This year, I spent the holiday at Mom's. She and her sisters are all Easter egg color women, and I'm red-and-black. I was never much for pastels, and even my life hasn't been all bubblegum. It was a bittersweet time as I reflected on how far I've come.
Years ago, I decided I wouldn't have kids, because I didn't want to bring into the world a child who could develop schizophrenia. I'm lucky I have a niece, Rosa, who is three, and a nephew, Christopher, who is six. I saw them on Easter, and when they left to go home, I kissed them and said, "I love you." I always end the day by telling them I love them.
In this lifetime, I won't be a mom, and that is my one true regret because I would've liked that and made a career out of it. Instead, I feel the pull to advocacy as my life's work, because everyone I meet is part of my own healing, and if I could help others heal, that will be my role to play that God gave me.
Sure, women with psychiatric conditions give birth all the time, and if they have the emotional solvency and financial maturity to raise a child, good for them. It has been done, it will be done. Don't rule it out if you feel you can handle the demands of being a mother. Someone I know has a daughter and she is a wonderful mom.
Above all, I'd tell you to work your recovery and work on getting better before you consider this. Maybe you're a guy and want to be a father. That's possible, too. Again, the key to living well is developing an effective drug routine that stabilizes your thoughts and mood, so that you're not spending your life battling your illness and are able to move forward into this new role.
On Easter, my cousin Zara and I hid the eggs throughout the house, keeping some in plain sight so my niece could find them as she can't reach high. She and Christopher have intense blue eyes, strawberry blonde hair, and umbrella smiles and are the lights of my life.
After the seven kids found all the eggs, they went into the backyard to practice for a show. Before dessert, they called us outside and we watched them perform "The Lonely Girl." That was something my cousins and I used to do as kids: we would stage a revue called "Tina's Tavern" downstairs in my grandparents' basement. It was named that because up until I turned 13, people called me Tina.
Now, I'm sure glad to be Chris.
Rather than regret that I won't have children, I've decided to be okay with this choice. What compels me to do advocacy is that I feel the world is my family, and everyone is connected in some way. I will give others the best I have, and that will be enough. I'm not someone who comes home from work and watches TV. Always active, this is my calling. I don't question God's intentions. Indeed, my faith drives what I do.
If you have schizophrenia, and are a mother or father, I'd love to hear from you and I'm sure others would be inspired by your experiences. You can respond to this blog entry anonymously, or write a SharePost giving only the information you feel comfortable revealing.
Published On: March 25, 2008