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Hi,

 

I'm a 30 year old woman, and probably the only woman my age in my location and neighborhood who doesn't have any kid(s). All of the women I went to High School with are now mothers, most of them married also. All of the women my age at the YMCA I go to have kids. Everytime I leave my house I see my neighbors (who are my parent's age- in their 60's) playing with their grandkids.

 

My circumstances are: I have severe anxiety problems (especially social anxiety disorder), I haven't had any friends for about 16 or so years, I have no social skills and I can't seem to make friends, I've never had a boyfriend or husband, I don't work, I live with my parents in their house, and I'm still trying to complete my bachelor's degree online.

 

The only time I regularly go out of my house is to go to the gym (the YMCA), and I can't seem to meet a guy there.

 

I would like to have a child like most women my age, but due to my mentioned circumstances this hasn't happened yet. After all, I assume a person has to be social (at least a little) and have some social skills to be able to attract and keep a boyfriend, or to develop any kind of relationships outside of their family members.

Sometimes I just want to go on Craigslist and post an ad to meet a guy just to have someone, I think that would be my only shot at meeting a possible future boyfriend or husband, and having a family (having a kid), but my parents won't let me do this. They say it's dangerous and I have no idea who I'm really meeting. They tell me to work on getting a friend or two, and getting social skills, then getting a boyfriend will naturally follow in time. Well, it's hard for me to develop friendships, due to my social anxiety, lack of social skills, and maybe other factors play into my lack of friends also.  

 

Sometimes I feel that nature and evolution are against me, with my desire to have a family and kid(s). Like, nature doesn't want me continuing on my genes into the human gene pool, like Darwin's Natural Selection-Survival of the Fittest. Generally, people with disabilities or illnesses don't get to pass their genes onto the next generation, because it's hard for them to find a mate or spouse. There are exceptions to this; I know of women who are mentally/intellectually disabled and have a low IQ but who were still able to get into romantic relationships and have a child or children. I also know of many women with severe mental illnesses, like bipolar disorder, who were able to marry, or get a boyfriend, and have kids.

 

 

In addition, my natural desire to have a family and have kid(s) hasn't happened yet. At times I'm sad for myself and jealous of "normal" women my age who form relationships so easily , have kids, and have a happy, fulfilled life, whereas I can barely function in life.  I also feel bad for my parents, who are in their 60's, and have no grandchildren. When my mom talks to her cousins, they always talk about their grandkids, and my mom can't share in their joy because she doesn't have any grandkids of her own.

 

Basically, I feel like I'm missing out on life.

Edited by lisa2712
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If you are 30 and living with your parents, and don't work, how would you support a child?  I'm sorry that you feel like you're missing out on something, but you also have to be realistic.  If you did have a child, how would you feed, clothe and house it?  With your anxiety difficulties, how would you be able to go to school and talk to the teachers? 

 

I am childless by choice, and I usually tell people that I am missing the "Mommy gene."  Not all of us are cut out to be parents.  Maybe you should volunteer at your Y or some other place with an after-school program and get some exposure to children that way.  Having a kid is a lifetime commitment, and for the first several years it's 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.  Are you really prepared to devote your life to a child?

 

I think you need to look at this more realistically.  It doesn't matter what all your friends have done, and your former classmates.  That is totally irrelevant.  What matters is what works for you.  I don't see how you can consider this when you don't have a boyfriend and no prospect of one, and you don't have the capability to raise the child alone.

 

I also think that you should talk to your psychiatrist and therapist about some group therapy.  You will never learn to interact with other people if you don't try---and maybe doing it in a supervised setting is a good way to start.  You also have to think about your future:  what happens when your parents die?  Where will you live?  What will you do for income?  You need to start working on living independently or you will have a very difficult time when they go.

 

olga

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Perhaps start with a pet. A dog.  They are very dependent on their owners. One that has to be walked.  It will allow you that bonding.  I have seen many people have strong attachments and I think it  is neat.  You may meet other people at dog parks or walking their animals.  Just an idea.

