In the summer of 1992 I went to stay with my uncle. I can’t remember the exact circumstances but I am sure it had to do with one of the routine “nervous breakdowns” my mom would have. They started when I was about 9 years old (or maybe that is when I was old enough to understand what was happening) and they continued in various forms until I was 24. I don’t think I blame my mom but I always like to understand the cause of things and I believe having a parent with a mental illness certainly causes problems for the children they raise.
Statistically, children of the mentally ill have a higher chance of becoming mentally ill themselves. This is due to combination of both nature and nurture; severe mental illness has a strong genetic factor. Add to that the stress and chaos of being raised by a severely mentally ill parent, or the child being passed around to foster parents or group homes, and it creates the perfect storm for developing any number of mood disorders, behavioral problems, and juvenile delinquency, let alone the increased possibility of the onset of a neurological disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. These conditions can lead the child to a life of illness, poverty, crime, and self-destruction.
Marc E. Fitch is the author of “Shmexperts: How Power Politics and Ideology are Disguised as Science,” and several novels. He works as a journalist at The Yankee Institute for Public Policy and lives in Connecticut with his wife, four children and three goats.
At any rate, my uncle lived in a small town and during their homecoming weekend I got pregnant. I specifically recall knowing that I wanted to grow up and go to college because that would be my only way out of a life of perpetual poverty. Point being, my need for love, attention and acceptance outweighed any common sense I had by 15 years of age. I moved back in with my mom and attended pregnant teenager school and worked at “Mr. Donut”. Having my own paycheck was like freedom!! I loved the idea of getting up everyday, going to work and earning my own income.
I’ve told the kids and maybe everyone that when i was 15 weeks along with my first son (and every kid) I heard his heartbeat for the first time and I fell in love right away. i feel like this euphoria we feel is a trick to suck us in to loving the little weasels no matter what!! So of course this worked right away for Sean, big blue eyes and great big dimples!! All the nurses just loved him!! Little did I know that was a sign of what was to come!!
There could be an entire novel just about Sean. It started around 4 weeks old. He would scream non stop and the only thing to quiet him would be putting him in the swing and turn on Care Bears really loud. We tease him about that until this day!!
At 2 years old he started banging his head on the floor when he was mad, I took him to the pediatrician who proceeded to tell me “I’m glad you brought him in so we can get this documented before someone calls DCFS. I was thinking “where have I gone wrong as a parent? Until this day I genuinely ask myself that question. I started getting calls from schools about behaviors in Kindergarten. At this time he was barely sleeping 5 hours a night! He was also displaying violent behaviors toward his brother. The first pediatrician tried him on medication that made his behaviors worse. From that point until Kindergarten we were barely making it!! So at 5 years old he had to be hospitalized because this pediatrician said: if you don’t put him in the hospital to be evaluated then I can’t be held accountable for what he may do next. So we put him in the hospital, put him on a regimen of medicine that seemed to really help him. As he got older though he would lose his temper at school quickly. It never stopped, clear up to his freshman year in high school when he dropped out.
As they mature, children of teen mothers must still overcome many obstacles. For example, boys born to mothers under the age of 19 are 13 percent more likely to be incarcerated at some point in their lives. Daughters of teen moms are over 20 percent more likely to have their own children at a young age. Children of both sexes have lower standardized test scores and are less likely to earn their high school diplomas.
Statistics on Teen Pregnancy
Not only did I genuinely feel that I was failing him but as a mother you do have a certain standard you believe, hope, pray and at some point beg that your children will live up to. I knew that I wasn’t going to let one of my kids go down the drain!! By the time Sean made it to high school, in spite of my desperate attempts, he seemed to have lost his way.
Don’t get me wrong, until this day I still desperately try to get and keep him on track. After leaving the traditional high school setting Sean attended a school for kids like him……which just means he attended classes with other boys with the same behavioral issues. This quickly ended in him being suspended for 10 days meaning he couldn’t take driver’s education.
At this point he already was “in love with girls” and girls were “in love with him”. I specifically remember coming home from work one day and there was a group of 6+ girls walking up the road toward the house and there was Sean smack dab in the middle.
One girl apparently stood out more than the rest: Caitlyn. I immediately talked to the both of them about the importance of protected sex and birth control. I told Caitlyn she had a week to get on birth control or I was taking her. So about 10 days later I took her to planned parenthood and apparently at that time she was already pregnant but we didn’t know. A month later I was on the 2nd half of a double shift (I was only 32) and I received a call from Sean with Caitlyn on the phone as well. I’ll never forget, I’m on the hall, passing meds, standing at my cart, phone up to my ear: “Mom we took 3 different pregnancy tests and they are all positive”. Since I’ve had tons of calls from Sean over the years that seem like emergencies and weren’t I managed to remain calm and tell them “Ok, we will worry about it when I get home”.
After 3 days of being in complete shock to the point that I couldn’t talk to anyone, we embraced the truth and 9 months later came: Skylar Henry Lee Boliard!! AKA: My Little Lover Man!!
Sean is now 25 years old with 2 daughters in addition!
I’d love to tell everyone after years of trouble with the law that Sean has it all together but I can say that for the first time I can remember he has put himself in a healthier situation and so that gives me much encouragement!!