The Child-Free Road Taken

I’m 53.

I’ve been trying to convince others that free choice is a right that shouldn’t be taken away.

Only by framing it in the context of reproductive health choices I don’t think a lot of people will ever buy what I’m selling.

Only I know this much is true:

Ever since I was 15 or 16 years old I didn’t want to get married and raise a family.

Since I didn’t want to be forced to choose to get an abortion I used birth control.

This is the road taken in my life: to remain child-free.

In 1987 when I was 22 my life changed forever on a single night.

Having a breakdown is like a right of passage for some women.

This sealed the deal for me: I didn’t want to bring into the world a kid who could have a chronic unremitting illness.

A kid who might not be given mental health treatment as soon as they need it.

A kid who could become an adult who thus wouldn’t recover because they didn’t get treatment.

Most of all I didn’t want to have to discontinue medication to be able to carry a baby to term.

Doing so would put my life at risk.

When I was the Health Guide at the HealthCentral mental health website I wrote in a news article:

I’d rather be dead than psychotic.

Fighting words yet oh so true.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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