my husband very, very likely has ADD - and if he doesn't have an "official" diagnosis, it's very clear to me, and others in our lives, that he definitely has many ADD behavioral tendencies, so regardless of a diagnosis or not, he definitely fits into the pattern of ADD behavior.
we have 2 young children and I have wanted to have another child for several years now. he feels very overwhelmed with his life (huge work responsibilities, both from an emotional and a time standpoint) and feels like with all of the "balls" he constantly has up in the air, a third child would just be too much for him to handle. he has turned this hypothetical third child into a gigantic scapegoat - kind of like, "as long as we don't have another child, I can manage the extreme chaos that is my life" (of course, the chaos that is his life is a direct result of his ADD and inability to manage his time wisely, his constant losing things/forgetting things/inability to find things, etc...). In reality, I am the primary caregiver (I am a stay at home mom) and if we had another child, his day-to-day life would barely change (he works very long hours and only sees our kids briefly in the mornings and about 5 nights a week).
I found out I was pregnant earlier this year - it was a surprise to both of us, and a big shock. Almost immediately he said that he did not want to continue the pregnancy, said that he just could not handle another child. he threatened me with divorce if I wouldn't terminate the pregnancy and I felt very alone and like I had no other option (for the record, I am staunchly pro-choice but personally, for myself - terminating a pregnancy goes very much against my morals and values, which is something he absolutely knew). I was distraught, very emotional due to the situation and pregnancy hormones, and felt like I really had no choice. Much to my regret now, I went through with the termination and it was truly a horrible, emotionally gut-wrenching experience. It was truly the darkest day of my life and it's been a very difficult emotional "recovery" thus far (because how does someone really "recover" from going through such hell?). Immediately after the termination I demanded that we start couples therapy which has been going well, thankfully. When my husband missed our weekly session recently (because of his usual poor time management), the therapist and I started talking and she floated her idea that my husband is very likely on an ADD spectrum. I completely agreed with her and bought Melissa's book. It was like *everything* suddenly made sense about my husband's behaviors, as well as my own experiences living with him for the past 14+ years (we've been married almost a decade).
I am in a terrible place now, emotionally. I am mourning the loss of this child and stunned by the realization that my husband was so selfish/unable to be there for me and forced me to go through something he knew would destroy me. I know now that the fact that he most likely has ADD is a huge factor in how/why he behaved the way he behaved, and I am glad that he is willing to get help for it, but I am left feeling so empty and also so fed up about having to deal with his krap for so long - and now to have it impact me in such a massive way is devastating. I have very few outlets to discuss what happened - just my own therapist and 2 close friends - I told everyone else that I had a miscarriage because I am honestly so embarassed that my husband is such a (in my opinion) morally deficient person that he did what he did and gave me no real choice but to terminate. My husband is, as is typical of so many people with ADD, super personable and the "fun," great guy in social situations... my friends would be SHOCKED to know the truth.
I read another thread on this forum -
it was about a man who apparently told his wife, while they had been pursuing fertility treatments, that he no longer wanted another child (I had to piece it together from the comments since he deleted the body of his original post). several commenters noted how horribly selfish they felt he had acted towards his wife, "pulling the rug out from underneath her" during such a difficult emotional time. I feel the same way. I feel so let down by the man I love, for whom I have made several *significant* sacrifices. I am curious to hear more about "selfish" behaviors coming from people with ADD/ADHD as it is definitely a personality trait that my husband possesses, particularly within our marriage, and not just on this subject of another child.
I very much still want to have another child. I feel strongly that this is MY life too, not just my husband's, and I deserve to have what I want as well, especially since I have given up so much for him and his career and his family. I am hopeful that through our couples therapy and by working with someone who specializes in ADD treatment/counseling my husband can get his life back under control and can realize that having another child will NOT destroy his life the way he thinks it will... but I also think that he will need to have a real shift in this "selfish" way of thinking/approaching our marriage and that sometimes seems to me like it will be insurmountable for him.
