Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Have Not Been/Still Not Ready to be a Parent!


#1

Two of my siblings are afflicted, one diagnosed and one not yet… since 3 years they both got worse, isolate and are unmedicated. Mom was there for them for first 2 years and last year she decided no more and left them and wanting to remarry and travel etc she wants to be joyful and she expressed that she is able to feel zero guilt. Maybe because she lived with emotionally abusive & alcoholic husband for over 20 years and was patient because she wanted her children to finish high school etc, maybe now she divorced him, she wants to live a full happy life. I really don’t know…

I’m the sister, married, now visiting them and confused how I’d leave them like Mom did and how would I ever consider brining children to such world where there are existing sick members who need love and care… Mom keeps bringing up the topic of why I delay having kids of my own and she didn’t get why I’d “stop” my life to be consumed with anything else but actually I’m the one more confused about what it means to be a parent, if your child is above 18 that means you don’t care even if their sickness isn’t under their control or even if some of your actions may have contributed to their traumas, can’t you commit to helping them or be there for them, if not then I don’t understand… how can I go back to my home, be joyful and think to experience motherhood while parenthood examples in my family are not inspirational and I’m afraid I’ll be just like them, running away from caring for those who need it most and leave them alone!!! just so I can smile and have a joyful life that doesn’t include them?! How is that humane of her or me?.. my heart is aching from confusion…

Please share with me your opinion about this?


#2

Love_hope,
I really admire your compassion toward your siblings. you mother is a very selfish woman who only cares about her desires even if it is on the expense of her own children.
I understand the illness can overwhelming but for your mother to leave you with your afflicted brothers this is not acceptable.
Keep being the nice sister you are to your siblings and check on them always. you will be rewarded and you will get children of your own. Actually because you are doing a good deed, your family will grow and your brothers will be part of your Family…

God bless you and help during this holiday Season.


#3

I used to believe that those who do good deeds are rewarded here on Earth. I no longer believe that idea of karma-ish type “the good you do comes back to you”.

Honestly, I was afraid to have children because I did NOT think I would have the patience to care for a disabled child, should I have had one. I came to terms with the fact that IF children were in my future, caring for them no matter what was in my future. I was 28 when I had my first child and 37 and 39 when I gave birth to the 2nd and third. I was financially set to be able to care for a disabled child, if I had one.

However, caring for an adult disabled person doesn’t mean it HAS to be one on one. It could be through a home, or just checking in on their living arrangements to make sure they aren’t suffering, etc.

@Love_Hope you have the right to your own life. Your mother, in my opinion, was not selfish to leave two adult disabled children to live her own life again. They had two years of help, and if they won’t medicate or try to help themselves, there is only so much a mother can do. Legally and morally, it was Ok that she left. It is OK if you do not continue to care for your brothers. It is up to what is in your heart.

Children are expensive to raise, even when well, too many people forget the costs involved and make only emotional decisions. A sick child is VERY expensive to raise. You are smart to want to make the right decision. Some of the happiest women I know, never had children and concentrated on their own lives. That was their decision.


#4

@oldladyblue, one does not do good deeds in hopes of a reward or good karma returning back to you, one does good deeds because that is who someone is, with zero expectation.

I feel what the mother did to her children is nothing short of abandonment. It’s sickening enough when mothers do this to healthy minded children, but the road she chose when her choices were helping/staying with her afflicted children vs thinking only of her life, I for one will never understand. And we really can’t bring up women who never had children, and how happy they are, it would be like comparing apples and oranges. This mother decided to have children. Once you make your bed, you lay in it. Short of potential harm to a caregiver or just a rejection of help or efforts made by the caregiver, I will never understand the concept of walking away. For myself and speaking for myself, I cannot see myself riding into the sunset happy while my children are left behind, and just wish them the best. I would have to find a way to incorporate them into my life, somehow, while working on my life and my happiness, but they would be the priority, whether they are 30, 40, or 50 years old. The life would need to be balanced, it could never just be one way, without them in my life. My life would have no meaning.

@Love_Hope, there is no right or wrong answer to this, this is really more of a moral issue. How a person is wired, is there enough strength, resiliency, and determination to help the afflicted family member until you can no longer do so physically or emotionally. I would offer you to think carefully about this and follow your heart. If you walk away, you will be in torment, perhaps there is an answer that lies somewhere in the middle. This is all based on a decision that a person can or cannot live with.

I might as well just jump off of a cliff, if I ever walk away from my son. Again, this is just me.

Wishing you some insight and guidance along with your own conscience that can only come from deep within your own soul. :purple_heart:


#5

@mbheart I can understand your views, but I cannot totally agree. I guess we have to agree to disagree. In my opinion, only a martyr gives everything to someone else, expecting absolutely nothing in return. It isn’t just “doing a good deed” to totally caregive to someone else, it is a lifetime of endless good deeds while suffering yourself. If you really feel that you would kill yourself by jumping off of a cliff, that is pretty extreme in my opinion, and I would hope that would never happen to you.


#6

@Love_Hope It is my opinion that when you married your husband, he becomes the main one for you to care for and about. Every time you leave your husband to visit your siblings, who are adults, you detract from your marriage, unless your husband feels the same need to care for your siblings. Eventually, that could ruin your marriage. If you have children with him, you will owe them your main attention until they are 18. Beyond that age, it is your choice how much to give your children. There are many stories of people coming from a bad genetic or emotional background who go on to live a successful life and raise a family. You can take inspiration from reading those types of stories. Chances are, you will be a great mother, because you have a big, caring heart.


