What about having children?

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Zomese
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 150
   Posted 7/2/2007 6:57 PM (GMT -7)   
My husband and I are considering having a baby. We've been married now for about four years. He just turned 31 and I'm 28. We have no children yet.
 
How did everyone else handle this w/ bipolar? I also plan to bring this up w/ my therapist on the 11th (thats my next appt.)
 
What did everyone do about their meds? What things should I consider? Did the pregnancy hormones make your bipolar worse? If so, what did you do?
 
We were thinking probably within the next year. I work right now. But I'm planning to take a year off after I have it, if we decide to have one.
 
Any experience & advice would be appreciated.
 
Bipolar II, Panic Disorder & OCD
28 Years old
Taking Trileptal 300mg twice a day


Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 7/2/2007 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
I was unmedicated with all my children and did fine. In fact I've talked to several people who have said they never felt better than when they were pregnant. I include myself in that. I felt more stable then than any other time in my life.
I believe there are meds that are not contraindicated in pregnancy, talk to your pdoc, but also your ob. Many docs want you off all meds for the first trimester if you can pull it off. With some meds you just have to weigh the risks over the benefits.
I was on meds with my last pregnancy, a year and a half ago, (didn't know I was pregnant) and I miscarried. But I'm also over 40 and that may have been the deciding factor in that. I'll never know, very tramautic though and that did seem to when I began my downward spiral.
Bipolar disorder also seems to be hereditary. Half my family right down to the cousins have BP. My oldest daughter has been dx as well, and while my second daughter has never been dx, it's been obvious to us all since she was a teen that she has at the very least BPII. It could turn up in your children, but then with pregnancy there are never any guarantees. It's just a big unknown. I have happy healthy kids, even the bipolar ones, and I don't regret having any of them.
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
You just have to accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue. 
 


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 7/3/2007 6:13 AM (GMT -7)   
We went round and round about this too, Zomese. We tried for 3 years to get pregnant and when I did get pregnant, I was stable but on my meds. My Ob/Gyn obviously wanted me off the meds, but my psych really wanted me to stay on them. Long story short: After soul searching and lots of talking to family, I stayed on them (Lamictal 400 mg, Prozac 40) with Prenatal Vitamins (this is REALLY important -- you should be taking these now. The folic acid is crucial in the first trimester.) Like Ellie, I felt absolutely terrific during my pregnancy -- probably the best I've felt in years. And my baby is fine, gorgeous, terrific. I couldn't breastfeed on my medication, though, so we had to go straight to formula. Again -- post partum everyone felt I needed my meds more than the baby needed breast milk. Even the pediatrician told me to stay on my meds. :)

But motherhood is hard. I love my daughter so so so so so much, but it is hard. If I didn't have a good support system, I'd lose it. If you like, we can talk more about staying home in the year or two after (my daughter's 2 and I'm still home).

Zomese
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 150
   Posted 7/3/2007 8:11 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you so much for both of your responses. I'm so happy you both had positive experiences.
 
I thought I was going to hear a bunch of bad experiences, so I'm very relieved.
 
Do either of you know how long before you started trying that you had to stop your medication? And do the prenatal vitamins interact with the medicines?
 
I know for sure I'd have to stop the trileptal. Everything I've read about this medicine and pregnancy is negative.
 
Ellie when did you start to notice the bipolar in your children? I am concerned about that also. My dad is also bipolar, so I'm sure that's where I got it from. I hope I don't pass it to my children. My dad carries a lot of guilt that I have it, like he feels like it's his fault. I always tell him it's not.
 
Do you think being a mom is harder when you have bipolar? I also have a good support system. I have my hubby and my parents & his parents, both will be over joyed.
 
 
 
Bipolar II, Panic Disorder & OCD
28 Years old
Taking Trileptal 300mg twice a day


Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 7/3/2007 9:37 AM (GMT -7)   
My second daughter I noticed symptoms in as a pre-teen. The oldest, 25, was only dxed after she began to self medicate with drugs and alcohol. I have four other children as well, the youngest is 3 and I've noticed no signs of BP in them.
Sometimes being a parent with this disorder is extremely challenging. My husband and I have been separated for years, so I'm a single parent, and with my current mixed episode, life kinda stinks for all of us. But it gets better. And the good times far outweigh the bad, even if it's hard to remember that sometimes.
I'm not sure about the med issues. Each drug has a unique half life and thats something you'll probably have to take up with your doctor.
A good support system is half the battle. You'll do great.
Ellie


Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
You just have to accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue. 
 


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 7/4/2007 6:51 AM (GMT -7)   
As I said, I never did stop all my meds. I had been on Topomax as well and we stopped that as soon as I found out I was pregnant, just because it was a third thing I felt I could do without. I also didn't use any other drugs while I was pregnant -- no Ativan or even ibuprofen. Just those 2 -- Lamictal and Prozac.

The way it was explained to me, the prenatal vitamins (by way of their high doses of folic acid) actually help counteract the potential damage the psych drugs might do. Folic acid helps prevent birth defects in the brain and spinal cord which are where the psych drugs are likely to do the most damage. That's why its crucial you start taking them NOW, even before you're pregnant, just in case you do get pregnant. I'm still taking them, even though I have no intention of having another baby, just in case.

I'd say being a mom is hard for everyone. But I'd say, for me at least, it's definitely complicated by the bipolar. I managed to avoid post partum depression or psychosis, although everyone was very worried about that, and it's a real concern for people with previous mood disorders.

Also, so far I've managed to keep my moods "separate" from my activities and relationship with my daughter, but it's made things harder with my husband, and much harder for my self. I'm not sure that makes any sense. By keeping my self "on form" for my daughter, I have to take away from my own reserves to keep myself healthy. I wear myself out more quickly. This would be a huge post if I tried to really explain, so I'll skip it. The answer is yes. It's hard. But it's definitely worth it -- believe it or not. My daughter is fantastic.

My daughter is still to young for us to know about her mental health, obviously, but I worry about her having inherited bipolar or depression. One way to look at it, my therapist said, is that even if she does have it, she'll have parents and a family who are experienced and sympathetic to her struggles with the disease, which is certainly more that I can say, and that she'll be okay. She'll have a family who will know how to get her help early and often.

serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 7/4/2007 6:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow, You have 6 kids, Ellie! That's amazing. Well done! I can't imagine trying to do all that with a mood disorder. You deserve a medal.

Ellie 1
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1291
   Posted 7/6/2007 8:04 AM (GMT -7)   
My kids are really spread out. They are ages 25, 22, 15, 10, 7 and 3. The three oldest and the youngest are all girls. First 3 from my first marriage, then I remarried and started all over. I'd have another in a heartbeat if I could. I've been a stay at home mom for most of my life.
I have 5 grandkids as well. My oldest grandson, and youngest son graduated from kindergarten in the same school. My two oldest daughters always complained about cramped quarters, and never having enough bathrooms, now they both seem to be on their way to having large families as well. My 25 year old is married with 3 already. The twenty two year old has 2 with her husband. I think big families are addictive. It's crazy and chaotic, but it's alot of fun unless you're in the midst of a depression.
Good judgement comes from experience and alot of that comes from bad judgement.
 
You just have to accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue. 
 


replystreet
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 7/7/2007 6:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Lots of people with bipolar have children. Ask your doctor what to do about the medications. It's going to be interesting the bipolar with the pregnancy. Your feelings will be changing a lot. But you will get through it.
For Free Prescription Medications. Call 1888-872-7519 Today


Djonma
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 285
   Posted 7/12/2007 12:31 PM (GMT -7)   
I'll bring a different view to this.
I'm the child of someone with BP.
I also have BP.
My Mum and I hated each other because of this.
My parents knew there was something wrong with me from being very young. I saw a child psychologist when I was 12 but I only saw him once as he broke my trust and I refused to go back.
I was diagnosed with clinical depression though.
My Mum had a breakdown not long after and was then diagnosed as having BP. When we saw all the symptoms out in the open we realised immediately that that's what I had.
But a really stupid doctor told me it was impossible to cycle as fast as I did, or to have mixed episodes, and so I was untreated for years.

