Mental Illness and Motherhood, Part 2
Imagine that you and your husband are unable to conceive, so you seek out a surrogate who agrees to carry donor eggs and sperm for you. You set up a nursery and fill it with a crib, blankets and baby clothes. Then the surrogate mother delivers beautiful twins — a son and a daughter. Now imagine one month later, getting a knock on your door and finding out that the babies you thought belonged to you have to be surrendered to the surrogate.
That’s what intended parents Scott and Amy Kehoe say happened to them when their surrogate Shelly Baker reclaimed the twins she carried for them after she says she learned that Amy has a mental illness. After Shelly’s appearance on the show, the blog and the message boards were buzzing! I know, because I read your comments. Many of you felt that Shelly’s decision was just wrong and selfish, while others believed that the surrogate mom did the right thing by allegedly protecting the kids.
Reader Wendy says: “Dr. Phil, I was so appalled to hear someone state that a women with a mental illness was being shunned from having her twin babies just because of mental illness and so THANKFUL for your views on this situation. I am a mother with Bipolar and in NO way does this make me unfit to parent my child. I pray that something will/can be done so that Amy and Scott can have their babies.”
Gail, who sides with Shelly, says, “The children should stay in the mentally stable home! Since they are not biologically linked to either. Medication does not always work and the severe symptoms come and go leaving the children to feel heartbroken and unsafe.”
Shelly returns to the show to face her critics and to defend what she believes was a tough but ethical decision. Let me tell you, things got pretty heated in the studio. We had some very outspoken audience members who feel that having a mental illness should not preclude a woman from being a mother.
Tune in, and let me know if you think Shelly gets a wake-up call about her choice to reclaim the twins. What would you have done in her situation?