#7

Unmedicated psychosis is VERY draining on a caregiver. Your mother left your siblings because they are adults and won’t participate in their own care. She tried for 3 years to help them after raising them for their whole childhood.

Every time you visit your siblings and see the way they live, clean up after them, and go home feeling drained, it takes a toll on you. Imagine living with them for 3 years…

Your mother chose herself over 2 drowning MI adults who won’t see a doctor and do treatment. It would be different if they tried to help themselves. She gave her life the best she could to raise her kids, she wants you to be happy too, not slowly tear your soul apart for people who don’t even notice that your soul is being torn apart for them.


#8

I was raised by very abusive alcoholic and mentally ill parents, one, my mother, the other my stepfather. I did not know about or understand mental illness at all until it happened to my son. My son is why I know and understand as much as I possibly can about mental illness and all of it’s ramifications. He is why I am here at this forum. I never thought much about being a mother but when I had children I became terrified I would be their demise. Not intentionally, but through my own ignorance of how to be a good and nurturing mom. My blueprint from the onset was “whatever I remember being done to me, do the opposite” …that was a good plan in theory but when I brought my 2 boys to a friend’s house one day for a rare visit and they proceeded to jump up and down gleefully on her sofa my plan had to be revised. At home, we had an old hand me down sofa, very squishy and soft and low to the ground, the kids played on it all the time, I did not have a care about it. It cost me zero. It wasn’t dangerous.

Here in my friend’s house with her normal, newer and probably valuable sofa she had purchased herself, it was all too obvious this is not a plaything for my kids. I apologized to my friend and took my kids off the sofa and sent them outdoors. I talked with my friend and she said “this is why you need to get out more, what works okay in your home environment may not work at all when you and your kids are out in the world…the behaviors you allow at your home will lead your kids to believe they are okay everywhere else…you have to think of that” That was probably the most enlightening and helpful parenting advice I ever got.

Suffice to say, none of has a handbook on parenting and what works for one child or one family is not always going to work for another. Having an abusive upbringing does not preclude anyone from developing a healthy nurturing relationship with their children. There has to be insight on one’s self and an acceptance of both the bad and good qualities and tendencies we all possess, some inherited and some just a part of our personality.

I would hesitate to call @Love_Hope 's mother selfish or bad in anyway, I don’t know her so no judgement. As a long time mom of a mentally ill son and with other mentally ill family members myself I understand the desire to leave, to vanish, to start anew! I felt that 1000 times over the years. The overwhelming stress, anxiety, and utter anguish one feels when you realize the bulk of responsibility falls on you to care for these people who are not babies anymore and not easy to care for at all and unable to even thank you for anything you do…it is soul crushing to say the least. I liken it to being a soldier of sorts, not everyone is cut out to be a soldier or a mother for that matter, my mother was not a mother by any definition. While maybe @Love_Hope 's mom could have handled things differently, as we see it, maybe she did all she could and maybe she knew she had no more to give. I don’t know. I wouldn’t blame anyone for not being able to stay the course.

In a perfect world we would have tons of available and affordable wrap around and dual services for every mentally ill person alive and their entire family, support, housing, respite care, counseling everything. Maybe someday. (sigh) For now we can only do what we honestly know within ourselves we can do. Sometimes like me, I flew blind by the seat of my pants with sheer stubborn determination and somehow it worked out for me and my son. I had to leave my sister behind, I already met my limit with my son.

I think in your case @Love_Hope I would try if at all possible to get your ill family members linked with as many community services as possible, or at least notify the services that there is a need with your family members and be detailed in what you see as their most important needs, maybe write them down ahead of time. Some counties have home visitation for psych services especially in the case of people with agoraphobia (fear of going outside) also there are home help services that can be applied for where someone will come by and vacuum, wash dishes, do laundry, maybe cook some meals or drive someone to a doctor appointment. There is also meals on wheels and wellness checks that can be done by local police,

I would ask the non emergency police staff ahead of time about their policies for wellness checks and what would happen if you could not visit but wanted reassurance that your ill family members were still okay. By getting these community services in place (which takes time) it can eventually lighten your emotional load. If you have a husband and kids now you have to make them number one and you have to be in your best frame of mind for their sake as well as your own.

I may have said this before but it bears repeating, if you have access to counseling, I highly recommend it for yourself if for no other reason than to have another person knowledgeable in mental health to discuss all of these things with and offer up other perspectives and insights. I have found counseling to be my lifesaver, It helps me stay grounded. Another thing I did that helped me a lot was learning about DBT, dialectical behavior therapy. I took a class but there are workbooks out there about it by Marsha Linehan, it is predicated on the idea that 2 facts can be true at the same time for example: " I love my sister" and “I cannot stand to associate with her” they are opposing facts but equally true. The workbook takes you through a multitude of ways to build self acceptance and work through the difficult emotions and guilt associated with not feeling like you are “enough”. etc… Here is a link I found to the workbook on Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/p/The-Dialectical-Behavior-Therapy-Skills-Workbook-Practical-DBT-Exercises-for-Learning-Mindfulness/56991750?iid=352514758991&chn=ps Thanks for letting me ramble on…my best to you. From all of your posts it is obvious you have a huge heart. :hearts: