Before I had a baby, I assumed caring for a newborn would be easy. I had read all the books and subscribed to the parenting websites. I was an organized person and coped well under pressure. My husband and I were happily married and we had just moved into our first family home. I had decided I would return to work after six months on maternity leave. I had it all figured out.
I thought I knew exactly what to expect when I was expecting. I thought I was prepared. Then I gave birth and nothing was anything like I had expected.
It is inevitable you will go a little mad when you have your first baby. From the moment your little one arrives your whole world is turned upside-down. You are tired, physically uncomfortable and trying to keep a tiny human intact on barely any sleep.
However, if you continue to feel low, hopeless, or anxious then you might want to talk to your doctor. Postnatal depression (PND) affects one in ten women, yet many people still ignore or hide their symptoms, afraid that they will be perceived as bad mothers or weak people.
I did this, and it turned out to be a terrible idea.
I am not a bad mother or a weak person, I just got sick. It was not my fault. It sometimes just happens. (more…)
We don’t have a plan.
Chances are it will happen again. Mania will overtake my brain to the point where I’ll need to be forced into treatment. No matter how hard I work at staying mentally healthy, the statistics show that most people who live with my type of bipolar will relapse many times. This can be due to meds ceasing to work, life events, or changes in sleep patterns.
We probably should write down a plan.
That was the advice given to us as we sat in a dreary office speaking with a new psychiatrist one month before I would give birth to our first child. My entire pregnancy had gone so smoothly. My bipolar disorder appeared to be in remission as I indulged in ice cream every night and marveled at my growing belly.
Not even the loss of my laid back, corporate recruiting job, the same month we closed on our new house, rattled my mental health. We had conceived, sold our townhouse, found a new place to live, packed and moved, went through my job loss, and I was still okay. I was more than okay. I was so happy with how our life was going.
So when Ben and I met with the psychiatrist, I naturally was not really focused on preventative measures. Frankly, I was questioning whether I even had bipolar given how well I had been doing off medication. The meeting was meant for us to have someone in our back pocket, should we need her in an emergency. My ego ached for her to shower me with praise for how well I had been taking care of myself.
Instead, she focused on the inevitable hospitalization she predicted I’d face. That’s all I heard. “You’re going to fail at mothering with bipolar, so we need a plan for when that happens.”