How My Father's Schizophrenia Shaped My Idea of Having Children

For years I never even considered having children. I kept telling myself that if I was in the right partnership the answer would become clear. There is some truth to that. There are a lot more truths to that as well.
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I am 37 and not sure whether I want children or not.

For years I never even considered having children. I kept telling myself that if I was in the right partnership the answer would become clear. There is some truth to that. There are a lot more truths to that as well.

My father has schizophrenia. Some people believe schizophrenia is genetic. When I was younger I too believed schizophrenia was genetic. (Today I don't see it so black and white. Maybe I'll write more about that another day.) I spent every single second of every single day of my life in fear of getting the disease until my 25th birthday. Somewhere I read that the disease typically shows up by a person's mid-20s so I made up this arbitrary date of salvation from schizophrenia. I told myself if I could make it to 25 then I'd be okay. My experience with the disease was dreadfully awful. I spent much of my childhood hiding in a closet to protect myself from the rage that the disease created in my father. I never ever wanted to be the monster I met in my childhood.


Every time I had any sort of emotion I thought it was a sign that I had schizophrenia. I was so afraid to be schizophrenic I learned to suppress all of my emotions until my precious little body or soul could not take it anymore and I would explode like Mt. Vesuvius. My explosions often occurred with my mother, step-father, and brother where I felt the safest. Sometimes it happened with friends or strangers. Never was it anything I was proud of. I thought the explosions meant I had schizophrenia. I don't. Or I may have it somewhere inside of me and it has never been triggered. Maybe everyone has it inside of them. I am not sure.

While prying and looking within to the stories I had created I realized I was still carrying fears of schizophrenia with me. I was afraid of my father because I thought he was a monster. I was afraid I would pass schizophrenia on to a child. I was afraid that I would have to deal with another monster after spending my whole life hiding from my father. I was afraid of having the conversation with a future partner that our child may have schizophrenia because of me. I was afraid no man would ever love me because I may be carrying the genes. It was only when I uncovered all these fears that I realized how that was impacting my life, especially my decision around children.

With the brilliant teachers I have had on my spiritual journey, especially Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick, I learned I did not have to live in fear. I could plant new ideas that would allow me to live in love through acceptance and reframing issues as blessings.

The first truth is my father is not a monster. My father is another beautiful soul and pure love. My father has a disease that made him behave in a way that I considered a monster. That is not to say I condone his behavior. I do not approve of any abusive behavior.

I also believe we are on earth with a specific curriculum to learn. My curriculum included my experiences with my father. Those experiences have also helped me with my calling to help others follow their dreams. If my curriculum includes having a child with schizophrenia I will accept my lesson and my child with an open and loving heart.

The perfect partner for me will not care whether my father has schizophrenia. My partner will accept the possibility our child may have schizophrenia if we choose to have children. My partner will love me, and any children we may have, for everything we are. I will love him for exactly who he is too!

Had I been living the fears around schizophrenia I never would have even considered motherhood. By cultivating these new beliefs I was able to make a decision to freeze some eggs for the possibility of having a child, with or without schizophrenia, in the future.

Now it's time to look at your life. What are your fears? What are those fears holding you back from? It's time to shuck those fears and live from a place of love!!!

Jessica Zemple

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