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The 'Heredity Bomb' I'm Afraid I've Hidden Inside My Daughter

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My daughter is 4. She has her father’s blue set into the shape of my eyes, her father’s blonde framing the shape of my face. She is motion and poetry and a tangle of joy.

He sits with her at the kitchen table, they are inspecting a moth with a magnifying glass. He adores her intensity, every cell bent to purpose. “A field biologist? No, an entomologist!” He sees her in fast forward, grazed knee to spotlight; center stage. In his vision we are all older and we are clapping, for both the miracles and the mundane.

I lay next to her as she drops into sleep, her body fitting perfectly into the bend of mine. Inside of our embrace, it is true that I am afraid. How much of me is underneath her softly sleeping face?

How old will she be the first time she hallucinates? The first time she is acutely aware of the electric thrill of the edge of a blade? The first time she wakes up in a life she doesn’t recognize and is not totally sure how she got there? I see her in slow motion, unravelling and crumbling, and I am afraid. I am afraid, that my condition could be a bomb, that I’ve hidden inside her.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Thinkstock photo via Monika Gniot

Originally published: April 21, 2017
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