Hi Michael, I'm new here and registered just so I could reply to your post lol
I've had CFS for 22 years. I got sick 9 months after my 3rd child (who had heart problems and more), so had my 4th when I was ill. Of course it's different for you because you don't have to give birth while sick - don't know how I did it - but of course it's still tough, no doubt about
If your "significant other" wants children, you'll have to sit down and have an honest talk about
it in my opinion....mainly because if you don't get better your illness could become what they call chronic which means it has set in and she will have to do the caring which would be hard when/if she goes back to work, leaving it to you.
I have found that my illness has really affected my marriage and we will be married 30 years in 2 weeks. Where have all the years gone. Also my husband is the one with the expectations, I'm the one that takes it easy - this mix doesn't always work well with illness, especially I'm the "take it easy" personality who's got it. So put children into the mix and kapow, that's volatile in my opinion.
Then again, I would never be without my kids. They are just wonderful people (the youngest is 21 soon), artistic, creative, thoughtful, outspoken, super citizens and wow, where did I go right? lol... But of course this is all in hindsight, unlike yourself.
So you've asked some tough questions. Here are some more of my thoughts:
"Does having children provide a source of energy?" - mainly no, but that might be just me. Then again, it depends what you do. Is it emotionally draining? - yes if you have a partner who has high expectations in child rearing. No if you can let things go. It's also down to personality, not just whether you're sick or not.
"Are there things you and your husband do to manage differently than people without CFS/health issues?" Yes, especially if the ill person has to pace themselves. My husband would take them on hikes and outings. We've been on outings say in the city, and I've become desperate and haven't been able to go on. So that's the end of that. People without CFS have stamina, will-power, stickability, reliability - reliability being a huge issue in my opinion. Then there's work - I haven't been able to work fulltime - a huge issue in our marriage bringing on the topic of Money with a capital M. How will you manage in the money stakes if the well partner thinks they do everything around the place and out in the world, and think you do nothing? (speaking from experience here)... A huge stress on a relationship and drop kids into the mix - well, use your imagination....
"creating art (its usually an energy source)" - I'm an artist too, Michael. It's a wonderful thing getting into that other world in my mind. But that took energy too in the early days after the kids grew up and left. Now it's a little easier but it's taken years.
I'll get off my soapbox now and wait for your reply