I was helping a friend out with her three year old daughter’s birthday party today. My friend has just had a little one- he is nine weeks old, adorable and perfect.
I had a lot of time yesterday minding him whilst his mother and my sister baked cakes. Today, I minded him whilst family helped bring in presents and sort out the house. He did cry a little, as all babies do, but mostly he was content to walk around the house in my arms and suck my finger if he felt restless.
Looking down at him, as I have done before with his brother and sister, I felt that same overwhelming sense of love for him, the urge to protect, and a chord of bitter sadness that split me in half.
I have vowed not to have children.
I can’t risk passing on my bipolar, my anxiety or depression to someone that innocent and lovely. I don’t want to do that, and watch the child grow up, suffering as I have. I have no desire to burden someone else with inherited crap- life has thrown enough crap at me already.
Thing is, though, I was recently told I’m a natural with children. I love them. I love taking my friend’s children out to have fun at the zoo or playing silly games with them to entertain them. They ask me questions, they have good imaginations, they insist they are big… when really, they are small and sweet, and they are growing fast. I could see myself being a parent, helping them grow, and teaching them everything I’ve learned. I have always wanted children, to experience having them, and I know that I cannot have them.
Depression runs in my family- I’m slowly piecing a family tree of mental health problems. I have it. My sister has OCD (never diagnosed but definitely OCD), there are several family members with depression. I would pass it on for sure. There is a heartache inside me for the child I lost still, too.
So, you can imagine, that today as I gazed down at the little baby there were tears in my eyes. I told him that I didn’t want him to end up like me, and that I hoped he would never feel the pain I’ve felt. I told him he was special, and I said I was sad to never have one of him again. I listed a future that my marble would have had, and he gurgled and smiled unwittingly at me.
It’s like a thorn in my heart. I want to write it here, in this disjointed fashion, so that I will forget it for a while.