• Kristina Cherep

#RealConvo I Was Told By A Psychiatrist That I Shouldn’t Have Kids Because Of My Mental Illnesses

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

For a little backstory in case you’re a newer reader...

Almost 3 years ago, I was hospitalized for my mental health. I was put in an outpatient program for a month where I spent all of my days in group therapy, one on one time with a therapist, or with a psychiatrist. If I didn’t show up for one day then police would have to come to my house to make sure I was safe and then bring me to an inpatient program. Each person in my program was designated to a therapist who we would spend most of our days with and a psychiatrist who we would see about once a week for ten minutes. They were in charge of prescribing our medications based on feedback from our therapist and from a few questions they asked us themselves. Very little of my time was spent with this psychiatrist.

Before I was discharged, I had to meet with my psychiatrist one last time. I thought it’d be a positive encounter because I was near the end of my program and had made huge progress. It was the furthest thing from that though. He started off by asking me what my goals were in life and what would truly make me happy. What did I want to do with my life? The very first thing I said was to become a mother within the next few years because since I was a little girl, that was my dream. I’ve always wanted to be a mom because that’s what I saw as being my true purpose in life. I could never imagine not becoming a mom.

His response was, “I don’t think you should have kids” so I confusingly asked him why. He said, "I'm afraid you will love them too much and if they ever get sick or hurt, you will go into a deep depression and have a lot of anxiety." I had no response for this, so I just nodded my head until I could leave. I cried in the elevator, cried walking to my car, and cried all the way home. This could’ve crushed me, but once I was done crying I was pissed. I was ready to fight. Not him physically, but to fight to keep working on myself to prove him wrong. Not only to prove him wrong, but to also follow my dreams and desires.

How dare he. First of all, this is a person who works in the mental health field. Adding to the stigma. Never once did my therapist, who I worked the most with, tell me I shouldn’t be a parent. In fact, we talked many times about me eventually having kids and reminding myself the tools I have learned that would help me out in tough parenting situations. Just because someone has a mental illness does not mean they shouldn’t be a parent. Parenting is hard regardless if you have a mental illness or not. Parents will have anxiety regardless if they have an anxiety disorder. Parents will get sad if their kid gets sick or hurt regardless if they have depression.

I've had multiple moms reach out to me ever since I started my blog. They shared their struggles and stories with me about having postpartum depression and other mental illnesses. They told me how hard it is, but never once did they tell me they regretted having their children or that they shouldn’t be a mom. Having a mental illness doesn’t make you less qualified to become a parent especially if you’re working on your mental health!

Currently, I am 24 weeks pregnant with my first child and am beyond happy. Throughout the last three years, I’ve had my ups and downs. However, I go to therapy and use my tools to help deal with my anxiety and depression. I plan to continue to do so after my baby is born as well.

Don‘t let someone tell you that you can’t follow your dreams because of your mental illness. (Even if they are in the mental health field.) Following that advice is actually not healthy. Learn the tools to help you fight through your obstacles in order to reach that dream of yours. Your mental illness does not define you in anyway whatsoever. It is only a part of you that you learn to fight through. So, to the psychiatrist who told me I shouldn’t be a mom... thanks for the advice, but no thanks. I will not let your comment add to the mental health stigma. I will continue to break down the stigma, so others know that they are not alone and that they are deserving.