Having a baby can be one of the most exciting times in a couples life. Starting with the happy tears when those 2 little lines appear, the flutters in a woman’s womb of the growing baby, the first time holding your newborn (which becomes the beginning of many firsts), the moments you share with your loved one watching your baby grow and learn, in the end making all those chaotic days and sleepless nights worth it.
I used to be completely against the idea of having a children. I thought them to be annoying, needy and loud. Being a victim of sexual abuse also makes you want to avoid children because in the back of your head you’re concerned you’ll be a monster like your abuser (especially if you are the offspring of that person). It makes it difficult to be affectionate towards children because you are always worried that if you hold them or tickle them a wrong way, they will take it the wrong way and look at you like you look at the person who sexually abused you. Because of this, I would be lying if I said I never doubted my ability and my want of being stepmother. I was terrified. I had to learn that showing love and affection was okay and that I am not a monster, how to not take everything personally, how to step back and let my boyfriend be a Dad, how to laugh at myself, learn where my place was in her life, and learn when to put my foot down. I have done all this and I have realized kids aren’t so bad.
Becoming a stepmom changed my perspective of parenting, it started to open my eyes. Then my close friends started having babies and that really got the gears turning. I realized I loved holding their babies, I loved kissing their chubby little cheeks, I loved goofing around and playing with them, I loved seeing their reactions and making them laugh, I loved spending time with them. I loved being an aunty and most of all, a stepmom. I loved it so much, it started to make me a little sad because I might not ever get to share these special moments with a child of my own.
Yes, I have a stepdaughter… but everyone knows that the relationship between a stepparent and a child will never be like it is with the birth parents. I have a great relationship with my stepdaughter, we hang out like friends and I rarely have to step in and play the parent role. I will never have a relationship with her like she has with her mother, and nor would I ever even try to replicate that because it is impossible and not my place. I honestly will never understand why parents get bent out of shape when a stepparent comes in the picture because the reality is, the bond you have with your child can not be broken or ever replaced… they are a piece of YOU! With that being said, watching my stepdaughter grow over the last 6 years and growing our relationship has been truly special to be apart of and bittersweet.
I struggle with it because I will always be on the sidelines. I don’t get to experience her firsts, she will never have any of my quirks, no part of her will ever look like me, I will never be the first person she comes to for anything, I will never be someone she looks up to, I will always suck at everything I do because her parents do it best, if I were to leave she would get over it in a few months. Right now, I just get a taste of what it’s like to be a parent. I sometimes wonder how amazing it feels to have your child look at you with so much love, to be the one who they run to, to watch all their firsts, to see glimpses of yourself in them, see how your appearance meshes with your partners, for them to think you are some kind of superhero.
On the other hand I struggle with having Bipolar Disorder… This is where realistic Mell kicks in. My disorder makes things complicated. To start, it has made me very sensitive to hormones, I can’t take birth control because of it. Last time I tried birth control, I experienced a rage like no other. It was the longest 3 months of my life because there was nothing I could do to ease the emotional stress I was under. We all know women’s hormones go all wack during and after pregnancy. This means that my mood swings will become more prominent and can even go into psychosis so then I’d need to be hospitalized and that would put stress on the baby. The next issue is, women with Bipolar Disorder have a 50% chance of developing postpartum depression. I sit here, admiring mothers who spend those first moments with their new born and to think I can have that taken away from me so easily and not even want to be near my child makes me worry. What also comes with motherhood is lack of sleep and lack of routine. For me to be stable, and what my psychiatrist has stressed, is that I need to have sleep, exercise and routine… umm… you don’t have that for the first few years of your life as a mother. Next, I worry about being moody while raising my child, that pains me because I want to be the best mother I can be (who doesn’t) and give my child an environment full of love and acceptance. With my moods, I can become snappy, angry, irritable and critical. I grew up with my mother getting angry easily which made me scared of her, I do not want my child to look at me like that, I want to be my childs best friend and want them to be comfortable coming to me for anything! Last but not least, I worry about my child developing Bipolar Disorder. I have read that there is only a 10% chance but it is still something I think about. I would do my best to make sure my child is safe from trauma and would do anything to make sure they would be happy but I can’t control every outcome of every situation they will encounter. The only benefit would be is that I would know how to deal with my childs disorder because I would have experience with it.
I know that there are many people with mood disorders who have children and have amazing lives and have dealt with these struggles. But that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to worry. I know my boyfriend worries about it too because he would have to step up when I may not be able to handle being a parent. Some days I may need to sleep and to check out. There’s even the risk of me being completely consumed by postpartum and taking off leaving him alone to raise the child. That isn’t fair to anyone. Who knows, maybe I won’t even have half as many issues as I think I will. But…It’s a huge decision I will need to make one day.
Do I ignore that nagging feeling of wanting to be a mother? Do I miss all the firsts and the chance to see a mini-me running around? Will I be able to live with that decision when I’m old and everyone has grandbabies and I’m all alone? Will I be okay with that? Or do I ignore the risks and go for it? Do I risk my mental stability? Can I handle not having enough sleep? Can I handle giving up my freedom? Can I handle not having a routine for awhile? Can I handle being a mom? Honestly… I don’t know if I can… I don’t have a fucking clue…
If you are interested in a resource that has some information about pregnancy and bipolar. I enjoyed this link: