Sarah Silverman is known for her blunt comedy, and apparently that straight-forwardness doesn’t end with her humor. On Amanda DeCadenet‘s amazing show The Conversation, Silverman spoke about her battles with depression. The discussion wasn’t new for Sarah, as she spoke candidly about her mental health issues in her book The Bedwetter, but it was the first time that I’ve known her to discuss the illnesses impact on her future path to motherhood.
Quite simply, Silverman would rather adopt than risk passing depression on to her future children.
“I don’t want kids. I’d love to adopt someday and I have a lot of adoption in my family… I know that I have this depression and that it’s in my family. Every family has their stuff but, for me, I just don’t feel strong enough to see that in a child.”
It’s such a strong statement, and obviously such a personal choice, that I don’t feel like I even have a place to comment on it. I respect her thoughts and think that any child would be blessed to have a mother who cares so deeply about giving their child the best advantages they can.
This idea, of choosing not to have children because of possible genetic issues, is one that I think a surprising number of people struggle with. Lots of us have illnesses that run in our family that make us uncomfortable. I was shocked a while ago to hear that my grandmother sometimes felt guilty for having children. She knew that alcoholism plagued her family for a very long time and felt that she shouldn’t have brought kids into the world only to struggle with an awful disease. For clarification’s sake I’ll say that no one is my immediate family has problems with alcohol, but that I do have extended family members who suffer with alcohol addiction.
When I heard my grandmother say that, I was taken aback. Obviously, that choice would’ve removed me from the earth’s equation. But it also demonstrated just how much burden mothers take on when it comes to their kids. Even things we can’t control, we feel guilty for. Even in giving our kids life, there are ways to feel guilty.
What do you think about this idea of adopting to avoid passing along faulty genetics? What are your personal experiences with genetic diseases and the fear of passing them on to children? I think Sarah’s opinions are her own and I commend her for sharing such a personal decision, but I’m interested in hearing how others relate to them.