Deepest, darkest fears--marriage, pregnancy and raising children

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Clio
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 9/21/2005 10:18 AM (GMT -7)   
I recently became engaged to the most wonderful man.  He knows all about my illness and with my recent cycling episodes (see my "new to the board" post), has learned to handle them like a trooper.  He is kind and understanding, gets that what comes out of my mouth is usually related to a chemical imbalance and not reality, doesn't take the irritability personally and knows when to comfort and when to leave me alone.
 
But this is now, at the beginning of our life together and only after his first real experience with the disease.  I'm so worried that I'm doing the wrong thing in agreeing to marry him--how can I subject him to this for years to come?  It seems so horribly unfair; like a prison sentence for him.  I've tried to talk to him about it, but he tells me I'm being silly and he can handle it.  But I just look at him and wonder how he is going to feel ten years from now, when he is tired of dealing with me.  Plus, he's got his own worries right now (he's trying to complete his Ph.D. and has writer's block, plus the job market for professors at the moment is pretty sad.  I know I'm making him even more tense and worried; plus, I can't help him right now with his own problems like I normally do.  How can that be good for a healthy marriage?)
 
And then there is the issue of children.  I'm so scared about this one that I'm quietly panicking almost constantly.  I can't go off my meds during pregnancy (Welbutrin and either Lamictal or <!--StartFragment --> Depakote--we're in the middle of a switch right now, though I'm assuming that I'll have to lose the Clonazapam and not sleep for 9 months...), but I'm worried about the effect they'll have on the fetus.  And now I'm reading about not only the chances of post-partum depression, but also psychosis!  Plus, the hormones--I have trouble enough with them already (PMD); how will I survive pregnancy?  Can anybody with experience please give me some info and tell me how you handled it?
 
And then there's the issue of actual children and parenting.  I've learned to cope over the years by turning inward.  I read a lot.  I watch a lot of TV.  I'm always on the internet.  I don't go out much.  And I had (just sold her) a horse for four years who I truly believed saved me.  But riding is also a very solitary activity.  My fiance is fine with this; he's an introvert as well and understands.  But I use my "inner life" to stay sane, and I don't see how I can possibly continue this behaviour with children.  I'm hoping that some sort of mothering instinct that everyone always talks about will kick in, and I'll really want to focus all of my attention on my kids, but what if it doesn't?  If I do get post-partum depression, then that bond is supposedly not as strong.  And then, what happens when I get sick?  How do you, all of you mothers out there, manage?  Were you as afraid as I am?
 
Again, I've discussed all of this in detail with my fiance, and he talks about support networks (though we may end up anywhere in the country depending on where he lands a job and I certainly can't ask my mother, the only other person I trust with this illness, to relocate), and careful planning and "we'll deal with it when the time comes."  But in all of this uncertainty, there is one thing we both know for sure--he wants kids.  And I'm petrified that I won't love them, or be able to care for them, or pay attention to them, or will simply make their lives miserable with this illness.
 
Okay, wow.  A lot of fear here.  Normally I know, at least cognitively, what to do about fear.  But I don't have any answers to these questions, so I can't calm myself down.  Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated.
 
Eva

Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 9/21/2005 10:44 AM (GMT -7)   
I have seven kids, six biological.ages 23-2. I was never medicated during my pregnancys but was somewhat hypomanic through the pregnancy and postpartum period. Not severely though. I do think I had some mild psychosis after my last one. It did pass on its own but I think I may have been very lucky. If I were to become pregnant now (highly unlikely, I'm 41) I don't know If i'd be comfortable going off the meds. At least not all. If I finally become stable for the first time in my life I don't know how willing I'm going to be to give that up. Maybe there are meds that are relatively safe in pregnancy. I really don't know.
As for raising children. It can be a challenge. I become irritable and snappy sometimes without the meds. Primarily why I went back on. I was a constant grouch and they didn't sign on for this. With my meds I do pretty well. As well as alot of "normal" people out there. (And i think normal is overrated) and better than some.
Good luck and don't worry too much. I truely believe it all works out in the end

