Letter to Dr. Phil about Yesterday’s Show

Dear Dr. Phil,

I am appalled that a surrogate mother could steal babies from their rightful parents. Having mental health issues should not prevent a person from being a parent.

I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in 1981; the diagnosis has since been changed to Schizoaffective disorder. In 1988, I gave birth to a wonderful baby boy. At the time, I was off medication, but since then have had five psychotic breakdowns where I had to go into the hospital for treatment. I have been on medication for years and most of the time my condition is well controlled. I raised my son mostly as a single mother with a little help from my family. My two marriages during my son’s lifetime did not work out.

My son is almost twenty-two years old and he is a fine upstanding young man. He is a United States Marine and I thank God for him every day. I faced many challenges raising my son, especially since his father wanted me to have an abortion because he did not want a child. My son’s father was not very involved in his life. He rarely visited and paid minimal child support, so I had the job of filling the role of both parents for my son. I worked during part of my son’s childhood, but my condition made it very hard to handle stress and prevented me from working a lot. In 1997, I went on Social Security Disability as my income. That did not provide us with a great deal of money to live on, but we survived.

I realize there have been times when public opinion would have been against me even having a child, much less raising one, but they should realize how precious a person my son has turned out to be. He is making an awesome contribution to our world. My parenting was evidently very good or my son would not have become such a wonderful young man. We love each other dearly and are best friends. I would have done anything in my power to give my son the best of loving nurture. I still am here for him whenever he needs me. He respects me and is not ashamed of my condition.

I know firsthand how devastating it would have been to be denied the chance to raise a child because of psychosis. I am so thankful to have been given the gift of being a mother. I feel Amy has been treated terribly unfairly. She has every right to be those babies mother. I wish there were something I could do to help her get her children.

I am now full time caregiver for my eighty-year-old mother who has Parkinson’s disease and needs assistance in her daily life. A person with a mental disability can accomplish much in life.

Jo Ann Jordan

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