For the longest time, I decided that I would never have kids. I came to this decision because I'm bipolar, and it has caused a great deal of strife for me. Some of the things I've gone through I wouldn't wish on anyone, let alone my own kids. So to mitigate any possibility of passing bipolar disorder onto another person in this world, I thought it best not to have my own kids. I was OK with adoption and kids in general, but I couldn't live with the thought of passing something on as horrible as mental illness. A couple minutes of public radio changed my mind.
I was listening to Fresh Air, which is a great program we provide on our HD 2 station. Terry Gross was interviewing a writer named Victor LaValle, who writes frequently about mental illness. Gross mentioned that LaValle shared the same aversion to offspring that I had, but eventually he changed his mind. What he said has stuck with me: you can't prevent bad things from happening in life. My child could avoid mental illness, but then maybe he/she could be exposed to every other problem in the world. I can't live in fear of one bad thing happening when so many bad things can and will happen anyway.
I drove around the block to make sure I heard that. I've never had my mind changed on such a profoundly important topic so quickly. But I think that's the quality of information public radio provides. It can literally change your life in a matter of minutes.
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