Drexel University Online - March and May

Why I Made the Difficult Decision to Not Have Children

In the last year, I have accomplished a lot. More than I used to think I could do in my life. I made a life decision never to have kids. I underwent a procedure to keep from getting pregnant. I have become a confident woman. I know what I want in my life. My decision is based on childhood experiences and what I think I can handle as an adult. It is a decision that I am proud to have made.

Angela Chapes with Sami

Angela Chapes with Sami

I look back to when I was a child; I was a handful. I was a nightmare. I am very proud to be who I am. If I ever had a child I would not handle parenting well. I am afraid that I would be a bad mother. Children, when they are very young, require round-the-clock care. I have learned patience but I am not sure I would be patient enough to raise a child. I also have anger issues and I don’t want to lose my anger towards an innocent child. I am afraid that I might hurt or abuse a child. I don’t ever want to hurt a child. Anybody could become abusive or violent. I want my freedom and sanity which I might lose if I had a child. I am not a good cook and I wouldn’t want a child to starve or be unhealthy. I don’t want to be pregnant or go through the pain of labor.

Another reason I don’t want a child is genetics. I have autism but I don’t let it define me. I have depression, anxiety, and OCD. Schizophrenia runs in our family. I don’t want to pass any of that to another person. I don’t want a child that I would bring into this world to struggle as they grow up and try to understand themselves. I guess the only positive is that I would have gone through the experience and I would understand. My dad had a difficult time with me. He did his best and he doesn’t have mental illness or autism. His mother had Schizophrenia and she was mean to him. My dad kept us kids away from her because of what she was like so I never met her. He believes he made the right decision. I wish I could have met her. My behavior as a child reminded him of her. That is why he had a difficult time with me. My dad was tough on me. His parenting and my behavior as a child were not a great mix. I was very difficult. Right now, I love my dad because he did his very best in the most challenging situations. He saw me at my worst. He and my mom still raised me right. I am glad I don’t resemble my dad’s mom today.

The last reason I don’t want to have a child is money. If I had a special needs child I might not have the tools or resources my child would need. I read on the internet that only 20% of special needs children get the care they need. I find that sad. My mom told me that one of her friends had to give up her child so the child could get help. If I had a child and I had to give it up due to not having enough resources that would break my heart. Choosing not to have a child is the best option for this kind of situation.

These are reasons why my cat is the only child I will have. My family considers me a good cat mom. I consider myself a good cat mom. Her name is Sami. She may be a pet but I consider her my baby. Cats don’t require around-the-clock care. She trusts me because I rescued her when she was not wanted. I wanted her, so I took her home to love. She is very independent. She is very sweet and patient with me. I am patient with her too. I have never heard her hiss. If she were a real child and she yelled at me I am afraid I would yell back. Sami has taught me to be a responsible adult who has an animal/child depending on me. I depend on her because she will be there to make me feel better when I am sad or angry. This is a big achievement.

As a family, we had several pets. We had a cat when I was much younger and I did not treat it nicely. I did have a dog when I was a child, but my mom took care of her the most. Sami is thriving and she loves me. I love her back. I am not alone because she is with me when I am at my apartment. In my mind, she is my child and I am glad to have her. She is mine. I am her mother. This is the only way I am called a mother. She is what I can handle in my life. She along with my family, friends, and job makes my life meaningful.

My name is Angela Chapes and I am an autistic adult with anxiety and OCD. I have had depression in the past. I am 39 years old. I was not diagnosed with autism until my late 20’s. It was years later that I started to figure out who I was. Thanks to the positive and supportive people in my life. I have a very encouraging job. I am transforming and growing at lightning speed. Learning all I can about leadership, advocacy, and other organizations that can help shape my future. I want to be a voice for individuals with autism and mental illness. I love being busy, writing, and speaking.

For more information, you can email Angela at aechapes@yahoo.com.

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