 

I like Olga's idea of volunteering and working with kids. Give back somewhere.  You have to start somewhere. Don't get in that trap of being the victim, it makes things worse.

Edited by Frenetic47
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Maybe you should look into some group therapy or a class that will help you learn to socialize. Socialization doesn't come easily to some people. I have a friend that is so painfully shy, it's sometimes hard to be around him. He struggles to even say hi when I see him at the grocery store. People tend to think that he is rude or stuck-up when in reality, he is almost frozen in terror. He took some classes where he practiced different types of social interactions. He is some better now but I know how hard it is for him. 

 

Have you considered taking classes that aren't online? You might meet some people at school. Do you get out of the house at all?

 

Or maybe see if the town you live in offers any type of program. The town I live in has all sorts of classes that don't cost much at all and will give you the chance to learn a new skill as well as meet new people. Or, maybe a cooking class or art class. What about learning to play bridge or mahjong (can't spell it seems to be fun and a whole lot different than the online game). You mentioned the Y. They usually offer classes of this type.

 

I second all the stuff olga said as well.

 

There is a lot more to life than getting married and having kids. Don't get caught up in comparing your life with others. It isn't constructive.

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I was single all through my twenties and thirties.  I am sure having undiagnosed Bipolar 1 did not help.  And I was sad that I did not have children.  I was working but did not make enough money to raise a child alone and hire childcare.  Plus I would want to actually SEE the child.  Not just from after work to the bedtime.

 

At forty I met someone and he had two boys.  We married in 1996 and I GREATLY enjoyed being a step mother.  So you  never know what life has to offer.  BUT you do need to meet people for it to happen.  I think most people date through Match.com and other sites.  It is pretty standard now.

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If you are 30 and living with your parents, and don't work, how would you support a child?  I'm sorry that you feel like you're missing out on something, but you also have to be realistic.  If you did have a child, how would you feed, clothe and house it?  With your anxiety difficulties, how would you be able to go to school and talk to the teachers? 

 

I am childless by choice, and I usually tell people that I am missing the "Mommy gene."  Not all of us are cut out to be parents.  Maybe you should volunteer at your Y or some other place with an after-school program and get some exposure to children that way.  Having a kid is a lifetime commitment, and for the first several years it's 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.  Are you really prepared to devote your life to a child?

 

I think you need to look at this more realistically.  It doesn't matter what all your friends have done, and your former classmates.  That is totally irrelevant.  What matters is what works for you.  I don't see how you can consider this when you don't have a boyfriend and no prospect of one, and you don't have the capability to raise the child alone.

 

I also think that you should talk to your psychiatrist and therapist about some group therapy.  You will never learn to interact with other people if you don't try---and maybe doing it in a supervised setting is a good way to start.  You also have to think about your future:  what happens when your parents die?  Where will you live?  What will you do for income?  You need to start working on living independently or you will have a very difficult time when they go.

 

olga

Yes, at times I'm not realistic; my mom also tells me this. I also have a lot of time to think, which probably isn't a good thing!

 

At the present time, I couldn't financially support a child, nor could my parents or family members. But I think of a family member (like my 3rd cousin?), she is a woman my age who is intellectually and emotionally disabled, and she can't work nor attend school, but she wanted to have a child in her late 20's and she went out and got a boyfriend and had a child, who is now 5. She can't take care of him, so her parents take care of him, but she luckily also has 2 older sisters who are successful and have their own places and have their own kids, and who would surely take her child into their home if their parents couldn't raise it.

 

I started thinking about this when I went to a psychiatrist when I was 28. BTW she was from a foreign culture. She made me feel so bad about not having kids or a husband or boyfriend at my age. She just looked at me, shook her head at me, and told me "Don't you want to have a husband? Don't you want to have children?" She made me feel really bad about it, like so shameful.

 

I have anxiety, but I can still force myself to do things that I don't like, like I go to the gym a few times a week. I also did an observation in an elementary school classroom with 1st graders, where I had to put in like 30 hours of observation.

