Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sometimes You Just Need To Sacrifice

When I was younger I had my life planned out in my mind, specifically my future. At 26 I would be married, and at 28 I would have my first child! This plan so didn't happen as planned. I was married at 33, and I don't have a child. The child aspect is what I want to discuss on this blog.

With my husband and I having Bipolar disorder, the odds of us having a Bipolar child is 55% or higher. When one parent has it there is only a 10% chance. Here is what I've struggle with. My husband's Bipolar is for the most part fairly mild. Nevertheless the odds are still the same. In addition to this which I've not mentioned my husband has ADD and I have ADHD, which is also genetic. For years I've gone back and forth, have a child, adopt, or decide not to have a kid. As I said, having a child has also been at the top of my list of must haves, what little girl doesn't play with their Betsy Wetsy and play mom while changing her diapers. I did, and I was a tomboy!! For those who are younger than I, your probably not going to know who Betsy Wetsy is!!! So I would like to break down the scenario's that I'm struggling with.

1.) With the odds of 55% of having a Bipolar child, as well as a child with ADD or ADHD, is it fair for the child knowing this to risk these odds. Since going through many ups and downs in my life, and dealing with such a severe case of Bipolar, I've often said "I wouldn't wish this on my enemy". So knowing that the risks are so high, how is the child going to feel, if they are Bipolar, knowing that I knew the odds. I would hate to see a child, nevertheless my own, go through the shit that I have and continuously still am going though! To see a child suffer would be horrible. People I know argue the point that because my husband and I are Bipolar we would be able to see the signs right away, and by the time the child is older, new medications and treatments will be medically advanced for dealing with mental illnesses. This is the first dilemma.

2.) Medications. I'm currently taking 16 medications, this is NOT a typo. I have asthma, acid reflux, chronic pain, and allergies. All on top of the mental illness medication, which are 6 in total. I've gone to a prenatal high risk specialist to discuss the risks of my medication usage. She was not very helpful. She told me I was not high risk. Most my medications are Class C drugs, which basically means that they have been shown to be safe, for the most part. I'm on one Class D drug that has been proven to cause birth defects. Additionally, I'm on Anti-Seizure medications that if I don't take a surplus of Folic Acid, will most likely cause Spina Bifida, which means the spine will not form correctly. So while one medication is a Class C drug, the combination of 16 drugs that are Class C can't be predicted. Lastly, if I go off any of these medication the result will most likely would cause me to become unstable, and I'm at 2 years and counting for stability. Third dilemma.

3.) While babies are known not to sleep through the whole night for the first year, normal parents can deal with the lack of sleep. With folks whom have Bipolar, lack of sleep for even one night can cause severe mood swing issues, and just one or two nights of sleeplessness would throw off my mood. Not to mention the Postpartum, which is pretty much a guarantee for those with mood disorders.

4.) While most folks can look into adoptions, which I've done as well, the odds of approval for those with any type of health issues, are pretty much nil. In China if you have asthma, they will not adopt out their children. Even in domestic adoptions, parents who are giving their child up for adoption, choose the parents. No parent is going to choose 2 parents with a mental illness. International adoption, as well is at least $25,000, how the hell can anybody afford that? Even getting a surrogate is expensive. Then you run into whether to use an egg a sperm, or a non-DNA related child. Still the costs of surrogacy is outrageous!

The hurt and pain I feel at times is horrible. My husband for the most part doesn't get it. Boys don't really grow up with the "maternal instinct". When I hear someone I know is pregnant it hurts, and when I see pregnant women it hurts as well. It probably feels similar to those struggling with fertility issues! What also drives me crazy are the questions. The first question hurts but is tolerable. "Do you have any children?"; my reply is either "no" or "not yet". The second question, which all should learn NOT to ask is, "when are you going to have one?".....At that point mind your f****ing business!

I'm 38 now, and at 35 and older pregnancies are automatically "high risk". The odds of having a child with a disability increases. If I got pregnant and that happened, there is no way I could manage with all the cards already stacked so high.

My sister just had a child, who I love more than words can express. I'm an aunt and a godmother....maybe this was the answer to not being a mother, but being a mother figure to my nephew. Maybe this was given to me, from the powers to be up above.