kittycat27
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 9/21/2005 12:02 PM (GMT -7)   
Well I also have expereince in this area. My daughter Jaylynn is about to be 4. I was on zero meds during pregnancy and wasn't even dx yet. I had morning sickness for six months and it was horrible. I also had just been pregnant before her and lost a child ( boy), after six months of carrying, 3 months later I was preganant again. So I wasn't healed from the first. Anyways, I suffered SEVERE post-partum depression. First time I had been treated was after this happened, to find out later I am Bipolar. Hmmm... Anyways, I MOST DEFINATELY KNOW , my child and I lacked no bond due to this.I know there is probably research that says it is so, but heck there's research that says all kinds of garbage about BP.I know it , because I experienced it. Sure I had really bad days, but then happened i would call my mom so my daughter didn't sense that from me. I often took time to myself , and that gave her dad who worked alot time to have together. My daughter is attached at my leg till this day. It' s frustrating and it's hard. I defo. don't and won't sugar coat this one... being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had and will. It is alot of stress being a mom, college student, housekeeper, chef(lol), and whatever. I know it's difficult for everyone but when you add Bipolar on top of that, whoa... look out. The stresses get me. I never worried about it before, but now it's constant. It's like I constantly think the world is too much for my innocent , beautiful daughter... constantly worrying about soemthing bad happening to her and her dad. They are my life , and i just worry , that is a motherly instinct. I can't be super mom, but if you've ever read my posts, you will know I try to be. I have to realize i can't do it all, and not get mad if it's not the way I do it when someone wants to help, accept the help. I have to watch carefully that if i get too high or low, she needs to not see this. It's honestly overwhelming, and that is just one area of my life. Add college, yikes. As most people would tell you I am a perfectionist and a overachiever, it takes all my energy . I really don't have that much anymore.LOL If I could take a portion of Jaylynn's energy, boy I would have it made. Sleep is also important, and you lose alot with kids. Then my days are affected by that, and it's miserable. Okay, all that said, I would change it, becasue she honestly saved me of making some bad choices, and I have a love with her that you receive from no one else, Ellie you agree. It's special, and uncondiotional no matter what. i  also want to make clear that ME, I, worry that Jaylynn will be Bipolar and that scares me. i don't want her ever to have to go through this. I chose to have no more children , that played a key factor in my decision making.
You give up alot when you have children and as long as your set in your life to do that, then you will have few problems. I was way selfish before her, i bet you can guess I am no longer. Sacrifices? It's a love I could never imagine, and i am so glad someone sent her me... It's just really  a rough time right now. You will be fine as a mom, just be aware. iread alot of books, but it did't help me, but that's me. Also Jaylynn is going through the Freudian developmentalstage, of loving the opposite sex parent right now, so that hurts my feelings, but she should be back to me around 6. I will be patient. LOl No matter, it's all okay!!!!! ................ Best wishes Nickie Sorry so LONG

Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 9/21/2005 12:43 PM (GMT -7)   
As to the children perhaps being bipolar Nickie is correct. My oldest daughter has been dx and I would bet my 20 year old is as well. Its hard to tell with the rest, they're just too young. It is an issue, a very personal one, that requires much thought. When I had my first two I didn't know I was bipolar and I was in denial with the rest. Perhaps we'll be lucky and no more of mine will suffer, but my family is riddled with the disorder and anything is possible. We pray alot and hope for the best.
Ellie

Clio
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 13
   Posted 9/21/2005 12:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Really? Oh, I am so sorry, Ellie. And that's something I just keep pushing to the back of my mind. I had read so often that it often skips a generation that I chose not to worry about it. In my case, my maternal grandmother had it. And Nickie, now it's my turn to say don't worry about the length. In fact, you gave me a lot of food for thought and a lot of great advice. Thank you. But I'd still love to hear from other mothers out there... Did anyone stay on their meds while pregnant?

psychnurse
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 807
   Posted 9/21/2005 2:18 PM (GMT -7)   

Clio I can't help you with the parent thing, I never wanted kids.   But the marriage thing I defo can.

First ingredient in the recipe is a good, understanding STABLE guy who is devoted to you in spite of your illness and tries to learn as much as possible so he can help you.  Curious how long have you been together?  Has he only seen a hypomanic episode once?  

Second, do everything in your power to stay well!   We can say the most horrible hurtful things, that even tho we know and probably he does too, that we don't mean it and cant control it at the time, words are damaging after a while.   Call your pdoc at the very first sign of trouble.  Even mild irritability is a warning sign.  Call every day if you have to!  Don't stay on a med that isn't working, or do adjust the dose per your doc's orders.

I was the most WICKED WICKED B**** on the face of the earth, people always told me they had never heard anybody cut so deep with words.  I still can, but I can usually control it unless having problems, like some days right now.  I never did ANYTHNG for my poor husband except *****.  No dinners, no lunches, affection hardly ever, you read the rest in the other thread.   After all that, he stayed.  Most wouldn't believe me.  But now, it's like I'm another person and I do everything for him. 

Sorry, talking about me, but it's an example.  I think we are the most spectacular people when we're well because we understand pain and are usually sensitive to other people's.   Key is communication, learn to talk effectively without fighting.  Probably you already know that from your therapy.

Oh, and I disagree with the skipping a generation.  Many BPs including myself and Nickie here, have a parent with it, so that is something to consider, for sure.

I can't think of much else right now, having a very very tired and slow day, but if I think of something I will post it.

 



Variety is the spice of life, BP is the key


kittycat27
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 438
   Posted 9/21/2005 5:53 PM (GMT -7)   

Ellie , i want to make sure that you understand I did not mean anything about having kids and there having Bp, in a bad way. I would still love Jaylynn the same if she had Bp, as you love your children. It's just that I hope she doesn't, but will help her in every way when she gets older, I will obviously know what to look for now. I just mean that it is something to think about, and ultimately it is a decision made by the parents. I too did not know I was Bp until after having her. I would change it for the world though. I just anted to make sure you didn't take it wrong or anyhting. I am so paranoid about writing lately, I am sorry.Anyways, I know you will ahndle it the best possible way, you have enough experience with children, more than me anyways. So I give you all kinds of credit for that.

Shannon, you know the best to me anyways, what it takes to make a marriage work, when one is BP. Paul must love you to death and be an incredibly strong and caring man. I always like to hear what you have to say when it comes to relationships, I think I am the queen of  the run away bride effect. lol Always running and scared of failure and commitment, not in that order either. Yeah that's perfection!! yeah i just heard a song pertaining to how I felt yesterday, and do you think I could remember the name of it. Crap, I will think of it. WOW .. it almost scared me, it was so close that I thought he was singing the song to me. LOL It is a country song, I don't think you listen to country though. Talk to ya guys tomorrow. nickie 


Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 9/21/2005 6:06 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't offend easy hon, and no offense was taken
Night
Ellie
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