And I have this idealistic theory that having a kid might "cure" me of my mental problems, because my life perspective would change once I had a child (a paradigm shift), and this could help to mitigate my mental distress in public. But then again, I've been told that sometimes having kids can add more stress and anxiety to a woman's life, especially if she has to raise the kid on her own without a partner. I know I have put a large amount of stress onto my parents because of my problems.

 

I actually did volunteer at my YMCA in the kid's daycare. It was nice to be around all those cute kids (and I did feel bad that I didn't have any  kids of my own), but I stopped volunteering after several weeks because of anxiety and because it was bittersweet volunteering there.

 

I should talk to my Social Worker about group therapy.

 

I really think I would be ok if anything happened to my parents, G-d forbid.  I do think I'd be able to work.

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Perhaps start with a pet. A dog.  They are very dependent on their owners. One that has to be walked.  It will allow you that bonding.  I have seen many people have strong attachments and I think it  is neat.  You may meet other people at dog parks or walking their animals.  Just an idea.

 

I like Olga's idea of volunteering and working with kids. Give back somewhere.  You have to start somewhere. Don't get in that trap of being the victim, it makes things worse.

 

I would love to get a dog, but it's very hard work to take care of them. From what I understand, the owner has to walk them twice a day, they need a lot of exercise. Actually we had a dog for a brief time (a dachsund). He was a puppy, full of energy, very loving, but he pooped and urinated all over the house and had non-stop energy, and chewed and destroyed almost everything he could get his teeth on in our house. I don't like to leave my house because I feel my one of my neighbors is a bully and judges me (and he's always out of his house-I live in Florida with the nice weather 24/7), so I didn't want to walk the dog outside of our house, and my parents had to walk him and exercise him. I also don't like to clean up constantly after this dog, and my parents had to also do that. I felt guilty my parents were doiing all the work, and we agreed it would be tough raising and housebreaking the dog, so we reluctantly all agreed to give him to another home. :(

 

But maybe if we got an older dog who wasn't so full of energy and was already housebroken, it would have been different.

Another problem is we have a cat, who was very scared of this dog, who would bark at her like she was prey. Cats are ok, but they're not loving and affectionate like most dogs are. But they're also no trouble to take care of.

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I read your post, two words: online dating. Don't follow through if you don't like them, and contact those who like you. And if you want you can ask to webcam chat if you are still hesitant.

 

Ok, I haven't done that yet, I guess because I feel a bit ashamed of myself. And to be honest I don't really want a romantic relationship, unless I find a great guy who is Mr. Wonderful and my Prince Charming, like a man who I think is the most wonderful man iin the world. Like there was this guy in my class when I was in community college, who I thought was a wonderful guy and who I would have loved to have been in a relationship with, but he already had a girlfriend and I don't know if he would go for me. But he was my ideal man. Some women say they're in a relationship with the most wonderful man iin the world, which of course what I would want. Then some women aren't in great relationships, they settle, like my sister.

 

I read your post, two words: online dating. Don't follow through if you don't like them, and contact those who like you. And if you want you can ask to webcam chat if you are still hesitant.

 

Ok, I haven't done that yet, I guess because I feel a bit ashamed of myself. And to be honest I don't really want a romantic relationship, unless I find a great guy who is Mr. Wonderful and my Prince Charming, like a man who I think is the most wonderful man iin the world. Like there was this guy in my class when I was in community college, who I thought was a wonderful guy and who I would have loved to have been in a relationship with, but he already had a girlfriend and I don't know if he would go for me. But he was my ideal man. Some women say they're in a relationship with the most wonderful man iin the world, which of course what I would want. Then some women aren't in great relationships, they settle, like my sister.

 

But I would need courage to fill out an online dating profile.

