This post is inspired by Coco who is being an awesome mother right now. You can read her post and my comments to her for more background information on what led me to write this post. I love reading mommy blogs. I actually read quite a few blogs penned by mothers both in and out of the mental health sphere. I take an interest in motherhood and have lots of opinions about it and raising children. I love talking kids with friends with children.
I have always wanted to be a mother. I have also for the vast majority of my childbearing years been on harmful medications. For most of that time I did not believe I could get off the drugs so while I wanted children I did not want to risk poisoning them. I also felt that I was not fit to be a mother so adoption wasn’t an option either. I was simply too drugged up. A woman who requires 12 to 13 hours of sleep a night and still works has no time for children. It simply wasn’t an option.
And yet I’ve always held out hope. My incompetent doctor who put me on all these drugs frequently asked when I would have children. He meant well—but damn what an asshole. He would tell me that being on 5 Class C drugs was a risk worth taking. (Class C—Safety is uncertain; data from human studies do not exist, and animal studies have shown some question of risk to the fetus. Pregnant women may take these medicines if they clearly need them.) The question mark times 5 was too much for me. I was also on a Class D drug which he felt confident I could withdraw from. (Class D—Evidence suggests the possibility of the medication causing birth defects or other problems, but a pregnant woman still might need to take it for her own medical needs.) I couldn’t take that risk with a child and I wasn’t so sure I could get off of it. I think the recommendations that mothers should take the risk if she needs the drugs is ethically extremely questionable.
I did once try to get off all my meds with that shrink. I was on 6 mg of Risperdal at the time, 3 mg of Klonopin and 400 mg of Lamictal. A relatively small cocktail compared to what I ended up on in the end.
In any case he told me to go off 1 mg of Risperdal a day and then immediately follow by going off 1 mg of Klonopin a day until off all of those two drugs. That involved 9 whole days to make the taper. We were going to stay with the mood-stabilizer for the time being—as it turns out Lamictal is a really nasty drug in preganancy and very dangerous.
In any case if you all have been reading my blog for any length of time you know that a taper of that nature is for all intensive purposes a cold turkey withdrawal. I was out of my mind by the end of the taper. Squirming in agony for three days before I took a handful of my full original cocktail with no looking back for years. I was so traumatized I knew I would never be free of drugs ever and I could forget about having babies. This didn’t stop my doctor from continuing to ask me when I was going to have babies. (Take note I’ve taken 4 years to taper off what I’ve done so far this time around—the man is a lunatic.)
In any case I am now 43 and I may be off all my meds by the time I’m 44. But complete recovery and stabilization after withdrawal may take another couple of years—the drugs have wreaked havoc on my body. Children are very likely a dream that will never come and it breaks my heart. I cry from time to time about it. It pains me.
When I cry my thoughts go something like this—we are animals, put on this planet to breed. It is what we evolved to do. It is our purpose in life. I’m missing out on what would make me fundamentally a woman. I will never truly mature without the rite of passage of motherhood.
I know that none of that has to be true. I know that I can have a fulfilled and happy life without children and I also know that I probably will in time. I actually to have a deep faith that I am moving in the right direction and a sense of spiritual purpose that this has been my path for a reason. But that doesn’t stop the occasional negative thinking.
I live so far away from all my nieces and nephews. Life without children. Another thing to come to peace with. That’s okay I guess. I’m getting better at accepting these little pains in my life. I’m actually meditating daily now and sometimes more than once a day, especially when difficult feelings arise. I go straight to being with them. It’s working.
My very sweet hairdresser just had a baby. Since I’m getting better I hope to be able to volunteer my services as a babysitter sometime soon. Don’t know if she’ll take me up on it or not.
Sometimes I think about becoming a doula. Natural childbirth is beautiful. See “The Business of Being Born.” It’s available at Netflix for free download to your computer if you are a member. You can probably get it in a video store too. The way babies are born nowadays is as insane as psychiatry. The whole time I watched it I was filled with the same kind of anger—nature gone all wrong at the hands of modern medicine. This movie shows the natural beauty of birth in contrast to the pressures of modern medicine handling birth.
I haven’t looked into what would be involved in becoming a doula but it’s just one more thing I think about among the many career possibilities I have. What could be more life affirming than bringing babies into the world?