Should Depressed People Have Kids?

Comic Sarah Silverman says her depression played a role in her decision not to have kids. What do you think?

Moms Talk is a weekly feature on all Lehigh Valley Patches in which local parents, caregivers and other members of the community are invited to share opinions and advice on parenting topics.

This week’s Moms Talk question relates to depression and parenthood.

Depression runs in families. That’s a scientific fact. Women are more likely to experience depression than men. Another scientific fact. That’s why comic Sarah Silverman says she has made a conscious choice not to have kids – she doesn’t want to pass on her issues to her children. 

And that brings us to this week’s Moms Talk question:

Should people who suffer from depression avoid having children?

Our Moms Council members include:

  • Lisa Amey of Upper Milford Township is a stay-at-home mom to an 8-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. A past president of the MOMS Club of Emmaus and longtime member of MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), Lisa is an Independent Consultant for Arbonne International.
  • Lisa Drew of Emmaus is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer, wellness and fitness coach with more than 17 years of experience. She is the mother of a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
  • Jennifer Elston of Emmaus has almost two decades of professional experience in child development and counseling. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls. Together with her husband, Chris, she owns Christopher Elston Photography.
  • Jeanne Lombardo of Nazareth is the mother of a 10-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. She’s new to the Lehigh Valley, having moved to Nazareth from Bergen County, NJ in January.
  • Lisa Merk of Lower Macungie is a stay-at-home mother of four boys – a 12-year-old and 6-year-old triplets. Lisa is a past president of the MOMS Club of Lower Macungie East. In her “spare” time, Lisa teaches piano to school-age children.
  • Zoila Bonilla Paul of Bethlehem is a stay-at-home mom to two girls – a 5-year-old and a 14-month-old. Zoila is a member of her local “moms’ club” and says she is “well-versed in the fun that children can bring.”
  • Beth Sharpless of Emmaus works part time in a local emergency department as a nurse and part time from home as a customer support specialist. She has two children -- a boy who is almost 2 and a 5-year-old girl. She says they love spending time outdoors and dancing.

If you would like to become a part of the Moms Council and/or have ideas for future Moms Talk questions, please email jennifer.marangos@patch.com.

Lanya January 14, 2013 at 02:32 PM
My fiance has bipolar disorder. As a couple, we have been through very trying times. He does his best to help himself, and I do my best to be supportive. Things have been good now that he is on the right meds and has been stable for a few years. But I have to admit, I often wonder whether I want to pass those genes along. I think the answer for me is no, but it is a very personal and individual decision.
Bob Alone January 14, 2013 at 02:48 PM
As an addendum, my wife came home early in the afternoon. I told her that I wanted to work on this in family counseling and we left it at that. She has never "gone off her meds" but I suspect that after having the flu for three days (in which she couldn't keep anything down) she simply couldn't keep her meds down. Incidents like this only happen 3-4 times a year. Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. We are very lucky in that we have a great support network in our family and friends (many of whom are aware of her issues), great insurance and the means to get access to good psychiatric care including family counseling. I know there are many that are not as lucky. Awareness is one of the biggest issues.
Lisa Merk January 14, 2013 at 06:14 PM
Should people that have a history of cancer in their families not have children? Should people that have diabetis not have children? How about male pattern baldness? Where do we draw the line? if you choose not to have children that is fine, but to choose not to have children and based on someone else's unsoliciated and uneducated opinon is absolutley ridiculous.
Jenn January 15, 2013 at 03:09 AM
I don't have a problem with anyone making a personal decision. Parenthood is a huge commitment I commend her for giving it proper contemplation. The problem is that these Hollywood people always want the rest of us to follow their enlightened lead! They think they are on the moral high ground. I will keep Bob's family in my prayers. I pray every day for our families in this world today. We face so many challenges!
Jack January 18, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Bob alone- I would get a second opinion of your wife's Dx. With the right meds and Dr. Life will get better.


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