Mom's Malaise, part two

Written by: Linda Witt-King

A couple of years later, at age 19, this farm girl married and, true to her Catholic
upbringing, began having children. She had four live births and four miscarriages over the course of less than seven years, long before the idea of “post-partum” depression was even a gleam of understanding in anyone’s mind.  After the birth of her fourth child, a girl who would grow up to study environmental sciences and eventually draw the correlation between that first atomic explosion and her mother’s first episode of mental, emotional and physical distress, that infant had to be taken by her aunt and uncle to care for lest she perish from failure to thrive because by this time, mom was so deeply depressed, she was unable to care for her newborn.  

In those days there was no such thing as mental health care, no understanding at all of how to nourish the brain or detox the body from the effects of poisons and radiation…for indeed these advances are only recently gaining traction and still only in the realm of “alternative health care”.  With no understanding of her condition, or of what would even constitute appropriate care, her state of mind and body continued to deteriorate. After more than one suicidal episode and losing her children to foster care while she entered a treatment and rehabilitation facility, she was eventually diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and manic-depressive, giving her husband sufficient justification to divorce her and blame her parents for not telling him that she was mentally deficient before he married her. Even the Catholic Church agreed and granted an annulment of the marriage that produced his four live children and four miscarriages while he served in the Air Force and left her to care for his children while he was away for years at a time overseas on unaccompanied assignments. But nevertheless, the marriage was officially annulled so that he could marry again sanctioned by the Church and his Catholic bride could continue to take unholy communion in mass.