How many of you have made the considered choice to be child free because of your brain injury?

This is not meant to offend anyone who has chosen to have children ok? Good!

Having children is the norm in our society. Women are expected to produce babies. There are women who would clearly find life harder, much harder by having a child but they still go ahead and have one, or two, or three, or four. I am interested in why anyone would want to make their life harder and more stressful by deliberately doing this when they already have a brain injury to contend with. Getting pregnant is easy, anyone can do it. It's not a miracle, it's nature. Why complicate your life when you have been through so much?

I don't buy into the 'because it's sooo worth it.' stuff and am interested in what you guys with your brain injuries think about your choices.

Tv / film/ the media bombards us with images of family life and kids. Adverts seem to think that sofas are only for adults with kids. And houses are for filling with kids. Forget about all the other fun stuff you could fill a house with! I think that people put more thought into booking a holiday or buying a new car than how much bringing a child into the world could /would complicate things and change their life, and not necessarily for the better.

I am not anti-children. But I don't find them interesting enough to have one. There is other stuff to do. Neither will all the books in shops about childcare / babies names etc change my mind. I also know that it would be, for me, the wrong thing to do and in-considerate. I do not want a child to be on the receiving end of me when I am having a bad day. I don't think it is fair to bring a child into the world and expect it to tolerate me when I need rest and quiet. QUIET and ORDER! Also I do not want the life-time responsibility that is a child.

I am genuinely interested in your thoughts guys and gals?

(population 9 billion and counting...)

Ok, to get this discussion rolling these are my thoughts.

1.) My concentration dips in and out all day every day, 365 days a year. Not good if you have a baby/toddler to care for.

2.) I am not very organised - obviously. Hey, I had major life saving surgery, Throw a child into the mix who needs to be at playschool / then swim/football lessons/ parties/ dr apts at certain times/ school stuff/ PTA meetings/ Teenage years (AARGH! The thought is bad enough) Already I'm getting a headache.

3.) As the nursery rhyme sort of goes, when I am good I am very very good, BUT when I am tired or stressed RUN FOR COVER AND STAY OUT OF MY WAY until I've rested and normal functioning has resumed. I know my limitations.

4.) I wouldn't want my relationship to suffer the inevitable strain with my partner having to pick up / do more than me. This would probably bring resentment for him and guilt for me (that's how I see it, but hey, I may well be wrong.) Now it's your turn for your 2 pennies worth...

I won't try to persuade you into having children. That's definitely an individual (or a couple's( decision. But I will tell you that I used to be like you. Never imagined having children. Couldn't understand why people were so gung ho about having them. Why complicate my already pretty good, do as I please life?

Then something happened around the time I was getting ready to turn 30 and my husband and I decided to do it. Now, granted, I didn't have a brain injury at that time. I didn't even know I had an AVM at that time. It was the best decision we ever made!

My children give me so much happiness and love. They were 6 and 9 when I had my bleed. It was very difficult for them during the many months that I was in the hospital and rehab. They were very scared.

Now that it's been some time since then (3 1/2 years) things are better. I do still have days, like you when I need quiet and order. My kids are very understanding, usually but let's face it they're kids and they sometimes need their mom. I try to push through it and know that I will rest later.

I don't know if I would have made the choice to have children given my limitations now, that's impossible to say. I just know that my life is so much better now with them in it. Nothing compares to the love of your child and their love for you!

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I don't know of any parents who are perfectly fit, perfectly equipped to raise childen. I don't know that our limitations should affect our choice to have or not have children. Yes, it's a couple's personal choice; but I fail to see the relevancy of basing the choice on my physical limitations. There are many sight-impaired and hearing-impaired parents who raise their kids successfully and are great parents. Most parents are willing to meet their children's needs, even when that means finding someone to meet the needs that the parents cannot meet. When my AVM was discovered following my first seizure, my 4th child was 3 weeks old. Not once did it occur to me that maybe I shouldn't have had children. People should not feel pressured to fit into social norms by producing unwanted children; nor should they feel the need to defend their choices in front of others with differing opinions.