I too am the spouse of a man
Submitted by PoisonIvy on
I too am the spouse of a man with ADHD. I totally sympathize with you. But I have one big "But," and that is that you can't count on your husband continuing to be the breadwinner, and so the decision about having another child has to take that into account. I did not know until fairly recently (three or four years ago; we've been married for almost 27 years) that my husband had ADHD. Things went pretty well for many years of our marriage although there were a few signs of indecision and inattention along the way. Then, when our daughters were six and four, my husband lost his good, high-paying job, and he was unemployed for SIX years (this was before the stock market crash). He finally got another job, which he had for about four or five years, before being fired after causing a car accident. He's now employed part time, at minimum wage. You should be able to count on your husband but you might never be able to.
no, we're in a unique
Submitted by sophie44 on
no, we're in a unique situation financially and it's not a concern... though I can definitely see how it would be in most other situations. his main issue about having another child is that he feels like he is just too overextended now and another child would put him over the edge. I agree, but if he were to start getting some treatment for his ADD tendencies, he would not be as overextended, in my opinion.
I'm glad that you're in a
Submitted by PoisonIvy on
I'm glad that you're in a safe position financially. That is a relief. But I still have a "But." (Sorry.) Your husband may never stop being self-centered. Even with treatment for ADHD. He might become less self-centered or he might not. My husband has been taking medications for ADHD for two or three years now, I think. He may feel more alert; I'm not sure. But he certainly isn't more organized or less self-centered. He hasn't committed to working on any behaviors. He struggles to get up in the morning. I do all the housework. I pay all the bills. Our communication is not good. I feel very reluctant to tell him anything personal, because he then decides that he is responsible for what is making me feel unhappy and then he feels guilty and then he feels under attack and then he can't think rationally (this is all what he has told me, by the way; I'm not making this up). I have asked him for help with significant things that cause me stress and he has been very reluctant to help. Perhaps the worst thing is that he does not see or acknowledge that he is not making me a priority.
I do think that you should continue to encourage your husband to get treatment for ADD. I think that you should support him in this if he is willing to do it. But be aware that there might not be miracles.
I too am the spouse of a man
Submitted by jennalemon on
I too am the spouse of a man with ADHD. There were the early years when he was a traveling salesman. I was often in the dark about where he was and who he was with. He had total independence and I had total responsibility for the home and children. I accepted that because he was making a good living. He was let go of two jobs in two years and then gave up and started his own business and had even more independence from responsibility and he contributes now less than minimum wage. When we bought our home, I said, It looks sort of big. I don't know if I want to work to keep such a big place up. He said, We will all help. I didn't know about ADHD at the time. Fast forward 20 years - I pay the bills, I work to make most of the money to pay the bills, I do the groceries and meals, I do all the housework, I parented the children (he wanted to be their friend - the fun guy). He mostly these days sits in the garage and smokes cigars and does crossword puzzles. He does the yard work. I feel like I have a pool boy who does work when it is pleasantly nice outside. He lost his wedding ring 15 years ago and is the type to flirt with waitresses. Why am I telling you this? Because this could be you in 20 years. We looked like a great couple. He was making good money. He is very gregarious. He will talk to anyone for hours even though he is supposed to be working. I was very self-confident and a team player. I am not the happy, fun person I once was. You could say, don't let him define you. I am conditioned to expect to be disappointed, lied to, humiliated and frustrated by the main person in my life. You cannot accommodate that and be easy-going because you have to be on your toes and not trust everything they do or say. People become like the people they hang out with the most. People in your life affect who you become in the long term. He is happy go lucky. How do I get myself out of this and become the fun, easy going person who I started out being?
ADD Dad here...
Submitted by YYZ on
First of all, I am so sorry that you were strong armed into making this choice about your baby. I read so many things that my male counterparts do or say and just cannot believe it. You should Not have been pushed like that! Unacceptable no matter what condition (Known or Unknown) in my opinion.
I will say that your story reminded me about my family's development. We got married and things were pretty good. I had NO IDEA that I had ADD. About two years later we decided to try for DD#1. I was Really Scared, but figured I could do as well or better as the guys I knew. When DD#1 was about 1.5, my DW started pushing for DD#2. With a 1.5 year old, I was over-whelmed by how I was supposed to juggle a baby and a 2 year old. I mean TERRIFIED... We both work stressful full time jobs and therefor we both have many single parent time. I pushed for 4-5 years apart and managed to convince my wife too. DD#1 was also a REAL Easy baby and little girl, so I was pretty sure that with a 4+ year old helper I could easily handle DD#2. I had this, easy as pie... When DD#2 arrived things were different. DD#2 was a great baby, but MUCH more active than DD#1. The activity only increased exponentially with time. For me, everything that worked with DD#1 DID NOT work for DD#2. We seemed to really butt heads in conflict. I did not understand, at all. I KNEW that I had reached what I could handle in illogical child chaos. About a year or so later, DW began asking about #3... I knew there was no way. I REALLY knew I was at my limit, I was 39 and too old for another layer of chaos.
