Parenting is hard. Really hard. No matter what. Being a mom has been equally beautiful and heartbreaking for me. The simple existence of my daughters causes my heart to feel joy and sorrow all at the same time. It's confusing. It's wonderful. It's scary as hell.
All parents worry. But here are 5 things that parents with chemical imbalance get to add to the worry menu, that neuro-typical people may have never considered.
1. ARE MY KIDS GOING TO SUFFER?
Of course they will. And usually it will be normal suffering- the kind that all kids go through. But will my kids suffer even more? With the genetic nature of chemical imbalance and mental illness, will my kids be doomed to this life? This life that is sometimes so bleak it doesn't feel worth living? Will my children ever feel worthless because I passed this gene on to them? And if they do...
2. WILL THEY HATE ME FOR HAVING THEM?
Will these little people, who I love so much, look at me someday and say "Why? Why did you bring me into this world knowing that I would suffer?" Will they ever understand that they were so wanted that their parents decided it was worth the risk of passing on this disease? And...
3. AM I SELFISH FOR MAKING THEM?
Did my desire for children blind me into ignoring the statistics? The risks? Mental illness is potentially life threatening, but I didn't care.I wanted them. I needed them. Even knowing I was likely passing on to them a life-long struggle. I needed them.
4. WILL THEY THINK I'M CRAZY?
Best-case scenario: they don't develop a chemical imbalance. Thank God. But if they can't understand what it's like, will they think I'm nuts? Will they grow into adults who see me in my lows and think "Gah, my mom is a nutbag." Will they ever understand that sometimes I'm not myself? That sometimes Sane Mom is trapped inside Insane Mom and she can''t get out?
5. WILL THEY STILL LOVE ME?
Will they love me? Will they stay standing through the storms? Will they take the breakdowns, the anger blasts and the manic jaunts in stride and still be able to say "Mom, I love you" ? Or will they flee from me the moment they are able? Will they share stories around drinks that start "You think that's crazy! One time my mom..."
NO MATTER WHAT, THEY. ARE. WORTH. EVERYTHING.
I worry. I worry a lot. But I suppose that's parenthood, eh? Each of us have a laundry list of fears. I hope throwing some of mine out there helps others feel not so alone.
What are your biggest fears as a parent? Please share in the comments, if you feel so moved. Thanks for forging through this journey with me.
From my light to yours, Namaste.