View Full Version : How common is it for women to have symptoms get worse after having children?


datajunkie
05-11-14, 07:47 PM
This isn't about me but trying to learn about AD/HD in general.

I just spent a nice but exhausting afternoon with my sweetheart, his 32 year old daughter and his ex. He and his ex stayed friends after splitting up about 15 years ago and not just for the kids. other one is a 26 year old son not in the area currently. I think ex and kids all have some degree of AD/HD and I'd kill all three of them if I had to be around them long.

I'm very glad he and his ex stayed friends and could keep the good stuff they shared together. And I'm becoming more convinced that ex, and both son and daughter have varying degrees of AD/HD. I'd say my sweetheart is someone who has all the good stuff AD/HD can have with hyperfocus, fast thinking, creativity and such but is what we'd all like to be as he doesn't have the down sides, good time management, can work around distractions, never late, can pay attention to boring meetings and such. About the only time I'd say I see him sort of ADD is when he gets a thought and follows it and zones out a bit. No big deal, as when he comes back with the thought it's worth listening to. He's generally a superb listener, was part of his job description many times.

He said ex had some traits such as not listening, and even if listening often forgot, was always late unless it was to some business meeting she had to be there for and had shown hyperfocus and used arguments as a way to drum up adrenaline. But super reliable in many ways, MBA, successful career editing monthly periodicals, none of the at home piles of stuff but her desk was always cluttered, would rush for deadlines.

After their first child was born, her hyperfocus turned from him to their daughter and then split between the kids. By the time their marriage had gone cold, he was glad she wanted a divorce to get out of the never ending screaming she and the kids used as ways to interact.

I'm wondering if pregnancy alone can be a trigger to increasing symptoms or if being a mother triggers the hyperfocus so much that it makes them more noticeable.

Daughter is most noticeably AD/HD but had brain damage shortly after birth with a heart problem. Managed to get a BA and successful career. Son isn't as immediately clear but affects him more. He's truly brilliant, skated through high school without studying, cramming before tests but dropped out of his scholarship to college when that wasn't enough. Few friends--his high IQ friends from high school don't want to hang out with someone waiting tables when they are involved in graduate research. He talks down to everyone else, no girl wants to date a loser, DUI's, owes mom lots of money. now pays his own bills but not yet able to start making payments. Just a jerk or untreated AD/HD?

Now that Adderall is helping me see just how much I have been affected by not being dx'd and treated lifelong, and I'm learning more about ADD, and how my own hormone changes made my low grade to moderate symptoms increase, I can imagine that pregnancy and motherhood could make ADD worse. Before kids, her temper would flair with PMS but he could walk away until she forgot it. After kids the drama never stopped. I can't imagine 3 intelligent, capable people choosing to live with each other or why 2 adult children want to live with their mother at all, spend so much time screaming at each other in ways they'd never tolerate from anyone else.

Flia
05-12-14, 06:16 AM
The one most intense trigger for symptoms is stress.
So.. Yes.
I couldn't handle my daughter at all, though she was really easy to be around.
I was undiagnosed at the time though, so I didn't know why.

stef
05-12-14, 07:02 AM
It dioesn't gt "worse" (although maybe affected by hormones in the first few weeks...)

It's just suddenly so much more demanding! and you MUST do things according to a certain schedule, and make sure there is clean laundry, groceries, etc.

MADD As A Hatte
05-12-14, 07:36 AM
Essentially, what having children does, for the ADD mother, is load up
the stressors. It doesn't make the ADD itself worse, it was bad enough already. It was just in hiding, in the cupboard under the stairs, waiting for something to open the cupboard door and LET IT LOOSE!

What having children does is let the ADD loose. And it comes out roaring!

Shortly after the first 6 weeks of mother & baby honeymoon, sleep deprivation kicks is. And from then on, unless diagnosed and treated. ADD-mothering means that you have no petrol in the tank, no reserves for coping on a daily basis. Over time, gradually, everything disintegrates.

In my limited experience. the absolutely critical thing to watch for, is post natal depression that goes undiagnosed. Symptoms of PNDD can be easily missed, but they are not ADD, they are a separate depressive condition.

On the original poster's question about how can three intelligent people choose to live like that [in ADD mania], in my experience, it's not a choice, from the inside it's the fish / ocean analogy. Fish can't see the medium they're swimming in. In the same way, ADD people have no perspective of the whacko abnormal day-to-day frenzy of their own existence. There's tons of evidence posted on this site, every single day, to bear witness to the truth of this analogy!

I'll post a link in another post to an ADD specialist in Washington DC. who's doing fantastic research into women / girls and ADD. Really excellent information.

datajunkie
05-12-14, 10:41 AM
Thanks all,
My own AD/HD may be low grade enough not to give me as much tunnel vision. While the contrast now to how I respond with Adderall to 58 years of life without it, has made it clearer how much my brain function did lock me into responses I didn't want, I always knew I didn't want them.

Son didn't move out until a year ago at 25. That seemed the oddest, a brilliant if quirky man in his mid 20's living with mommy and sissy? Screaming at each other even with visitors in the house? It isn't like they walk around randomly shrieking at people in public or at work.

