This last week, my worst fear came true.
After I found out I was bipolar I immediately began to rethink my desire to have children. I was 24 and had just divorced my first husband, a man I had grown to abhor the very thought of being the father of my children. In many ways this era of my life was a very dark time for me, but nothing was darker then the places my own mind would take me.
The idea of bipolar and other mental illnesses being caused by a genetic anomaly, which was passed to me through my parents and which I could then pass onto my own child, weighed heavy on my intellect. What were the ethical ramifications of breeding if there was a good chance this would be passed on? I would knowingly be responsible for the spread of this disease, if not directly to my children then to my grandchildren and great grandchildren, continuing a legacy of instability and mental anguish for generations to come.
So I began to live my life in a manner in which children were not an option. I entered into a dysfunctional second marriage, living a fruitless life in extreme unhappiness. The reality of my misery could not be ignored as I began to seek death as a viable option. In evaluating what I truly wanted, I realised I did want to be a mother and a wife and that I deserved to find myself a life partner that truly valued me.
As I learned how to live while suffering from bipolar two amazing things happened. God showed me it was possible to follow my heart and then I met my amazing husband. Through the process of learning to rely on God for everything, I began to trust in Him that if I had a child He would still provide for that child as He had provided for me. When I got pregnant I worried the entire pregnancy about how my bipolar might interfere, and if the child would suffer as I have or worse, about how I would manage my illness and raising a child at the same time. Always in the back of my mind I worried this child would one day suffer from bipolar.
For six years I have prayed, and waited. I have studied, watched, and wondered if she would suffer as I have. After this last weekend I no longer need to wait. My daughter showed some slight but undeniable symptoms that I could not ignore. I finally came face to face with my worse fear, my child might actually be bipolar.
Dealing with myself seemed so much easier. Watching her was like looking back through time at myself. I completely understood what was happening to her, both inside and out. Because of my years of struggle and turmoil, I’ve learned exactly what to do to help facilitate the doctors and also what she needs. It was a long weekend, but in the end I finally faced my worst fear and it didn’t look so bad.
At this point the jury is definitely still out. She could have had a small blip due to some current stressors in life, which seem minor on the outside but could very well not be for her. Or this could be an indicator that later in life she will have some issues. It could be the beginning of a horrible childhood onset of mental illness, but I can’t and won’t allow myself to dwell on this. The only thing I can do is keep an eye on her, take note of things I see, all the while holding her up in prayer.
I trust in God, and I trust He has an amazing plan for her life. If she is going to suffer from this illness, she has me to help guide her through it.