Guest Post by
Purple Woman & Mental Health Advocate
I have a mental illness.
There. I said it, got it out of the way. It's relevant to Purple WomenTM, though, because being mentally ill puts me in a category all its own -- society thinks I shouldn't have children.
Back in the early part of the 20th century, thousands of women with brain disorders (including the non-disease "hysteria", a label slapped on some women who didn't meekly obey her menfolk) were given involuntary hysterectomies because it was thought such women shouldn't breed. While the eugenics programs are done and buried, the mindset still persists
among many doctors.
I've been wanting a tubal ligation since I was fourteen or so, although I've never had the money to follow through. I've brought it up with various doctors, though, and the response is always the same. Their first reaction is the one most childfree women get -- "You'll change your mind when you're older." But then they find out that I have a mental illness, and suddenly they can't wait to schedule the surgery for me.
I don't want children, and never have. I'm lucky that I feel this way, though, because pregnancy and motherhood would be very hard on my mental stability. Yes, I could have a kid if I really wanted to, but I'd have to do it under a doctor's close supervision, and I'd have a lot of issues that other women don't have to deal with.
Lots of women with mental illnesses -- including both my sisters -- make great mothers. They each have a daughter, and my middle sister has a son on the way. Having a brain disorder does not automatically make a person a bad parent. There is medication. There is therapy. There are support groups.
You should value your ability to choose, whether society wants you to have children or not. A hundred years ago I wouldn't have had a choice. I can't ever forget that. And neither should you.
Technorati Tag: Childfree
November 17, 2007
Guest Post by