Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Psychiatrist Backs Me Up

While we were in our meeting with the psychiatrist, I was very glad to see that she backed me up on something that has become a small point of contention in our house.

Last school year, Danielle came home and reported that she'd done something highly inappropriate with a boy.  We reported it to the school, who promptly investigated, and we never did find out for sure if this was a story Danielle had made up, or if it was something that actually happened.  During that same conversation, Danielle expressed a desire to do more private things with this particular boy that could result in pregnancy.

We had a family discussion, and we agreed that Danielle should go on some type of birth control.

Since that decision was made, Danielle has had a certain amount of buyer's remorse.  She's experiencing some annoying, but not serious, side effects from the birth control method she selected, and she wants to stop, now claiming that she's not sexually active.

Although we are sympathetic to Danielle's complaints, we have been unsupportive of her stopping birth control, since she has frequently demonstrated that she is untruthful.  Is she sexually active right now?  It's hard to know.  Although I'd like to think she doesn't have much opportunity to be sexual, since she's not allowed to date, and she's never left unsupervised, that doesn't mean that she couldn't sneak off and do something anyway.  We know of one girl who had a pregnancy scare because she and her beau had found relative privacy under the school's stadium bleachers.

Could Danielle do something like that?  Absolutely.

She needs to be on birth control for everybody's protection.  She's not ready to parent her own child at age 16, and we don't want to be grandparents responsible for raising our child's child.

But now, there's an even more important reason for Danielle to be on birth control. Apparently, the antidepressant and mood stabilizer she has been prescribed are both thought to cause birth defects.

During our meeting with the psychiatrist, I mentioned the type of birth control Danielle was using.  The doctor was obviously pleased, since she was planning to discuss the issue with us, and announced, "Oh, that's the best one!"

Danielle rolled her eyes and started to complain.  The psychiatrist looked puzzled.

I briefly explained that Danielle was on birth control because we thought she was sexually active, while Danielle interrupted and vehemently denied that she had been, contrary to statements she'd made to us previously.

At that point, the psychiatrist put a quick end to the debate.  She explained to Danielle that she requires all of her teen patients, whether they are sexually active or not, to be on some form of birth control.  Since Danielle is already using what the doctor feels is the best available, there is no room for further negotiation on the subject.

I am greatly relieved.


  1. I wish every parent of teens would put them on birth control. The birth control shot (not naming names) is amazing. A teen might have a hard time remembering to take a pill everyday, or to take/remove/reinsert another form of birth control. The shot can be a scheduled, and has little side effects. I don't know what Danielle is on, but GOOD CHOICE! America has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world. And the stats are that children born to teen parents are more likely to be raised in poverty (and remain in poverty), they are more likely to go to jail, etc.

    Pregnancy is preventable!

    Good job! Every parent should make sure their child is aware of their birth control choices, and has selected one that works for them!

  2. We were so thrilled to get the Implanon implant for my daughter just before she turned 17. We giddily thought that we were saving her from the next 3 yrs of potential parenthood (it needs to be replaced after 3 yrs so she'd be almost 20) because there was NO WAY IN H#LL she could parent a child. So, she had it in for a little over a year, turned 18 and met her Prince Charming (aka - Loser from Loserville - 10 yrs her senior). Of course he completely supported her getting it removed and knocking her up immediately. She had already ran off from our home so there was nothing I could do. So, she has it taken out about a month after leaving our home, then tells me she is going to have it put back in because she changed her mind (since he beats her occasionally augh). Guess who got pregnant before the appt. to get it reinserted? Yep, due this July. Some people are just determined to ruin their lives. She will not get to keep this child long. She will love it with all she has, but she won't take care of the baby the way it needs to be - this is a generational curse.

    I'm glad the psychiatrist supported this decision. As far as I'm concerned, anyone who needs psychotropic meds to function, has no business getting pregnant.

  3. While it sounds like it is a sound and reasonable, maybe even the best decision for Danielle to be on Birth Control I think it is a huge leap to suggest that anyone that needs psych meds has no business getting pregnant. That is a very presumptive and privileged view. There are many people that use psych meds as a tool in managing a mental health condition and have the ability to be really great healthy parents. Depression is the most common mental illness and some people need medications to function with depression and are still wonderful parents. Post postpartum depression is also common and meds can help women with it, hopefully we won't be removing kids from moms that have postpartum and take meds to care for themselves. I hope you never have to deal with a mental illness of your own mainly because I would not wish illness on anyone, but also because it would suck for you to have to have to deal with people that would make such sweeping generalizations like you did.

  4. I am going to say that I have to agree with Lisa on this one, though not because of the mental illness itself, but because of the birth defects than can be caused by taking certain psychotropic medications. I have known quite a few parents who suffered from various forms of mental illness, who still managed to be decent, kind, loving parents. Certainly in this case, a mentally-Ill teenager, who is not prepared to support herself in any meaningful way, has no business bringing another child into this world while she is still a child herself.

