Bipolar Motherhood?

I don’t consider myself a “bipolar mother”.

I have bipolar disorder. I am a mother.

I have three kids to love, protect, teach, discipline and care for. I would do it bipolar or not. Because I don’t let bipolar disorder define me in general, I’m certainly not going to let it define my own motherhood. God gave me three precious and rambunctious boys, including twins. So if he’s not going to give me more than I can handle (which I believe he won’t) then I know I can handle motherhood and bipolar disorder.

Raising kids is hard. I’m not going to lie. But it’s also rewarding and unlike anything else I’ve experienced. But it’s hard and rewarding for non-bipolar mothers too! Motherhood is why I work so hard at my stability. For my kids. But I also work at it equally for my husband. And I work at it for myself. For my own peace, happiness and well-being. My kids need me, and they’re a top priority. I know stability is not as simple as just wanting it and working at it but those are important aspects. For me, I have to be constantly on top of my health (medical and mental). I need to take care of myself, so I can really take care of them. Again, this is also true for non-bipolar mothers!

Me and my boys

Me and my sweet boys

I see my psychiatrist routinely on a six-monthly basis for about fifteen minutes (I call it maintenance), but if I have a need or concern, I call him during the in-between times. It never fails that I will go to my appointment and have nothing of note to report to him and with in a couple of days something comes up. Ha, just the way it is sometimes I guess. That’s not a rule, or advice I’m giving you regarding appointments. It’s just something kind of dumb that happens to me, all the time!

And, yes, to tackle a tough issue and a question everyone has in their mind, I have thought about the genetics, about passing bipolar disorder on to my children. Don’t think for a second I haven’t thought about it, worried about it and prayed about it. Do you think that I shouldn’t have had children on the chance that I would have passed it on to them? My babies will always be my babies and they are perfect and precious gifts from the Lord. I hope you can understand why I think it’s absurd for people to generalize and say bipolar people shouldn’t have children. (It’s a more common thought than you might think).

The thought of my own children having bipolar disorder makes me want to vomit. I can barely talk about it. It is hard to think about it. Rationally, it could be argued that I’d be the perfect person to parent a child with this disorder, because I know how to deal with it first hand.  But I also know the depths of the darkness and wouldn’t wish that on an enemy…let alone my precious children. And, if I can be at peace and have contentment with my disorder, then it’s maybe hypocritical to say I don’t want my kids to have this. But that’s how I feel about it, and I think anyone in my shoes would feel the same.

Statistically it is possible and one day I might have to face their own bipolarity…typing that out just hurts. But I pray God doesn’t do that or allow it. But we also have bipolar disorder elsewhere in the family. It is in the boys’ genes.

God is bigger than all that and the fact of the matter is this: (and it’s been my point all along) bipolar disorder can really suck, but I’m here to show that you can live a successful, stable life. And, learning to be content goes a long way, with or without bipolar disorder.

Proud Mom,

Mrs Bipolarity


Filed under Mrs Bipolarity

19 responses to “Bipolar Motherhood?

  1. I’m proud and happy for you that things are going so well for you, and that you have a stable life and family. I wish for you that this should continue lifelong, for all of you. For me it has been the opposite. I was manic for most of my child’s childhood (there was only one child because the marriage did not survive), and did not have a diagnosis so no treatment and a very stressful job. My son was ill as soon as he came out of the cooker; he saw a child psychologist beginning at age 2 1/2. It was a rough ride. In retrospect it was a good thing I only had the one. After nearly losing him several times during adolescence, I placed him in a therapeutic boarding school for two years, which taught him how to manage his feelings and also got his meds regulated. He is now 28 years old and working on his Ph.D. in a field of science that is so cutting edge it’s mind-blowing. So I guess what I am saying is that even if your children have inherited the rough genes, be sure to write it on the inside of your eyelids that the tough ones are usually the brilliant ones, if you can just hang in and give it all you’ve got, and stay right-side-up yourself, which is not easy let me tell you. My son’s worst times happened right in the middle of my major breakdown, so we were both a wreck. But thank God we seem to be on an even keel now, even though I’m totally disabled by my disease. I think you’ll do much better than I have. You have the advantage of youth, and a supportive environment, which makes all the difference. Take good care of yourself.

    • Fredrikke Taylor

      I cannot imagine how tough this was for you both. It is good to hear your story and the success that has followed. We should never give up on our children. You are proof of that.

    • Thank you for your honest and encouraging comment. I always enjoy reading them. I appreciate the things you tell me. I don’t want you to think my life is sunshine and daisies, and I hope I portray my life and experiences accurately. Btw, It clearly sounds like you’re amazing and strong and a great mom! Hang in there, you’re doing great! Take care of yourself.