I believe I was lucky with my personality. I somehow always figured out when to stop, just before Total Disaster. I've always feared drugs and never really tried anything, Feared alcohol and managed to Not become an alcoholic, feared my disorganization and became more organized than most Non-ADDer's. I knew my limit was reached with children. So I wasn't about to "Try" for #3. If a birth control failure would have happened, I would have been okay, but I was not going to Go for #3. These feeling have nothing to do with my love for my DD's. I cannot say how much joy they have brought to me.
I managed to juggle Just the right amount of oranges for most of my life. I juggled too many at age 43 and it lead to my diagnosis. I KNOW how much better the second half of my life can be, now that I have better tools for my ADD.
Thanks for sharing this, YYZ.
Submitted by PoisonIvy on
Thanks for sharing this, YYZ. One thing that really leaped out at me from the original post is that the writer's husband does seem to be being honest. Not everyone is, ADD or not. Many people, also ADD or not, worry about how much work and responsibility will be added by the addition of a new child to the family. I'm glad that my husband and I agreed about how many children to have (at least i think we did; he doesn't always tell me how he feels about things). I definitely think that original poster and her husband need to have a heart to heart about this subject. Him getting ADD treatment might be part of the equation and it might not, but both people need to feel that they are being heard and their feelings are being taken into account.
Glad to share...
Submitted by YYZ on
I'm reading "Driven from Distraction" right now and something really jumped out at me. I'm going to try to as close to the quote as possible ;) The Dr. H said to Do "What you are good at" and not pursue "What we are Not good at". Even after my diagnosis and great response to meds and so on. Extreme chaos situations unravel me quickly. I can multi-task predictable things, but work best "Locked-In" on my task. Mult-tasking Unpredictable things is a Train Wreck waiting to happen :)
You mentioned you felt as if our original poster's husband was being honest and I believe even though it seems he did not handle this well, it was this honest feeling being described that I could Totally Relate too.
Hmmm sounds familiar!
Submitted by kit_kat_lover on
Yes, Wow - I can see this in my ex w/ADHD. He could multi task the daily things in his life-phone calls, meetings, computer work, and even the occasional extra thing thrown in like a needed run to the bank or dry cleaner. But add in something unexpected and seemingly large and a big deal (say, family health issue) and it was like blinders came on and everything that wasn't an absolute necessity to breathe fell to the side - including me -leading to anger and the inevitable, response, response syndrome. I guess it could be the extremeness of the situation/chaos that arose that gave him such stimulation (he's unmedicated) so he was able to hyperfocused on that? Sound like a reasonable stretch of the origin of the behavior/symptom?
Submitted by YYZ on
In a Big Deal (Emergency Situation) I know from experience that being un-medicated unknown ADD I would go into mega-hyper-focus mode out of the terror of messing up with A Lot on the line. Anything else coming at me would have gotten immediately dismissed and my poor facial expression and communication skills would have made me seem very un-nice. Medicated, I do much better, but it still is hard to fight the old ways of coping with high stress surprises.
see, I don't think it was a
Submitted by sophie44 on
see, I don't think it was a question of "honesty." obviously, I can't fully explain the entire extent/history of this on a forum... I found out that I was pregnant at a very stressful time in my DH's life (work, and issues with his own family). I think that the pregnancy was a "tipping point" for him and it just made him feel like he could.not.handle.it - because he couldn't handle one more thing thrown his way given all else that he had going on - and his absolute inability to handle it effectively (that's where I see the ADD behaviors coming in to play). he probably doubles the stresses of his day due to his inability to keep track of time, constant losing of things, etc... if he had tools to deal with that, he would save time, stop losing things, etc... and I think he would just overall be less stressed out. so that even if his wife got pregnant with a child he didn't "want," he never would have gone down the path of insisting on termination (and doing it in such a horrible way, with the divorce threat).
and you are right - both of us need to feel that we are being heard/feelings validated. he did NOT do that for me at all when we talked (briefly) after I found out that I was pregnant, and that is a big part of why this all feels so awful.