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Maybe you should look into some group therapy or a class that will help you learn to socialize. Socialization doesn't come easily to some people. I have a friend that is so painfully shy, it's sometimes hard to be around him. He struggles to even say hi when I see him at the grocery store. People tend to think that he is rude or stuck-up when in reality, he is almost frozen in terror. He took some classes where he practiced different types of social interactions. He is some better now but I know how hard it is for him. 

 

Have you considered taking classes that aren't online? You might meet some people at school. Do you get out of the house at all?

 

Or maybe see if the town you live in offers any type of program. The town I live in has all sorts of classes that don't cost much at all and will give you the chance to learn a new skill as well as meet new people. Or, maybe a cooking class or art class. What about learning to play bridge or mahjong (can't spell it seems to be fun and a whole lot different than the online game). You mentioned the Y. They usually offer classes of this type.

 

I second all the stuff olga said as well.

 

There is a lot more to life than getting married and having kids. Don't get caught up in comparing your life with others. It isn't constructive.

 

 

Yes, for my AA degree I took most of my classes the traditional way on-campus. This was last year. It was hard for me, in 2 classes towards the end of the semester I even broke down sobbing, because I felt so out of place and alientated at the community college. Most of the student were over 10 years younger than me ( I was 29 when I went back to community college to finish my AA degree), and EVERYONE there had a circle of friends, a social circle, and they were all very social, and I was someone who had 0 friends for many years and who lacked social skills, and I felt like an alien there because of this. I realized how social "normal" people are, and how "abnormal" I was by not having any friends and by not developing friendships easily. 

 

I would like to have completed by bachelor's degree the traditional way (on-campus), but the nearest colleges are about 2 hours away from my house and I didn't want to have to commute again. You see,  after high school, when I was 19, I started at a university in Tampa, and so I had already spent 3 years commuting 2 hours away to Tampa when I was younger, and I didn't want to do that again. I saw I had the chance to finish my bachelor's degree 100 % online, so I preferred that over commuting again. 

 

Yes, I get out of the house when I go to the gym (about 3 times/wk), sometimes I walk around the neighborhood, and sometimes to go to restaurants with my parents.

 

I know I shouldn't compare myself to others. My sister always tells me that. We're all on our own path in life. I only compare myself to other women when I'm feeling down.

Edited by lisa2712
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I am shocked at what your psychiatrist said to you.  That woman had no business judging what you choose to do with your life, and she is especially out of line in telling you that you are unfulfilled if you don't have children and a husband.  She should be reported to the state medical board.  Her behavior with you was unconscionable.

 

A pdoc is supposed to help you with your psychiatric issues---suggesting therapy, choosing the right medicines for you, etc.  Please see another psychiatrist and don't go back to that woman!  You will never gain control of your life and deal with your anxiety without treatment.

 

If you couldn't take care of a dog, you understand that a child involves 30 more times care than a pup, right?  You would have to take the child out for exercise and to go to the pediatrician. You would want to walk her (or drive her) to day care/nursery school/kindergarten.  If she became ill late at night, you would need to take her to the emergency room.  If you can't cope with those circumstances, then you can't have a child.  You would be doing a terrible disservice to that baby. 

 

If you want to meet people and learn to have social skills, I will repeat what I said before:  you need to find a competent psychiatrist and a therapist, you probably need medications, and you should consider group therapy.  You can't be in a relationship until you have the skills for give-and-take with a guy-----and you need to work on your anxiety so you can go on dates and walk around your neighborhood without fear.  Your life doesn't have to be the way it is, but you have to be willing to work hard to change it.

 

olga

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I am shocked at what your psychiatrist said to you.  That woman had no business judging what you choose to do with your life, and she is especially out of line in telling you that you are unfulfilled if you don't have children and a husband.  She should be reported to the state medical board.  Her behavior with you was unconscionable.

 

A pdoc is supposed to help you with your psychiatric issues---suggesting therapy, choosing the right medicines for you, etc.  Please see another psychiatrist and don't go back to that woman!  You will never gain control of your life and deal with your anxiety without treatment.