      • Thanks! I think you were replying to me, and if not, thanks anyway! Sometimes it amounts to putting one foot in front of the other to get through the tough spots, but if you do that, guaranteed you will get to where you are going, which is an open, honest relationship with your children. They need to know that there might be days when Mom doesn’t feel so good, but she still loves them very much and it’s not because of them that she doesn’t feel good, and she will feel better soon. And often, for me, just the sunny smile of a child, or the incredible wisdom they seem to randomly spread all around them, is sufficient to brighten me up when depressed. Unfortunately, hypomania is another story. But you are a strong woman and you will do just fine, I can tell!

      • Yep, Soul Survivor, I was replying to you then and I’m replying to you now.🙂 Yes…one foot in front of the other, that’s right! Thanks for saying I’m strong…some days are better than others of course, but that’s true for anyone and I’m doing the best I can!

  2. Jaclyn

    I just got back in town from vacation and it’s so good to catch up on your blog. I love your heart for your precious boys. They are so blessed to call you momma!!

  3. Fredrikke Taylor

    Anyone who desires to have children should have children regardless of inherited traits. Sometimes it brings heartache, but heartaches are part of life and dependency on God carries us through so much better. You are taking steps to keep structure and sanity in your life which is not an easy task. Parents with bi-polar disorders who do nothing to correct their situation often raise children with scars. I have a friend who has done this. She loves her children dearly. They love her and reach out to her all the time. While they do have scars from this, these children are marvelous parents, loving and caring adults and doing well. So is their mother now. And I am so glad she is my friend. Your blog is wonderful. Enjoy it so much.

    • Fredrikke, thank you so much for your encouragement! I love how you shared about your friend. Sounds like you’re a great friend to her. And, that’s what this is all about for me… People being able to relate to other people’s bipolarity via mine. I love your perspective on it. I also agree that dependency on God carries us through…

  4. I look at my daughter, and I look at myself, and I think — this child is supposed to exist. I have no doubt in my mind, and I look forward to the splashes this vivacious individual will make as she grows older (she’s currently three). I certainly hope she doesn’t take after me in regards to bipolar, and I remind myself that even with two generations before her, that doesn’t mean she’s equally cursed, especially if we can provide her a stable life.

    But I’ll agree with you that the bipolar and mother never combine forces to ‘bipolar mother’. These are both facets of self, yes, and like you, the bipolar encourages me to work hard to be stable for myself and my family… but I don’t think my mind will ever label me as a bipolar mother.

    • I totally agree with what you said.

      They’re both “facets of self”…well said.

      And yes, I know my children are “supposed to exist” too!

      I thank you for your comment, you’re always uplifting and encouraging. I love to hear what you have to say.

  5. Wayne

    Awesome post that I have sent to several individuals. Thank you for your honesty and VERY real reflections. Thank you and way to go!!

  6. wac1234

    AWESOME post, have sent it to several individuals. Thank you for your honesty and VERY real reflections. WAY YO GO!!

  7. Robin Trebec

    Laura, as always beautifully written and expressed. You are a wonderful mom, in every respect, because you put the focus on the right things. Working to stay healthy, regardless of the reason why, should be every mom’s focus. All too often, we lose ourselves in the taking care of others and forget that if we don’t first take care of ourselves, eventually there’ll be nothing left for others. And don’t worry about those who think they know better and say things like you shouldn’t have children. People have children every day and pass along all kinds of genetic “mutations” that others think should be eliminated – red hair was once a sign of evil, blond hair and blue eyes were considered superior, etc. My family has a long history of dementia and Alzheimer’s on one side with heart attacks/strokes on the other. My husband is diabetic and has albinism. We ended up with three beautiful, smart and funny kids. I wouldn’t change it for the world. And if anyone has something to say about it, they’re speaking for themselves, not me (or us). I think you’re an inspiration to people everywhere who struggle for any reason. (((hugs)))

    • Robin, I love how you put it: “All too often, we lose ourselves in the taking care of others and forget that if we don’t first take care of ourselves, eventually there’ll be nothing left for others.”

      Thank you for your sweet and uplifting words! Much love!

  8. Thanks for this post. I know firsthand what you say is true. I am the proud mother of healthy and rambunctious boys and I live with bipolar disorder too. Living with this illness means parenting can be a bit trickier sometimes – that’s for sure! But I believe our children will grow up more resilient for it! Best of luck and health to you as you parent your beautiful kids!

  9. Sometimes I worry about the genetics of bipolar disorder, especially because I’m bipolar and I inherited it from my father. But then I think about how my parents (especially my mother) were able to handle my illness. I hid a lot of my emotions and thoughts from them, but my mother still knew something was up. After my official diagnosis, my mother knew (because of experience with my dad) how to recognize a bipolar episode and she really helped me out in some terrible situations. So, thinking about that, it makes me realize that if our kids do inherit my bipolar disorder, my husband and I will figure out a way to handle it. We’ll know the signs, we’ll know what to look for… we’ll have the gift of insight into the disorder. We don’t have kids yet, but we’re planning on starting a family soon. And I really believe that there is no way bipolar disorder is going to stop me from having children. You are evidence that it can be done, and it can be done successfully! Keep on rockin’ it!

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