Pregnancy dilemma: Bipolar with babies?

In about a month from now, I’ll be 2 years into married life and I’ve successfully dodged a lot of baby questions. I’m starting to pass that honeymoon phase though so those questions are starting to trickle in. Before I know it, they’ll be watching that certain “special lower abdomen” bump every time I refuse a glass of wine or a shot of tequila. Well… they can wait forever because there is definitely no baby bump action happening anytime soon!

Reddit has shown me that many women with bipolar disorder have chosen not to have children because of it, and it seems that there are a few common themes.

  1. Do I want to pass on my bipolar disorder to my children?
  2. Do I want to risk being off medications to have children (during conception and breastfeeding)? Not to mention how the hormones will affect their moods.
  3. How can I handle being bipolar without proper sleep and the responsibility of children?

I’ve asked myself all three questions when I was first diagnosed, and these questions became my reality once I was married. Unlike some of the women on Reddit who have commented, I do not have the luxury of omitting children from my life. My husband needs to have kids, and I conveniently have a cavity in my body to hold a small human. Life lesson: Discuss children before getting married.

Don’t get me wrong – kids are cool but I would prefer 3 dogs and a cute Volkswagen convertible while being bipolar instead of 2 children and an 8 ball to make some parenting decisions (…just kidding).

Let’s just say that I’m confident I’ll be pass-able as a mom knowing that I’m a pediatric nurse myself and that my kids will be kids regardless of their “bipolar status”. My real worry is that there is no way I can predict how I’ll react when I’m off my medications so that I can release my egg for the army of sperm. Many of my medications are teratogenic drugs that will harm the development of the fetus, but they are all medications that I need. Yes, yes, yes… there are baby specialized psychiatrists who would help me with this but it’s scary business.

The last time I remembered myself without medications was when I was a kangaroo hopping around my apartment and then trying to commit suicide some days later.

More recently (like 2 years ago), when I was off my medications, I was an anxious sobbing mess who couldn’t even peel herself off the couch to pee. To think I’d have to be off my medications for 9 or more months sounds like ZERO fun to me, and 9 months is the best case scenario. Let me remind you that this is all fear driven and not fact checked at all. Some women have said that their hormones actually balanced out their mood perfectly well while others have said that their pregnancy was a nightmare.

That sums up most pregnancies right? Some are glowy and angelic while others are plagued with mood swings, swollen feet, and adult acne.

My conclusion is that – don’t hold your breath – I have none. All I know is that living my life in fear is not a popular decision anymore. I’ve come too far to be afraid of shit like this. Quite frankly, I think I just like dogs more than babies (they let me sleep and don’t learn to talk back). But for now, I’ll stick to the one fur baby I have in my life, and the other adult-baby that I’m married to.

xoxo,
Joanne

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