A woman with schizophrenia has been left “heartbroken” after her husband told her he doesn’t want to have biological kids with her due to the risk the mental illness might be passed on.
“I have schizophrenia. It’s shown to be genetic although I’m not sure what the chances of passing it is. So because of this, my husband said he doesn’t want a biological baby with me because he’s scared I’ll pass it down,” the woman shared in a post to forum Reddit.
The 28-year-old said she and her partner have discussed adoption, “which does make me happy”.
“However, my whole life I’ve looked forward to having a baby of my own,” she continued.
“Now that that’s out of the cards, I’m extremely heartbroken even though I know he’s just being reasonable. How do I move on?”
Listen: The Olympian swimmer had post-natal depression – a condition many mums with a history of mental illness fear.
It’s a painful dilemma, but one it seems some people with mental health problems are grappling with.
When The Atlantic started a discussion asking its readers, “Has your mental or physical health been a factor in deciding whether to have kids?” they received several poignant responses.
“Of course I am worried that my family’s history of mental health issues (OCD, BPD, anxiety, to name a few) would be present in any child,” shared one woman named Farah.
“As it is, I have had an eating disorder for 20 years, and wouldn’t wish that on any child. I don’t think I could handle being pregnant. It would not be physically or mentally healthy to do so.”
Another, Nora, said she had suffered depression and anxiety and “would hate to inflict life upon someone else” through genetics.
Others shared tales of childhoods spent with mothers with various mental health conditions that they themselves experience to an extent and would not wish to have their children grow up the same way.
Then there was one woman in her 50s, for whom bipolar runs in the family, who made a devastating observation after believing in her younger years that she should not have children.
“But now, as I move into menopause, I am filled with sadness that my illness prevented me from living a ‘normal life’ and that I will move into the future without a family,” she wrote.