My fiancé and I have been together for three years. I love him dearly, but he has ADHD. While his symptoms aren't severe enough to impact me (other than his occasional forgetfulness and constant pacing), I am worried about our future. He occasionally brings up the possibility of having children once we are married, but every time he mentions it, I get worried. I feel as if I almost don't even want to have children with him after reading that a third of all fathers with ADHD have children with ADHD. I don't know how I would deal with that behavior and academic issues in a child when I was always a straight A student. Is it horrible to think this? And what can I do to get it out of my mind?
— Concerned Cara
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Dear Concerned Cara,
It's easy to read about worst-case scenarios on the Internet and end up in a tizzy over what may happen, but frankly, every time anyone has a child there's a chance that something could go wrong, and it may or may not be ADHD. Either way, it doesn't mean she won't have behavioral problems or bring home a perfect report card. My point is that while I understand your concerns, there's no point in imagining what could be. Many children are diagnosed with ADD or ADHD every year and the majority of them will grow up to be perfectly happy, functional adults.
While it may be more demanding to raise a child with this diagnosis, all children come with their own set of challenges. There's always a chance that something could go wrong, and it may or may not be ADHD. But either way, it doesn't mean she won't have behavioral problems or guarantee a perfect report card. If you really feel like this is something you may not be able to overcome, voice your concerns to your fiancé. Since he faces this every day, he may be able to open up your perspective on the situation, and certainly he has a right to know if you don't want to have children with him.
You could also join an online forum for mothers of children with ADHD. I'm sure they'll be able to give you plenty of advice and many positive stories. But most importantly Cara, recognize that life is full of oppositions that we're all stronger for when we finally overcome them. So instead of worrying, start educating yourself.