When you have struggled with mental health issues, the contemplation of having kids can become a bit more loaded. At least, it did for me. Would my kids be prone to anxiety? Depression? What about the fact that I have a family history of schizophrenia? Would I saddle my kids with this? What if pregnancy was a highly anxious time? Would it impact them in utero? And then there's the whole, you know, living with me part. What were the risks? Was it fair?
Eventually of course, the drive for kidlets won out. And I'm so, so very glad it did. Because they are bloody amazing, incredibly beautiful little souls. I can't remember what life was like before them, and I don't really want to.
But - I did spawn a child with anxiety issues. I don't know if it's genes. Or habits picked up from living with an anxious mama. Or both. It probably doesn't matter. The fact remains that one of my littles struggles with anxiousness, and in times of great flux or crisis, (like, say, now) these struggles become really pronounced.
So here I sit, wading through all kinds of guilt. It's my fault the family is going through all this change. It's me that has anxiety, which though I try very, very hard to manage, gets modelled in their daily lives. It's me with the crap genes. etc. etc. etc. blah. blah. blah.
Ultimately, though, the guilt serves no purpose (you know, other than possibly fulfilling a perverse need for self-flagellation). It's not helpful. To either of us. And possibly not fair to me. Because I do the best I can, with what I've got, and that's probably all any parent can do.
So then, what to do? How do we move forward, and cope with the issues at hand? Finding a kid friendly therapist is high on the list. And I'm beginning the search for kid lit on coping with fears and anxieties (suggestions greatly appreciated, if you know of any!). Trying to model and find tools for coping with the anxiety. Finding resources. Working with teachers and bus drivers and other parents to deal with presenting issues. Accepting that this is a time of flux, and the flux (and hopefully some of the anxieties) is a temporary state. Being more gentle with him. And with myself. Moving past guilt and into action.
Still. Knowing that my child has anxiety feels exponentially worse than dealing with my own.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone