Recently I’ve been reading The Quiet Room by Lori Schiller and Amanda Bennett, a memoir of sorts about Lori’s personal battle with schizophrenia. I’m only on chapter 10 but it already has gotten my heartstrings pulled in all different directions, particularly due to my own experience with mental illness.
This afternoon, however, the book sparked a thought in me. Maybe not an original thought since I have thought this thought many times, but I received a different viewpoint on it–my worry of being a good mother.
Now I know in my current circumstances, I have all the time in the world (scoff) to think about my future family. I am not pregnant, nor do I even have a boyfriend, but on many occasions I find myself fearing the thought of my clinical depression making me unfit to have children of my own someday.
Why am I even worrying about this? Why is this even in my mind when I have undergrad to finish and focus on?
Being a psychology student, there are many areas of worry that I look into when thinking about my own mental illness and possible future offspring. At times, Lori Schiller’s book covers the topic of genetics playing a huge role in her development of her illness. Made me think of my own family and how depression has a strong genetic factor on my father’s side. Would my children receive it?? Of course there’s always that chance.
But what really plagues my mind when I think about having kids, is the fact that (more likely than not) I will experience post-partum depression if I were to birth a child. And based on my history, it would be severe. God forbid any psychotic features would be added to the mix, because that has been known to happen in some women.
I would have to be under constant supervision if I had my own children. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that my anti-depressant medication would have to have been stopped as soon as I found out about my pregnancy, and what then would become of my already ill mind? How could I put my husband through that? He certainly doesn’t deserve being put under the burden of an ill-minded wife along with the responsibility of a new-born baby (assuming I don’t have twins or more 0_0).
If I birth children, I will literally be putting everyone’s lives in danger. My children’s lives, my husband’s life by driving him utterly insane, and my life. How could I do that to them?
If my husband were to be heartbroken by the thought of me not birthing any of his children, then I would make sure he knew the risks we would be taking by actually getting me pregnant. Otherwise, the only other alternatives I see are either adoption or no kids at all. At least with adoption, we’d be helping a child gain a loving family, plus my hormones and neurotransmitters would be able to remain stable. Or stable enough.
Alright, I know that absolutely all of this is hypothetical. I know that my mind can go to the worst possible scenario. But let’s get this straight: this is reality. We’re living in a place where innocent and loving people get complete shit handed to them. I can’t help it if I start thinking of a possible truth I’d rather be blind to.