I have bipolar affective disorder as well as anxiety. When thinking about starting a family, it was always the bipolar I worried about. Would I pass it on? How would pregnancy and medication mix? How would any episodes impact on my children? Along with a million other questions. Deciding to have a child took a lot of planning and input from my mental health team. I can’t thank the NHS enough for how well I was looked after. Right from planning the pregnancy through to parenting. I had regular input from my psychiatrist and saw a psychologist at least once a fortnight from pregnancy until my son was a year old.
I always thought it would be the bipolar that had the biggest impact. It’s not though. Apart from a (very well managed and treated) manic episode 3 months after the birth, I’ve been fine. It’s the anxiety that causes me the most issues.
My anxiety was well managed until I became a Mother. Now I’m constantly worried about something. Is he ill? Is he developing normally? Is he about to fall off that slide? Is he taking that toy off another child? Is that other Mother judging everything I do? Am I getting it wrong? The never ending thoughts are more exhausting than the night feeds ever were.
I do have good support from friends, family and the wonderful NHS. I do wonder though, how much other parents deal with this? I imagine it’s a lot more frequent than people think. I know I’d feel better if we talked about it more. The stigma and the fear of being judged is what stops me though.