Living with a bipolar parent can be very, very difficult though, especially if one has bipolar oneself.
The good news is that you know you have bipolar. You know the ups, you know the downs. You know how hard it can be.
My Mum didn't.
So we were at each other all the time.
She took everything out on me because I was a troublesome child.
And she went over the top because of her bipolar.
And I reacted over the top because of my bipolar.
The slightest argument between two bipolar people can blow up into a huge disaster.
Even between a bipolar and a depressive (my boyfriend has depression and we get very bad sometimes).

But the fact that you know and understand your bipolar will make everything a lot easier.
Now that my Mum is medicated and understands her own condition, we get on a lot better, though she can easily trigger me just because it's in my subconscious, learnt from when I was a child.

Don't let me put you off, never let anyone put you off having children.
Just be aware that it may not be easy.
Be very open with your children about the bipolar from the very start. Teach them about it and what it is so that they can feel at ease speaking to you about it, and even telling you if they think you're a little manic. That's the ideal situation. Then they will feel that everyone has control over it and it doesn't control you or your family.
And they'll have a great start on how to deal with things if they subsequently develop it.
Don't let them be afraid of it, just teach them to accept what it is.

Nicola
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome from birth - Diagnosed 1999
Fibromyalgia from birth - Diagnosed 2005
(?) Ulcerative Colitis - waiting for tests
(?) BiPolar
Thrombocytosis

Epilim Chrono 1500mg at night (Sodium Valproate)
Lofepramine (Feprapax or Gamanil) 70mg at night.
Quetiapine (Seroquel) when needed.


serafena
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 3715
   Posted 7/13/2007 7:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you for that Nicola,

One of my greatest concerns ever since having children has been how to be a good parent with BP. I am of course afraid should my daughter inherit the disease. Everyone tells me it'll be okay, because I'll already have an understanding of the disease -- which is true. I'm an intelligent and compassionate person and devoted to my daughter. But I am glad to hear real-world scenerios of how it can be hard because that is more helpful. :)

serafena

joe1976
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 22
   Posted 7/13/2007 10:30 PM (GMT -7)   
hi, I'm new here... just wanted to say
my mother was bipolar, had no trouble during pregnancy... it was post natal depression that got her hospitalised..
she was hard to handle from when I was born till I was a teenager
then her symptoms subsided and I confessed my love for her unconditionally
when I got dx as bipolar 1. she was the most supportive and still is. She is strong even though my dad has passed away... and she is living proof that some... maybe more... have the chance of remission.... full freedom from the grasp of bipolar... she takes no meds now, has had 3 children and is now as stable as... well.. is just very able and stable despite her age of 63. But it was difficult during her early years to late forties. Having to deal with rebellious children and drug crazed adolescents... can be difficult to the max. But there is always that silver lining... as her children me included came to terms with her illness she responded very positively and she was a pillar of strength after my father died of colon cancer.

There have been many people talking about preventative measures during pregnancy like adjusting or coming off meds.

I believe everyone has the right to children... and everyone... be it child of bp or bp parent will step up when the time comes. Or at least it happened for me...

Bless you in your decisions
__________________________________________________________________
Bipolar Type 1
Social anxiety/agoraphobia
100mg Lamictal 3 times daily
500-600 seroquel at night
2.5mg diazepam 3 times daily, 10mg at night
___________________________________________________________________
"when we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory that we have not loved enough" - Maurice Maeterlinck (Belgian writer)

"if any person wish to be idle, let them fall in love." - Ovid (Roman Poet)

"All Life is Dukkha (suffering)" - Buddhist ism. Life lies a slow suicide

"Oh wretched man that I am, who can rescue me from this body of death?" - Paul, Romans 7:24


pinkelephant
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 7/26/2007 3:55 PM (GMT -7)   
This is a question I always enjoy reading responses to. Now I am the odd man out here in that having children the good old fashion way has never been of interest..I guess someone forgot to install my biological clock. Anyway, my husband is bipolar and would love nothing more than to have kids (yes this has always been anissue and yes, I have told him my position since I was 16, and Yes, he just figured I would change!).  Now he thinks my reluctance is because he is bipolar which is silly. If we all looked at our heath and that of our family members and used that as the deciding factor on whether or not we'd have kids, mankind as we know it would have come to a halt a long time ago.  If you and your husband want to start a family go forth and simply enjoy the possibilities!
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