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I had 5 perfect and beautiful children before my AVM ruptured, granted I was 24 years young when I got the 1st 'pink stripe' additionally I was 4 months pregnant at 40 with my 6th child-- yes, I am Catholic, when the Beast roared one Saturday morning, and my Temporal AVM ruptured. I never had a clue I had a guest upstairs. My neuro jumped up and down on his desk, chanting "The AVM would have ruptured without the pregnancy! It was due, it was my age as a human NOT the pregnancy" men have ruptures... that being said, parenting is 200x's more complicated Post-rupture! i was a room mother, and a coach, i Was cool, now I have a Really bad hair cut, and I am somewhere over the Rainbow from cool. On a good day I am successful if I am Not an embarrassment! i think teens and toddlers are tough even for those with a full deck of cards, of which I am not hardly! Good luck and maybe you could babysit a niece or nephew to see how it fits??


While I was recovering from surgery only 3 months, my wife gave birth to our daughter. It was a great event that was very difficult to handle. She has turned out well, but it has been very hard to handle. And compared to many on this site, I've had a good recovery. What I am trying to say is I support any woman who makes the choice not to have kids, or any man. That support is even stronger when this person has AVM. The decision on children should be made carefully. It is good to see an email like yours where you wrestle with such a difficult question.

I am very impressed that you are working out these ideas. Thank you.

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Hi flower - I don't have kids simply because of the fact that I never had, nor cared for, having a traditional life to provide a child. I think kids deserve and need some stability, but sometimes life happens, and you need to adjust your plans when you already have kids.

Can you tell that I've given this topic a lot of thought?

As far as producing kids post-AVM discovery, I think that it has to do more with "hope" in some cases...which is probably the worst reason to have kids. To hang your own hopes on someone else isn't the most logical (and I'm probably the last one to be speaking of logic), but I think this happens no matter AVM or not. Plus, it's not like you need a license to create a baby or be a parent.

Just my two cents.

Hi Flower,
When my husband and I were dating we always debated between 2 kids and 5. I wanted 2 he wanted 5. Seems how I had to do all the work I figured I in the end would decide for sure the finally number. Well right when we got married we were expecting our first child. We were thrilled, couldnt wait to start a family. In april 2004 we welcomed our son into the world and things couldnt be better. Then about a yr after he was born I noticed the daily headches that I didnt have before. Well after them not going away for over a yr my husband made me go to the dr and in dec 2006 we discovered my avm. Needless to say its now 2012 and we have decided that perhaps gods plan was for us to only have one child, because like you I have many bad days. Were I feel so guilty that Im stuck in bed and my son helps take care of me or I lash out at him and my husband and they dont deserve that. I can only imagine what a baby would do to our lives. Plus with seizure meds all I want to do is SLEEP. you cant do that with a baby, they need 100% attention and such. I dont think your a bad person or doing a bad thing. for not wanting a child. Its better than thinking of all this after brining a child into this world and regretting your decesion. Good for you for knowing what you want in life!!!!
Hugs Andrea

Thanks for posting, Nicole! Your comments are helpful to me, since I'm 40 and expecting our 5th child. My AVM has not ruptured, and I am overwhelmed right now thinking of how a pregnancy can affect my health. I haven't seen any doctors yet, but I would love hearing any info you can share, as your avm related to your last pregnancy. (This is a surprise pregnancy for me, so I wasn't really prepared to deal with the realities that it is bringing to my mind) Thanks!


This was on my fb, and it reminded me of your didcussion board topic:

There is proven truth in the statement that “when mom is happy, the family is happy.” —Lisa Cypers Kamen


Trish, Thanks for your reply on a subject we don't tend to talk about.

