Starting your own family whilst being a carer

Discussion in 'Younger people with dementia and their carers' started by Johnny5, Jun 15, 2015.

  1. Johnny5

    Johnny5 Registered User

    May 3, 2015

    Is anyone here a young adult who is a parent and a carer also? If so how do you manage? I've been married a while and am desperate to start a family but being a young adult with caring responsibilities has truly been putting me off. I feel guilty that if I were to bring a baby into our lives I would have less time/energy to help my parents out :(

    Any advice, words of wisdom?
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Goodness , that really is putting your life on hold.

    Welcome to Talking Point Johnny5. :)

    I suppose it all depends on the age of your parents, how much responsibility you take on board for them , and how long this might last.

    You could leave having a baby until it`s too late.

    Your parents might get happiness and pleasure from a new grandchild.

    Starting your own family could be an opening for your parents to accept outside help.

    The worst case scenario, how would it be if there were problems conceiving? Most of us take it for granted we can have a baby at the time we choose, but some find they have unforeseen problems . No one knows until they try.

    I hope others have more to offer. I`m a grandmother and would hate to think I would affect my son`s life to such an extent.
  3. Chemmy

    Chemmy Registered User

    Nov 7, 2011
    My first instincts are that you should not put off such an important decision because of your role as a carer. That isn't fair to you or your partner, and if the role of carer is too much in those circumstances, then THAT is the role that has to change. And it can.

    Like Sylvia says, I would have been absolutely horrified at the idea that my children may not have had children of their own because they were looking after me.
  4. Johnny5

    Johnny5 Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    Thank you for your responses. I realise how completely illogical it sounds, but it's honestly how I have been feeling for the past year or so. I guess it's more a feeling of being overwhelmed with having a responsibility that I never expected I would have until I reached middle age, mortgage paid off, kids grown up etc. I guess I was naive, you just never know what curve ball life may throw at you! Things could be worse though so I cannot be ungrateful.

    I know my parents would be very upset for sure if they knew I felt so conflicted like this. The good news is that I am working through my feelings and counseling has helped me do that. I guess I was just looking to see if anyone is or had been in a similar situation, (i,e. caring for an adult parent and raising their own children) and is still around to tell the tale :D
  5. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    There are many carers on TP who have an established family of young children but I don`t know of any who have delayed starting a family.
  6. Cat27

    Cat27 Volunteer Moderator

    Feb 27, 2015
    I cared for my mum who had cancer for 3 years while my son was 10 - 13 years old.
    I always made sure I was around for him in the morning before school & always tried to be here when he got home.
    I often went back to mums with him.

    School holidays were a nightmare at times but luckily his friends mums were brilliant.

    It was hard work balancing the needs of everyone & I was exhausted when it was over.
    I'm now looking after my dad who has vascular dementia & heart failure but son is away at uni now.

    Don't put your life on hold for caring. Get help.
  7. kingybell

    kingybell Registered User

    Feb 3, 2015
    I've got a 5 yr old and my mil has dementia. She has little short term memory but can still look after herself.
    We take each day as it comes and we both work full time and go away on hols.
    I rely on after school clubs for my daughter and various family members.
    I cook my mil about 4 meals a week and freeze them for her to use microwave.
    I've had the gas cut off so she doesn't blow herself up.

    I took 4 months off to get her benefits sorted and sort out her house so it was safe.
    Being a workaholic I made her my job. Now she's happy and the dementia is not Getting better but we are all coping better with it.

    It's not easy but you can do it. Everyone we know, knows mil got dementia and so we get a lot of support from shop keepers to parents at my daughters school.

    Don't let this disease prevent you from living your life.
  8. Jasmine123

    Jasmine123 Registered User

    Jan 22, 2014
    Hi Johnny,

    I understand that starting a family and caring for a parent must be a massive worry. And definitely understand where you are coming from in terms of having to deal with look after your parents so young in life. My sister had a baby 6 months ago and my mum has quite advanced, very difficult, early onset dementia. I obviously can't speak for my sisters and her husbands thought process or what the future holds, and I can only say how it is at the moment. my mum had been going through a pretty bad period over the last 16 months but there being a baby in the family now seems to bring a new chirpyness and focus that there wasn't before and that I wasn't expecting. Also it means a lot that my mother got to see one of her grandchildren and my mother is always so happy to see the baby and keeps saying 'he is wonderful and clever' (technically speaking the baby is a girl but My mum is pretty unswerving in her belief that the baby is a boy!). Also in the meantime as my sister is on maternity leave (which you might not have!) she sees a lot of my mother.

    Obviously it comes with difficulties though. Due to have difficult my mother is, it is almost impossible to look after both the baby and my mother alone but we work around this, by me and my sister both looking after my mum and the baby, or someone else looking after the baby while my sister looks after my mum.

    I'm not sure if the above was any help, but it is just my experience of what has happened so far in my family. Good luck in your decision.
  9. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    Auckland...... New Zealand

    Hi Johnny, I can give you two perspectives.
    My husband and I had been married almost 3 yrs before we decided to start our family.
    Took a year to conceive each time with a gap in between, so had a newborn and a 5 yo.
    When my youngest was 18mths my DH was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
    Trying to juggle a toddler, a primary schooler, part time job and and care for a sick husband through 2 yrs of surgeries, radiation and chemo was tough going but we got through it.
    Yes there were days where I felt guilty not spending enough time with them, but young children adapt well when they don't know any different and as long as the time you do spend with them is quality time thats what kids will remember.
    I was fortunate to have my parents and a sister on hand to help.
    My husbands parents had passed away years ago, and his siblings live overseas.

    Despite my husbands illness, we are so glad we didn't postpone having children any later in life... If we had, who knows what path our future may have taken?

    My husband has been in remission for 10 yrs.
    I now care for my Mum with Alzheimers and Dad with cognitive impairment.
    Yes there are times also where I have had to put my Mum first, but both my children are very understanding. It is not easy, but I simply have to have whatever support I can get in place. From my sister, to the Alzheimers Society, our Alz Key Worker, the Memory Team and our GP, and of course Talking Point.

    Maybe their early life has shaped them as young adults, but my children now 13&18 are very caring and considerate teens. Both of them have done well academically and are House Captains at their schools.

    Take all the advice you have been given, and don't put things off for fear of what ifs.
  10. Johnny5

    Johnny5 Registered User

    May 3, 2015
    Thank you to all of you for responding and sharing your thoughts and experiences. I took some time to think over your words and I feel like I have gained some perspective now.

    As with most carers, my issue is guilt. Guilt at having to admit to my parents that I may need to take a break from caring if we have a baby. The problem is that no one else offers the regular chunk of respite care that I do, that is free and reliable. My parents won't be able to have that replaced so I fear it will be a big loss to them and worry how they will cope. However, I am quite the problem solver and know that I have not explored alternative, yet different options. So I am confident that as a family we can come up with something!


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