 

If you couldn't take care of a dog, you understand that a child involves 30 more times care than a pup, right?  You would have to take the child out for exercise and to go to the pediatrician. You would want to walk her (or drive her) to day care/nursery school/kindergarten.  If she became ill late at night, you would need to take her to the emergency room.  If you can't cope with those circumstances, then you can't have a child.  You would be doing a terrible disservice to that baby. 

 

If you want to meet people and learn to have social skills, I will repeat what I said before:  you need to find a competent psychiatrist and a therapist, you probably need medications, and you should consider group therapy.  You can't be in a relationship until you have the skills for give-and-take with a guy-----and you need to work on your anxiety so you can go on dates and walk around your neighborhood without fear.  Your life doesn't have to be the way it is, but you have to be willing to work hard to change it.

 

olga

 

That psychiatrist transferred to another facility, and I also changed treatment providers. Yeah, I go to her for medication for severe anxiety, and she makes me feel awful about my life's circumstances. But it got me thinking that she's right; I knew before that I have a low quality of life.  

 

I am getting treatment for my anxiety. I take Zoloft 50 mg and Klonopin .5 mg twice a day, but we're still working on finding the right meds and dosage for me. So far, I've been more angry and sad at times on the Zoloft 50 mg. I also see a LCSW every 2-3 weeks and I do deep breathing exercises daily.

Edited by lisa2712
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It sounds like now isn't the best time to think about having a child of your own.

 

Perhaps you could find a place to volunteer working with children?

 

Also, I think your pdoc is imposing her cultural expectations on you and that you should decide for yourself what life you want to have, which may or may not include spouse and/or kid(s).

 

Improving your quality of life doesn't mean you have to have a spouse and/or child(ren). There are lots of ways to improve your quality of life without making the life-long commitment of motherhood.

 

And there are TONS of kids out there who need mentors, foster homes, and general kind adults to support them.

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It sounds like you're not just comparing yourself to others, you're compulsively and constantly comparing yourself. I don't know how many times you've done it in this thread alone. No wonder you have such huge anxiety - especially social anxiety. Give yourself a break and accept that being different isn't bad - often being different is good - sometimes it's the best thing you can be.

 

Your reasons for wanting children are not good. I'm skeptical you really want kids beyond just thinking you should. Or thinking (?!?) that a child will somehow solve your emotional problems. But it's so clear you couldn't handle kids at this point in your life. Beyond the obvious - you can't afford it and are struggling with taking care of yourself. There's also the whole thing with the puppy - not only did you not want to take on the responsibilities of a puppy - you just didn't take them on, so your parents had to. You're not ready to take on responsibilities - let alone the overwhelming responsibility of a child.

 

The fact that your cousin intentionally set out to have a child she can't take care of - that her parents or sisters will have to take care of - that's NOT a good thing. It sounds like you're looking at her like she's some kind of role model.

 

Please stop putting so much pressure on yourself over this. Your psychiatrist was way off-base, making it sound like getting married and having kids was the be-all and end-all goal of life for women. Ummm...yeah it's not 1960. There's way more to life. A lot more options and possibilities. You have plenty to work on just for yourself - becoming independent, learning to socialize, learning to support yourself, finding a career - just working on your anxiety so you're not so limited will be huge for you.

 

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This probably doesn't help - about 2 yrs ago I had to see an emergency psychiatrist, who was not of my culture, and I got shamed shamed shamed for having a child out of wedlock. And not liking her father.

 

That said, my personal experience with a child is that you have to be a perfect parent despite your MI.

 

db

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I agree with some of the other responses in that there are many ways to create meaning in life outside of childrearing.  Maybe part of your life journey right now is to take care of yourself, discover ways to challenge your fears, and work on personal goals that are important to you.

 

As an aside, I've recently asked a lot of parents I know to compare the responsibility of dog ownership to that of having a child.  I know it is kind of like comparing apples to oranges, but all of the parents noted that caring for a dog is about 3 to 5% of the responsibility of parenthood!

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