  5. @32Flavours - Did you know that there is a strong genetic link for mental illnesses? That does not mean that everyone who suffers from mental illness will pass that on to their offspring, but it does me that they have statistically placed their children into an elevated risk group. Add to that the enviroment in which these children are raised in IF the mental illness is not controlled. Add to that the risk of deformity if Mom takes certain (if not most) drugs to control her mental illness...

    Foster Abba never stated that anyone with a mental illness should not have kids - you jumped to that conclusion. Foster Abba simply talked about her own daughter's situation. And in Danielle's situation it is definatly best that there is little to no chance that she concieve, as she would be unable at this time to properly provide for and take care of a child. (*This does not mean she is being encouraged to have sex in any way, and I am sure the message being told to her is that she should obstain!).

    That being said, did you know that people with mental illnesses are more likely to live in poverty? Did you know that people in poverty as more likely to go to jail? Be suicidal? Did you children born in poverty tend to stay there, tend to get pregnant younger, do not finish school at greater rates, have a higher crime rate...

    So the thing I ask is this: WHY would a woman - easpecially a woman who is-as present- unable to fully control her own mental illness - choose to have a baby? A friend of mine carries the Huntington's disease, as does her husband. They have chosen not to have children because there is a 50% chance their child would be born with the disease. They would feel like they had purposely played roulette because they wanted to fill their own need - the desire to have a child. They adopted instead.

    The other thing a parent that is controlling their mental illness may want to concider is that everything they take, the baby is exposed to. It one little pill can change your depression so extensively (so two pills), what is that doing to the developing brain of the fetus?

    Will they be 'born addicted'? There needs to be more research in this area.

    Yes, depression and mental illness is common and does not make one 'less' of a person. HOWEVER, if one suffers from these ailments they should think long and hard about how they might pass this on, and how it could affect an unborn child. I have seen many, many cases where the mental illness is more pronounced in the next generation.

    And in my mind the parent purposely chose to have a child that had a greater risk of developing mental illness. They chose -for their own selfish reason- to have a child, even though the research shows that there is a clear genetic link.

  6. Anon. I did not jump to that conclusion. Lisa, that posted before me stated this in her post. There are all kinds of predispositions and genetic links for everything- we would have to stop anyone from having children to prevent genetic links. Besides genes aren't 1+1=2. People may not know their whole family history or things may have been covered up etc.

    FosterAbba- I certainly do not think Danielle or any teenager is equipped to be an optimal parent. That's not what I said nor suggested. Folks may need medication to function overall and go off meds while pregnant, other work with their doctors on meds with lower risks and other health and lifestyle changes to have healthy babies.

    I just think it was big gerneraliaztion about all women that need psych meds. All are not in the same boat as Danielle and further all people with mental illness don't take meds some use other treatments some are not treated and go on to have healthy families.

    I absolutely believe that it's ideal and optimal for parents to plan and think through all the issues before becoming parents. I also believe that sometimes we think that we have a bit more control over how kids will be when born. Obviously drugs, alcohol, undue stress etc. are not healthy en utero environments, but moms that do it "right" are "good" and "healthy" have babies with physical and mental health concerns all the time and vice-versa. Conception to birth is complex and researchers have only scratched the tip of the iceberg so I think making huge generalizations about who should be able to get pregnant and shouldn't is dangerous. Clearly Danielle is not ready to parent. She may never be but all I'm saying is that there are adult women that have a mental illness that use meds to treat it that are capable of being healthy parents. That's all.

  7. "I'm saying is that there are adult women that have a mental illness that use meds to treat it that are capable of being healthy parents.".

    They might be healthy parents, but they are still willingly having a child with an increased chance of developing a mental illness. Adoption would circumvent this biological hand me down.

  8. Wait a minute here. I was not trying to "generalize" anything about meds or pregnancy or a combination of them. I was talking about MY adopted child. MY child, who has two bio parents with mental illness. MY child, who has a bio brother and sister still living with me with severe mental illness, MY daughter who needs medication in order to function, yet refuses to take it because she doesn't see a problem (yet sees everyone else's behavior to be THE PROBLEM). I thought that was clear by the example I gave regarding MY daughters situation. I did not refer to any other woman in this world, just MY child.

    I never knew (before adopting a sib group of 3) how profoundly affected children could be by their families mental illnesses. I assumed that if you had a family member who was bipolar (for example) that maybe that person might end up with a great niece with bipolar somewhere down the family line. I NEVER realized that two mentally challenged/mentally ill adults could produce 3 children in 26 mos that would all end up with a myriad of dx's. I didn't know about the mental illness and substance abuse issues of all the grandparents and aunts and uncles or the suicides on both sides of the family until AFTER the adoptions were finalized. I find that tragic in so many different ways. MY daughter married someone who is of very questionable mental status. Between the two of them and lots of outside resources, they "might" be able to parent a child, IF they accept the help. The odds are against that. The reality is that MY daughter is repeating her bio-mothers life.

    It is absolutely amazing what someone will focus on. I don't think anyone reading or posting here was being judgemental or condemning all mentally ill people from procreating.


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