Sophie, I'm really sorry for
Submitted by dazedandconfused on
I'm really sorry for your loss, for one. What a gut wrenching situation to be in. To be completely honest, I don't know if I could have stayed with a man who asked me to do that, but I'm staunchly pro-life (as is my husband).
Unfortunately, I don't think this is an issue of ADD. Your husband getting treatment will probably have very little bearing on his opinion of having another child. Especially since he has asked you to do something so difficult when you turned up pregnant. He appears to be very against a third child. Seek him treatment by all means, but don't bank on him suddenly changing his mind because he is treated. As the other posters said, it seems that he's being honest with you.
I don't really have any advice for you beyond that you are going to have to make some tough decisions. Personally, I'm sort of ambivalent about having children, so if I was in your place, I would have probably just have been satisfied with the two. There was a time when my husband and I were not on the same page about when to have kids; I was just torn up over that because he wanted to wait until we were well into our thirties and I didn't want any kids past 35. We finally resolved that, but then I began to realize what my life would be like if we had a child. He's ADD and not very responsible (right now). I had to reconcile myself to the fact that I would rather not have kids at all, than be a single parent (essentially). The day may come when he does get a little more responsible and/or I'm in a better place emotionally to handle being the main parent, but right now, I am content with the way things are. It was hard to put my foot down and say, "I'm OK with not having kids." Interestingly enough, it kind of freaked my husband out, but that's another story altogether.
I will suggest that you seek individual counseling to deal with your grief, and perhaps, get to the root of why you want more children. It took counseling for me to discover that I really didn't want children as bad as I thought I did. Best of luck to you and hang in there.
thanks for your reply. I
Submitted by sophie44 on
thanks for your reply. I definitely think if I were staunchly pro-life (I'm perhaps the 180 degree opposite, politically speaking :) I would have called a divorce attorney right after our initial conversation about his feelings - so I understand what you are saying in your first paragraph.
obviously, this is a forum and I cannot outline every single detail that is relevant to my situation in one post... there's a lot more to the reasoning why I think ADD has a lot to do with how my DH behaved. I don't think it's a staunch opposition to having 3 kids... I think it's more that he feels like "one more thing" will cause him to unravel (because he has NO skills to effectively manage his time and forgetfulness). he is having a very big, stressful period at work (he is the owner) and that, plus all of his other business responsibilities, is really more than he can manage given how ineffective he is with his time and general approach to life. I feel like if he could enter treatment and find ways to cope with his "shortcomings" in the time management/forgetfulness/disorganization departments, he'd realize that he is far less overburdened than he has to be. I think my being pregnant was a "tipping point" for him - but it could easily have been something else. what I feel like is that basically, I became the unfortunate target of years of unmanaged/undiagnosed ADD patterns of behavior.
thankfully, DH is open to the idea of an ADD diagnosis (or at least being on an ADD "spectrum") and seeking treatment. Our couples therapist strongly recommends some type of a "life coach" with experience in working with people who have ADD or ADD traits. I think this would be ideal for my DH and he's even alluded to it in the past, before any of this happened.
I am in individual counseling in addition to couples therapy that we are doing together, but as far as the question of getting to the root of why I want more kids? I just don't feel a need to justify it. I come from a family of 3, I have a big extended family - that's what I know and like. there isn't much more to it than that :)
I was recently diagnosed
Submitted by Bob Loblaw on
Just a little background: I was recently (2-3 months ago) diagnosed with adult ADD. I also possess symptoms of having anxiety. But I am currently "attacking" ADD by taking medication and therapy.
About 2 years ago, my wife and I discussed having a third child. My wife expressed that she really wanted to add to our family. We had two kids and she was ready to love another. At that time, we had been having issues in our relationship. The issues have been present ever since our first child was born. The increased responsibility that a child brings, the responsibility of being a new home owner, changing careers, all came to a head. I was overwhelmed with what was going on in our life. And ever since then, it's been a battle of me not staying on top of my responsibilities (paying bills late or at the last moment, always arriving late to an appointment, engagement, event, etc., clutter everywhere, not fixing things around the house, etc.), of my wife discussing with me her disappointment of the chaotic life that we were leading, of me getting upset and defensive and saying stupid things in arguments to make myself look or feel better. Basically, going through my day just trying not to f### up. Not really having a goal, or purpose. Just trying not to get in a fight. It never got physical, but sometimes the words exchanged between us probably hurt more than anything physical would have. Even through all of the chaos, we were still able to raise happy, well adjusted children. In hindsight, I realize that it was my wife that was holding us together, compensating for my shortcomings. I love my wife and kids, but I wasn't behaving like one should when they love others. A lot of my behavioral patterns and tendencies were (and still are) very selfish and self-centered. (Sorry for the rambling. It's just that so much has happened and it's all just coming out.)
