerned. I have noticed a sudden change in my behavior and thoughts, I am concerned about my well being. During my childhood I can remember my mother in and out of the hospital several, several times for things like Bi-Polar Disorder, OCD, Depression w/ the suicidal thoughts. My sister has a handful of of these problems as well. They are both on medication. I have always been able to manage my issues outside of a doctors office. I have been to couseling but I did not care for it. I felt like all I was doing was whining and not getting anywhere. I was a teen then anyways. I realize now that teens are just dramatic in general.

This past month or so I feel like my mind is in a fog. I have lost my abilty to concentrate on things, I am forgetfull and I seem to be more emotional about things. I feel like I just woke up one day and became more aware of everything going on. I have never been married and I have no children. This is a big issue to me. It can sometimes consume my mind for hours. My boyfriend is older than I and he has had a vasectomy. We are working on getting it reversed. I am ready for a child. I’m terrified to think that this procedure will fail. Then What…what will I do? This thought caused lots of stress. It’s getting to the point where I find myself jealous of my friends that are already mothers. I get attached to their children as if they were my own. I feel like not having a child is causing a huge void in my life. I’m ready to grow up. I want a family. I feel guilty for being jealous. I don’t know why but these feelings I have about having a baby are getting stronger and stronger. It’s hard for me to hold it together and talk about how bad I want a baby. My mother wants me to have one too. She at one point was putting lots of pressure on me about this. She quit when I told her how sensitive I was to this subject.

Now I am terrified that something will happen to my mother and she will never have a opportunity for me to give her another grandchild(my sister has two children). I don’t want to feel like I let my mother down if something happens to her and I am with child.

I also have issues with my only sister. We do not get along. This stems from her having to raise me during her teenage years. She told me at one point that she could not help but resent me for that. My mom juggled more than one job trying to provide for us. My sister had to give up a lot of her teen times to watch me, the little sister that was oh so un-expected. She told me all about this whenever she was mad about something. It made me feel like she couldn’t stand me and that I was the reason for all the misery her life brought her. We did not have the same father. Her father left when she was about 9 and my father was a raging alcoholic who beat our mother. She always said he would leave us alone if I had never been born. I know that she said these hurtful things to me because she was hurt. She didn’t understand at the time and either did I, but these things she said to me have had an effect on me as an adult. Maybe I could let these things go but thats hard when our realtionship has never changed. We still do not get along. She always told me that I would turn out just like my dad, “a mean ol drunk”. When I became an alcoholic she was quite pleased that when the time came around her prediction was true.

My mother holds this family together. She always said that she wishes that my sister and I would get along because we will need each other when she is gone. We have a small family and I am the youngest. My aunts are in their 60′s and early 70′s and I have about 7 cousins that are in their late 30′s early 40′s. They all grew up and are close with my sister. I really have no family that I speak to other than mom. I fear that when she is gone I will be alone. I won’t have a soul. I think thats where my desire for a child kicks in. I need to start my own family because when my mother is gone I know that I won’t have much to do with anything anymore. I’m the alcoholic daughter (functioning alcoholic) that can’t be alone, and I feel like everything in life I want will never happen. I can’t think, remember little things, I feel like I just can’t do anything. Why has this hit me so hard all of the sudden. I can’t keep it together. I feel like I’m failing at life in generel. I wish I could get control and feel at peace.

A. You have a void in your life. That is what you said in your letter. You are currently trying to fill this void with a child. You used to and still are using alcohol to fill this void. Be assured that you cannot adequately fill this void with alcohol or a child.

You are suffering. Naturally, you are searching for something to make you feel better. Children can be a blessing but it is important that you examine why you want to have a child. Do you want to have a child for a legitimately psychologically healthy reason? It would not be healthy to have a child to ease your loneliness or as a way to make your life feel less empty nor would it be wise to have a baby because you want to please your mother. Having a baby may give you a temporary boost in happiness and you might feel less of the void you speak of but it will not solve your issues. The void would most likely return.

It also might not be fair to have a child for the reasons you specified. A child needs parents who are psychologically healthy. No one is perfect or issue-free but if you still have not resolved the issues you have been experiencing for many years, it might be difficult to raise a psychologically healthy child. It is important to consider these issues when you are thinking about bringing a child into this world. You might want to reconsider having a baby if you would be doing it simply to fill a void.

You went to therapy once and you did not like it. Maybe it did not work for you because, as you said, you were too young. Now may be different. Maybe now you are ready to work on your issues and get your life back.

You are depressed and something is amiss in your life. You are searching for something to make you feel better. I would suggest that you let a trained mental health professional assist you in this exploration process. I wish you luck and thank you for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 9 Jun 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Might Having Children Fill the Void I Feel?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/06/09/might-having-children-fill-the-void-i-feel/