When one decides to become a parent, fear is a common emotion. Even before this decision is made, some fear invades our thoughts more often than not at the consideration. But, what is on the other side of fear?
As someone living with mental illness, and also as someone who survived an abusive childhood, the concept of parenthood often carried a significant fear factor for me. Fear of passing on faulty genes. Fear of repeating damaging familial patterns. Fear of basically damning another innocent person to my same troubled existence. Fear encapsulated me. There was no other side.
But, let’s look at the genetics question. First, I am not the Creator; nor do I possess a crystal ball. I cannot foretell the future. My theoretical offspring could never have mental illness grip their life. Furthermore, did I, personally, feel that anyone who carried any genetics for any disease give up reproduction?
No. Never. Not at all.
Plenty of individuals with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, asthma, and countless other issues have reproduced. If they lived on the other side of fear, why wasn’t I willing, as well? It was because of fear.
But, on the other side of that fear is a parent with a husband who has seen it all in mental health care. We could both see the warning signs, if they appear. We could advocate, support, and provide care. And most importantly, on the other side of that fear is love.
Then there was the aspect of my fear that was concerned with repeating damaging familial patterns. A very legitimate fear as we tend to repeat what we have learned along the way. But, I had to consider something powerful about my journey. At the age of twenty-three, I pro-actively entered therapy. In addition, along that therapy journey, that ultimately lasted thirteen years, I severed my ties with my parents and created my own life. I had addressed my familial patterns- except for the pattern of fear. I still needed to view the other side of fear.
I had to push past the fear to the other side. I had to find the faith in myself that had been sequestered since day one. I had done the hard, arduous work; and now it was time to allow myself to live.
And I did live… and found on the other side of fear is joy. There is a joy in the form of a beautiful boy who is my all and that I would protect with my all. I pushed past the fear and arrived on the other side.
I am Momma- standing on the other side of fear.