As today is Mother’s Day here in the US, I thought I would blog a little bit about something I know… Being a mother with a mental illness.
Being a mother is hard. Not everyone is cut out for it. It takes a lot of discipline, courage, energy. The hours are long, you never get a day off, and planning for one is difficult, especially if you have little ones. But being a mother that has a mental illness it tough.
I have 4 children; 23, 18, 15, and 10
Prior to my fist child being born, I was on prozac for depression I went off of it with my doctors approval when I found out I was pregnant… That is all I thought my problem was, since the age of 15 and had been treated as such. I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar until my third child was 2. All of those years with the ups and downs, anger — oh the anger! Sadly my oldest child got the brunt of that. It is something I am sorry for still, and it is something she still holds resentment for, which I can’t blame her. I was a young mother. I was 21 when I had her. She was diagnosed professionally with adhd at the age of 7. So, and undiagnosed bipolar dealing with an adhd patient… it was rough to say the least.
Mother hood for me was much easier after being properly diagnosed and medicated. However, during the time I was first diagnosed, I was severely over medicated, which meant, I missed out on a lot of things, and my husband had to pick up my slack, which I am so grateful for. I missed out on performances, plays, and other such functions, all because I couldn’t function because I was over medicated. At the time I didn’t mind, well, because I was over medicated and didn’t mind about too much. But once I dropped that pdoc and got a new one, life was much better, and I felt horrible for all the time lost with my kids.
When my 4th child came along I was still medicated. Granted, some meds were reduced and I was taken off of some medications due to the possible damage they could have done to my baby. During the pregnancy I was fine, but after, not so much. I had a horrible case of Post Partum Depression. It lasted about 6 months or so. And then when she turned 1, I had been rushed to the emergency room for gallbladder issues.
But now… now that I am properly medicated, being a mother is much much easier. I am not an angry lunatic. I can remain calm and calmly discipline when I need to. I can be there for my kids now. I can go to performances and things of that nature. But as you know, even if you are properly medicated, you still go through ups and downs and experience episodes. This can be a challenge. But I do the best I can.
Being a mother is hard. Being a mother with a mental illness is a different kind of hard. Because not only are you trying to make sure your kids are being taken care of, but you also have to keep tabs on how you are doing and make sure you are receiving proper care. It’s true, you can’t take care of anyone unless you take care of yourself first.