I am happy with my choice. I get alot of happiness from other areas of my life. I would never say (and plse don't be offended) 'nothing compares to the love of your child and their love for you' as it is subjective. What about the love of your friends and any extended family members and everything else life offers? Don't forget them!

I guess that's the thing. Alot of people who are not perfectly equipped to raise children are having them and it is falling on the state to pick up the pieces, at least it is here in the UK. I know of drug addicts who have had kids. I don't think anyone would be a 'perfect' parent. It is said to be 'the hardest job'. I'm not sure about that - what about bomb diffusers? Heart surgeons?

It sounds like you are a very strong-willed person, with a good support system around you? But each to their own.

Enjoy your kids and thanks for your reply!
All the best.


I like your humour! Sorry to hear you have a really bad haircut. I have friends with kids and there are kids in my family who I spend time with.

You say that 'life is 200x more complicated post-rupture.' Well, it's 3pm and I haven't even got up yet as am sooo tired. How on earth do you cope? And in what ways is it harder? As some-one who can't cope with too many responsibilities I'd be interested to hear how you fit in rest time and downtime?

All the best


Thanks for your reply, I know that this can a bit of a touchy subject which is why I'm interested in opening it up for discussion.

Great that you have had a good recovery.



Thanks for your 2 cents. I agree with you. I'm not traditional either,



I know where you are coming from. Yes they need 100% attention - attention that I just don't have.

I also believe in fate or Gods plan or whatever. Its the trying to make sense of it all that can get a bit confusing but with the help of this forum we can maybe kind of get some understanding out of it all. Hopefully!



Yeh I like that spiritual stuff. Surely it can relate to 'family' in general ie, your friends, your neighbours, the people you see daily. I guess I see family in a broader way?

Does anyone else?

I am familiar with the concept of 'acts of service-' surely these don't just relate to being a mother? I hope not! There's alot of people out there (eg the homeless) who would benefit from a bit of female nurturing. That makes me feel a bit 'eeurgh' to be honest as not all females are nurturing. Some celeb (forgotten who!) has just said she is not maternal and doesn't want kids. Surely nurturing doesn't just apply to your kids? Or am I wrong?


Well I do have to agree with you. This world is filled with so many children & people already & half the time I see parents raise their child, only to have them move away and they rarely see them-so what's the point? I have decided not to have any children, mostly due to my AVM, which they said was untreatable (at the moment anyways) and I do not want to put myself at risk just to have a child. If anything, I will adopt when I'm older if I feel the need to nurture something. Feel free to email me if you want-we have a lot in common I think :)

I would make it simple - each to their own (or each couple to their own!)

I can only share my experience. I have a 15 year old son. I cannot imagine my life without him. However I had him when I was very young and raised him on my own. It has always been tough but full of joy. I have known all along how irresponsible it would have been to have more children up until now being alone and fighting to stay stable with one. I thought I had all the time in the world to decide to have another or not.

It has only been 7 months since my AVM brought me down. I know the dangers now and as young as I thought I was before I realize that I will be too old to consider it by the time I am hopefully AVM free. I can say also that my outlook has changed knowing now how fragile life is and there is no guarantee I will be here forever to care for my children. It has been a hard pill to swallow that the decision does not feel like it is mine any longer and it would be irresponsible to have any more at this point. And you are right that it would be a lot of work having more bad days than good.

For this reason I have decided to adopt a homeless rescue dog. Almost as much work as a baby initially to train but so rewarding and forgiving on bad days.

Population numbers are out of control I agree as well (I like your ending statement). I don't think most educated rational healthy people are having many multiple children (have you seen the movie Idiocracy? No offense intended to anyone with a large family because everyone is free to decide for themselves and having many children does not make you stupid. Funny movie none the less.)(I didn't realize how this topic could be so sensitive but I find I am concerned with wording).

In the end it's what is right for you and what you feel like you can manage. It's about the quality of life for you, because you are already here. What will make you happy is what is important. Hope you are having good days.