Help Me Find Peace with Myself

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    Hello and a very happy new year to the wise forumites here at Tiny Buddha.  I am a first-time poster who has greatly enjoyed reading the articles on this site and am now reaching out for assistance.

    I am a 38-year-old male who has been struggling for years with the issue of having a child.  Several years ago I ended a loving though flawed ten-year relationship with the love of my life over this issue, and various attempts to reconcile or find answers through separation or therapy have not led to any greater clarity.  I am nearly certain that I do not want to raise a child (and can elaborate on why if doing so would be helpful), but am having such tremendous difficulty finding peace with this decision and who I am.

    Do I not want a child?  Or do I not want a child with the woman I was with?  Is my lingering doubt meaningful?  How can I find peace with who I am and what I want from my life?  I am full of regret and self-doubt and do not know which path to follow.

    Last year I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and obsessive thoughts, and I spend so much time thinking about the pros and cons of raising child, scouring the internet for articles and forums on this subject, and it’s utterly exhausting.  I would much rather be spending my time doing other and more productive things.

    I have a pretty good life.  I feel financially secure for the first time in my adult life, I have a challenging and rewarding career that allows me to work educating young people (including taking groups to Africa every other year), I have two cats that I adore, I travel extensively, and I generally enjoy my quiet existence.  I visited Iceland this past August and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Could I have had the same experience with a child in tow?  I will be taking sabbatical leave this fall and will be spending six months trekking through the U.S. West hiking my butt off, something I’ve wanted to do ever since reading Into the Wild more than ten years ago.  I consider myself a wanderer, though wandering means leaving behind so much and so many, including potential romantic partners.  I simply want to find peace and purpose.  Tolkien wrote that “not all those who wander are lost.”  I agree, though I do feel lost at the moment.

    I would be extremely grateful for any thoughts and insights that the forum may have.  Many thanks.

    -Those Who Wander


    Dear Those Who Wander:

    I would like to attentively read your post and reply when I am back to the computer in about 17 hours. I hope other members will reply as well.



    Dear Those Who Wander:

    I like your future plans, reads like these are congruent with your well being.

    You wrote: “Last year I was diagnosed with anxiety, depression, and obsessive thoughts”.  This makes it very simple for me to respond to your request for peace about not intending have and raise children.

    It is not for the benefit of a child to be born to a significantly anxious person. You are (at least when not traveling and doing your thing), and so, don’t have children. For their sake.

    As a matter of fact, the responsible choice for a person who is significantly anxious, I believe, is to not bring children to the world.

    You wrote that you are financially secure for the first time in your life. All the money in the world will not make a child emotionally healthy when a parent is significantly anxious. The safety a child needs is in the calm of the parent, not the toys, and other material items.

    Post again, if you want.



    I agree with anita.

    Deal with your obsessive thoughts, anxiety and depression first.

    If you want to care for a child then there are programs like Big Brother.

    You said so yourself, “I am nearly certain that I do not want to raise a child.”

    Then don’t.  Go forth to address those inner aspects that are keeping you from being emotionally healthy and make the world a better place.


    • This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by Mark.
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