This weeks post is a result of re-reading some an old comment I made on a website about childbirthing when you are a survivor. I’ve never birthed or raised a child, and don’t plan to. When I was younger, I had a strong aversion to the tearing that always happens during childbirth. I had some good ideas why this might be so, but of course didn’t have proof till I saw the scar tissue from the tearing I’d experienced during repeated vaginal rapes starting as a very young child.
The doula, a survivor herself, whose blog it was, responded to my comment by saying in part that women can give birth even with scar tissue, which of course was never the point.
It got me thinking about all the reasons I’ve chosen not to birth a child. You would think being a lesbian might be one of them, but it isn’treally. I know lots of same sex couples with children. We may have an awesome birth control method, but we can fairly easily get pregnant if we want to. Even the country and place I live in are liberal enough that my child wouldn’t experience much in the way of serious discrimination, no more than any other kid in a multicultural society does.
Then of course, there are the environmental reasons. By choosing not to have a child, I’m making the single largest environmental conservation action that I could make. Even with an extremely conserving and eco-friendly lifestyle, human beings just do way more harm than good to the planet, and there need to be less of us if the planet is going to continue to support life in the long run.
And there are the temperament reasons. I have trouble enough sleeping without the expected sleeplessness of early parenthood, and I am extremely unhappy and foggy without sleep. The thought of enduring this for years is almost inconceivable (no pun intended). I’m also a bit of a space cadet, what with all the PTSD, and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for a little being I might accidentally injure with my forgetfulness. I have recurring nightmares where I make some mistake that injures my baby.
But really the most compelling reason for not having children is that sociopathy is apparently mostly genetic. My father is a sociopath, and I can’t take the chance that I might birth and raise one. Screening for sperm donors doesn’t usually include screening for sociopathy either, so my kid could get a double genetic load with the wrong donor. Not an acceptable risk to me. If there was an in vitro blood test for sociopathic tendencies, and I learned my baby had them, I would abort. I’d feel bad about it, and I’d pray about it, but I’d do it. The risk of harm from just one sociopath over his or her lifetime is just too great.
For those of you who, like me, have a first order relative who is or was a sociopath/psychopath/has antisocial personality disorder, I respectfully suggest that you consider never passing this gene on.
If you are at risk for passing sociopathy on to your children and have already had or plan to have children, or if you raise a child who is at risk, here are some resources to spot and help overcome sociopathic tendencies in your children.
- Sociopathy is inherited
- What is Psychopathy and sociopathy (terms are mostly used interchangeably)
- Parenting the At Risk Child
- Just like his father – A Guide to Overcoming Your Child’s Genetic Connection to Antisocial Behavior, Addiction & ADHD (This looks promising, but I haven’t read it. The author is a psychiatrist and a mother of an at-risk child whose father is a sociopath. I haven’t found any reviews of it either, but the outline is posted on her site.