For now I need to learn how to be content, which is difficult and I'm working on! Adjectives for content include: gratified; happy; pleased; and satisfied. While the opposite means: displeased; unsatisfied; brokenhearted; depressed; discouraged, and the list goes on. It's hard not to feel the Antonyms.....but it's all about taking one day at a time, but that is easier said than done!!!!!



Anonymous said...

You're right about males not having the maternal instinct. At least that is what I don't have. I'm a male. I've never understood it either, but ok. Anyway I think you made a good decision; a tough one, but a good decision nonetheless. My sister's kids are like my kids too in a way. I've always felt that.

Brianna Chambers said...

This has been a DIFFICULT decision in my life and I am so happy to finally have someone else discuss it!!! I have one child that I had back in the stupidity of my teenage days. I never intended him to be an only child, but once I learned and witnessed (my sister and father) the hereditary aspect, I decided I could not ethically bring another child into this world predisposed to bipolar disorder. My son was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome last year, but I still question if that isn't actually early onset bipolar. I get so angry with people who have a history of mental illness, already have kids with difficulties, and keep having babies!!! I am sorry, I don't think that is their right when they have a brain to consider what life pain they may be inflicting on that new little one! Not to say my primitive brain doesn't resent this. I get jealous when other people become pregnant, but I hope to limit my influence on the number of bipolar people in this world. I applaud your insight and wisdom! :)

A Piece of My Mind said...

Thanks for responding. It is great to get my story out there as well as to hear from other like yourself. Please keep reading and if you know others who might enjoy this blog, pass it on!!

RLeighTardif said...

I also think you are wise.

I have a son from my first marriage. His father was drowned when he was an infant. When he was four and a half, I remarried.

I had never heard of bipolar disorder but after two and a half years, I couldn't take it and left. Shortly after that, Don was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I did a lot of research and finally understood and empathized with him.

Being young, of course we wanted children in the beginning. And it would have been nice for my son to have a sibling. But after I saw how Don suffered, I was happy that we hadn't had any. It would be heartbreaking to see your child suffer like that.

While it's true, you would recognize the symptoms easier, it's still difficult.

All the best to you.

A Piece of My Mind said...

Thank you so much for your comment. I think by folks interacting with each other with words of advice like this is great. I would not want a kid to go what my husband and I have both gone through. And while I would love children I feel in a way it would be selfish of me to have one. Does that make sense???

RLeighTardif said...

It certainly does make sense. I guess one always has to weigh the pros and cons. And some cases are more severe than others.

It's a very difficult illness because it's so misunderstood. It seems like sometimes you're blamed for things you do, even though you do your best, whereas someone with cancer isn't blamed.

It's very sad. I'm so pleased that you're being proactive in your care.

I see that I mentioned above that I left Don. After 6 years, he was more stable and we got back together.

He did quite well and wasn't hospitalized for at least 15 years. He'd been on lithium for close to twenty years and his kidneys were being affected so he decided to try something else. I don't think it was a good choice, looking back.

He had a few traumatic events when he already wasn't feeling good, (someone ran into him and wrote his car off, his shop burned, all within a month. And my grandson wrote my car off.)

He had a broken foot, lot of hearing loss and problems with his shoulder. He was really never the same after that.

A year ago last May, (just three months after the accident) he got sick, the worst he'd ever been and was hospitalized for a month. Again in January, for a month. The end of March, he took an overdose of his heart medication. That stabilized but he was depressed, something he'd never been until the previous hospitalization.

He couldn't convince the doctors to give him an antidepressant until it was too late.

He finally got them to put him back on lithium in the hospital, but it wasn't soon enough. He was so down that he didn't want to get up, he was on warfarin for his heart, and I think refusing to take it. He got a blood clot on the lung and died, unexpectedly.

It was an awful blow. I still struggle with it. Why didn't I see it? I was so busy with my failing business that I think I just couldn't take it all in.

He was such a good person, and funny. I sure miss him. He had learned to accept his illness in a way that made me proud of him.

I've rambled on long enough. I wish he'd found someone like you to talk to.

RLeighTardif said...

I think I found you on a site where professional folks were talking about mental illness and I linked to you. Now I don't remember where it was. Do you?

A Piece of My Mind said...

I've been trying to market my blog for better outreach. Let me know if this is the site you connected to my blog from.