As stated by Jessi Lepine, a woman with bipolar disorder who was pregnant and shared her story on the International Bipolar Foundation’s official website,
“Before I was pregnant someone said to me that I shouldn’t have kids because I have bipolar [disorder]. This person said I might not be a good mom because I could possibly go manic or depressed at some point. This person said I would not be able to handle the hormones, stress and lack of sleep and might hurt my baby if I had a manic or depressive episode post-partum.
What this person said was an obvious example of the stigma people with mental illness face in every aspect of their lives. I am a believer that people who have bipolar [disorder] can do anything a mentally well person can do with the right meds, right support and dedication to a wellness plan that is tailored to their needs. Don’t let anyone tell you not to follow your dreams of having a family just because you have a mental illness!”
If you have (or believe you may have) bipolar disorder (BPD) and are expecting, there are many steps that you can take to ensure a successful pregnancy and family life. First, if you haven’t already, obtain a diagnosis from a licensed physician. This will help you understand what your risks and needs are to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Oftentimes, psychotherapy and medication are discussed to help you understand your disorder and get a firm grasp on starting a family. Be prepared to educate yourself on the risks involved with having BPD while being pregnant; Tommy’s, a UK-based organization that provides pregnancy information, states that individuals with BPD are more likely to relapse during pregnancy and may be at higher risk for post-partum psychosis. However, although these risks are present, this doesn’t mean there aren’t steps for precaution.
Keep your doctor informed about the medication you are prescribed and do not discontinue the medication unless your doctor tells you to. If you recognize any concerning symptoms or feelings, contact your doctor right away for help. Mental illness does not have to prevent you from creating a family, but educating yourself and following your wellness plan are critical for the mental and physical health of both yourself and your baby.
If you are seeking a recovery center for mental health, call us today at 888-958-7511. Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned mental health and addiction recovery treatment center. We will work with you to help you overcome your obstacles and lead you on a path towards success and recovery. Call us today for a consultation.