10.23.2012

Depression and Unwanted Children


    
English: Institute of Mental Health building i...
English: Institute of Mental Health building in Belgrade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        Many times over, criminologists have pondered items regarding criminal behaviors.  Items such as Mental Health, Family Environments, Scholastic Opportunities, Economic Conditions as well as a vast array of test theories to help understand and prevent crime, a person’s mental health certainly is a factor to consider.  We have all encountered someone who is particularly quiet or stays off in the shadows or maybe you have seen glimpses of lost looks in their eyes only to have the spell broken when they realize they have been seen.  Depression hurts and if not treated properly, can lead to a host of events that include suicidal thoughts, but what happens when this condition strikes the person who feels less wanted or needed?  According to persons such as Thomas A. Mones in a book entitled “Unintended pregnancy and taxpayer spending” it is rationalized that children who had parents that did not want a child, would have children who would end up delinquents, struggle in school, more likely to live in poverty and possibly even commit crimes.  With statements such as these, this author decided to investigate the realms of depression, the under wanted child and how they could correlate to criminal behavior and hope the readers and myself can grow a deeper understanding along the way.


            Before this article begins, this author feels it necessary to inform our readers, I personally detest crimes or impoverishments of any types that involve children and that this is not intended to become an anti-abortion or pro-life article, instead what is intended is to try and put some perspective on being unwanted and while no two case scenario’s will be the same, maybe we can shed some light or find common threads to help our youth understand more and fear less.  The bonding of Mother to Child or Father to Child or Family to Child is unbreakable, those bonds stand the test of time and cause us to weep for our lost loved ones, a special tie to an emotion that is often forgotten until times of recovery from tragedy and in some cases battered and bruised along the way fighting the path of doom.   Both unintended and undesired pregnancies can have negative effects on health, social interaction and psychological health including greater chances for sickness or even death for the mother and child.  These same issues have been shown to affect problems upon the child later on in life, such as social awkwardness or unstable marriages leading to divorce, abuse, poverty and in some cases have shown to develop well into adulthood causing some criminal behavior. 

Issues in Mental Health Nursing
Issues in Mental Health Nursing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

            Science has tested this theory with lab mice, placing young ones in with aggressive males and then having them mate with others to see if the timid responses and emotional stresses could be passed through genetic inheritance.  In some cases, the mate would not accept the offspring, for whatever reason, some became timid from the start others did not and those who were born timid had an even harder time attracting the opposite sex, only supporting the theory of environmental impact upon families, leaving us thirsting for the answer to is depression genetic or impacted based on our environment and if so, how much harsher is it for children who perceive they are not “welcome” or “wanted”.  Depression is accompanied by symptoms such as: Sadness, a feeling of being generally pessimistic, Hopelessness, Fatigue, Restless nights, Irritability, Less Libido and less interest in sexual contact, difficulty in concentration, an increase in drug or alcohol abuse, digestive problems or even total withdrawal from society.  While these symptoms fit most who suffer from the effects of long term depression, certainly many of them will be felt by an unwanted person or child.  These items easily could make some one question their own self worth, bring them down further when they make mistakes or ask “why don’t I fit in anywhere?”  The unwanted child, due to the projections of their siblings, environments and parents will develop early signs that something isn’t right and it’s up to the professionals as well as parents to help get these youth on the right track.
Institute of Mental Health 5, Nov 06
Institute of Mental Health 5, Nov 06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

            Each of the symptoms listed can cause awkward social interaction, supporting the idea the burdens of these unwanted persons compounds social interaction, which can affect the mental and emotional health of the child.  In 1994, 49 percent of all pregnancies were listed as “unintended” with the highest rates found in women ages 18-24 and to further compound the problem, 54 percent of those pregnancies were aborted, causing further psychological impacts upon the younger mothers and those children who were not terminated were shown to have higher dropout rates, higher probability of poverty and higher probability to commit crimes such as theft or petty larceny.  In a study conducted from 1961 to 1963, women who were denied the right to terminate the pregnancy (paired against children in healthy family environments) showed significant differences in the unintended child born, such as negative psychosocial development dominantly in families of no other siblings.  By age nine, those same unintended children did poorer in school tests and academics even when intelligence levels were equal, were less popular or accepted by other students and described as being “difficult to manage” by teachers and mothers.  Around age 23 they had less job satisfaction, had more than average conflicts with superiors and had a higher rate of relationships not being successful and at 35 had more mental health issues that required therapeutic treatment compared to those in their same study group and all of those tangents can attribute to depression and is a vicious cycle to endure.
Mental Health Awareness Ribbon
Mental Health Awareness Ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

            In summation, there are tons of readings and literature that support unintended and unwanted childbearing and that it can cause social, behavioral, emotional, physical and lifelong side effects.  These factors can cause illness or death in mother and child and often times forces the mothers to consider early termination of life, which adversely affects persons much the same way as the unwanted child.  These items affect our society by contributing to poverty, social awkwardness and abuse on into adulthood if not recognized early and professional help with real care isn’t available.  Depression itself comes with its own list of atrocities that can lead to any number of items, including suicidal thoughts and theft and could only mark the start of a very vicious cycle.  With all these parameters, the next time I walk into a clinic where I see a poster that reads, “Every child is a wanted child” I will take note of the facility recognizing that even those born into these conditions, do not have to stay in those situations and that many, like this author, do care about where their futures take them. 
*Author’s Note* My own family had complex issues, some of which did affect my siblings with long term depression and I have seen firsthand what the struggles of battling these conditions are capable of doing and want to assure any and all readers, it is possible to overcome and cope.  Find a Qualified professional, break the silence you do not have to live feeling hopeless and alone, help is available.
References and Further Reading Interests

Axinn, W.G., Barber, J. S., & Thornton, A. (1998). The Long-Term Impact of Parents' Childbearing Decisions on Children's Self-Esteem, Demography, 35, 435-443.


Myhrman, A.,Olsen, P., Rantakallio, P., and Laara, E.,(1995). Does the wantedness of a pregnancy predict a child's educational attainment? Family Planning Perspectives, 27, 116-119.

Myhrman, A., Rantakallio, P., Sohanni, M.,Jones, P., and Partanen, U. (1996).Unwantedness of a pregnancy and schizophrenia in the child. British Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 637-640

Logan C, Holcombe E, Manlove J, et al. (2007 May [cited 2009 Mar 3]). The consequences of unintended childbearing: A white paper. Washington: Child Trends, Inc..

 James Q. Wilson; Joan Petersilia (2002). Crime: public policies for crime control. ICS Press. ISBN 9781558155091.

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