The greatest of these is love…

“Aren’t you afraid he will get your disease?”

The question uttered by a colleague at a department picnic this past summer when I was still working as a college instructor. This colleague had known me for a few years. She had known me when I was still adamantly not going to have children. She knew of my diagnoses. And this was the first time she had seen me since giving birth. This was the first time she met my son who had just turned one year old.

And this was the question; a question about my fear of passing on my psychiatric illnesses. Not a question concerning the million other things that happens with new motherhood- a question of genetic loading.

I wanted to respond with my sarcastic self and give a blank stare and state, “why no, I never thought about that.”

Seriously, I waited until thirty-six to entertain motherhood. I had heard for years from psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers about my genetic loading. I had read countless articles about the increase in odds of a child being diagnosed with a mental illness when a parent is also mentally ill. I, myself, am ABD in my psychology doctorate. I think I may have visited this topic before.

Did this woman not think that when this little boy looks at me with his big brown eyes that I earnestly pray he will never know the torment of violent mood swings or the torture of psychosis?

But, at the age of thirty-six, wisdom had also joined in to calm my fears. Therefore, I did roll the dice and become pregnant. And here is why:

First, I know that with genetics, 1+1 does not always equal 2.

Second, I am so much more than my diagnoses. Yes, I live with schizoaffective disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and PTSD. But, I am also so much more than my illnesses.

Third, if my little man is afflicted with a mental illness, there is no one more capable than myself and his father to help him through the maze of that journey. We both know that maze forward and backward. We can be the support he would need and deserve.

And lastly, I love this little man with all my soul. And as we know, the greatest of these is love.

So, to my inappropriate colleague, I must say that it may happen. And if it happens, this little man has all the love and support in the world to fight every day for him to thrive.

 

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25 thoughts on “The greatest of these is love…

  1. I’ve only been in the “blogosphere” for a short while; however, I am so delighted to see so many different people speaking up about their mental illness. Sometimes, I have the same worries due in part to the fact that my 16 year old daughter has been to a psychiatric hospital for children 3 times in her life and stayed there roughly 6 months each time.She’s was diagnosed with ADHD and now she’s diagnosed with PTSD due to the fact that she lost me as a mother at the age of 3 months…when I myself went into the horrible world of psychosis.

    My parents have adopted her and they continually blame me for her mental state of mind. Needless to say it is upsetting; however, I understand the stigma and since I’m practically now the most sane person in my family unit, I don’t argue. I simply try to set a good example for my daughter and pray that she never chooses the terrible path I did (alcohol and marijuana).

    May God shower blessings upon you and your new family. -LaVancia

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  2. Karren, I commend you, it takes courage to step out in faith when there are odds against you, including those who point the finger in their ignorance and are critical instead of uplifting and encouraging.

    Faith, Hope, Love and the greatest of these is Love and we all need to Love and you and your husband will Love your son regardless of his weaknesses, as we are to all Love others regardless of their weaknesses, yes we all have them but this does not mean we accept and condone the evil others say and do but we Love them regardless.

    Christian Love from both of us Anne.

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  3. I commend you for going in to this with your eyes wide open.
    And it is a very loving post.
    I however, would never do it. I thought about it, but I couldn’t do that to a child. Yes I have the love and the knowledge and guidance to help, but knowingly take that chance, no, I couldn’t do it.
    But I have a different way of viewing things than a lot of people.

    My husband and I both have mental illnesses. We decided to foster and possibly adopt. We love children and know we could help a child with problems. We never felt the need to have our own. We wanted to help the many children who are in need. Then I got physically sick too and suddenly as we were going through the process, we couldn’t do it. It broke our hearts, but I’m grateful it happened when it did.

    I am not saying you are wrong. I’m only saying I could not do it, and what my choice was.

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  4. You are a very brave woman and I know you personally and know that you are the perfect mother to that little one. You may have waited till you were 36 but that little boy was meant for the two of you. As for your mental illness I would have never known had you not shared and you are truly an inspiration to me. You my friend are my hero.

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