Ok back to my wife saying she wanted a third child. I said I, too, wanted one and that we should try (we really didn't have to try with the first two, successful after the first try with each). A couple of days passed, and she told me she didn't think I was ready to take on a third child. She really wanted one, but wanted me to get my s### together before we brought someone else into our family. I agreed because I saw the flaws and issues that I possessed and wanted to move forward without any baggage. Well, one night we were having a rare good time together. One thing lead to another and she ended up getting pregnant. We talked about the pros and cons of adding to our family, and discussing if it was the right thing to do given my issues and how they affected our family-life. And at that moment, I got scared. I didn't flat out say that I wanted her to terminate the pregnancy, but I danced around the subject. Planting seeds of how chaotic our life would be, not being able to provide for our two other children at our current income level. The "planted seeds" were working. We kept debating keeping the child or not. We even spoke with a therapist (on my wife's birthday) because we were having trouble admitting that we were going to terminate the pregnancy. After that, we decided to move forward with the termination. My wife signed the required paperwork for our HMO...
Thank God that my wife didn't listen to me. We ended up having our child, and she has brought so much joy to our life. We have been able to financially support our family (both of us took on part time jobs, in addition to my main job), we've had enough love for all of our kids. But the chaos is still present. The fighting and arguing are still happening. This all happened before being diagnosed. Since I've been diagnosed, it's been baby steps towards improvement, but it doesn't seem to be fast enough. I am "spewing" all of this because I didn't realize that I was pushing my wife into something that she didn't want to do. Ultimately, I didn't want her to terminate. But the fact that I suggested it, and made her talk with a therapist, instead of manning up and embracing the pregnancy speaks volumes about my character. I was being selfish. I was scared and concerned about how it would affect *me*. I don't see fault in feeling scared and concerned (I think that is natural), but I do see fault in not supporting my wife. I wasn't there for her. The pregnancy started out as a health risk (she had placenta previa) but ended up great. But the entire pregnancy I didn't support her. I didn't talk about the pregnancy. I didn't take an interest in planning for our new baby. I didn't listen when she said she wanted to have a baby shower. I didn't even apologize for suggesting termination. Ok, so I was scared about her health, and what would happen to our family if anything happened to the baby or my wife. But the previa went away and I still didn't connect with my wife. All in all, I was a horrible person. I hate myself for even considering termination, for not supporting her, for not being a good man for my family. I hope that with the proper treatment, that I am able to right this ship and get back to actually loving my wife and kids. To not bring so much drama and unnecessary baggage to their lives. To not be so focused on me. Sophie, I hope your husband is able to come to terms with what he made you do. And I hope you get your third baby. Ours has been a blessing and a miracle. I can't believe I almost made it so that she wasn't in our lives.
I wish I had been diagnosed earlier in life. Maybe the decisions I made and the way that I live my life would have been better. Maybe I wouldn't have treated my wife the way that I have. If you've read all of these ramblings, thank you. It's feels good to get it off of my chest. Moving forward, I will stop being so self-centered. I will prioritize the needs of others before my own. I hope it's not too late.
thank you so much for your
Submitted by sophie44 on
thank you so much for your reply :)
my husband is very self-centered too. I know that some of it is out of a need for self-preservation, which I get - but like you said, he was scared and concerned about himself, his life, and there was very little or no concern for ME and how this would impact me. he still feels like doing what he did doesn't make him a bad person... I disagree. And I think it's his way of trying to convince himself that he's not a bad person, but deep down inside I think he knows the enormity of what he did.
I think you are a very, very big person to be able to write out what you wrote here, and more importantly to feel it. Your wife is very lucky and I don't think it is too late for you - if you want to change, even very deep down, that's all the motivation you need :)
Thanks for your kind words. I
Submitted by Bob Loblaw on