The contrast to me yesterday made me appreciate my own version of ADD. It's been a lifelong burden I'd rather not have had. The feelings of I'm crazy, lazy, stupid for not working up to ability, procrastinating, stuck at times and such. But these 3 intelligent, capable people are wasting so much energy and becoming more isolated socially. I am grateful my form doesn't need that much frenzy, take my Adderall and keep learning on how to be the best me possible.

I'm still rather drained. It was rather like having to listen to a radio station with continual but ever changing static to catch the tornado or thunderstorm warnings. Having to pay enough attention to hear the warning but wanting to turn the volume down due to the static. We settled down last night to listen to chamber music, had dogs and cats who live peacefully together curled up with us on the bed and appreciated our harmonious home.

Timberline
05-15-14, 09:42 AM
My (undiagnosed) ADD didn't really show up till I had kids.

When I was young, I was a little "spacey" but school was the thing I loved, so I hyper focused there. I found ways to manage my difficulties with organization because I was motivated.

After I had children & stayed home with them, I was in a realm where my talents were not. It takes so much energy for me to keep my house & family, and I feel like my mental health has probably suffered because I've been at home so long, struggling with depression off & on. It is EXTREMELY frustrating to be interrupted by children talking, needing this or that, or just being so loud I can't think!

Now that I am aware of the ADD thing in myself and my 10 YO daughter (she is medicated now and doing so much better!) I feel like I'm more patient. I try to be more patient, anyway. And now I am looking for little tricks to help keep me on track with housework & things I need to do in this job of Mom.

Ganjin
05-16-14, 11:08 PM
Well, I'm not a woman... But there is no doubt that having children over loaded my stress tolerance very quickly. The result was spiraling depression, bouts of anger, scary mood swings, and a general feeling of total loss of control.

If I hadn't had kids, I probably never would have been diagnosed.

Parenting these highly dependent little critters is a lot of pressure on a person who spent a few decades developing an elaborate set of coping mechanisms that no longer work. And mothers probably feel this pressure more than us fathers.

Of course, it's possible that pregnancy and hormonal changes play a role as well, but I couldn't speak to that.

Ganjin
05-16-14, 11:15 PM
My (undiagnosed) ADD didn't really show up till I had kids.

When I was young, I was a little "spacey" but school was the thing I loved, so I hyper focused there. I found ways to manage my difficulties with organization because I was motivated.

After I had children & stayed home with them, I was in a realm where my talents were not. It takes so much energy for me to keep my house & family, and I feel like my mental health has probably suffered because I've been at home so long, struggling with depression off & on. It is EXTREMELY frustrating to be interrupted by children talking, needing this or that, or just being so loud I can't think!

Now that I am aware of the ADD thing in myself and my 10 YO daughter (she is medicated now and doing so much better!) I feel like I'm more patient. I try to be more patient, anyway. And now I am looking for little tricks to help keep me on track with housework & things I need to do in this job of Mom.

Speaking as a father of two little ones, I must say a really feel ya! Those constant demands, the chatter, the noise, the little spats they get into... Sometimes triggers me in the worst ways. And then there's the guilt I feel when I realize that I'm spending much of my time avoiding my kids. We definitely need a new skill set to help us cope in this situation.

mrs. dobbs
05-17-14, 12:23 PM
yes, hormones, childbirth, no sleep, not being able to pay attention to people in the first place then having to pay attention to a bebe 24/7 oh my god. then, when i pay attention to her it is like a firehose. then it gets too much so i have to break away and escape. so hard. all of this is hard.

phantasm
05-17-14, 11:41 PM
Parenting these highly dependent little critters is a lot of pressure on a person who spent a few decades developing an elaborate set of coping mechanisms that no longer work. And mothers probably feel this pressure more than us fathers.



DITTO :goodpost: I'm a mom, and I agree 100%
And I would like to add that you as a parent, I have to think for the kids. Which means, you not only have to handle yourself and your own day-to-day demands, but now you have to handle a child(s) too. Gotta stay one step ahead, what's coming next, preparing for the next day, for the next meal, the next outing, what to bring, what to buy, what to do, did they have their nap, did they eat, OMG did I EAT!! On and On and On 24/7. You can for sure get into a routine and flow, and they eventually grow up and leave the nest. You just need to realize it's an entire life change. And what you use to do to handle your day-to-day, is know multiplied in handling your child(s) day-to-day life simultaneously to yours.

Makennan
05-18-14, 02:14 AM
Life gets so much more demanding, and messy, once you have kids! I thought it was bad when they were little but now they're both in elementary school!! I have to get two little people and myself out the door ON TIME. Fed and appropriately dressed, no less. Every day!! That in itself is a struggle. Also, the sheer amount of paperwork they bring home is maddening. There is always a pile of school papers on my counter. Next to all the unopened mail. Having two kids was what brought me to the end of my rope. I could no longer cope.

mrs. dobbs
05-18-14, 06:39 AM
I think that the hardest part for me is thinking on my feet and solving problems, for example it is so much easier for my husband to creatively distract our daughter while I just get overloaded and shut down or run away.

