Ah, the shrieks of laughter and squeals of delight from playful children! They cut through me like a light saber through Jell-O. I’m hyper-sensitive to loud or high-pitched noises.
A while back, one of my blogging buddies was speculating on whether she wanted to or ought to have a child, despite her disorder. I have no answer or even advice for her, but but here is what I think about motherhood and Bipolar Me.
When we got married, my husband really wanted to be a father some day. To tell the truth, I never gave it much thought really, since I had never expected to be married.
At that time in my life I was barely medicated and had a lot of meltdowns and breakdowns and up-and-down cycles (mostly down) ahead of me.
Looking back, I am glad that I never became a mother. The thought alone overwhelms me.
First of all, I would have been a really bad mother. It would have been unfair to a child to have a mother who would disappear into her room for days at a time, not communicate for weeks at a time, be depressed for months – or years – at a time. Not to mention not being able to enjoy anything. Put that person in charge of a live human child for 18+ years?
I know there must be people who do it, but I don’t even really understand how non-biploar people manage it.
Second – and this is the part that is going to sound selfish to those people she feel that childless-by-choice women are all selfish – but I needed all the resources I had to construct and reconstruct myself. As Gloria Steinem reportedly said, I didn’t give birth to a child because I was giving birth to myself. I still am, after my most recent and most monumental breakdown, still trying to salvage what I can of my psyche, seeing what pieces still fit, and learning to live with the things that are no longer present – or maybe never were.
And I had all kinds of irrational thoughts on the subject of motherhood. The one time I thought about motherhood, it was because my father was dying, and I wanted him to see his grandchild if there was going to be one.
Also, I was terrified of losing myself. My husband had some issues of his own and was, let’s say, way too close to his inner child. I thought he and a child would outnumber me and I would be the mean one, the killjoy, the Other.
As time went on, I grew less and less inclined to even be around babies or small children. And my husband would go into a funk if one of our friends had a baby. Eventually, he decided that if he wasn’t going to be a father, he could be a mentor, a helper, a healer, to other children and former children. Maybe even his inner child.
Now having a child is no longer even a possibility. And I’m good with that.