Timberline
05-18-14, 10:30 AM
I think that the hardest part for me is thinking on my feet and solving problems, for example it is so much easier for my husband to creatively distract our daughter while I just get overloaded and shut down or run away.

Yes, I agree, it is so much easier for my husband to distract the kids! Especially when my DD was very young. Now we have her and a 4 YO son, who doesn't appear to have any issues at all other than being an energetic little boy!

Also, as Makennan & Phantasm said, the constant thinking ahead is exhausting! Planning is not my strong suit, but it is NECESSARY, if you're to leave the house for any amount of time!! And it takes so much more energy for me than most of my friends, it seems.

Makennan
05-18-14, 05:41 PM
I think that the hardest part for me is thinking on my feet and solving problems, for example it is so much easier for my husband to creatively distract our daughter while I just get overloaded and shut down or run away.

It was the same for me when my husband and I were still together. It always made me feel so incompetent though. I usually put myself in time out when I get overwhelmed. I guess that counts as shutting down and running away.....

Flory
05-18-14, 05:45 PM
With all the added responsibility I can imagine it would "feel" worse and that things that were hard seem even harder with added responsibility etc

Ganjin
05-18-14, 07:59 PM
Also, the sheer amount of paperwork they bring home is maddening. There is always a pile of school papers on my counter. Next to all the unopened mail.

OMG! I know right? When did preschoolers and elementary school kids start bringing home REAMS of sh*t that you're supposed to read, sign, approve, return, etc., etc., EVERY SINGLE DAY?

On top of that, the school texts me at least 4-6 times per week along with robo-calls to go along with the backpacks full of paper trash that come home every day. :confused:

Makennan
05-19-14, 01:02 AM
OMG! I know right? When did preschoolers and elementary school kids start bringing home REAMS of sh*t that you're supposed to read, sign, approve, return, etc., etc., EVERY SINGLE DAY?

It's the bane of my existence. What really ****** me off is that they BOTH get the same notices so I have double copies of everything!! Can they not figure it out so just one sibling gets all this sh*t? So that people like us can live a happy life free of excess paper?? And maybe the oldest sibling because my five year old brings all his papers crumpled up in little balls and usually covered in something sticky and unidentifiable.

mrs. dobbs
05-19-14, 01:19 AM
Haha robo-calls. I've always thought those were incredibly weird.

Cat Noir
11-25-17, 04:56 AM
When I had just my son I could manage it in a way that people thought I had ocd!
But With my twins turning age 4/5 I couldn’t keep up with the house hold, all the appointments and activities.

WhiteOwl
11-26-17, 02:35 PM
I did great with two kids, especially since I worked full time and they were in daycare all day. I enjoyed the time I did get to spend with them after work and on weekends. I feel like I appreciated them more. After leaving work to stay home with them, everything fell apart. And then adding two more kids to the mix didn't help. I didn't know at the time that I had ADD and how much I relied on the structure of having a job. Now, I have no one to answer to or tell me what to do, my kids drive me crazy and I can't wait to get back to work :lol: My 5 yr old asks 50 million questions a day and I can't keep up. The grass is always greener, I guess. I know once I start working again, I will miss them like crazy.

WhiteOwl
11-26-17, 03:17 PM
Oops, I used the c word on here again and now I can't edit it. Sorry if it offends anyone, I wasn't thinking, as usual.

marigold1113
12-06-17, 12:07 AM
I was never diagnosed until after my second kid was born...he was 4 months old, I realized I had postpartum depression, and that's when I first took any type of psych med (Zoloft). A year later, I was miserable so pursued therapy and a psychiatrist (my OB/GYN had been prescribing my Zoloft before that). Ended up on Lexapro and Wellbutrin, which worked much better for my particular flavor of apathetic depression, and with the therapy I figured out that my marriage was toxic and once I got divorced things got SO MUCH BETTER. The dust settled, I started to put two and two together and realized that my daughter has ADHD, and around the same time as I was learning more about it, I realized that even though my depression had gone into remission, I was still really disorganized, scatterbrained at times, lacking in motivation/drive, difficulty concentrating and constantly REALLY behind on my charts at work (I'm a pediatrician). Also definitely had the hyperfocus thing going on....I would get into my "projects" and not be able to break out of my hyperfocus to the point that my mom and ex-husband (still husband at the time) told me I wasn't allowed to Google anymore! LOL. A lot of the symptoms I had attributed to my depression were still alive and well long after my depression lifted. Not to mention the fact that I had (still have) a major coffee addiction and can also recall that in my early college days, I LOVED the heck outta Metabolife (that herbal weight loss/appetite supplement with ephedra that's no longer on the market). When I took it, I felt SO much better...I could actually get things done, and done ON TIME. I was so productive. I was happy and confident. Go figure. ;) Anyway, ever since I figured all this out a year ago and started Adderall first, then transitioned to Vyvanse, it has been amazing how much better things have been.

But yeah, back to the topic at hand - I never even realized I have ADHD until after I had kids and the added stressors of parenting/adulting made it obvious. I even made it through med school without realizing it. Now, looking back, I see that I had signs/symptoms all along...they were just subtle.